Sunday, June 08, 2008


When I sit down and think about my teen years, I really feel like I’m remembering scenes from a movie. Yeah, it was my life, but it really seems a little surreal. I guess it’s because I don’t even know how I made it through those awful times. But I did. I’m here. And although I’m a little bruised up, I’m still in one piece, a whole piece. And for that, I thank God.

The other day I was talking to Devia, one of my best friends, about life’s tragedies, and how those tragedies really do impact how we see ourselves and the world we live in. During the conversation, she asked me how old I was when I left my home in Houston and moved to the Texas School for the Blind in Austin. I told her that I was thirteen-years-old. She was shocked that I was so young when I was forced to leave my parents.

And the truth is that I was so young... I was only thirteen-years-old. A baby… A young child… And there I was, being overshadowed by the giant that had come to destroy me. And instead of me being able to have my parents there to help me fight this giant, I was removed from them, and left in a world that felt so foreign, so alien, so lonely.

My parents, along with other educational professionals, felt that it was best that I go to Austin to attend TSB’s summer program. Honestly, I don’t remember how I felt about the idea. I just remember being horrified when my parents were driving away from the school and leaving me with all those strangers. And even though I was there for six weeks, one of the few things I remember about that summer was me crying day and night. I remember calling my parents every single day and begging them to come and get me. I remember bawling every time my mother said no. I didn’t understand how this woman, who I sincerely believed loved me, could possibly leave her child, who was going blind, at a school that was 150 miles away from her. Pain and sorrow sandwiched me as I tried to understand, to accept, to submit to the fact that my parents knew what was best for me.

Another thing I remember is that so many of the other students that were attending the program were happy to be in Austin for the summer. They were getting a chance to hang out with friends that they only got a chance to see when they would come to the summer program. They were getting a chance to socialize with other visually impaired children, which meant that they didn’t have to deal with the hassle and strain of trying to be friends with insensitive, sometimes rude sighted kids. Many of them were getting a chance to have summer flings with other blind children, who didn’t have an issue with dating a person that happened to be blind or partially sighted. And some were happy that they were getting away from their overly protective parents and getting a chance to spread their wings and be independent, even if it was for only a few weeks.

I was the only nut that was sitting in a corner, crying, throwing a pity party, and getting on many of the other kids nerves. There was this guy, a white boy from Ft. Worth, that bought me a milk shake to cheer me up.

Every few years, I’ll run into Bobby at different events. He often reminds me how he bought me that milk shake to make me stop crying. I tell him that I blame him for introducing me to using food as a way to find comfort. We share that laugh together, and we also share the memory of me being a broke down young girl, feeling like the world had caved in on me.

More later…

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