Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Visual Memory that I'll Cherish for Life: Michael Jackson!

Thursday afternoon, I walked into the gameroom to talk to my mom for a second. While I was standing there, news of Michael Jackson being rushed to the hospital by ambulance broke. I immediately sat down to learn more about what was going on with my favorite childhood superstar. Three hours later, we found out that Michael Jackson was dead. My heart sank.

No, I didn't personally know Michael Jackson. But his music, his ability to capture the world's attention, and his commitment to artistic excellence struck me and had indelible impact on how I saw myself and the world we live in.

Michael was not just a celebrity, he was a legend. He was not just a dancer, he was revolutionary. Michael was not just a singer, he was a phenomena.

And I’m so glad that I got a chance to SEE him myself. I don’t think that anyone could have effectively described how Michael moved when he danced, how amazing the music videos were, and how people all over the world reacted when they witnessed his musical charisma.

I remember the album covers of Off the Wall and Thriller so vividly. It’s almost like I can still see them now. Michael was absolutely gorgeous to me!!! Beautiful skin, hair, eyes, and smile...

As incredible as it may sound, I also truly remember the many dance moves that Michael did in the Thriller, Beat It, and Billie Jean videos. That’s how captivated I was with him and his ability to express himself artistically.

And even though I got a chance to see Michael live in concert at the Astrodome when he did the Victory Tour, the performance I will never-ever forget was the Motown 25 television special. When I saw Michael, I was in a trance. He was so beautiful! And when he started moving… Oh my goodness!!! There are no words to describe how time froze for those few minutes. I’ll never forget! The glove… The hat… And that dance move that blew the world away!

Honestly, I don’t feel sad for Michael. His life was full of glorious opportunities that he was able to take full advantage of. In addition, Michael selfishly shared his gift with all of us. He absolutely made the best of the 50 years that were granted to him.

My friend, Randy, wrote a song about how there are so many treasures that are buried in the graveyard, simply because people were too afraid, too faithless, too selfish to transform their dreams to reality when they were alive. I beg you to not let that be you. Don’t let them bury your gifts and talents in the casket with your lifeless body. Give life to the gifts that God has stored in you from birth!

Yes, we die. But our gifts to the world can live forever. Michael is dead. But his gift to the world will live for decades, and perhaps centuries.

May Michael Joseph Jackson rest in sweet peace; and may his gift to the world live forever.

Angela Braden
Lifetime Fan

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Waiting in the Dark

A couple days ago, one of my best friends told me that her boyfriend always reminds her to call me back. She said that he doesn't like the idea that I'm sitting around in the dark, waiting for her to call. So, he often pushes her to call me, the blind friend, back.

Um, really?

Is that the only reason why "my friend" would need to call me back? To save me from a life of dark bordem? To save me from being lonely and blind? To save me from myself?

I guess calling me back because I'm a friend is not a good enough reason in his mind.

I know that when my friend reads this, she will likely be disappointed that I wrote about it. But I'm not writing about it to express anger in her man. I'm not even writing about it to put the brotha on blast. **So, don't take offense to this.**

The reason why I'm taking time to write about it is to point out how many people perceive me. Most of the people that I've come in contact with see me as a lonely, blind chick that lives in the dark, with no friends, and charitable family to care for me.

I hate that people see me as the "blind friend". I don't want to be the "blind church member". I don't want to be Frances, Paula, and Kim's "blind sister". And I'm shonuff sick of being Mama and Daddy's "blind daughter".

Because when people start seeing you as the "blind one", then they place different expectations and demands on the relationship. And many of those expectations and demands are unfounded and basically ridiculous.

Yes, I need a sighted guide to get around. Yes, I may need some assistance knowing what color some clothing items are. Yes, I need people to read to me from time to time.

But I don't need a special provisional friendship. I just need my friends to be a friend. Not a friend to the blind... But a friend to a friend...

But I might as well give up on that wish. I am the "blind lady" in all of my circles. It is what it is.

However I refuse to play the role that people are trying to assign to me. I will just be me. And from what I gather, to my real friends, the people that "know" me, being me is good enough.

**To my friend: Please, please don't be offended because I wrote about this. I'm not trying to slander your man. I'm just thinking out loud. And when I do think out loud about blindness related issues, it get's splattered on my blog, NuVision.
Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


After years and years of having a cell phone, I finally can do more than just talk on my phone. Thanks to advancements in assistive technology for cellular phones, I can now text message, browse the internet, listen to music, send and receive e-mails, manage the phonebook, and change my ring-tones, all independently.

Of course, being able to send a text message is not an essential part of my life. But for many years I was blocked out of being able make the most of my phone, simply because accessibility was not an option for so many cell phone manufacturers.

And because barriers absolutely bother me, I was always annoyed that I couldn't do a simple task like enter a name in the phonebook of my cell phone. So, for the last 15 years, I've hoped that technology would be created to knock those barriers down. And finally, there are companies that are dedicated to creating a product that is accessible for blind cell phone consumers. Yipee!!!

The program I use is Mobile Speak for Windows. This program was created by Code Factory. And it works marvelously on my Palm Treo.

I'm able to do almost anything on my phone, like a sighted person would. Of course, I'm having to not only learn how to use the Treo; I'm having to learn how to use the Mobile Speak as well. That's a little challenging. But the rewards far outweigh the time and energy I'm having to use to learn the phone.

The greatest benefit of having speech on my phone is the feature that allows me to enter information into my phonebook. For so many years, I was not able to save phone numbers. That was fine when my memory was in tip top condition. But now that I'm getting a little older, being able to have a telephone number in an easily accessible format is incredibly important. Already, after only having my phone for a couple months, I have 150 contacts saved in my phone. I suspect that number will increase over time.

Another aspect of my phone I enjoy is the possibility of sending someone a quick text message. So many times, I need to say something to someone, but do not want to actually call them. Texting truly works in those situations.

If you want to learn more about Mobile Speak, visit the manufacturer's website.


Monday, June 01, 2009

The Prayers of a Blind Aunt

Last night, my sister informed me that my youngest niece's eye is swollen and it has mucus leaking from it. She said the doctors wanted to know more about my eye condition.

My heart shook at the very notion that the baby could possibly have an eye condition that could impact her sight. And it even more shook me up that her undiagnosed eye problem somehow drew a line back to me, her blind aunt.

The doctors want to know more about me and the dreadful disease that brutally stole my sight, and later my left eye. I guess they are trying to make sure that this baby doesn't become a victim of what overtook me in my younger years.

I always dream about what I would like to give my nieces and nephew as they grow older. But I am sickened at the idea that any child that is connected to me may get what I got. I somehow would feel responsible, like I gave it to them. And I'm not sure how I could live with doctors always pointing their fingers at me, as if my blindness dripped from me to one of the kids.

Yeah, I know... This makes no sense. I'm not the parent. I'm the aunt! But in a strange, ridiculous way, I would feel responsible. I would feel like I gave the kids that problem.

I'm praying for my 2.7 pound niece to continue on the track of growth and healing. But in the last few hours, I've specifically prayed for her eyes to heal and return to God's original design. And I must admit that my prayer for her eyes to get better is partially for selfish reasons. I want her to get better for herself, and so that I won't have to deal with all the emotions that will come if she does indeed have the eye disease that has taken up residence in my brown eyes.

**God bless Elyssa Adriana Perez. May God's healing power flow into her tiny body. May she continue to develop into the healthy, loving baby we all hope she will be. God, touch her lungs, eyes, and heart. You know the problem and the solution. She's in Your capable and loving hands. Amen.**