Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I close my eyes and see specs
Specs of what?
Specs of nothingness
But it can’t be nothing
If it was nothing, then why would it appear in specs?
Nothingness is blank
The specs got to be something
You wouldn’t be able to see if it if it wasn’t a spec of something
So, why when I close my eyes the specs are still there?
How can I see something with my eyes closed?
Specs, specs, specs of something
Or maybe specs, specs, specs of nothing

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy for a B

Yesterday, I posted a paper I wrote for my English class. It was the first of many papers that we are required to write for the class. The prof. said that he wanted to get an idea of our writing style.

Well, most of my classmates got their paper back a week ahead of me. I heard grumbles coming from most of them. I think that the prof. passed out a number of papers with the letter C in the corner. Since a C is actually passing, there were a few people glad about the C that the teacher gave them.

Well, I got my paper back tonight. Dr. Butler gave me a B. Yipee! I'm glad for my B. I think I deserved a B. I predicted that I should get a B. I'm glad that the teacher agreed with me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Wonderful Article

Talking Over the Disabled is an Insult to Them

Sunday, July 30, 2006
Deborah Kendrick

It used to surprise people at times when my 3-year-old would order for herself in a restaurant. It was important to me to teach my children to speak for
themselves, rather than be spoken about or around, as if they were inanimate objects. My experience with being the center of such inappropriate interaction
led me long ago to the conviction that speaking for yourself is vital.

"Would she like the light blue or the dark," a clerk once asked my college roommate about my preference in jeans.

"She would like to see what you have," said I, reaching for the pair of brandname pants in her hands.

The insult is commonly recognized by people with visible disabilities.

If you're in a wheelchair, have a guide dog, walk with an unsteady gait or use a magnifier to see the menu or read the price tags, those accompanying you
will often be asked to read your mind.

For years, I thought this was just a "blind thing," reserved for those of us who have difficulty making eye contact. I was wrong. Take an aging parent or
a child under 12 shopping, and you'll see what I mean.

"Bring her over here," you are told.

"Have him sit there."

"Would he like cream for his coffee? "

Sometimes, humor lurks in these awkward moments. Years ago, I was in a Canadian yarn shop with my husband, looking for materials for a crochet project.
He was beginning to tell me about some color options when a sales representative intervened.

"Does she like lavender?" she asked him.

"I don't know," he said, holding the skein to my nose and pretending to sign.

"Mmmm, lavender," I announced, taking my cue. "It smells lovely."

He picked up another and whispered its color in my ear.

I inhaled. "Ivory!" I exclaimed. "It's great."

Silliness is sometimes the only way to avoid the sting of insult. I mean, if a waitress comes up to a table where two people are engaged in animated conversation,
why would she assume that only the one who isn't sitting in the wheelchair is able to talk? But she does. It happens all the time.

You take your 80-year-old father to the symphony, where he has been going for some 60 years, and the usher tells you where to "put" him, asks you if he'd
like a program. Probably this man has been speaking, without hesitation, for himself for decades, but now that he doesn't hear well or is leaning on a
walker, he has somehow lost "permission" to state his own preferences.

It may seem a trivial matter, but when you are talked about in the third person, the message is a clear one of being discounted, irrelevant, secondary to
the situation. Whether you receive this message because you have a disability, are a child, are from another country or have attained the age of wisdom,
the impact is the same.

I taught my children to order food for themselves because it is a simple way of building confidence, practicing the lesson that "I matter, and so does what
I have to say."

You can make a difference if you find yourself playing any of the three roles in this common scenario.

If you are the outsider, speak to the person who is different—older, younger, disabled, foreign—with the assumption that he or she will respond.

If you are the companion of the visibly different individual, simply smile and say "Ask him" or "Tell him" to move the dialogue in the appropriate direction.

If you are the person being discounted for disability or any other reason, assert yourself. Answer the question, pick up the conversation on your own—or,
for quick understanding, try talking about yourself in the third person. You might get a laugh, and you'll definitely be counted back into the circle.

The Columbus Dispatch
Deborah Kendrick is a Cincinnati writer and advocate for people with disabilities.

Changed Forever (An Essay I wrote for my English Class)

This is pretty long, but I thought I would post it anyway. I know most of you are already familiar with my story, but for those that are not...

Have a great one. (day, week, month, year)

Miss Angela L. Braden

Changed Forever

When challenged with the task of writing about an event that impacted my life so dramatically to the point of causing a shift in how I view the world and how I engage myself in it, so many life-altering events come to mind. In particular, the first and most obvious experience that springs forth in my mind is the dreadful process of losing all my eye sight during my adolescent years. There’s clearly not another event that has single handedly and so massively changed the course and texture of every aspect of my life and how I choose to live my life. In fact, I am left only to imagine how my life would be if I had not contracted glaucoma, the thievish disease that robbed me of my sight. One thing I am certain of is that life as I knew it and expected it to be changed forever when I was diagnosed with glaucoma. The responsibilities of learning how to drive a car, looking out of the window of a jet as it soars forty thousand feet above the earth, and being able to admire my reflection in the mirror were converted into impossibilities when the darkening veil was draped over my eyes.
I was only ten years old when tragedy slithered its way and introduced itself to me. Before any perceivable warning, glaucoma began its very vicious attack on my young eyes. The dreadful thing about Glaucoma is that it often can permanently destroy parts of the optic nerves without being detected, which most of the times results in significant, permanent vision loss. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to me.
While in the fifth grade, I was afforded the very exciting opportunity to go on a week-long camping trip in East Texas with my classmates. Upon arriving at the campgrounds, I immediately noticed the towering pine trees that guarded each side of the dirt roads, the crystal clear sky, and the strange yet beautiful flowers that grew like vines around the massive trunks of the trees. There was something else that became strangely apparent to me after arriving at the camp. As I cautiously hiked along the muddy trail to the log cabin that I, along with six other ten year old girls, would call home for the week, it seemed that the clarity in the colors of the leaves and wildflowers was not as defined as I expected them to be. Low hanging branches were discovered only when I walked into them. My ability to discern dry ground from puddles of muddy water was impaired. To say the least, my ability to independently navigate, without incident, had been seemingly altered overnight. However, I didn’t know why.
With good reason, I experienced a great deal of trepidation when traveling throughout the campgrounds. No matter how careful I tried to be, I stumbled into one accident after the other. I was either stepping my brand new, white sneakers into a puddle of murky mud, getting clawed in the face by hanging limbs, or tripping over large stones and fallen branches.
The mystery of why I couldn’t see was baffling. Fear, confusion, embarrassment, and anger took turns visiting me while I was at the camp. I was scared and concerned for my safety. Likewise, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t manage to take a step without stumbling or losing my balance.
Children being the cruel, little people that they are so capable of morphing into tormented me with their jokes and ridicule. The more they laughed, the more I stumbled, and the more I stumbled, the more they laughed. The kids managed to keep my embarrassment heightened. I grew angry at the children for laughing and taunting me, rather than being concerned. Even my classmates, who knew me all of our school-aged-years were laughing and making jokes about me the entire trip.
After three days of observing my unusual clumsiness, the directors of the camp contacted my parents to tell them about the problems that I appeared to have with my sight. My parents did not hesitate to travel to the out-of-town location of the camp to come and rescue their child from whatever was happening to her at the camp. My mother immediately took me to an ophthalmologist, thinking that I only needed a prescription for some glasses. Although my parents were right about me needing glasses, they were completely oblivious to why my sight was being impaired.
After arriving at the doctor’s office, a nurse was instructed to run a battery of tests on my eyes. With each test, the nurse’s pleasant mood drifted and became more solemn and grim. After the tests, a strikingly tall doctor came into the tiny office and spent what seemed like an eternity peering into my sick eyes. The doctor walked over to his desk and released a frustrated sigh. The words that followed massively changed my life from that moment on. The doctor looked at me and then over to my mother and announced, “Angela has glaucoma.”
Suddenly, silence dominated the room and held all of us hostage. I inhaled and my eyes raced back and forth over the doctor’s small examination room. I looked at my mother, the shiny medical equipment that stood around me, the fading vision chart that hung on the wall over by the door, down at my innocent feet, the doctor and then back at my mother. I saw my mother’s brown eyes widening with every second that slowly crept by. I looked back at the doctor, who somehow managed to lock his eyes on both my mother and I, without flinching.
The doctor broke the silence and repeated his diagnosis. Tears formed in the corners of my mother’s deeply concerned eyes. He informed us that I had already permanently lost some of my sight and would likely lose more sight if we didn’t aggressively combat the glaucoma.
I stared at my doctor in disbelief. He continued to explain the diagnosis. The words were lost in the firestorm that erupted in my mind. I saw his mouth moving, but heard no words. I was being consumed by the fear of being blind. I couldn’t believe that what the doctor was describing was actually happening to me. I trapped the air that I inhaled in my lungs and insisted that my tears didn’t escape from my sick eyes. Then suddenly, the air from my lungs broke free and my salty tears leaped from the corner of my eyes and blurred the sight that I did have left.
Whether or not I was emotionally prepared for what was to come, the doctor’s diagnosis was the beginning of a seven year battle to retain a fraction of my fading sight. Despite fourteen eye surgeries and countless visits to the finest eye health professionals in the country, the glaucoma was successful at robbing my eyes of any sight by the time I was seventeen years old.
Before I started losing my eye sight, I was a vibrant child who was interested only in playing games, reading books, and observing the beauty of nature. Up until that point, hardship and tragedy were foreign. I was truly living the carefree life that all children should get a chance to live.
That carefree life was violently interrupted by the terror of losing my sight. I was forced to deal with the reality that I would be blind for life.
My exposure to tragedy at such a young age helped me better understand that life was not only a place to have fun and relax, but it is a place to work hard, recover from the injuries of tragedies, and find hope in a crisis. After I started losing my sight, I slowly but surely began to understand that what I once thought would be my life was now shattered under the weight of being blind forever. After nearly four years of throwing pity parties, I burst the balloons, vacuumed the confetti, and decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. I gathered myself and determined that I was going to succeed no matter what life was to bring. I got focused and made up my mind to remain focused in the turbulent times.
I’m still a person that enjoys to play a game or two, experience the pleasures of life, and to read a good book. But I also know that life demands each one of us to face the inevitable, trouble. I feel like my brush with hardship at such a young age prepared me to deal with life as an adult with dignity and strength. I am indeed blind; and yes, losing my sight was certainly a tragedy. However, I refuse to allow this tragedy to define my life and impair how I choose to navigate through it.