Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Genesis of my Eye Problems

I stared in the mirror over our bathroom sink and looked at my light brown eyes. My eyes, so young, so curious about the world around me, so naive, were sick. The part of my eye that was usually white as freshly fallen snow was now a dark pink. Pink had always been my favorite color. But this pink was hideous and the color of pain. Small tears appeared in the corner of my sick eyes. I closed my eyes, so that the tears could irrigate and rinse my eyes of the sickness and pain. But when I opened them, the white of my eyes was still not there and the pain had not decreased.

Earlier that morning, I was diagnosed with Uveitis. The doctor explained that Uveitis caused the cells in the eye to become inflamed. He said that steroids were the answer to reduce the current inflammation and to prevent inflammation in the future. All of this scientific talk was a little overwhelming. My eight-year-old mind tried to process all of the medical jargon that the doctor was thrusting at my mother and me. What the doctor didn’t know was that everything he was saying really didn’t matter. All I wanted to know was whether or not I was going to be all right.

The doctors sent me home with steroid medication in the form of pills and eye drops. He also gave me a prescription for pain medication. The pain was so bad. I didn’t know whether or not I could endure such torture. But I did, at least until the medicine started working.

After a couple of days of swallowing pills and dropping medicine in my eyes, the pain and the pinkness of my eye actually disappeared, just as the doctor said it would. “Back to normal.” I thought. What I didn’t realize was what I knew to be normal was a thing of the past. Uveitis was now my reality. Every few weeks, my eyes would become inflamed. I would have to repeat the steroid therapy all over again. The doctor had even started giving me steroid injections in my eyes.

As the days, weeks, months, and years rolled by my eye condition did not change. The inflammation would come and go and the pain continued to vacillate. But the one thing that changed was my attitude. I learned that my attitude, my outlook on the situation, was vital if I wanted to learn how to cope with the inflammation that rolled in and out like the tide on the beach. Uveitis was the disease that affected my eyes, but it didn’t have to affect my happiness. I made sure that I did not allow the Uveitis to stop me from enjoying my life as a growing girl. I knew in my heart, that no matter what, I was going to be alright.

Footprints in the Dark (A poem I wrote in college...)

When I can't see clearly,
I know you’re still there
When darkness swarms around me,
I know you’re still there
When evil hovers over me,
I know you’re still there
When pain and sorrow fill me,
I know you’re still there

You are there to protect me
You are there to caress me
You are there to guide me
You are there to hide me
I know you’re still there

You are there to replenish me
You are there to refinish me
You are there to feed me
You are there to teach me
I know you’re still there

I feel your power
Even when I am weak
I hear your voice
Even when I can’t speak
I feel your peace
Even when confusion is all around
I feel contentment
Even when happiness cannot be found
I feel your love
Even when I have missed the mark
I see your footprints
Even in the dark

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Beautiful Quote

I came across this beautiful quote on my brother's blog. It struck me. So, I grabbed it and decided to post it over here on mine.

"When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly." Barbara J. Winter

This darkness that I live in every day was good for something... I learned how to fly.

Have a blessed week. I know I will.


The Flyer

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yay!!! This is my 100th post!

Wow, I’m so excited that I have been consistently maintaining my blog over a year now. In March, I celebrated my bloggerversary. But today, I celebrate the posting of my 100th blog entry. I know that may not be many to some of the champions in the blogosphere. But 100 is great for me.

This 100th post is so important to me because it represents a symbol of accomplishment for me. This post is evidence that I have stayed on this path of blogging, without someone standing behind me forcing me to stay on the path, and no one in front of me offering me treats and trinkets if I kept going. I, without outside motivation and supervision, made a commitment to maintaining Nuvision for a Nuday, and I did. I deserve a hug. (smile)

Blogging has been good for me, because I have learned so much about myself and how I choose to project myself to others. While writing about my experiences,
I’m amazed by some of my own experiences and how it has affected me.

But I also love blogging, because I have learned so much about people. Yes, I love blogging about political and social issues. But the student/human in me loves to read about a person and their journey through this thing we call life.

A little something else about me and blogging… I am a lover of public discourse. That’s why I love blogging. But even more than that, I love interpersonal communication.
I love to sit down and exchange with someone through the channels of communication. Remember, I love to unravel the mysteries of our human experience.
And you can only truly do that by sitting and engaging with someone in conversation.

That’s why I majored in Communications in undergrad and graduate school. I love the power to connect with other humans through communication. It’s truly a powerful tool to connect, build, and love.

Here’s a secret… When I travel to different blogs, I often wonder who is the real person sitting behind their computer screen. I often wish I could truly connect with the people that I talk to basically everyday.

(I basically feel like I know a couple of the folks that I talk to everyday on Skep’s site. When I got my job, those people on that site wished me well. And I truly felt the love and concern. It was nothing phony about their well wishes.)

When I run across personal posts that really display the heart of a man, I stop, read, and think. When Field wrote about the experience he had with the sister that aborted their child, I stopped for a moment and tried to feel what he feels as it concerns that situation. When Asa tells me he hopes to be a good daddy like mine, I stop and
add my prayers with his. That’s what being human is all about, thinking, feeling, connecting, and interacting.

This blogging stuff is so interesting. If I ever get my PHD in communications, I plan to research this blogging thing. I wonder how disconnected and/or connected blogging really makes us. I wonder if people that blog are connected and emotionally invested to the people that are in their every day lives, or are they more comfortable connecting with virtual strangers. I wonder how is it possible to give a darn about people that you only exchange a few words with via a blog post.

Well, I’ll go ahead and throw out a hypothesis to the last question. I think it’s because at the end of the day we’re all human.

Well, here’s to 100 more post on Nuvision for a Nuday. I pray that my stories about hope, love, self acceptance, peace, renewal, and freedom inspires you to live life to the fullest. I pray that there is at least one word on this blog that can help you realize how wonderful and marvelous you are. I pray that the spirit in which I write these entries touch you and give you courage, such as it gave me. And finally, I pray that God blesses and enriches you as you travel through this journey that we call life.

Always growing and evolving,

Angie Braden
Committed Blogger

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Division is Never Good

Yesterday, I attended a disability conference for my job. Well, of course in a day conference, it is impossible to discuss all the various disabilities that are out there. But the few disability groups that the presenters touched on was quite informational. I enjoyed learning about disabilities that are different from mine.

After leaving the conference, I had a thought. People with disabilities are often segmented and disjointed from other people that may have a different disability. For example, people with hearing impairments are over here in this clump. Then you have those that use wheelchairs in another group. And then the HIV and AIDS population is in another barrel. The visually impaired and blind population is in this section. And so on and so on.

I thought about how if we would unite our efforts, more could be done in the disability community. I realize how powerful people with disabilities would be if we would forget about our limitations/differences and connect our strong points. We would be a powerful force. Different, but strong...

The way people with disabilities are disjointed reminds me of the African American community. We are so broken apart, so disconnected. We would be a much stronger force if we would forget about our differences, the petty stuff, and instead use our energy to connect, to build, to become alive.

In my opinion, both groups are dead... Dead? Yes, dead when it comes to being truly effective in creating and sustaining change. But we are dead because we will not connect all the parts.

If the head is disconnected from the body, what good is the head? If the hand has no arm, what good is the hand?

It's time to connect and be one. It's time to become alive.

This message is for both, the disability community and the African American community.

Angie Braden

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

In a day and age that most African American men are dodging the bullets of responsibility when it comes to fatherhood, my father is taking all of the bullets for his girls. My father didn’t allow the tragedy of divorce to disconnect himself from his daughters. Every single day, he started his morning by calling us and wishing us a good day. Every night he called to hear each of our voices before we went to sleep.

He was never late on child support, even when he was out of work due to injury. Whenever my mother needed some extra money for whatever, she knew she could call my daddy, without him tripping about giving her more money on top of the child support. If my sister’s and I needed something extra for school and Mama didn’t have it, we all knew that we could call our Daddy. Heck, we still can call him right now for money. If there is a need, Daddy tries his best to meet it.

And my father is not just one of those dad’s that represent with the cash, but not with time. Daddy has always made himself available emotionally and otherwise. Always attending school activities, going to the school to talk to the school administrators when one of my sisters (Paula and Frances) were doing something they had no business doing, taking folks to work/school when cars were stalled, sitting up at the hospitals with us when we had to go in for emergencies, and hanging out at the house for no reason at all, other than to be with his daughters…

Fathering girls can be quite a task. But Daddy, sometimes with a frown on his face, always hangs in there with his rock and roll girls. I pretty much don’t give Daddy and Mama any problems, other than the problems that come with being blind. But those other girls… Lord, have mercy! They have made Daddy’s hair gray and then fall out. But no matter what these girls do to make his life more frustrating, he keeps coming back. He hasn’t gone out for that infamous loaf of bread yet. So, I think we’re still lucky to have him.

My father accepts the challenge to be a good father everyday. But he goes beyond the normal call and acts as a good father to his disabled child. Being a father of a disabled child demands so much more time, energy, cash, and responsibility. And my daddy has never shucked his responsibility to be my father. He’s done everything he can to make my life livable, and to give me many reasons to smile.

Our car is not running right now, and nobody, including Daddy has the money to get it fixed. So, Daddy gets up every morning, drives up here (15 miles) to the suburbs where I live, pick me up for work, and then drive me all the way to my job, which is 40 miles away. And in the evening he picks me up and puts more miles on his truck and burns more of this high price gas for his baby. When I apologize over and over for him having to do that for me, he says that it is the least he could do. He says that he wants to see his baby be successful. What a great man!

When you have a father like my daddy, it is hard to accept any nonsense from these men out there. Well, let me speak for myself. (smile) It is hard for me to just accept any man that is walking for a boyfriend/husband. Because my daddy has set the standard so high, I cannot and will not accept anything less than the best. And I don’t think anything is wrong with that. If more girls had fathers like mine, they would be making different choices. (But that’s another blog entry.)

By the way… My daddy has now taken his excellent fathering to another level. He’s now a great grandfather. I don’t have any kids of my own. But I can’t ignore or not mention what a great grandfather he is to Jasmine, Gabrielle, and Joseph. They are so lucky!

To my father, who I love so intensely and deeply: Happy Father’s Day!!! May God richly bless your life. May you experience a double portion of happiness, love, peace, and grace. May all of your days left on this side contain good health, more time, more money, more laughs, and an a overdose of love.

From your oldest child,

Angie Braden
Certified Daddy’s Girl

Later this week, I’ll blog about how my dad has helped me recover and heal from all the turmoil and hardship that I’ve had to endure over the years. He’s been a great dad, and a help to me during some of the hardest points in my life. I’ll talk about how he has helped me on my journey to find love, acceptance, and peace.

Check out this other entry I posted back in December about my father. It's one of my favorite post.
Daddy's Best

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I cried so much as a teen, I find it difficult to cry now that I'm an adult. I still hurt, and i still feel the pressure of life on my back. But for whatever reason, I very seldom shed tears anymore.

But tonight, I did. I, for the first time in quite a long time, wept while I was talking to my friend, Miko. As I was trying to express how I was feeling, I, without warning, started crying. And no matter how I tried to hold it back, the tears broke free from my blind eyes and made themselves visible.

There are some issues that I'm facing that I can't get into on this blog. And those issues are causing me to feel so stressed and anxious. I'm actually disappointed in myself for being so negatively effected by the issue. But I am.

After I cried, I gathered myself and remembered that it's okay for me to cry. I try so hard to be tough, together, and unmoved by tribulation. But the fact is, there are times that I feel so pressed that I just can't take it anymore. This is one of those times.

Now that I've released the tears, I feel better. I feel strong. I feel new. Yes, I still feel tired and sick of what's going on. But I feel like I have my second wind. I feel like I can make it. I know I can...

I'm going to overcome this giant. I just got to find the right rocks, sling, and opportunity to make my move.

Once the giant is on the ground, I'll feel more comfortable disclosing the identity of the giant. But until then, keep me in your prayers.



Mr. Moon, We've got to Talk.

Dear Mr. Moon,

What it is about you that has me so captivated. Why is that you are able to enthrall me with your power. Even though I know I have things to do the next day, I still stay up with you almost your entire shift.

You and I have had this little romance far too long. I think it is time for me to end this relationship. We've had our good times, and you certainly provided me some relaxing nights. But I'm not so sure if you are still good for me and my well being.

I shouldn't have to choose. I shouldn't have to feel like I would rather my late, creative, quiet nights over a alert, bright, happy work day. I wish I could have both you and Mr. Sun. But I think I'm getting too old to work both of you. You two are waring me out! So, now I'm finally going to have to choose. I think for at least right now, you are going to have to be the one that goes.

Tonight, I'm going to escape your seduction. Well, at least, I will try. Don't call my name. Okay...


The Game

When I began the task of working a conventional job, I was a little unclear of my purpose of living. Well, I wasn’t exactly unclear; I was just unclear if I wanted to follow that path. Now, that I’ve been going to work for a couple of weeks, I already have seen a transformation taking place in my heart and mind. I am more determined than ever to live, love, and be free.

I’ve had a couple of challenges on my job. I’m real proud of myself for sticking it out. I feel stronger, wiser, and more mature for not cutting and running from my problems. It’s only been two weeks, but I feel like a different woman.

I like getting out of the house and coming to work. It’s good for me to get out and interact with other professionals. Sometimes, when you don’t work around others for such a long time, you lose sight of the fact that there is a big world that’s spinning all around you. I’m more aware of that world and my place in it.

I feel excited about the days to come. A couple of weeks ago, I actually wished I was resting under 6 feet of dirt. But today, I’m glad to be walking on top of the ground, rather than sleeping under it.

I feel rebirthed, restarted, reenergized, refreshed, and reactivated. I know in my heart of hearts that I really can do whatever I put my mind to do.

Yes, my blindness presents itself as a hurdle. But the hurdle can be leaped over. It might take a little bit more effort to do the job, but I can do it.

I’m learning every day that life is not fair. It just isn’t. No matter how much I recognize how unfair it is, life is still going to be unfair. I have to accept that. It is what it is.

So, with that being said, it is high time for me to take the cards that I have been unfairly dealt and play the game with fury. It’s time for me to take this deck and win all the money on the table.

I like to be in the presence of my daddy and my sister when they are playing cards or dominoes. They play those cards and dominoes like it is going to be there last game. They throw the dominoes, slap them down on the table, and scream out their victory. My sister slaps and slides her cards on the table when she is playing Spades. She doesn’t hold back at all.

That’s how I got to play this game of life. I got to play it like it’s my last game. I got to hit it like my life depends on it. And I got to play like losing is not even an option.

I’m officially in the game. And I’m in the game to win.



Talk to God. He’s listening.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Running out of Gas

As I previously posted in an another entry, I started a job on the 1st of the month. Well, I've always been working. But this is the first time in a long time that I will actually have to be doing the conventional work thing. I have to actually get up every morning, get dressed, leave my house at a certain hour, fight through traffic, get to work with a smile on my face, maintain the sunny disposition for the entire day, and leave and fight the traffic all the way back home. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Well, two things I'm certainly going to have to get use to is all the gas we have to pour into my sister's car and the sleep that I need to get at night in order to be alert. And I'm not doing too well with the gas or the sleep.

Well, my job is 43 miles from my house. So, you know how much money we are paying for gas. ($2.95) My sister has to take me, come back home, and then come pick me up, and head back to our house. That is about 150 miles a day. That's a dog on shame. (Is it worth it?) I don't know yet...

I put so much gas in the car that I really get ticked off. It seems that I never have enough gas in the tank. I fill it up, hoping that I can get better miles on the trip. But I still have to end up putting gas in the car by the turn of the next day. That is so crazy!

I feel like I'm working , just to put gas in the car to get to work. Hmmm.... That's not the goal of employment. The goal of employment is to get money to spend on stuff that has nothing to do with work. You know what I mean?

I checked into a transportation system set up by Harris County for the disabled. Well, the program will charge me $600 a month to get to work. Isn't that outrageous? A sister just can't get a break. Harris County wants me to pay all that money for a shared ride service. And if I wanted to stop at the pharmacy before I got home, or if I wanted to stop at Jack in the Box to grab me some breakfast before I got to work, I wouldn't be able to. With those services, you have to go straight to your pick up and drop off. For $600, I need to be able to go somewhere else if I need to.

My sleeping habits are out of control. I've always been a night owl. Every since I was 14 years old, I haven't known how to take my tail to sleep. That was okay in my younger days... But now that I'm in my mature days of womanhood, I feel the pain of not having slept well the night before.

And since I'm not a coffee drinker, I get a little punished when I need to be up and alert. I'm back on my Mountain Dew for the caf. But I know that is not good. I don't need those empty calories right now.

I knew when I accepted this position that I was going to have to make myself go to bed at night. I started off pretty good. But every night, I started staying up later and later. Right now it's after 1:00 in the A.M. What's wrong with me? I got to be up at 5:45. Lord have mercy!

I can already see that it's not going to be long before my car and my body run out of gas. I have got to figure out a way to keep gas in the car and keep gas in my body by going to bed at night. Wish me luck.

The working girl,


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Words of Wisdom

I have an inner circle of friends that consist of four beautiful, smart, bold, creative, young ladies. These sisters have stood behind me during some very rough times. The truth is I probably would have needed some Zanex by now if it wasn't for their love, support, and friendship.

I called my Dallas best friend tonight to tell her about some of the issues I had to deal with this week at my new job. I told her how I wanted to just quit because of all of the crap that I had to deal with at the job. I went on to tell her that I made a decision to not quit, but to stay the course and work out this bad situation.

I shared with my friend that I felt that this opportunity to overcome this conflict will mature me and help me be the complete woman I know I am supposed to be. I decided to stay the course so that I can evolve both personally and professionally. I'm always looking for every opportunity to learn. Far as I'm concerned, I can learn from both the good and the bad experiences. So, in this case I will draw out all of the lessons in this bad experience to make me a stronger wiser woman.

My friend applauded me on my effort to face my issues with courage, dignity, and grace. She told me something that really caused me to stop and think. She said, "There's a difference between quitting and failing."

I tossed her words around in my head and thought about it for a minute. The truth is that I don't want to quit or fail. Both options are extremely unappealing to me.

So, I made a decision that I will not quit or fail. Yes, there is a difference. But the outcome is still the same. As far as I'm concerned, quitting or failing is what stands between a person's success. And since I want success in my life, I need to rule out the possibility of both, quitting and failing.

Lord, give me the courage, the tenacity, the love, the faith to face all of my challenges. Lord, help me to not be afraid of conflict. Help me to rise above the conflict., not avoid it or be afraid of it.

Always getting stronger,

Angie Braden

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Official Barack Obama Endorsement

I am excited to announce that I have officially thrown all of my support behind Barack Obama. I believe he is the best person for the job. I know it's going to be a hard race. But I plan to stand behind this brother all the way.

Do I think that Obama has all of our problems figured out? Of course not.
Do I think he is going to solve all of our problems if he is elected president? Of course not.
Do I think that Obama is going to make mistakes during his candidacy? Of course.
Do I think that Obama is going to make mistakes if he is elected president? Of course.

I must admit that I wish that Barack Obama would be more firm on issues that he believes in. I want the brother to get more sturdy in his approach to promote issues that he is convicted about.

However, I am now convinced that this brother is the most genuine and determined candidate in the whole pack. Yes, Hil is a wonderful woman. But Obama is my choice for president.

Why am I using my blog to endorse Obama? Well, tonight I visited the American Association of People with Disabilities' website. They have a list of questions that they have been trying to get the candidates to answer. These questions are designed to get the candidate to discuss disability issues.

Well, Obama was the first to answer the questions. And I like his response to their questions. So as a way to express my thanks, I decided to publically announce to the world that I support this brother in his effort to become our first African American president.

Check out the questions and answers he provided on their site.

Angela L. Braden
Obama Supporter


(This is an extremely long post. But I encourage you to read all of it. God bless...)

I have an announcement… I was offered an opportunity to become employed by the good old state of Texas last week. Because I need the money, I accepted the offer and started the job on the 1st of the month.

I am a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Well, let me rephrase that. I was hired to serve as a vocational rehabilitation counselor.

(Remember, I assign my identity. Me and me alone… I refuse to give anyone else the authority to tell me what I am. Because the truth is that I am an advocate and promoter of hope, justice, love, and peace. And I carry out my mission in life in different capacities. In this case, I will be living out my passion and doing it through the office of a vocational rehabilitation counselor.))

You’re probably wondering, what exactly is a vocational rehabilitation counselor. Well, even if you are not wondering, I’ll explain... I help people with disabilities develop strategies and the confidence to become independent. Likewise, we assist with helping people with disabilities find and maintain employment.

I decided not to announce this professional development on my blog for a couple of reasons.

1. I’m still getting use to the idea of posting personal disclosure on my blog. For some strange reason, I don’t mind when strangers read about my personal feelings and affairs. But it’s folks that I know that I would like to keep out of my business. But anyway… I think I’m a little too late for all of that.
2. I didn’t know if I was going to keep the job or not. My heart ached that I even had to take the job. I kind of felt pushed into the job. My disability really handicaps my options. So, often times, I find myself having to do things that I know dang well that I wouldn’t do if I could see. So here I am, accepting a job that’s about 40 miles from my house, simply because I feel that it’s probably one of the few employment opportunities that are available to me.
3. I’m not a fan of conventional employment. I am an entrepreneur. The idea of building up someone else’s castle, while I ignore mine is a little outrageous. I hate the idea of making others rich, while I cash a substandard check for doing the work. But I have a bigger goal in mind, so I decided to work the plantation to get the ends to help me achieve my personal goals.
4. I hate that my blindness impacts my life so much. I didn’t really know how this job was going to work out. Yes, technology has really made life better for blind people. But the fact is that my blindness really does impair my ability to do certain things. Heck, it effects my ability to do a lot of things.
5. I really didn’t know if I was going to keep the job or not. If I quit the job, I wasn’t going to be proud about doing that. So, I thought I should keep the fact that I was offered a job to myself.
6. Because I’m back on the plantation, I’m not sure how master will feel about seeing my blog on the internet. So, I wanted to keep my comments about my job basically inexistent. The truth is I will follow my mind and keep my comments at a very minimum. The only reason why I even decided to post a blog about this is because something went down at work that I need to discuss.

This week, I was verbally accosted by a fellow co-worker. Although this co-worker is a stranger to me, her approach and attitude towards me was quite familiar. This woman decided to come in my office and point out what she thought about me, what I was doing, and what I needed to do more of. This was highly unusual and inappropriate because this person had not even held a conversation with me before. Plus, she is not my supervisor.

(One thing that bothered me about this woman coming at me like that is because it was black on black. But that’s another blog entry…)

While she was attacking me, I slipped away to a place that I hate visiting. It is in that place that I am aware of all my vulnerabilities, all of my discomforts, all of my shortcomings, and all of my uncertainties. For some reason, I started feeling like a little blind girl, rather than the unafraid, bold, intelligent sister that I know that I am. In stead of standing up to this woman, like I certainly know how to do, I shrank on the inside and decided to allow her to unofficially reprimand me.

I got so mad and disturbed by her behavior and my response to her behavior, that I was shaking after she left my office. I was so angry that I allowed this woman the opportunity to disrespect me. I felt so unimpressed and disappointed in myself for not writing her a check that I know her butt sho’ can’t cash.

As soon as the woman left my office, I called my best friend and told her about what happened. Alicia reminded me how people often feel like they can talk to me crazy because I’m blind.

Let me explain… People often want to treat people with disabilities like they are children. I often get people that try to baby me, protect me, and do everything for me. But I also come across people that think they can put me in check like I am a two-year-old. They actually think they have the right to put a grown woman like myself in check.

The fact is that I experience more discrimination and prejudice because of my blindness than my other defining characteristics. I am very familiar with racism, sexism, lookism, and brokism. But the ism that I am mostly familiar with is the disabilityism.

Black folks, white folks, rich folks, poor folks, folks in mansions, folks in the ghetto, ugly folks, pretty folks, smart folks, and dumb folks have the nerve to judge me and decide if I am worth being treated like an adult because I am blind. WTH!!!

I’ve been unemployed for the last 5 years, not because I am black, not because I am uneducated, not because I am a woman… It is because I am blind. And that truly ticks me off. I am sick of that ism.

I spend a lot of time in the blogosphere discussing black issues with other black bloggers. I see them getting all excited and worked up over issues that have to do with African American issues. But there are only a few voices in the world that speak loudly about issues that effect people with disabilities.

Now, here’s the rub… It’s time for black folks to think about disability issues. Black folks don’t need to pretend like disability does not effect them. Because disability effects black folks more than it does any other ethnic group in this country.

Because of health disparities, black folks are twice as likely to become disabled due to illness and injury than any other racial group in the country. And the sad reality is that these disabled black folks are less likely to be reintegrated into the workforce than any other group of people.

Diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, are causing blindness, amputations, stroke, and end stage renal failure. All of these conditions impair a person’s ability to earn an income from employment. So, it is high time for black folks to make disability and health disparities a top charter on the conversation list.

Well, getting back to the main idea of this blog entry… My job… This will probably be my last post about job related issues. If I do write about something I experience, I won’t describe the backdrop of the story as my place of employment. Okay…

Well, God bless. I pray… You pray… We all pray… Something is sure to happen.

Angie Braden

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I am.

I am who God says I am.

And I agree with God.

So often, others will try to define me.

But I reject their labels.

I refuse to let others tell me who I am, what I should be doing, and where I'm going to go.

God chooses the plans for my life.

And the truth is that I have decided to agree with God on His plans.

Thank you Lord for my status, definition, and identity in you.

Thank you Lord for the plan.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Life of Alone

The purpose of this particular blog entry is to simply shed light on an aspect of my life that is both private and public, simple and complex, and typical and unusual. I want to discuss my love life. Actually, I probably should say lack of a love life.

About ten years ago, I took a rehab class in undergrad that focused on the social aspects of disability. I can’t remember all of the details in the class, but I do remember the research suggesting how much disability impacts relationships, as it relates to meeting, interacting, relating, and recreating with others. Well, at that time, I had a pretty active social life. I had a ton of friends. No boyfriend… But a lot of friends… Since I was so dedicated to school and Jesus, I wasn’t too worried about the boyfriend. I figured that would come later. So, whatever the case, I didn’t really think that my disability had massively effected my ability to make friends and maintain friendships.

It was years later, almost a decade later, that I would better understand how much disability really does have an impact on a person’s ability to connect with others. Yes, I still have a few of those many friends that I aforementioned… But even still, I have taken note of how my disability really does impact how and if I develop friendships with others.

And by the way… I still don’t have that boyfriend. I still have Jesus and school… But I don’t have to tell you that Jesus and school don’t keep you that dog on consumed for all these years. LOL I ain’t no overly educated nun… At least, I don’t want to be. LOL

In the last three years, I’ve been attending graduate school at Texas Southern University. All in all, the classmates are really nice. So, what I’m getting ready to say is not a reflection of how courteous or nice they are. In fact, a couple of the girls I went to school with are some of the best people I have ever met in my life.

When my classmates first came in contact with me, many of them avoided contact with me all together. They would converse all around me, but would not include me in conversations. They would talk to me like I was a little girl. They would walk in the room and speak to everyone in the class and speak to me like I was their little, old granny. Typical behavior of people who first come in contact with me…

But after they discovered that I was human and just as cool as them, they loosened up and accepted me in their fold. But it took weeks, sometimes months, and even a couple of semesters for some people.

That brings me to the point that I wanted to make about how my disability has effected my ability to find love from a man. I think that most men have warped perceptions of me. I think when they look at me, they see a blind girl. Maybe a good looking blind girl… But nevertheless, a blind girl… And while they might enjoy looking at me, grinning in my face, conversing wit me, most of them don’t have whatever it is they need to actually date me.

I know this is a touchy subject. But let’s really deal with this… How many black men do you know that would date a blind woman? Just be honest… How many brothers do you know that have actually dated a woman with a serious disability?

A couple of guys that I know very well were actually honest with me and told me that they thought I was cool, but they didn’t want the responsibility of being with a woman with a disability. A couple of other guys that even know me in all of my independent glory are reported to have said behind my back, of course, that they didn’t want no “blind girlfriend.”

So, here I am… I haven’t given up on finding love or love finding me… And don’t think I’m sitting up here with my fingers crossed, daydreaming about a prince charming…. I’m way too busy for that… But with all that being said, every girl needs to be and should be loved by someone that’s worth loving back.

I really wonder if I’ll ever get that chance. I wonder is there a man out there that has whatever it is that he needs on the inside to love me in spite of my blindness, inspite of whatever his mama and his homeboys are going to think about him dating a blind girl, and inspite of whatever so called responsibility he will have when he dates a blind woman.

Note to the readers: This post was not to provoke anyone to feel sorry for me. I was just educating my readers about my life as a blind woman. Sometimes, I want to tackle subjects that are not so fun to tackle. And this subject is definitely not so fun. But it’s real.

Have a blessed week!

Angie Braden

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Quitting is Tempting, but not an Option

There are times that I really feel like giving up. And the truth is I think that I would if I could get away with it. If I could pack of my bags and run away from this life that is mine, I would. If I could just announce to the world that I quit being me, I would. But the truth is that quitting is not an option for me. No matter how tempting it is for me to throw in the towel, I don’t have the emotional DNA to carryout the quitting process.

In fact, I think it takes more guts to quit and to not consider the short and long term ramifications of quitting, than it does to stay the course. So, if you can muster up enough courage to quit and face the consequences of that decision, you can muster up enough courage to just walk this thing out.

For example, I really do think it takes a lot of guts to decide that you are going to commit suicide and actually carry the plan out. Do you know how much guts you need to load a gun and blow your brains out? I don’t want to know…

See, here’s the thing… If you have that kind of guts and nerve, then you can direct that courage to face whatever it is that would make you want to quit living. I’m too scary to even take a bottle of pills. I rather just keep living and work hard to change the circumstance.

"Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems." (Miko Mathews, one of my best friends)

Now, my blindness, in the eyes of my doctors, is a permanent problem. But I figure if I have enough money and influence, my blindness will not get under my skin as much. Yes, blindness in itself makes me want to take a forever nap and forget about this life. But I figure that I would much rather try to get the money and influence I need to create my version of happiness.

Another reason I don’t like quitting is because you forfeit the right and benefit of enjoying the fruit of all you worked for/invested in before you actually took that step to quit. I’ve put in too much hard work to just quit now. All of the blood, sweat, and tears that I’ve invested in living would just go to waste. And one thing I hate is when I waste something that can be used or benefited from.

The other day, I was having a thought that I wish was uncommon and/or foreign to me. I wished that I was dead. I wished that I just was not in this world. And if death was my escape from this world, then so be it. But don’t get alarmed… Remember, killing myself is not an option.

But then, all of the sudden, I snapped out of it. I thought to myself, if I was dead, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy all the wonderful things about living. I wouldn’t be able to feel the warm sun against my skin. I wouldn’t be able to smell the chocolate cake that my sister was baking in the cake. I wouldn’t be able to get a hug from my three babies that I love so very intensely. I wouldn’t be able to hear the sound of Jasmine’s voice when she is being a smarty pants. I wouldn’t be able to taste my favorite candy (Whoppers) on my tongue. I wouldn’t be able to hear my daddy’s friendly voice. I wouldn’t be able to watch my mother thrive.
So, as long as I live, I choose to live. Death won’t be an option until God just decides he is going to just pull the plug.