Thursday, August 28, 2008

Family Photo Albums

When I was a kid, I loved looking through our family photo albums. I loved seeing happy faces and seeing the definite maturity of certain family members. I especially loved seeing pictures of myself as a smaller child.

That's one of the things I miss so much since I lost my sight. I miss not being able to sit down in the middle of the floor with a few photo albums, looking at the visual history of me and my folks. I also miss filling new photo albums with newly taken pictures.

In the last few days, my folks have been showing my darlin', Jasmine, pictures of the family. Jasmine has gotten a big kick out of seeing all of her aunts as kids, and especially her mother as a child. Likewise, she has been thrilled to see baby photos of herself, her brother, Joseph, and her cousin/best friend, Gabby.

Listening to them look through the photo albums has made me remember why I loved pictures so much in the past. I wish I could sit down and look through the pictures with them. But I can't. And for a moment, I felt a little sad.

What's so interesting is that now, I hate taking pictures. But that's only because I worry about how I look in those pictures. That's another blog post entirely.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Transition Part IV.

**this post is a series of posts. You may want to read the following posts before reading this one. Enjoy and be blessed.**

Part I
Part II
Part III

I felt that God had accomplished what He hoped to accomplish by sending me to my state job. I learned some very valuable lessons about life, my personality and issues, how to interact with others who I have a serious conflict with, and how to trust Him with my very life as we were driving back and forth on those dangerous highways every morning and evening.

I also felt that God had used me in the way He wanted to use me in the lives of my co-workers, clients, business partners, and individuals in the community. People needed to actually see a person with a significant disability smiling, thriving, working, and at peace with life, even if a disability was indeed present and impacting daily life activities.

My time at DARS was coming to a close. But honestly, I didn’t know what I was going to do about getting away from there. I really felt helpless. Helpless because my computer problems were still impacting my ability to do my job, which was causing a great deal of stress overload; and helpless because I felt like I would not be hired any where else with my blind eyes. I felt trapped. And my heart ached immensely because of the invisible bars of fear that caged my optimism and hope for my future.

I called Devia, one of my best friends, and shared with her about all of the angst that I was experiencing. She told me that she would begin to pray that the Lord open another door for me to enter. I told a few others to start praying with me and Devia. Not believing was not an option for me. I had to believe that God would do something. I didn’t quite know how He was going to do it. But feeling hopeless and sad was not the ticket. And prayer was the best way/weapon to fight the fear that was closing in on me.

Only a week after the prayers had ascended from our heart to the mind of God, I saw an employment listing for an instructor position at one of the junior colleges right here by my house. I applied for the job right away. To tell you the truth, I even asked the main secretary at my job to scan my transcripts for me so that I could attach them to my application for the job that I was applying for. Bold… Yes I know.

A week after I applied, I got an e-mail from the chair of the department in which I had applied. He wanted to meet with me. I called him, and we had a little discussion over the phone. After a quick little chit chat, he invited me to interview for the position. My heart celebrated with gladness and relief before I could even tell the man goodbye. But as soon as I hung up the phone, my heart got flooded with fear all over again.

**Stay tuned for the final entries. I anticipate that this will take only two more posts.**

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Naked and Okay

A few days ago, Heather, one of my closest and dearest friends, told me that she visited my blog and checked out some of my posts. Although I was kind of glad that she got a chance to read it, especially since the blog is so close to my heart, I was a little nervous about what she would think of it. I sighed with relief when she told me that she actually liked it. (Heather really should have been a English major in college. She is a critic of words. **wink** So, her approval means a lot.)

In the last two years, most of my readers have been people that I do not know. They come here, read about my life, my experiences, and my perspective on disability related issues; and from time to time they leave a very thoughtful comment in response to my posts. But lately, friends, such as Miko, Randy, and Heather, all folks that I hold close to my heart, have found my blog and have demonstrated that they will continue to read. By the way, Miko and Randy are word critics too.

How do I feel about that? How do I feel about people that I actually have a meaningful relationship visiting my blog?

Actually, I'm cool with it. I'm a pretty open, transparent woman. I don't hide behind masks, and I very seldom cloak my emotions with false expressions. So, pretty much anyone that knows me, knows me. Know what I mean?

And for the most part, those who read my blog, friends, strangers, perhaps an enemy or two, will find the true me, my honest thoughts, and my unveiled emotions. I feel that's the best that I can offer to anyone. Honesty, openness, and truth... It doesn't get better than that.

So often, people misrepresent themselves, hide behind colorfully constructed masks, and deliberately deceive others only because they for whatever reason have decided that revealing the "real" them may unleash results that they are not ready to deal with. But I've decided to have courage, to stand up, and to not apologize for who I am.

I am Angie. And I'm not hiding, shrinking, or apologizing for who I am. I am who I am. And guess what... That's okay.

But don't get it twisted though... Learning to be yourself and being okay with it is not a free pass to be a under-achieving you, a mediocre you, a rude you, a jacked up you. Because we all need/must continue to work on our development into the women and men that we were designed to be.

What I'm saying is that we, all of us, need to stop frontin', fraudin', perpetrating, faking, masking, hiding, covering up, and living in the closet. However, we need to continue to improve, to elevate, to educate, to inform, to positively construct, to develop, to heal, to empower ourselves. It's a must.

Starting this blog was a coming out of sorts. And that's what I do every day when I post a entry here. I'm coming out. Telling everyone more about who I really am. I'm also working on me, each and every time I post an entry.

So, here I am, in all of my naked glory. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Transition Part III.

A few things became clear to me during my last few months at my state job:
While I might be good at social service, mainly because of my innate ability to be compassionate, and also because of my learned skill to listen, problem solve, and write narrative reports, I didn’t really like it that much. Now, it’s quite likely that I didn’t like it that much because of the social service/counselor hat that I had to wear at my house. Perhaps if my family wasn’t so out of control, then I wouldn’t be growing tired of working as a helper on my job. But I felt that I was being sandwiched by two groups of people who had some serious issues.

The truth was that I was growing increasingly tired of “being there” for everybody. And my family, no matter how hard I worked to change many of the circumstances, remained the same.

I couldn’t get rid of my folks, although I probably would like to from time to time. But one thing I knew I could walk away from was my job. That was the break that I felt that I needed to make. My family and my clients were draining me. And the computer problems certainly didn’t make matters better. I knew I needed to bounce and bounce soon.

Well, quitting was not an option as long as I didn’t have another job. It’s hard out here for a pimp. So, you know it’s hard out here for a blind chick. Today’s economy is not built to allow someone to be “okay” without making some paper. So, I knew I had to find another job before making that decision to roll out of my stable job. But unfortunately, finding a job was and is not too easy for someone that is blind.

I begin to question myself. I started feeling like I needed to just “put up” with whatever I was going through/feeling, being that my job was a “good job” for someone that was blind. And guess what… I had co-workers and a couple of friends that reminded me from time to time how I needed to just “put up” with all the shortcomings and dissatisfaction that I was experiencing on my job.

One of my co-workers told me that I just needed to be thankful to have a job. She reminded me how many blind people wish they could be in my shoes. I started feeling like an ingrate, completely incapable of identifying and being thankful for a “good” opportunity for my blind A$$. But even still, I knew I wanted more.

Being blind, having limited options was not enough to stop me from wanting, wishing, and fighting for more. I knew deep down on the inside that I deserved more. I knew that no matter what, no matter how blind I was, no matter how blessed I was to have that so called good job, I deserved some personal fulfillment, satisfaction, and peace. I knew that I didn’t have to settle for less, just because I could not see. So, I started planning and working on a plan to depart my place of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

**More later… I believe that the next two posts will be the end of this series of posts. Boy, this story is much longer than I thought.**

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Transition Part II.

My job as a counselor got harder when my already inaccessible data base system became more inaccessible when they upgraded some software on my computer. Let me provide some background real quick…

The program that the agency uses to document client information is not user friendly for individuals who use screen reading software, such as the blind. In fact, the software is so terribly inaccessible; the state is working diligently to create a software that will work for blind employees. Well, my manager didn’t quite know how inaccessible this software was when she hired me. So, here I was starting a job that didn’t seem doable once I actually got through the door.

I was so frustrated. I honestly thought that I was going to have to quit, simply because I really couldn’t fulfill the essential functions of the job. Many of the tasks that a counselor was required to do, I could not do; and it was because the software was not written to ever work with technology for the blind.

I couldn’t understand why the Lord would open a door for me, just to get me on the inside to fail. Because I knew that was not apart of His plan and how God works, I made it my business to push past the obstacles so that I could complete the task that God had put before me. There was a reason why God had walked me through that door. So, I had to do whatever was necessary to fulfill the assignment that was within the walls of my job. I truly believe that God never opens a door without providing you with the provision to be successful on the other side of that door.

So, I got to work, trying to figure out how to make that darn computer program work. For the first couple of months, I bumped around the system, trouble-shooting many of the functions of the software. My manager and I would sit at the computer together, trying many different things, hoping and wishing for a breakthrough. And you know what? Sometimes, we would break different barriers down, and many of the tasks that seemed impossible became possible. With a few extra strokes on my keyboard, many of the actions on the software that the other counselors was able to do with just a click of the mouse, became possible to me. Thank God!

Once we broke the code on many of the software functions, I got moving as fast as I could to learn more about how to effectively serve my clients now that my major computer issues seemed to be resolved. Yeah, I still had some issues with the computer. But overall, it was much better. From time to time, I had to go get some eyeballs to look at something for me. But for the most part, I was able to do my job and do it well.

Thankfully, I had an excellent manager, who trained me to document my cases comprehensively. She also provided me excellent guidance on how to provide quality services to our clients. My confidence increased each day as I would achieve certain milestones on my cases. I was so proud that I was able to touch so many lives. It was truly a blessing.

Yes, the commute was still getting on my nerves. But I felt proud to do my job. I honestly felt like I was helping the people I was working with. I also felt that my presence in the office sent a loud message to the disabled individuals that we were helping prepare for, find, and maintain competitive employment... My presence in the office let the disabled folks know that someone with a disability is definitely capable of becoming employed and being a vital, productive member of society. My presence let many newly disabled folks know that there is indeed life after disability.

“Yes, it may indeed be hard, but you can make it. You can achieve your goals with faith, support from family, friends, community/government resources, and of course, hard work.” That’s the message I tried to send while working at my job. And honestly, I think I achieved that goal.

Well, after being at my job for nearly a year, some of the technology that I requested finally came into the office. But in order for me to use the technology proficiently, the help desk needed to upgrade the software on my computer. Well, when they did, the main software that I used to do my job as a counselor went berserk. It was almost liked the software got flipped upside down. It was terrible!

Every single day, for at least an hour, I was on the phone with the help desk, trying to get my computer running at least at the same level it was before. But to no avail, two months of trouble-shooting could not get it going.

My frustration mounted as my clients became frustrated with my slow pace to provide services. And I don’t blame my clients... Why should they have to suffer, just because my computer was jacked up?

I started feeling like that long drive to my office everyday and all that gas I was putting in my car was for nothing. I was coming to work everyday, only to be frustrated and only to frustrate my clients. The pressure to perform at the same level, but without the same tools, mounted on me, and burn out started rearing its awful head.

I had to make a break. This job that I was good at, but was not designed to do/called to do, became increasingly stressful once I couldn’t do it effectively. I felt that my grace, the provisional patience to do the job and to stay on the job without frowning, had run out. I was officially unhappy.

**Stay tuned. This story will take a while. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever tell this story hear on my blog. But I feel like I need to tell it. Someone may be helped…**

Friday, August 15, 2008

Transition Part I.

Earlier this year, in the spring months, I entered into a place of repositioning. My already challenged patience for my job was increasingly waning, and each day was a struggle for me to focus, to maintain productivity, and to even pretend like I was happy at all. I was tired of the hour-long commute from my house to the job and then another hour to get back home after an annoying day at work. I was tired of the $200 a week fuel bill. I was growing more and more frustrated with some of the clients on my case load. And although I am quite grateful for my sister, Frances, and her willingness to get up and take me to and from work each day, I was quite tired of being forced to endure her preference for certain genres of music and her sometimes dangerous driving habits.

I didn’t know how I was going to get away from that job, but I knew I had to do something to break away. I felt like I was turning into a miserable person, resenting the fact that I had to get up and go to a job that I was perhaps good at, but nevertheless hated. I didn’t want to be like the millions of Americans, who found that it was safe, necessary, and acceptable to settle for less, to settle for a job/a situation/a relationship that was not really good for them, only because they couldn’t see another option.

Yes, the situation may indeed have its benefits. But if the relationship/job/situation is chipping away at your very core and driving you further away from what it is you know you were designed to experience in this life, then I would venture out to say the seemingly beneficial value of the situation is quite less than the damage that staying in that situation can do to your soul. That’s why you meat people, who souls stench from the decay that began long ago, when they decided to stay in a situation that was deadly to their personal growth, development, and overall satisfaction.

One thing I knew for sure was that I was good at my job. But I also knew that my job was not good for me. I was becoming more and more numb to my clients, and starting to develop an attitude of “whatever” when it came to trying to reach my goals. The stress and anxiety had started eating away at me, and I was becoming something that I never wanted to be, an annoyed social service worker.

Now grant it, part of the reason why I was so incredibly tired of my job was because my job did not fully appreciate me. They refused to provide me with the tools that I needed to effectively do my job. So, needless to say, doing my job was stressful. I refused to slack on the job, and to not achieve the very best was not even an option. So, that meant I had to bust my butt to get the job done. And that’s what I did. I worked hard to make sure that my worked reflected my core values and to provide quality services to my clients, no matter how hard or stressful it was to do so.

But no doubt, I developed some angst in my heart for my employer (not my manager) for taking advantage of the fact that I was the kind of person that would work hard to meet the goal, even if I didn’t have the tools to do it. I felt that my employer felt that accommodations were just something that I felt like I “wanted” rather than what I needed. I really felt like they, whoever they are, felt that if I was doing the job without the reasonable accommodation, then the so called reasonable accommodation must’ve not been necessary.

This square dance went on for over a year. And finally, I got tired of the dance. It was time for me to switch partners. But honestly, I wasn’t sure if there was another employer that wanted to dance with a blind chick. So, my heart grew heavy, and I continued dancing with my then partner, smiling, but wishing I could get away from them as quickly as possible.

**Stay tuned for the continuation of this.**

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Staying Away is not an Option Right Now

I read a comment that my best friend, Miko, left here on my blog. She basically stated that she hoped that my break from my blog would not be too long, being that my voice needs to be heard. She encouraged me to start writing again, sooner rather than later.

To be quite honest, one of the reasons why I was thinking about not writing on this blog anymore was because I wasn't sure if anyone was hearing my voice anymore. I don't keep track of my stats, and I don't get as many comments as I used to. So basically, I am not really sure if my voice is like that tree that fell in the forest, but had no one to hear it.

Nope, I don't wish to be a major blogger like some of the bloggers that I know and love so well. But it does make me feel good to know if I'm truly helping someone, and truly having an impact on a person's growth and development into the person that they were designed to be. Plus, I'm not a person that writes for fun. I write for a purpose. So, if I "feel" that I am not achieving that purpose, I will become discouraged. (That's the truth.)

Tonight, I was reminded that I need to keep writing, even if I don't "feel' like it. I was reminded that there may be one person that can be helped by the content on this blog. I realized that there may be one person that can develop a different view of people with disabilities, just because they have read through the entries on Nuvision.

So, I have made a decision that I will write for that one person. And until the one God that I serve guides me to stop writing, I will continue to post here on my one blog.

To that one person that finds something here to encourage you, to bless you, to enlighten you, to empower you: I dedicate this blog to you. You are my inspiration!

**Thanks to my fellow blogger, Pastor Heber Brown, my best friend, Miko, my baby sister, Kim, and my wonderful students for helping me realize that Nuvision for a Nuday is a necessary and unique voice that cannot be silenced just yet.

I would also like to thank Tanae, Ensayn, Lovebabz, and Miko for consistently leaving comments here at Nuvision. And a big thanks goes to all of my students who left such beautiful comments on a few of the posts.**

Encouraged and determined to keep going,

Angie Braden

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


After months of going back and forth, I reached my decision to stop posting new content on this blog. I prayed about it, talked to friends, even ran it by one of my most respected blogger friends. And after carefulling considering it all, I sat down and decided to just let it go.

Last night, I sat down and wrote my final blog entry for Nuvision for a Nuday. I wrote a long, long entry, pointing out that I have been doing this for over two years. I mentioned how the final post was actually the 200th post on this blog. I thanked friends, visitors, and all those who have supported me.

Likewise, I discussed the purpose of the blog, and pointed out how I had achieved that purpose. I even provided the folks with a little insight on what I was going to be doing after making that final post.

After carefully constructing my goodbyes for the blog and my blogger family, I hit publish, like I always do. then I did what I always do next; I clicked on the link to view my blog, so that I can make sure that it posted correctly.

When I saw that final post up there, a storm of weird emotions hit me. I felt like I was turning my back on a good friend, kicking a loved one to the curb, divorcing a good partner, all because I was not as interested anymore. I felt so disloyal. I felt like I was doing something wrong.

I left the post there for a few minutes, telling myself that I needed to stand on my decision. I continued to read the post, while telling myself that my decision was sound and one that I could stick with. But before I could read the entire post, I quickly logged back in and deleted it from my entries.

I thought about my darling, Heber, over at, who told me to just give myself a break for a while and then revisit whether or not I wanted to continue. And that's what I'm going to do. He disclosed how he had also experienced some burn out of some sorts, and considered shutting his blog down. But he took a break, considered the impact of his decision, and returned to his friend, his writing pad, his blog.

I too will take a break. Will I return, ready to write, to post new content, to decorate the blog with fresh experiences? I don't know. But I will come back to let you know what my plans are.

I'm going to take a break for a couple of months. While I'm gone, I will be working on various writing projects, teaching at a local college, starting my speaking career, and even praying whether or not it truly is the right thing for me to end my commitment to maintain this blog.

On October 15, I will meet you back here. On that day, I will inform you of my final decision to continue blogging here or to move on to another place in my life. Either way, I will keep you in the loop.

If you need to contact me, I will still be receving comments in my personal in-box. You can also e-mail me at

I wish you the best in all you do. May you rest in the palm of God's hand.

Much love and peace,

Angela L. Braden