Wednesday, December 31, 2008

24-7 Darkness (Revisited)

One of my professors asked me what is it like to be in the dark 24-7. Up until that very moment, I hadn't really thought about it. After taking about 15 seconds to process her question and formulate some type of answer, I took a deep breath and finally replied, "Um, I don't know.”

Strangely enough, I really don't think about it in terms of 24-7 darkness. I define blindness as the inability to see. And I guess that includes light. But if I really took the time to focus on the blanket of darkness that wraps around me, I probably would lose it. The very thought of 24-7 darkness is so darn depressing.

Now that I've taken time to really think about my professor’s question, I better understand how I truly feel about this "24-7 darkness that supposedly surrounds me." The truth is that I actually ignore the darkness.

Let me explain, if I can. There's no way possible for me to ignore my blindness. It is what it is. I can't escape it, even if I wanted to. I can't ignore it, pretend that it's not there, or take a break from it for a day.

But the darkness on the other hand, I don't have to give it my attention. Instead, I can use my mind to create visual images of the things that are in my physical presence. I can use my mind to daydream about beautiful places I would like to visit, intriguing people I would like to meet, and a wonderfully fine man to take me on one of my many dream vacations. I can use my mind to remember all of the beautiful experiences that I've had in my lifetime. I can use my mind to imagine what my darlings, Jasmine, Gabby, and Joseph look like.

So, with that being said, I'm not in the dark 24-7. I use my mind to ignore the darkness, and to instead create light.

I guess I should let my professor know my new answer to her question.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What an Honor!!! (2008 Weblog Awards)

I'm delighted to announce that NuVision for a NuDay was selected to be a finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards! Yipee!!!

NuVision for a NuDay is one of 10 blogs that will get a chance to be crowned "Best Diarist of the Year". Wouldn't that be amazing if I actually win the award?

At this point, I'm sure there are a few of you that are wondering, "Who are the Weblog Awards; and why does this matter to you?"

The Weblog Awards describe themselves as being "the world's largest blog competition with over 545,000 votes cast in 2007 edition and nearly two million votes cast in all editions since 2003." This particular year, they received over 5,000 nominations for the 2008 edition of the awards. After a careful and thoughtful selection process, 500 blogs were selected to be finalists in 48 categories.

So, for NuVision to be one of the blogs honored as a finalist is rather significant and quite an achievement as a blogger. Plus, this notable mention will provide my blog with greater exposure and will hopefully boost my readership. I am excited about more people becoming aware that people with disabilities are capable of being productive, insightful, employed, socially attractive, responsible, and happy.

It has been and will continue to be my desire that NuVision for a NuDay will be one of the tools that decrease discrimination, increase respect, and shatter stereotypes. If I'm not mistaken, I think that my blog is the only blog that is a finalist in the awards that focuses on disability related issues. So, I feel a little pressure to maximize this opportunity to represent for disability bloggers all over the world. But I'm confident that my blog's presence on the list of finalist is a wonderful opportunity for me to share with thousands the experiences of a person with a disability, in particular, blindness.

I'm also honored to be one of the few bloggers of color to be selected as a finalist in this year's Weblog Awards. I'm a proud member of the Afrosphere! So, it's great to be able to rep for them as well.

To learn more about the awards, and to see a list of the finalist, click on the below link.
.

I'll be sure to announce how and when you can vote for NuVision for a NuDay.

Have a satisfying and peaceful day!

Angela L. Braden
Author of NuVision for a NuDay
Finalist for the 2008 Weblog Awards

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Forever?

Last night, my darling, Jasmine, walked over to me, lifted herself up, and plopped her little body into my ever-available lap. She rested her head on my chest and asked me a question that probably has been lingering in her head for at least a few minutes, which is a long time when looking at the attention span of a five-year-old.

"Ann, you gon' be blind forever?"

The word "forever" rang loudly in my head. I didn't quite know what to say. "Forever is such a long time." I thought. And the idea of admitting that my blindness could be sticking around forever was a bit overwhelming at that particular moment.

I quickly thought, "What do I tell her?" If I say yes, I would basically be telling the truth. Well, at least the doctor's version of the truth... But saying yes is surrendering to the condition, and signaling to the atmosphere and perhaps God that I don't have enough faith to believe that I will see again.

The truth is that I absolutely want to see again. And I would do anything, and I mean anything to get that chance. But to be quite honest, I think that I am at a place that I honestly believe that the chances of seeing again are slim to none. But I haven't always felt this way.

When I first started losing my sight, my folks used to drag me to every healing crusade, revival, and conference that was being held in the city. My aunts would recommend certain preachers that they believed had the gift of healing to my Mama. And my mama would take me to each of them, hoping that the Lord would touch her baby and give her sight back. And I was hoping too.

So, it didn't matter to me how many prayer lines I needed to stand in, how much blessed oil needed to be splashed on my forehead, how many times I needed to turn around in a circle, and how many meals I had to fast from...I wanted to see again. And I believed that God could do it. And I really thought that believing that He could do it meant that He would do it.

But with each passing year, the Glaucoma that was ravishing my eye continued to get worse, and my sight continued to fade. By the time I was thirteen-years-old, my right eye was completely blind. And the visual acuity in the left eye was so bad that I could not walk in unfamiliar territories without sighted assistance. But I didn’t stop believing though. I continued to fast, pray, anoint my own head with oil, get prayer from the elders, call prayer lines, quote scriptures, and declare the victory over my blindness.

But to no avail, despite 14 surgeries and my unwavering faith in God, I lost all of my functional vision my senior year in high school. I only had light perception in my left eye. But no matter how dark it was, I continued to fast and pray. I refused to give up.

Two years later, the tiny bit of sight that I had left to let me know if the sun had rose in the morning had left me. And I was left in total darkness and complete despair. My faith was shattered, and I begin to wonder if believing and expecting a healing was handicapping my ability to “see” what God truly wanted for my life.

After a lot of aching and pain, I realized that I saw God as a healer and not a sustainer. I believed that He could heal me. But strangely enough, I didn’t believe that He could make life with blindness be alright.

Huge leap from then to now…

I do believe that God can heal. But I refuse to spend too much time dreaming about the day that Angie possibly gets her sight back. Instead, I spend my time trying to figure out how I can trust God to see what it is I’m supposed to be looking at.

So, back to Jasmine's profound question... After allowing memories of pain, disappointment, and sadness rush through my head, I took a deep breath and with confidence, I told Jasmine that yes, her aunt will probably be blind forever. And that it is truly okay.


Angela L. Braden

Friday, December 19, 2008

DON'T CALL ME OUT OF MY NAME

**Okay... This morning I was looking through my poetry folder, and I ran across this poem I wrote over ten years ago. This poem truly blessed my life, along with dozens of other young women. And when I read it this morning, it had the same profound effect on me, much like it did 13 years ago.

However, my life has changed so much since then. Back then, to be quite honest, I didn't know what the heck it really meant to be a woman, let alone a truly vertuous woman. But now I know. And looking at this poem places pressure on me to rise to the occasion. (My head hurts thinking about the high standards.)

I am not the woman in this poem that I wrote about 13 years ago. I wasn't her then. But the purpose of writing this poem was to call those things (me) into existence.

Plus, I made a decision then to not allow anyone to call me anything other than what God designed me to be. I forgot about that. Since then, I've been called a whole lot of things that I know I'm not. A bithch, a tease, a snob, a crybaby, and a judge...

But I declare this day, that I am defined by God. And I insist that through God's grace, I will become...Or should I say, I am a proverbs 31 woman. So, no matter what those that speak against me and negatively about me say, I know deep down in my heart who and Whose I am.

Enjoy!!!**

DON'T CALL ME OUT OF MY NAME
by Angela L. Braden


I may not be what many consider beautiful
Overweight I may be
Feeling my increasing age each day
But those things do not matter
Because beauty will pass away
But I will always be a Proverbs 31 Woman

Flirtiness, manipulation, and false charm are no longer apart of me
Deceit is a quality of my past
No longer am I filled with anger, seeking to strike out
No longer am I tearing down my house with my mouth
For I am a Proverbs 31 Woman

Many women detest me
And many men try to test me
But I stand strong like a mountain
Never to be moved
Never to be torn down
I am a Proverbs 31 Woman

I am striving daily to improve myself in all areas
Physically, emotionally, and most of all SPIRITUALLY
Mediocrity is no longer the standard that I live by
I must strive for perfection
I must be a healthy vessel
I am a Proverbs 31 Woman

One day I shall give myself to a MAN of GOD
Allowing him to experience my purity and truth
Sharing with him my deepest secrets
Loving him every day of my life
Giving him the opportunity to experience a Proverbs 31 Woman

He will love me
He will trust me
He will not leave me
For when my man finds me
He has found a good thing
For I am a Proverbs 31 Woman


**Miko, this is dedicated to you, baby. Love ya!**

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I did it!

Those of you that read this blog on a regular know that I've been taking an online class to become certified as an online instructor at the college where I teach. It was a nerve wrecking experience. But I finally got through it last week. And after I finished, I submitted by course design to the distance learning office to get the final approval. This afternoon, I was pleased indeed when I received this note from the distance learning office.

**Dear Ms. Braden,

Your course has been reviewed along with the Project Review Guidelines and I am happy to report that your course does meet these requirements and you are certified! I have attached a copy of the guide for your records

Congratulations on completing the process for Level I Certification to teach online. Your record will be marked as complete in My Workshops and we will send a certificate of completion to you at LSC-Kingwood.

Best Regards,

Chantell W. Hines, Ph.D.
Instructional Technologist
Lone Star Online
Lone Star College System**

Can you believe that last week I felt like giving up. I even had a little anxiety attack regarding this class. But I stayed on course and finished the race. Thank God for persistence!

When the task that has been put in front of you seems to be overwhelming and insermountable, don't give up. Stay on task. And always keep moving. Even when you're tired, keep moving. Even when you can't see your way, just keep moving.

Be encouraged!

Angela Braden
Mountain Climber

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's comments like these that keep me going.

There are times that I feel overwhelmed and frustrated with my life. And it would only be the truth if I admitted that sometimes I really feel like giving up. But when I do feel like giving up, I think about all the people I would disappoint if I threw in the towel. I think about all the people that depend on me to be an example of what god can perfect in a person that is seemingly broken. I think about all the people that I inspire to keep going, even when life is sitting on their necks. I think about all the people that, because of their contact with me, now realize that disability does not mean death.

This week was the last week of the fall semester. Some of my students sent me some very nice e-mails. and I got them just in time.

In the last couple of days, I was feeling overwhelmed with all the things I have to do. And I was even feeling a little frustrated about this blind thing. But when I got these e-mails, I perked up and got my strut back.

Here's a few of the nice e-mails I got this week.

“Happy Holidays Ms. Angela! So far, you're the coolest instructor I’ve had. Everyone’s been so formal and teachery. Its fun to have an instructor that feels like a friend, not just a teacher. I hope I can have another class with you.” E.P.

“I would just like to say that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from an instructor as amazing as you. I want to say thank you for bringing speech to life for me, and making class so much fun. I have never had an instructor make me want to learn or even make me want to come to class in the way you have. Every day in your class was a different experience, and I truly am honored to have been able to call myself one of your students.” S.L.

“She has a great personality and truly is a special person whom I would recommend anyone to take her interpersonal communication class or any future classes she chooses to teach.” A.B.

“When I came to the first day of school, I didn’t even really know that Professor Braden was even blind until about half way through the class period. She was just walking back in forth and talking about herself and making the students say something about them. I’ve never had a blind teacher before and honestly I never really thought that a blind person could be a teacher. But I was proven wrong. Professor Braden is a very good speaker and a good teacher. She speaks clearly, makes sure everyone understands, and has a passion for what she does.” S.C.

“I was honored to sit on the last row in the last left hand seat. I had the best seat in the class. I was allowed to watch you and the class as if it were a stage presentation. At times the interaction left me speechless. The way you communicated and presented life span communications in such a way the whole class should have been able to relate to. And, I believe they did. I would like you to know that I observed my classmates hanging on to every word that you spoke.
I believe that you accomplished what you set out to achieve. I believe you have made an impact on each student rather it is on culture sensitivity, gender communication, or disability awareness. I know that you have empowered me with all of the above and much more.” C.B.


It's comments like these that help me understand the importance of a "blind chick" being a teacher at a college. So, when I feel like the stress of being a blind teacher of sighted students is too much, I'll come back and read these comments. When I feel like my presence is not a "big deal", I'll come back and read these comments. And when I feel like my life has no real "purpose", I'm going to come back and read these comments.

**When you feel like your life is a waste, a failure, a let down, think about all the people who depend on you to be you. They need you. Heck, all of us need you. What in the world would the world do without you?

Stay encouraged. Stay strong. And stay prayed up.

Relaxing in the palm of God's hand,
Angela Braden
Adjunct Faculty at Lone Star College
Kingwood College

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stretched

The stress of being stretched is starting to get to me. In the next 48 hours, I have to make some things happen that must happen. There's no getting around it... No dodging it... Procrastination cannot be an option at this point.

What all do I have to do?
* I need to go to TSU to turn in my application to graduate school. (I've decided to work on a second masters. More later...)
* I need to complete my training to become certified as an online instructor.
* I need to create a make-up test for four of my students that I'm showing a little mercy to.
* I need to get my students' papers graded by Friday. (If I'm not mistaken, I have until Monday to get that done. But I don't want to put it off.)
* I need to go to the college and run the final exams through the scantron machine.
* I need to tally up the students' grades from the semester and transfer them to the official grading form.
* I need to finish designing my class that I'm supposed to teach during the winter break. (This class is scheduled to start Monday. So, without a doubt, I have to finish designing at least the first week of course content by the end of the day.)
* I need to submit some kind of request to get my online class approved by the distanced learning office. (I'm not sure what I need to do to get this done. So, I have to research it this morning.)
* I need to file my taxes from 2007. (Yes, I know that I am late. Don't shoot me. I'm paying for it already.)
* I need to apply for federal financial aid to attend school in the spring.

So, keep me in your prayers today and tomorrow. I definitely need the Lord to help me get all of this done. Also pray that my folks will be quiet, helpful, and understanding of my last minute stress.

Y'all have a good one. I'll check in by the weekend.

Blessings and light,

Angie Braden

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Foggy

I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with my foggy idea of what I look like. The truth is that I haven't clearly seen myself in 21 years. I'm sure that although I didn't transform into a different person all together, I absolutely look different as a 30+ chick than a preteen girl. And while I'm absolutely certain that some aspects of myself have not changed, such as the shape of my lips, the slight dimple in my right cheek, the width of my nose, the color of my skin, I would be remised to believe that I still have the same youthful look that I had two decades ago.

So, the questions that I always ask myself are:
* What do I look like now?
* When people look at me, what do they see?
* Am I pretty, or just pretty for a blind person? (Yes, people actually do have two separate standards for the two.)
* Do I look fatter than I think?
* Do I look smaller than I think?
* Am I effectively hiding my after-blindness, lazy eye with my long hair that I swoop in my face?
* Do I look like a flashback from the 80's or an Aliah wanna-be with my hair in my face?
* Am I bringing more attention to my eye by having so much hair falling in my face?
* Do I look older than what I am?
* Do I look good for my age? (I'm not talking about looking y younger than I am. I just mean do I look good to be the age I am.)
* Do I look confident?
* Do I look nice?
* Do I look friendly?
* Do I look average?
* Do I look boring?
* Do I look fun?
* Do I look like a snob?
* Does my skin look healthy and even toned?

I survey my friends and ask them these questions all the time. Of course, they have positive things to say. So, of course, I'm left to wonder if their being nice to their friend. And I must say that they try to provide a detailed description of me to me. But no matter how detailed they are, I still have a foggy perception.

I would give anything to get five minutes in the mirror.

That last statement reminded me of the news that this brotha gave me one afternoon in Luby's. He told me that he wanted to know if I knew Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. When I replied that I had accepted him already, his response through me completely off.

Well, this man, who turned out to be a preacher, told me that he was so glad that I was a Christian so that I could get a chance to go to heaven and get my sight back. He went on to say that the first thing he wants me to see is a mirror so that I can see how beautiful I was while living on Earth.

Well, here's what I'm thinking... First of all, are their mirrors in heaven? Secondly, when I get to heaven, I suspect that I won't give a dog on what I looked like on Earth. Thirdly, in my opinion, self concept and self image is a construct of the human experience. It will not be an issue for me in heaven. So, his good news was not any consolation for me.

I want to see now. Seeing in heaven is not going to help me here on Earth.

And if there is a chance I get a chance to see before I get to heaven, I'm headed straight to the mirror. I sho' hope I won't be disappointed.

For kicks, and for psychological freedom, I'm going to post a few pictures of myself and some of my dearest friends on my blog tomorrow. No point in hiding from the sighted, just because I can't see myself. So, be on the look out for what I can't see...Me...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

THINKING OF MY FRIEND'S BIRTHDAY LED ME TO THESE REFLECTIONS

This time last year, I went to California to help my girl celebrate her 16th anniversary of turning 21-years-old. The night of her birthday, we went to the Temple Bar to go see one of my favorite-favorite artist, Frank McComb. While waiting on Frank to hit the stage, I had a couple of drinks with the folks in the party we were in.

While I was sipping on my second drink, this brotha came over and introduced himself to me. He told me he was a friend of the birthday girl. Because he told me that he was a friend of my friend, I decided to smile at him and be friendly.

Confession time... unfortunately, I'm known for being a little socially distant/shy/stand offish/snoody when meeting new people. I guess it's all in how you interpret it.

The truth is that I am sometimes a little quiet, reserved, and distant when I meet folks for the first time. But it is certainly not because I'm rude, stuck up, or an elitist. It's because I am still, after all this time, a little insecure about being blind. I never know how folks will respond to my blindness. Plus, I sometimes am unsure of my first-time communication with folks because I don't have the added benefit of interpreting nonverbal cues. (That's the communication teacher in me.)

Getting back to my story... I guess the brotha perceived my smile to be an invitation to start flirting. He leaned over and whispered in my ear that he thought I was "beautiful". I smiled, and politely thanked him for his kind assessment of B-Angie-B.

He continued to talk to me, making small talk about music, the artist we were there to see, and a couple of other things that was not really all that important. Even though I wished that he would shoo, mainly because Frank had hit the stage at this point, I continued to smile and be polite. Finally, the brotha said he had to go. "Great!", I thought. But before he left, he asked if he could get my contact info. I told him I would pass it to him through our mutual friend. (I needed to ask about him before giving the digits.)

The next day, the brotha text messaged my friend and started asking questions about me, like "Does she have a man?" You know, all the usual inquiries...

He then asked my friend for my contact info. Because my friend said that he was for the most part safe, but not really good looking, I told her to give him my e-mail address. If he had been cute, he would've got the 10 numbers.

Second confession... I can be a little shallow at times when it comes to looks. I might be blind, but I know what once pleased these eyeballs of mine. I know... I'm trying not to have looks on my little list of qualifications...

Back to the story... Well, the guy started telling my friend that he didn't think he would've ever been attracted to a disabled girl in his life. He told her that when he normally thinks of a disabled person, he thinks of someone old, pitiful, and not as attractive as me.

He also told her that when he's encountered people with disabilities in the past, he always thinks about what he can do "for them". But he said when he met me, he imagined what he could do "to me".

Oh yes, grown folks... The brotha was a little tripped out because he was having nasty thoughts about a blind chick. He felt a little embarrassed and creepy to be thinking about a disabled person in that way.

My friend reassured him that I was a normal woman; and despite my disability, I was capable of being a desirable woman.

I don't know about all of that... But what I do know that before I am blind, I am a woman. Desirable... I don't know... But having desires... Yep....


I thought it was a trip that this brotha was so uncomfortable that he was having desires to do something "to me" rather than to do something "for me", which is the typical response of a nondisabled person to a disabled person. But it made me wonder how many men have that "embarrassing and intimidating" thought about me. Perhaps there are some men that shy away from their attraction to me, just because they feel like they really shouldn't be having feelings like that about someone with a disability. **shrug** Maybe that’s why I spend so many weekends at home, typing on this computer of mind. **smile**

What do you think?

**To my girl: Happy Birthday!!! Sorry I wasn't able to get to you this year. But as I told you, I really-really wish I could've helped you celebrate your 17th anniversary of your 21st birthday. Perhaps next year, we can plan for a out of this world birthday experience.

I love you. And be blessed.

Angie**

Lumped in Together

Last night, my mother and her youngest grandchild, Jasmine, was sitting in the gameroom watching Noggin, which is what they do every evening. I was sitting in the room checking my e-mail, trying to not get distracted by the entertaining, yet educational programming that was loudly being played from the television. Jasmine started commenting to her grandmother about some of the things that she was seeing on television. Although I was trying to tune them out so that I could pay close attention to what I was doing on the computer, I still heard Jasmine's little voice telling Mama about a little boy that was on television.

"Granny, that little boy is really sick, and he's blind too."

Well, since she was watching Noggin, I was trying to figure out what in the world was on television that had a little, sick, blind boy. Usually, Noggin has programming on there that is happy, light-weight, and animated, in all sense of the word. And there's nothing happy, light-weight, and animated about a sick, blind boy.

I asked my mother what Jasmine was talking about. Mama said that it was a little boy in a wheelchair that was playing with other nondisabled kids in the commercial. She said that she didn't know why Jasmine said that he was sick and blind.

I asked Jasmine why she said that the little boy was sick and blind. She began to explain to me that the little boy was in a wheelchair because he was sick. And she also stated again that the boy is also blind. I asked how she knew that he was blind. She stated that she "just knows that he is because he's in a wheelchair."

After trying to figure out what kind of logic Jasmine was using to draw that conclusion, I am left to presume that Jasmine associated the boy's disability of being in a wheelchair with my disability of blindness. She couldn't separate the disabilities. I guess in her five-year-old mind, one disability is all disabilities.

Jasmine realized that something was definitely wrong with the boy. She didn't know what to call it. So, she called it sick. And I guess she called it blind too.

Does Jasmine think I'm sick too?

Well, most likely...

And it probably has something to do with my watered down explanation ofwhy their auntie started losing her sight. Because I know they don't understand complex terms, like Glaucoma, Uveitis, and optic nerve damage, I simply tell them that I lost my sight because I
got really sick when I was a little girl, which is actually the truth. It may be a quick paraphrase of the truth, but it is indeed the truth.

I explained to the rabbit that just because the little boy was in a wheelchair does not mean that he's blind or sick, for that matter. She still didn't get it. She insisted that the boy in the wheelchair was both blind and sick, two descriptions that she probably thrusts upon anyone that she realizes is "disabled".

I suppose as my niece gets older, she will better understand disability, and she, will realize that all disability is not the same. Likewise, she will learn that disability does not mean "sick". I hope that the way I live my life will be the best tool to teach her all that she needs to know about disability and how it impacts, both children and adults.

I also pray that as I interact with individuals in the community, they will also develop better perceptions, attitudes, and information regarding disability. So often, when I come in contact with individuals at church, in the malls, at restaurants, and wherever, people assume that just because I can't see, I also can't hear. They talk loud to me, get inappropriately close to my face and exaggerate their words.

Often times, I come in contact with individuals that speak to my family, asking them questions about me, even while I'm standing there. I'm not sure if they think that my blindness qualifies me to be mute or just plain incapable of making decisions. There are some who even talk to me like I'm a five-year-old. I am left to assume that they believe that blindness also equals some type of severe learning disability. I don't know...

But what I do know is that Jasmine is not the only one guilty of lumping all disabled folks in the same barrel.

Boy, I got a lot of work to do.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Blink

A few days ago, a friend of mine called me to clarify something that he knew to be certain regarding me. Before asking me the question, he prefaced it by stating that he had to ask me something that may appear to be a little strange. Because I know that this brotha is not the type to say or ask anything off the wall, I told him to shoot, never considering that bracing myself for an odd response was necessary. Because he was certain that he already knew the answer, he asked me the question with silent confidence.

"Do you still blink your eyes now that you can't see?"

"Um, yes... Why did you ask me that?"

Well, he begin to explain to me that his professor at the seminary he attends told the class that blind people don't blink. He said that the professor said that once the person is blind, the nerves in the eye are dead, and the involuntary reaction to blink the eye ceases.

Because my friend knew that bit of info that the professor was giving to the class was not true for all people, he raised his hand and told the professor that the blanket statement that the professor was trying to wrap around all blind people was not true. The professor asked my friend how did he know. My friend said that he knew that some blind people blink because one of his closest friends is blind.

I thought it was hilarious that the professor really thought that people who are blind do not blink their eyes. First of all, blinking has nothing to do with sight. Secondly, blinking is not something that we control or desire to do. We do it because it is an involuntary function of the eye lid, not the eye ball.

I'm going to take it a little bit further. I had my left eye removed a few years ago. I now have a prosthetic eye placed in the socket for cosmetic purposes. Well, the eye lids still blinks over that "fake eye" every couple of seconds, much like it would if that eye was real and could see.

Oh well... I heard worse stereotypes about the blind...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Quote that Blessed Me: (Thought I would share...)

"If we can let go of how we think life is supposed to be, we can actually enjoy what life is...."

I read this on a comment string on a blog that I frequent pretty regularly. As soon as I read it, it struck me deep. What wisdom!

Hopefully, the wisdom in this statement blesses you the same way it blessed me. Furthermore, I pray that I will actually apply the wisdom found in this profound perspective on living. Then perhaps, I will begin to enjoy this life of mine.

Blessings,

Angie

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Technology Frustrations

I'm taking an on-line class to become certified as an on-line instructor at the college where I teach. It is so frustrating trying to learn tecnology that wasn't designed with accessibility as a priority. I think I can get through the class. But I'm having to work a lot harder than my classmates. At least that's my assumption... And I put money on it that I'm right.

I don't know if I need to request some level of accommodations to help me be successful in the class or what. And a small part of me would like to just stay away from the on-line opportunity, and just stick to the traditional learning environment, the face to face classroom.

But I know that if I back out, I will be taking the punk route. I don't want to give up. So, I won't. I'll just keep pushing and trucking along, like I usually do. Perhaps taking longer than everyone else to get it done... But nevertheless, getting it done...

And if I decide I like the traditional classroom better than on-line, it will be because I like it better. It won't be because I failed. Because failure is not an option for me.

Well, I'll let you guys know the outcome of the class, as well as my intentions and/or preference for an on-line teaching opportunity verses the traditional setting.

Blessings,

Angela

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wow!!! I was nominated to receive a Brilliante Blogger Award!

It's always amazing to me that people all over the world stop by my little spot on the web and read some of the content I have posted on Nuvision. It's even amazing to me when people comment on how they think that my blog is significant and a definite need in the blogosphere.

The other day, I took a little time to check out some of my favorite bloggers, as well as some bloggers that I have found to be interesting and potentials on my "favorite blogger list." While reading, I ran across
this blog entry over at Black on Campus.

I was quite honored that Ajuan Mance, the author of Black on Campus, thought highly enough of the content of my blog to mention it on her blog, let alone give my blog some type of recognition. And for that, I'm extremely thankful and humbled.

The Brilliante Blogger Award comes with some responsibilities. The Rules are as follows:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog. (Since I can't see the logo, I will skip over this rule. **smile**)
2. The winner must link to the person from whom they received their award.
3. The winner must nominate at least 7 other blogs for the award. (I'm only nominating six bloggers.)
4. The winner must place links to those blogs on their own blog.
5. The winner must leave a message on the blogs of the people they’ve nominated.


With no further avail, I would like to nominate the following bloggers for this award. Each of these bloggers have been an inspiration to me. They always have fresh content that is filled with insight, wisdom, and authenticity. I hope that you check them out, visit them often, and perhaps subscribe. Congratulations to the following bloggers. You're an inspiration to me and all of us who reside on the world wide web.

Mirror on America

Lovebabz; A Life in Transition

The Thinking Black Man

Excerpts from the Diary of a Diva

Faith in Action On Line

Keep it Trill

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It Takes a Strong Man...

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a brotha that I've been knowing for nearly fifteen years. In this conversation, he announced to me that he and his girlfriend had decided to go ahead and tie the knot. After hearing his good news, I got to wondering if I was ever going to be able to give someone that same news. But the truth is: If my prospects continue to look the way they've looked up until this point, the only knot I'll get to tie is possibly in my tennish shoes.

I asked my friend, being that he is a highly opinionated lover of the opposite sex, why did he think that I continued to not have any viable prospects from year to year. Well, he began to break down what I've always known to be true, but hoped that it was just my imagination.

He told me most men do not want to date and/or marry a woman with a disability, no matter how cute she is. And he went on to say that the strong brothas, who are secure, responsible, and caring, would be at the top of the food chain. He said that strong brothas like that have the pick of the crop. And if they can pick whatever they want, they are going to pick the one that has the least amount of drama and issues.

My heart was kind of saddened by this. I already know that it's going to take a strong man to be okay with having a blind girlfriend. But I was hoping that instead of that man going for the easier situation, he would step up to the plate and come for me, especially if he and I were meant to be connected in that way.

Will I get a chance to tie that knot one day? I guess only time will tell.

I thought it would be nice to pass this along.

**While doing some searching on the net, I ran across these brothers. I thought it was exciting that these brothers, who are now disabled due to gun violence, are now lending their voice to the world to educate society about disability issues, as well as to advocate against gun violence. Check them out.**

4 Wheel City is an urban entertainment group and disability awareness movement started by Namel "Tapwaterz" Norris, rapper, and Ricardo "Rickfire" Velasquez, producer, two talented hip-hop artists who use wheelchairs since sustaining injuries from gun violence. Their mission is to use hip-hop music and culture to create more awareness and positive opportunities for people with disabilities, to inspire people not to give up in life, and to raise funds for spinal cord injury research.

They hope to show the world that people with disabilities have talents, dreams, and the right to be treated equally. In addition, their experiences have moved them to be allies in the war against gun violence. Gun violence has a devastating impact on the community and across the world. By educating the community of its consequences, Norris and Velasquez hope to encourage action and make a difference in the fight against illegal guns and inner city gun violence.

The wheelchair duo calls their act "rap therapy."

The tour will consist of both musical performances and speaking engagements to build awareness about disability issues. Both Norris and Velasquez, along with their manager Gary Delamothe, announced the tour on October 15, 2008 from New York's City Hall in conjunction with the Mayor's Office fifth annual Disability Mentoring Day.

For more info on 4 Wheel City please go to their home on the web.

This Week in the Life of Angie (Part 3 of 3)

**This is the last edition to the series of post that discusses my week, which at this point was last week. I'm so glad that crazy week in now in the past, and I can now hopefully create better results this week. So far, I'm at a pretty good start.**

Wednesday morning, I asked one of my sisters to read to me. I didn't ask her to read a comic strip from the morning paper, or one of the historical front page articles about President-Elect Obama's victory. I asked her to read one of the chapters in the textbook that I teach out of.

As usual, not being a morning person, my sister sluggishly drug herself out of bed to help me. In the midst of her reading, she and my other sister got into their usual shouting match. Next thing I knew, my sister, the reader, closed the book and marched to her room, stating that she wasn't going to read.

I was stunned by her decision to not read for me, especially since I hadn't done anything to her. I was also tripped out because my sister knew that she was reading something for me that I needed that day, not later on. I called for her to come back. But she refused.

After she refused, I went into a rage. Tears poured from my blind eyes as I thought about how unfair it was for someone, a physically able person, to deny someone with a disability assistance, just because they were pissed off.

With every second, I begin to feel helpless, hopeless, and betrayed. The tears rolled down my face even more.

And then, the hurt that I was feeling switched to rage when I thought about all the things that I do for my sisters, things that they can certainly do for themselves, in the name of love and support. I got pissed that the people who live in the home that me and my disabled mother provide would even consider withholding disability related assistance. I begin to scream, curse, and cry more.

This was truly a first for me. I'm not a physically aggressive person at all. I've never been in a fight in my life, even before I lost my sight. It's just not me.

This is why I resent all of the conflict, fussing, tension, and fighting that goes on here at my house. While it may be my mother and sisters' style of managing conflict, it is not mine. I honestly prefer to keep quiet at all cost. The only reason I get involved in many of the conversations around here is to referee fights, defend my mother, and because my money is involved in many of the issues here at this house.

I love my folks. But I look forward to living alone. And it's not for the selfish reasons that they want to live alone. They want to live alone so that they can do what the hell they want to do, so they don't have to follow rules, or respect our sick mother. I want to live alone, just so I can have a little peace.

Part of the reason why I stay up at night is because that is the only time my house is quiet. It's a shame that the early morning hours is the only time that I can enjoy the sweet music of silence. Otherwise, as soon as the folks in my house start waking up, fussing also rises with them. (It's 5:20 AM. I've been up since midnight.)

I'm kind of reluctant to post this on my blog. I don't want my folks to get mad at me. But they stay mad at me anyway. Plus, this entry is a reflection of the absolute truth. And it is also documentation of the life I live.

My friend, Chad, asked me if my sisters move out who will help me and my mother with some of the things that requires good physical abilities. I told him that I would like to think that my family would be willing to assist us without being residents of our house. Families do that all the time... If there is someone in the family that needs a ride to the store, the person comes and takes them to the store. Why do me and my mother need a live in to help us out from time to time?

I also reminded Chad that people with disabilities, even blind people, live alone and effectively manage their homes. I also told him that people with disabilities marry and have children.

For the most part, I understand that living alone would be a challenge. But what aspect of my life is not a challenge?

I'm confident that I could do it. I did it the entire time I was in college. Yes, I lived on campus. But I lived alone. And each everything that I needed assistance with, I just called on someone to come over and help me. I imagine that's what I would have to do if I lived alone here in Houston.

"My God will supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory." Phil. 4:18

That's one of my favorite scriptures. I cling to it. Because no matter what, while my sisters, my daddy, my mother, and friends have all been helpful, I realize that my help comes from the One above. I realize that He inspires and motivate my folks to offer themselves up as helpers. And I'm certain that if none of them were around to help, God would send someone else. That's how He works.

**Believe it or not, I left some very poignant details about other experiences that I had last week. But I don't have the energy to re-lieve them. Perhaps I will later touch on them in a future post.
In closing, I sho' pray that this week is a better week than last week. I can't take another week like that.
By the way... Right now, while I'm writing this post, I'm listening to the Smooth R&B channel on my Comcast Music Choice. Vivian Green's Emotional Roller Coaster is playing in the background. That song captures the feeling that I experienced last week.
Peace and blessings,
angie**

Sunday, November 09, 2008

This Week in the Life of Angie (Part 2 of 3)

This week, I reached a breaking point as it pertains to my family. One of the reasons why it was so hard for me to fully splash around in the sheer excitement of President-Elect Obama's victory was because my family was acting such a fool this week. My sisters and my aunts were acting like they didn't have any sense. But this post is about my aunts.

My mother has two living sisters, and both of them suffer from mental illness. And the tripped out thing about mental illness is that usually the person with the mental illness has no clue how sick they are. Another awful thing about many folks with mental illness is they are often noncompliant. They don't like to take their medicine. So, the management of their illness is terribly difficult.

The aunt that is less sick, but certainly more annoying, feels that my sisters and I, but mainly me, should be doing more to help her with my aunt. She calls over here and curses us out, upsets my sick mother by telling her she should be doing more, and she even wishes damnation on our family for not being what she thinks of as "Godly."

It is actually in my nature to help whenever there is a need. But here's the problem. I am disabled too. And while I might be a bad sistah, I already have enough resting on my shoulders when it comes to managing my life and taking care of my very sick mother. Plus, my aunt that is calling for us to help her with the other aunt is just plain mean and awful. I refuse to put myself in the position to be abused. When I was a kid, I didn't have a choice. But now that I'm an adult, I choose.

Well, because we weren't responding to her many calls for us to let the aunt come and live with us, she started leaving crazy a$$ messages on our voice mail. And guess who she was directing the messages to? You got it. Me...

This woman left several messages telling me, her blind niece, how God was going to "allow something so bad to happen to me that I was gon' be on my back, crying out for the Lord to come and help me." She went on to say that this awful thing was going to come in a form that I was ready for, in a form that would leave me confused and messed up. And she ended her messages by saying that it is her prayer that "your demonic black ass is able to get a prayer through to God to help you through this tragedy."

What an aunt!!!

Here's what I don't get. Why in the hell would an aunt, the sister of one of your parents, wish such evil on their niece or nephew? Why would someone that swares they are a Christian, someone that holds up the banner of the Church of God in Christ, someone that believes they are filled with the Holy Spirit, think it is a Godly idea to literally try to curse the futures of anyone, let alone a family member?

At this point, I'm used to my aunt's ridiculous charges, curses, and abusive ways. However, I'm sick of it! I will be so glad when I don't have to have any contact with this woman.

I guess you might ask, why do I have contact with her now. Well, because I live with my mother. And as long as my mother is living, I will not restrict her sisters, even though they are off the chain, from calling her. At this point, as ridiculous as they are, they are the only folks that consistently call and check on her.

Well, since all of this went down earlier this week, my aunt, the one that is more sick, was admitted into the psych hospital. She's been off her meds for two months. They'll get her back on them. And she'll be fine again for two months. And I'm pretty certain she'll cycle again into her "I Don't need to take medicine." self-diagnosis.

**I told you I had a crazy week. And I'm not through yet. Check me out later today with the last installment.**

Saturday, November 08, 2008

My Mama

A moment ago, I was walking down the stairs, going to the kitchen to get the water bottle that I put in the freezer earlier tonight. On the way down, I almost tripped over my mother, who was sitting on the stairs, slowly scooting her way down, one step at a time. I scared her; And she certainly scared me. I'm so glad that I wasn't running down the stairs, like I normally do. Otherwise, I would have certainly either flipped over her and went head down to the ceramic tile, or I would have pushed her down the stairs. I shutter at the thought of both possibilities.

As I stood on the steps behind her, waiting for her to gain her composure, my heart bled with compassion for the woman I know as my mother. She scooted to the side of the stair that she was sitting on so that I could pass her. I slowly walked down the rest of the stairs, feeling my leg brush against her feeble body.

My heart begin to weep as I was rushed to the realization of how sick my mother is. I felt sad that the vibrant woman that I once knew is now sick, weak, sometimes confused, sad, frustrated, and dependent on a family that doesn't quickly rush to care for her. I was suddenly pissed that my mother was being forced to live a life with such great deficits. It feels so damn unfair!

My mama doesn't deserve this. She's only done the right thing over the years. She's served her community by teaching in one of the most challenging parts of Houston for 25 years. She's been a good mother, never side stepping her responsibility to provide for, protect, guide, and support her four daughters. She's been a good sister to the sisters who now criticize her for not doing enough, even though Mama is so sick. She's been a good friend to all the damn people who pretend like she's already dead. She was a good wife to the man that she called husband for nearly 15 years. She was a good church member to the various churches that she invested her time, talent, and money into.

This is why I don't understand why this had to be. Why does my mother have to suffer so much? Why does she have to be so sick?

I wish there was something I could do to ensure that Mama experienced some happiness. The grandkids do bring some happiness to her. But I feel that she needs something else to make her smile.

Lord, I'm begging you to allow my books and plays to be a success before my mother passes to come rest with You. I want to be able to take her on trips, to nice restaurants, buy her nice clothes, and keep her hair done. And the only way I can do that is with some money. Lord, please help a sistah out.

To my mother: Mama, I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. But I know it's going to be alright. Stay strong, and stay determined. It's not over yet.
A stroke is not the end. and disability is not death. So, as long as you are alive, let's hope for more recovery, good times, and more opportunities to enjoy life.
I love you so much!
Your oldest daughter,
Ann

First Lady Michelle Obama (Ooh, it felt good to type that!)

Earlier today, I was talking to a couple of friends about the Obama Victory. We talked about how great it was that President-Elect Obama was able to defy the odds, and go on to be elected President of the United States.

We also talked about how great it is that we not only have our first African American president; but also how we have our first African American first lady. Michelle is a shining example to the world that African American women can be smart, kind, supportive, charming, strong, confident, gentle, loving, and responsible. You talking about a Proverbs 31 Woman... This sistah is bad!

I'm so glad that Michelle Obama is going to serve as our first lady. But I'm also glad that she will be a positive image of an African American woman to not only Americans, but the entire world.

Thanks to various agents of socialization, primarily hip hop, the world sees black women as hoochies, video hos, big booty pole dancers, and gold-diggers. In fact, it is quite common for hip hop artist to refer to the women they are in contact with (black women) as bitches.

And other agents of socialization, such as television and news, try to paint Black women as being angry, loud, mouthy, and aggressive. They even tried to do this to Michelle. But the sistah gracefully declined their offer to paint her with a broad brush. She handled herself with class and sophistication, even when they were coming against her hard. And I'm sure that they will continue to challenge her gracefulness. But I am confident that Michelle will gracefully and tenaciously show them that a Black woman is able to balance the lion and the lamb.

I'm also glad that First Lady Obama will be able to be a positive role model to not only her daughters, but also to little African American girls and teenagers. They will know that they too can achieve their wildest dreams by working hard, by staying committed, and by insisting on the best options for their lives.

And finally, I'm hoping that Michelle Obama's presence in the White House with her man, Barack Obama, will show the world that black love still exists; that black women are capable of being wives, not just baby-mamas; that a successful black man can find a black woman endearing; and that a black family can be in tact.

Thank you God for sending us one of the baddest sistahs around. May God richly bless, empower, protect, enlighten, and prosper First Lady Michelle Obama, one of my newest role models.

Friday, November 07, 2008

This Week in the Life of Angie (Part 1 of 3)

This week, I've been on a wild roller coaster of emotions. I've gone from nervous to confident, from fearful to courageous, from mad to forgiving, from disappointed to thankful, from doubtful to faith-filled, and from subdued to excited. Since Monday, I've been fighting off the feeling of depression, which comes to haunt me the week before my cycle. I've been in a rage when someone hurt me, a rage that was totally out of character for me. I've shed tears of joy, sadness, and anger this week. I've been a tad bit intoxicated two nights of this week, which is highly unusual. And I've been spiritually intraspective every since Sunday, taking the time to consider the possibility of reuniting with the body of believers, as a church member, that is.

This is one of the reasons why I haven't been able to effectively write about my Obama experience this week. Sandwiched between his and our victory on Tuesday was a great deal of family drama. Yes, I was glad for President-Elect Obama. But it was hard to relax in the excitement and pure joy, because my folks, the people that reside in the same four walls as I do, insisted on disturbing my happiness. But even still, I cannot forget about the significance of what happened this week.

This week, Barack Obama, my preferred candidate for president, was elected to be the commander and chief of a nation that once kidnapped, stole, sold, bought, and abused African men, women, boys, and girls. This week, an African American man, who has a foreign sounding name, was elected the commander and chief of a nation that has proven to have xenophobic and racist beliefs. This week, it was confirmed that an African American man, his African American wife, and their African American daughters would move into the White House, a structure that was built by African slaves, but only for White Americans to call home. What a week!!!

**To be continued...**

Congratulations President-Elect Obama!

My heart is overwhelmed with gladness, cultural pride, and excitement now that Barack Obama, my preferred candidate for President of the United States, has finally won the election.

President-Elect Obama, his graceful wife, Michelle, and their beautiful daughters will be moving into the White House. And they're not going in as cabinet employees, the housekeeping service, or even as guest. The Obama's are going to the White House with the title of First Family. (Isn't that something?)

Honestly, I have very few words to clearly articulate what all of this means to me. I wish I could write more. But I feel like I'm already rambling. Perhaps in the coming days, I will be able to write more about this historical victory.

President-Elect Obama, I am incredibly proud of you. I pray that our Master, shield, protect, and guide you as you continue on this journey to fulfill God's destiny for your life.

Blessings and power,

Angela Braden

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote!

Voting is not just a right; it is a responsibility.

Take the time to go the your poling locations to cast your vote for either Senator Obama or Senator McCain. Of course, Nuvision would like you to vote for Senator Obama. But the most important thing is that you get the poles and let your voice be heard, no matter what you are trying to say.

Also keep in mind that we are not only voting for the top of the ticket. There are many important races that need to be decided today that impact the local communities.

So, cast your vote today. Make a difference in your state, city, and/or county. Stand up and let the world see that Americans are excited and committed to being apart of the political process in this country.

Now, for all of you undecided folks: When in doubt, vote Obama. Nuvision for a Nuday wouldn't suggest that you do anything that wouldn't be the best option for you.

Make today count!

Make your opinion count!

Vote!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Vote for Change!!!

I'll remember October 30, 2008 for the rest of my life. That unforgettable afternoon, I was able to cast a vote for Senator Obama to be President of the United States of America.

I voted for my darling mother, a retired school teacher of 25-years, who has been permanently disabled due to a stroke.
I voted for my babies, Jasmine, Joseph, and Gabrielle, hoping that my vote would contribute to the possibility of a safe and prosperous life for them when they graduate from children, to teens, to young adults, and to their mature years.
I voted for my father, Thurman the Plumber, who is and always have been a hard working, tax paying, proud American.
I voted for my family member, who cannot vote because Texas has stolen her right to vote, along with thousands and thousands of others, due to being on community supervision and/or in prison.
I voted for the millions of Americans with disabilities, who deserve to have a "real" advocate in the White House, one that is truly interested in looking out for people with disabilities.
I voted for all the black boys and girls, who needed a current day example that they really can be President of the United States when they grow up.
I voted for all of my brown brothers and sisters, who have come to this country, hoping for a better chance at living their dreams.
I voted for all the students, who are dropping out of high school, partly because of a lack of educational supports and services designed for that particular population.
I voted for all the older African Americans, who thought they would never see a Black POTUS in their lifetime.
I voted for all the working class people in this country, who should have someone in the White House that is concerned about their daily struggle to live from check to check.
I voted for the millions of Americans, including myself, who are uninsured, possibly ill, definitely in need of preventive medical services, and/or in need of medical maintenance services.
I voted for my deceased paternal grandparents, who worked as share croppers in Louisiana, picking cotton for a inhumane wage.
I voted for my deceased maternal grandparents, who cleaned the toilets of racist white people that looked down on them.
I voted for my African American ancestors, who only dreamed that this opportunity would one day come for their children, their children's children, their grandchildren's children, and their great-grandchildren's children.
I voted for all of those Americans, who were uninformed and, uninspired, and too irresponsible to register to vote in this historical election.
I voted for all of the undecided voters, who I believe could not push pass their bias enough to vote for Senator Obama.
I voted for myself, a woman who honestly believes that the man I voted for will consider the concerns of the multiple demographic groups I represent.

If you have not voted yet, I implore you to go to the poles tomorrow and let your voice be heard. Cast your vote for change, change you really can believe in.

Obama 2008 - 2016

You can vote however you like

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Little Self Analysis

In the recent weeks, I've been engaging in more self discovery, exploration, and analysis than I normally do. I've been sitting and talking with my friends, the folks that know me the most, discussing with them who Angie really is.

Most of what we discuss is not a shock to me. I pretty much know myself very well. However, there has been a couple of conversations that has left me feeling wide open, naked, and nervous. And that, I don't like.

I'm starting to discover more and more that my insecurities run deep. And as long as folks don't see it, I feel like that's cool. But if someone sees those insecurities, and if they manage to touch me where I'm insecure, I get freaked out.

Miko says that I'm a control freek. Perhaps the sista is right. But shhhh.... Don't tell her I said so.

While looking through some of the things that I have written over the years, I found a piece that tripped me out. The piece discusses how uncomfortable I am with people seeing the real me. The piece further discusses how I go to many lengths to cover myself up, with the hope that I protect myself from rejection.

I think I wrote this piece back in 2001. What's funny is that it is 2008, and I think I feel the same way now.

Miko pointed out that a love experience that I had back in 1995 is what messed me up. From the look at the below piece, I think she may be right.

Dang, I got a lot of work to do!

Hopefully, the folks that I do allow to take a peek under my quilt will help me do away with these insecurities that I'm trying to hide so much. Hopefully, they will help me learn to be more comfortable, and eventually incredibly secure with who Angie is.

Well, here's the piece.

Peace and love,

ALB

December 17, 2001
1:30 A.M.

I hate it when you look inside of me
Searching and digging around all of my junk
Trying to see what’s true and what’s false
Stop looking in me
I’m afraid if you keep on looking
You gon’ see the real me
Yes, the real me
That’s right… The real me is well hidden on the inside of me.
I said stop looking.
You might not like what you find
My past, my fears, my suppressed desires, all of my cravings
Even my secret sins are locked up in my private chamber
Did you hear me say private?
That’s why I don’t want you, nor need you looking inside
Can you respect that?
Why are you so interested in the real me anyway?
Can’t you be satisfied with what I permit you to see?
Trust me, what I’ve let you see, is intensely, immensely, incessantly better than the real me
So, submit to the sanctions
The real me is not as cute, polished or presentable.
Is tattered, shattered, and full of flaws.
Don’t act like you can deal with my imperfections.
If I can’t, I show nuff know you can’t.
Yeah, that’s right. I can’t deal with me, no more than you can.
I keep the real me hidden from even me.
If I don’t like it
If I can’t face it
If I can’t embrace it
What makes you think you can handle it more than me?
I said, stop looking at me
You might see what I don’t want you to see
You might mess around and see the real me
You might see the aches the pains, the tears, the dementia, the sorrow, the cracks, the hate
I don’t really want you to see that
If you see it, you might run
I want to keep you here
I want to keep you around for a while
So, just enjoy what I’ve let you see
I promise, I’ll only let you see the best of me
The last time I open the blinds and exposed the real me
I was left open, wide open
With unprotected, naked vulnerability
All of my glory was wide open
Or should I say all of my ugly for his eyes to see
Even though he was so sure that he could deal
His eyes couldn’t process what he perceived
So, I’ve learned not to reveal, not to undress, not to disrobe
I’ll just stay veiled
Covered from my head down to my small feet
So, enjoy the cover
Relish in the splendor of my tent
Enjoy the view of my mold
Yeah, my mold
Even though it contains the real me, it continues to stay polished, undefiled, and perfect
That’s what you want, right?
A perfect mold
A perfect picture
So, stop worrying about what’s on the inside
Just love what you can easily see
I’ve worked hard to make sure what you see is pleasing
I’ve labored and toiled to make sure that the wrapping is beautiful
So, don’t disturb the wrapping
Don’t pull the covers back
Just enjoy the view
Cause what you can see is dang good
The outside of me is confident, hot, saucy, inspired, and full of wisdom
You keep on trying to look inside of me
You gon’ mess around and accidentally see the real me
Trust me, it don’t look like nothing like what you can easily see
The real me is scared, small, frozen, full of questions, uncertainty, and doubt
The real me ain’t cute at all
So, don’t go pass the shell
Will you please stop looking at me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm so proud of him!

Randevyn, one of my best friends has recently finished his highly anticipated music project. Earlier today, I got a chance to take a listen. It was great!

I knew it would be good, being that he is a fabulous singer, an outstanding musician, deeply spiritual lyricist, and an extremely committed person. But I was still deeply impressed and moved by the quality, the beauty, and colors of his music. (And I'm not just saying that because he's my honey.)

Being the unselfish person that I am, I thought it would be a good idea to share Randevyn with you guys. I'm certain that you will love his music just as much as I do.

I don't think his second project is on the market yet. But you can get a preview of the new music at his blog.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning Blues (Part I.)

For all intense purposes, I am a church girl. My mother basically gave birth to me on a church pew. Some of my earliest memories include the backdrop of a church building, church furniture, church music, and/or church folks. From Sunday morning service, to choir rehearsal, to Vacation Bible School, to midnight musicals, to three o’clock services, to Sunday evening services; my mother had me there. (Somehow, my mother wasn't a Sunday School person.)

And the truth is, no matter how much we went, it didn’t bother me. Church was apart of my culture. I didn’t see it as a chore. I just saw it as a way of life. And I pretty much thought that “church” contributed to the overall happiness and balance of a person. It wasn’t until later that I changed my position on “church”, and adjusted how I would see “church” for the rest of my life.

When I was eighteen-years-old, I left my mother’s house for the second time to go off to school. But instead of going to a boarding school for the blind to complete my high school education, this time I was leaving to go to college with the sighted folks. When I got to University of North Texas, I was not emotionally prepared for what was waiting on me. It was there that I experienced the deepest, darkest depression that I had ever endured in my young life. I was so depressed that everyone else seemed to have a grasp on their life. But I seemed to be so lost, so dependent, so unsure about life and my purpose in it.

I immediately joined the gospel choir on campus. Since I had been in church all my life, I did have enough “Jesus” in me to know that I needed the Lord, especially in the time of any type of crisis. And I was certainly in a crisis.

**Stay tuned… I’ll post the rest tomorrow or later today.**

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah: Your lipstick has been revoked, and I now award you a muzzle. Use it!

"We believe that the best of America is not all in Washington, D.C. We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation. This is where we find the kindness and the goodness and the courage of everyday Americans. Those who are running our factories and teaching our kids and growing our food and are fighting our wars for us. Those who are protecting us in uniform. Those who are protecting the virtues of freedom." Gov. Sarah Palin

If you don't believe me, take a listen for yourself.

Am I not a "real" American, just because I don't live in a small town?
Do I not love my country, just because I don't live in one of those pockets that the self described "hockey mom" has been visiting?

Well, let me tell you something, Mrs. Palin.

I am a proud American. And the last time I checked, my large city, Houston, is considered the fourth largest city in the United States of America. Last I checked, millions of proud Americans, who serve their country in the classrooms, in uniform on the city streets and in the battlefields of Iraq, and in the hospitals, taking care of the uninsured, also reside in Houston and many other large cities around the country. Last I checked, my father, Thurman the Plumber, who is also a proud American, lives here in Houston. And if I'm not mistaken, my mother, a retired school teacher of 25-years, also calls Houston, this massive town, home. And let me see... Oh yeah, I also live here, working hard to educate American students, as well as students who obviously think highly of the American higher education system.

How dare you, especially as a vice president candidate, question the patriotism of Americans that don't reside in a small town or what you call "the little pockets" of this country? How dare you consider small towns and "little pockets" "real America, suggesting that somehow other parts are not real"? What, do we, those of us who live in large cities, live in "fake America"? Do we not count as American?

Tell me, Sarah: Do you negate the "realness" of the larger cities because they are too colorful for you? Is that what it is? Is it too diverse for you? Are there too many people that don't look like you?

Well, I hate to inform you that when you decided to run for VP of this United States of America, you were not running to represent only the small towns and the "little pockets" of this country. Your job as VP would've been to serve all of us, even those of us that you don't think are pro American, those of us who live in these big old, colorful cities.

Sarah, let me give you some advice. Shut your pretty little mouth up and just smile for the cameras all the way until November 4th!

There is no point in you continuing to prove how anti-American "you" are.
There is no point in you continuing to show us that you really had no intentions at all in serving "all" of America.
There is no point in proving to us how you struggle with being truly patriotic when it comes to respecting and serving "all" of America.
There is no point in showing us that John McCain's selection of you as his running mate was the worst mistake that he made in this campaign.
There is no point in showing us how you really do have ethnocentric and xenophobic beliefs.
There is no point in you going down in the history books as a VP nominee that didn't mind using hate, fear, and lies to shamelessly try to salvage your losing campaign.

So, just be quiet. But then again, keep talking. Because the more you flap that lipstick painted mouth of yours, the closer we get to electing Senator Obama as POTUS. Thanks to your role in this campaign, America will finally see its first African American President of the United States.

So, on the other hand, you can have your lipstick back. A muzzle might actually help you and John McCain win the White house. And that certainly doesn't need to happen. America needs a president and vice president that cares about "all" of America, not just the parts that look like them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brown Eyes (Revisited)

When I was eight-years-old, I stared into the mirror and captured the image of my face. I looked at my lips and took note of their fullness. I looked at my nose and realized how much I really didn’t like it. It was an okay nose, but I would have picked another one from God’s inventory. I then zoned in on my cheeks. Full, but not too fat… Yep, I had a couple of my daddy’s dimples. I wished that I could somehow poke a couple more dips in my cheeks.

“Not too bad.” I shamelessly thought. I had some pretty good looking features carved into my honey brown skin. Not perfect… But I decided that I was indeed a good looking child.

I continued to stare into the face of a girl that I was becoming more familiar with as each second leaped into the past. Next, I caught a glimpse of my long, long eyelashes. I admired their beauty and reach. Those lashes extended above the image that I would zone in next, my eyes. I looked into the intense, yet innocent, brown eyes of a girl, who was unaware of the dreadful days to come. I studied the brown. It was so rich, pure, and honest. A true brown… Light enough to see the brown. Dark enough to be called brown. But in that brown sea, pain, sickness, and death stirred beneath the surface. I didn’t know it yet, but those brown eyes were the deep brown pits of despair. The brown would unleash the fury that hides behind them and life would change. The brown would fade, and the girl’s image in the mirror of herself would fade with it.

Now, the image of the brown eyes in the mirror is a memory, just as the girl’s brown eyes. But the sorrow, pain, and havoc are the reality. When I look in the mirror, I see nothing. I imagine brown eyes that are not there. But they are there. Well, at least one of them is there. And the one that I decided to let stick around is trying to pretend to be something other than brown. The remaining eye is now turning gray.

I always thought gray eyes were cool. My daddy’s gray eyes are the most beautiful that I’ve seen. But who wants to walk around with one brown eye and another eye that decides to switch it up on you and fade to gray. That is not the look I am trying to rock.

Why would my eyes betray the brown anyway? I guess they don’t know that brown is beautiful. Well, my eyes betraying the brown are the least of the backstabbing that my eyes could have done. I put blindness on the top of the list of ultimate betrayals.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Feel Incredibly Blessed.

This afternoon, I, along with my friend Chad, hosted a very important event at his lovely house. I can't offer any details about the nature of the event just yet. But what I can tell you is that what we were working on at this event can change my life, as well as the lives of so many.

I have a tendency to be very anxious when I'm venturing out into new territory. And this project is definitely new waters. And to successfully accomplish what I'm trying to achieve, I don't need to just swim in these new waters, I have to walk on the water. But because of God's power, authority, and righteous provision, I expect to walk on the water without sinking.

So, I need to kick the anxiety out the door. Anxiety is a biproduct of fear. And fear sinks those who are trying to defy gravity. And I refuse to do anything but be apart of a miracle walk on this particular project.

Although I'm much closer to seeing destiny unfold as it pertains to this project, I do have a lot of work to do. But this week, next week, and every week until I see this project in its full maturity, I will putting my time, energy, and sweat into making this work out.

Soon, I will be able to talk about this project. My readers here at Nuvision will be the first folks outside of my social circles to know what great opportunity that God has opened up to me.

The purpose of writing this post was not to tease those who are reading by offering a tid bit of info. I wrote this post to encourage each and every one of you to know that God is so incredibly awesome, and He has a plan for each of our lives. I want to encourage you to tap into that passion that God has planted in you. Water it, and give it room to bloom.

I feel so thankful to God that I am in a place in my life that my passions are starting to unfold my destiny. It's truly a blessing to be walking in destiny. And I feel like I'm on that road.

Blessings,
A. Braden

Friday, October 17, 2008

101 THINGS I WISH TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE I TAKE MY FINAL BOW (The Full List)

I started writing this list last week. On accident, I wrote 101 things instead of 100. Well, here's the final list from 1 to 101. Wish me the best in my journey to accomplish each and every goal on the list.
Blessings,
Angela

1. take care of my debt with the IRS.
2. pay-off my student loans.
3. have a breast reduction.
4. be a mortgage free home owner.
5. witness my plays performed on stage.
6. witness my plays tour the country.
7. finish writing one of my books.
8. publish one of my books.
9. relax in the arms of my soul mate.
10. share a true-love kiss with my soul mate.
11. go to Hawaii and stay at a beach-front resort.
12. set up a scholarship fund for high school students who are blind.
13. know in my heart that I trust my soul mate enough to marry him.
14. marry my soul mate without any reservations, reluctance, and fear.
15. lose myself in an incredible sexual experience withthe the man that I love and the man that loves me back.
16. take my mother on a trip of a life time.
17. buy my father a new truck or car.
18. get a doctoral degree.
19. learn how to swim.
20. have a huge salt water fish tank on display in my home.
21. visit Naigra Falls.
22. meet Oprah.
23. meet Barack Obama.
24. go somewhere for 72 hours without a cell phone and no access to e-mail.
25. see Jill Scott perform live.
26. give birth or adopt a child.
27. take Joseph and Jasmine on a plane ride to California and/or Florida to go to the beach and Disney.
28. trace my family's history on both sides back to at least slavery.
29. have a beautifully landscaped yard with flowers and even a water fountain.
30. travel to Africa.
31. experience great success with multiple plays on stage and even on screen.
32. have a million dollars of liquid assets.
33. have a personal gym in my home, equipped with all of the work-out equipment that best suits me.
34. go on a cruise somewhere beautiful and not too hot.
35. hire my own personal driver.
36. access regularly schedule maid services.
37. become a member at a church that I love and respect.
38. experience the success of being an internationally respected inspirational speaker.
39. live in the same city as Miko.
40. get my teeth completely fixed.
41. see Paula, Frances, and Kim living on their own, experiencing peace, fulfillment, and independence.
42. see Joseph, Jasmine, and Gabby go to college and graduate.
43. help Joseph, Jasmine, and Gabby pay for college related expenses.
44. waterski
45. go to each of the following cities, Chicago, New York, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Vegas for a full week with the ability to spend as much money as my heart so desires.
46. visit Brazil.
47. earn a masters in professional counseling.
48. become 100% secure with who Angie is.
49. have a totally flat stomach.
50. be disciplined enough to work-out at least four times a week for the rest of my life.
51. consider healthy eating a way of life rather than diet food.
52. walk on a beach with beautiful black sand.
53. fully furnish my house with beautiful furniture and lovely accents.
54. cut my hair again.
55. jog a mile without feeling like I'm going to pass out.
56. not be so emotionally, financially, and spiritually tied to my sisters.
57. manage my stress and anxiety levels better.
58. pay all of my bills on time.
59. have a best selling book on the market.
60. spend a few hours talking with Dr. Miles Munroe
61. put on a swimsuit and feel totally comfortable.
62. buy as many bras as I want to from a regular department store.
63. stand naked in front of my lover and feel totally comfortable, at peace, and beautiful.
64. somehow get my eyes fixed. (cosmetic)
65. be the owner of a beautiful, diamond filled bracelet.
66. have access to any of the assistive technology that I think would make life easier/more functional for me.
67. get a degree in Biblical Studies.
68. be apart of an effective youth and young adult ministry at a church.
69. go on an Alaskan cruise with someone that will spare no descriptions of how beautiful the surroundings are.
70. make peace with the Gabby situation.
71. be hired as a full-time faculty member at a college or university.
72. live in a midrise or a highrise in the city. (Houston or where ever I'm living.)
73. sit on a quiet beach from sunrise to sunset with someone I love and find incredibly enjoyable. (friend and/or lover)
74. have a swimming pool with heating options in my private backyard.
75. go to a jazz festival on a beautiful island.
76. have tip-top credit.
77. get a facial.
78. get a full-body massage.
79. learn another language.
80. write a $10,000 check to the charity of my choice.
81. permanantly divorce myself from beef and pork.
82. permanantly divorce myself from all carbonated drinks, especially Coke and Mountain Dew.
83. have a beautiful patio, decked out with breathtaking furniture, flowers, and soft lighting.
84. permanantly divorce myself from fried foods.
85. spend a four-day-weekend in the mountains at a charming bed and breakfast.
86. go fishing with my daddy.
87. buy a painting from my friend, Devia.
88. open a loving, protective, beautiful home for foster kids.
89. take Jasmine and Joseph to see snow somewhere in the United States.
90. make enough money that I don't "have to" work for the rest of my life.
91. read the Bible in its entirety in one year.
92. teach at a historically black college or university.
93. prearrange the donation of my deceased body to medical science and research.
94. have a reality television show or documentary that is designed to educate individuals about disability related issues.
95. become excited about attending church again.
96. see my children graduate from college, start their own business, get married, and purchase their first home.
97. do a complete tour of the Hoovver Dam, which includes going into the underground tunnels that were blasted out with dynamite..
98. touch a glacier.
99. touch the outer walls of one of the historical pyramids in Africa.
100. skydive
101. see again. (I know you didn't think I was going to leave that out. **wink** Anything is possible. A. I believe in God. and B. Medical science is progressively magnificent.)

Tagged,

Mackdiva over at Excerpts from the Diary of a Diva left a comment on my blog, informing me that I had been tagged. Normally, the person that has been tagged would post some rules and tag six more folks. Well, since I'm clearly breaking the rules by not posting the graphic and by not tagging anyone else, I'm just not going to post the rules either. However, I will go ahead and answer the questions in the tag.

"Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours."

1. I'm guilty of not keeping my cell phones charged. So, when most folks are trying to call me on my cell phones, they most likely will have to leave a voice mail.

2. I don't like my food to touch each other, especially if one food is wetter than the other. For instance, I will be so annoyed if my toast or cornbread touched some food on my plate that had moisture in it for whatever reason.

3. If I'm feeling stressed, I like to sit in a hot tub of water. Therefore, those times of life that stress was high, I took a few baths a day.

4. I pop my knuckles. (Yes, I know that's not good. And I do it a lot less than I used to. But I still do it from time to time.)

5. For some reason, in the last year, the only way I enjoy water is if it is ice cold. I like to put my water bottles in the freezer, and let them get almost frozen. Thinking about it makes me thirsty right now.

6. I like to be barefoot. I'm not the kind of person that likes to wear shoes or socks in the house. My feet feel smuthered. And I can never ever sleep with socks on. Trying to sleep with socks on is like torture. Even if my feet are freezing, I would opt out for cold feet rather than socks. I'll just go get a blanket and cover my feet up. The blanket provides a little breathing room.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Look at what we're dealing with.

Who's the real terrorist?




I wish I had a real comment about this right now. But I don't. The grief from watching this clip has left me speechless and stunned that this level of hatred and psychological violence is still so prevalent in 2008.

Yes, I know that racism, xenophobia, and ethnocentrism exists in this country of ours. But I guess I never get used to seeing it face to face. And guess what... I never want to get used to seeing it. I never want to be comfortable or anticipate it. That way when I see it, the horrific experience pushes me to fight, to insist, to demand respect, safety, and equality for all of God's people.

A message to the racist terrorist that hide behind their Bibles and so called conservative values: You cannot stop what God has declared. The provision is already established in the land. And no amount of hatred, psychological terrorism, and demonic attacks can stop the plan of God from unfolding.

So, while you're sitting up thinking that God is on your side, I hate to inform you that you are mistaken. You are in direct opposition to God.

I pray that God spares your wicked soul. And I also pray that one day, that love of God you think you have, is finally introduced to you in the form of mercy and repentence.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

100 THINGS I WISH TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE I TAKE MY FINAL BOW (81-100)

Before taking my final breath, I would like to:

81. permanantly divorce myself from beef and pork.
82. permanantly divorce myself from all carbonated drinks, especially Coke and Mountain Dew.
83. have a beautiful patio, decked out with breathtaking furniture, flowers, and soft lighting.
84. permanantly divorce myself from fried foods.
85. spend a four-day-weekend in the mountains at a charming bed and breakfast.
86. go fishing with my daddy.
87. buy a painting from my friend, Devia.
88. open a loving, protective, beautiful home for foster kids.
89. take Jasmine and Joseph to see snow somewhere in the United States.
90. make enough money that I don't "have to" work for the rest of my life.
91. read the Bible in its entirety in one year.
92. teach at a historically black college or university.
93. prearrange the donation of my deceased body to medical science and research.
94. have a reality television show or documentary that is designed to educate individuals about disability related issues.
95. become excited about attending church again.
96. see my children graduate from college, start their own business, get married, and purchase their first home.
97. do a complete tour of the Hoovver Dam, which includes going into the underground tunnels that were blasted out with dynamite..
98. touch a glacier.
99. touch the outer walls of one of the historical pyramids in Africa.
100. see again. (I know you didn't think I was going to leave that out. **wink** Anything is possible. A. I believe in God. and B. Medical science is progressively magnificent.)

Okay, I'm finished. I think I'm going to paste the entire list, from 1 to 100, in one single post.

Love,

Angie

Another article I grabbed over at the Huffington Post... Check it out.

There are even some conservatives that are rolling their eyes at the McCain Palin ticket.

100 THINGS I WISH TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE I TAKE MY FINAL BOW (61-80)

Before I take my final breath, I would like to:

61. put on a swimsuit and feel totally comfortable.
62. buy as many bras as I want to from a regular department store.
63. stand naked in front of my lover and feel totally comfortable, at peace, and beautiful.
64. somehow get my eyes fixed. (cosmetic)
65. be the owner of a beautiful, diamond filled bracelet.
66. have access to any of the assistive technology that I think would make life easier/more functional for me.
67. get a degree in Biblical Studies.
68. be apart of an effective youth and young adult ministry at a church.
69. go on an Alaskan cruise with someone that will spare no descriptions of how beautiful the surroundings are.
70. make peace with the Gabby situation.
71. be hired as a full-time faculty member at a college or university.
72. live in a midrise or a highrise in the city. (Houston or where ever I'm living.)
73. sit on a quiet beach from sunrise to sunset with someone I love and find incredibly enjoyable. (friend and/or lover)
74. have a swimming pool with heating options in my private backyard.
75. go to a jazz festival on a beautiful island.
76. have tip-top credit.
77. get a facial.
78. get a full-body massage.
79. learn another language.
80. write a $10,000 check to the charity of my choice.

Monday, October 13, 2008

100 THINGS I WISH TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE I TAKE MY FINAL BOW (41-60)

Before taking my final breath, I would like to:

41. see Paula, Frances, and Kim living on their own, experiencing peace, fulfillment, and independence.
42. see Joseph, Jasmine, and Gabby go to college and graduate.
43. help Joseph, Jasmine, and Gabby pay for college related expenses.
44. skydive.
45. waterski
45. go to each of the following cities, Chicago, New York, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Vegas for a full week with the ability to spend as much money as my heart so desires.
46. visit Brazil.
47. earn a masters in professional counseling.
48. become 100% secure with who Angie is.
49. have a totally flat stomach.
50. be disciplined enough to work-out at least four times a week for the rest of my life.
51. consider healthy eating a way of life rather than diet food.
52. walk on a beach with beautiful black sand.
53. fully furnish my house with beautiful furniture and lovely accents.
54. cut my hair again.
55. jog a mile without feeling like I'm going to pass out.
56. not be so emotionally, financially, and spiritually tied to my sisters.
57. manage my stress and anxiety levels better.
58. pay all of my bills on time.
59. have a best selling book on the market.
60. spend a few hours talking with Dr. Miles Munroe

Sunday, October 12, 2008

100 THINGS I WISH TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE I TAKE MY FINAL BOW (21-40)

Before taking my final breath, I would like to:

21. visit Naigra Falls.
22. meet Oprah.
23. meet Barack Obama.
24. go somewhere for 72 hours without a cell phone and no access to e-mail.
25. see Jill Scott perform live.
26. give birth or adopt a child.
27. take Joseph and Jasmine on a plane ride to California and/or Florida to go to the beach and Disney.
28. trace my family's history on both sides back to at least slavery.
29. have a beautifully landscaped yard with flowers and even a water fountain.
30. travel to Africa.
31. experience great success with multiple plays on stage and even on screen.
32. have a million dollars of liquid assets.
33. have a personal gym in my home, equipped with all of the work-out equipment that best suits me.
34. go on a cruise somewhere beautiful and not too hot.
35. hire my own personal driver.
36. access regularly schedule maid services.
37. become a member at a church that I love and respect.
38. experience the success of being an internationally respected inspirational speaker.
39. live in the same city as Miko.
40. get my teeth completely fixed.