Thursday, December 23, 2010


Here's a beautiful gift of music that I would like to share with all of my readers. It is a beautiful rendition of "O' Come All Ye Faithful", played by the marvelously talented, Chad Brawley. Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Going Blind, The Movie

A few moments ago, I read an article about a documentary that showcases the lives of individuals that have experienced sight loss. It seems very interesting, insightful, and educational!!!!! Although I've only viewed the trailer, I thought I would still go ahead and recommend it to you guys. I think it would be worth our while to support this film.

The documentary is entitled, Going Blind. You can watch the trailer, as well as purchase the video here.

Spread the word and. Let me know what you think of the film.

Many blessings!
Angela Braden

Friday, December 03, 2010

Would I want to live forever? Hmm...

I used to shutter at the idea of dying. I hated that the only guarantee of life was that we, all of us, including myself, would one day have to die. However, as I've matured, and as I better understand what it means to live and live free, I am certain that I don't want to live forever.

As we live, we are surely dying slowly. Our brain cells are dying. Our bones are thinning. Our heart is growing more tired. Our veins are stiffening. Our senses are fading. And as all of those natural body changes are occurring, disabilities, illnesses, and impairments are sure to come.

Tonight, I told my friend to make sure that they respected my DNR if I was to suffer cardiac arrest or a stroke that clearly damaged my brain. I told them that living with one disability has been hard enough these 25 years, even though I've learned to live, love, and laugh, despite my disability. But the idea of adding to my disabilities as an lonely, sick, elderly woman would certainly be more than I desire to live with. **Just keeping it real.**

I asked her to understand that I didn't want to be a burden on anyone. And since I am not married, and I do not have any children, I would certainly become the responsibility of some family member or friend that would soon grow weary of taking care of me. I am sure I would be placed in some government funded nursing home, fully staffed with rude, lazy, badly trained workers, with no one to come and make sure that I am being cared for properly.

So, to get to my point... I do not want to live forever, especially if my body has already died.

Instead of crying over my lifeless body, trying to figure out if you should pull the plug or not, let me go ahead and get to heaven so that I can find that tree I've been hearing about since I was akid. I got a leaf to pluck in glory!!!!!! LOL

Angela Braden

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to my NuVision Family!!!

I just wanted to take some time to wish all of my wonderful readers a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

I'm thankful for alot this season!!!!! One of the things I'm certainly thankful for is my faithful readers that drive by my spot on the world wide web. I appreciate you for taking time out of your schedule to support NuVision for a NuDay!!!!!!!

I pray you enjoy the holiday season!!!!!!! Eat well, drink well, and love well!!!!!!!! And whatever you do, look within to find the vision that God has deposited in your heart. He placed it there for you to see your greatest potential!!!!!!

Many blessings to you!
Angela L. Braden

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The other day, my sister, Paula and her kids, took me to the airport. As we were riding, my nephew, Joseph, leaned up from his seat to where I was sitting in the front-passenger-seat. Out of the blue, he asked me, “Can doctors fix blind people?”

I didn’t know what to say. I knew what my nephew was really thinking. He wanted to know if there was any help for his blind auntie. At that very moment, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that so far the doctors haven’t been able to “fix” blind people that have my specific eye condition.

I quickly started to figure that no matter what, Joseph deserved to know the truth about me and my unfixable, completely damaged optic nerves. I took a deep breath and broke the bad news to him. “As of right now, there’s nothing the doctors can do to help Auntie.”

“That’s a shame.” He quickly replied. He went on to say that doctors needed to find some kind of way to fix blind people. He continued by telling me, his blind aunt, that being blind was such a sad thing to be in this world.

I silently wondered what I had done or not done to make my nine-year-old nephew think that being blind was such a sad thing to be. Although being blind is pretty annoying, I try to live my life in a way that the kids don’t see me as a helpless, hopeless, sad, little lamb.

But does Joseph really see me that way? Or is he now old enough to realize that not having any sight really does significantly impact most of what I do, in addition to what I desire to do. Maybe Joseph has taken notice how much my blindness has inconvenienced me when it’s time to go somewhere. Perhaps Joseph has just now started to discover how different I am from all of the other women in his life. Could it be that Joseph is now processing what I already know, but didn’t want him to know; that being blind honestly sucks.

Joseph leaned up closer to my face. I could feel his soft cheek on my ear. He touched my shoulder with his little man hand and firmly, yet compassionately said to me, “Everything is going to be alright.”

I nearly cried at that moment. I was comforted by my Joseph’s blossoming compassion for his auntie. A drape of love had just been placed around my shoulders by this young child. Instead of allowing tears to roll from my unfixable eyes, I turned and kissed his handsome face and reassured him that everything would indeed be alright.

**At this point, I don’t have a lot of wealth to leave to the kids when I depart this current life. So, I write these narratives to offer them a treasure of love and memories to cherish through their lives. They are truly my motivation for writing.**

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That's What Friends Are For

To all of my readers:

Yes, I know that this blog is supposed to be dedicated to showcasing my experiences as a blind woman. However, there are a few times that I drive down a different road. Today, I'm going to use my blog to recommend that you guys check out the wonderful, the fantastic, the soulful, the talented, jazz bassist, Joseph Toliver. He's one of my best friends!!!!!! To learn more about his music and to purchase a CD, check out his website.

His project is being sold on Amazon and Itunes for digital download. Do yourself a favor and add Joseph Toliver to your music library. I wouldn't ask you to do anything I haven't already done. I bought the project today!!!!

Let me know what you think.

Angie B.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My Random Reflections for the Week

These are my very random reflections.

1. This week, I've been working out twice a day, and I've cut back in my diet. Instead of losing weight, I gained two pounds. I'm so confused!!!!! I'm trying not to get discouraged, but this weight issue I have is on my dog on nerves.

2. My soon to be seven-year-old niece, Jasmine, just came upstairs and asked me if I was gone to the store yet. I told her that I left five minutes ago. She and I both chuckled. LOL Yes, I know... We're silly! I love Jasmine!!!!!!

3. I just found out that I'm in the service area for our city's ADA metro service. I'm so excited!!!!!!! Now, I'll be able to move around in the city like I used to. I can't wait to get going. I'm sure I'll have plenty stories to tell once I start being more mobile.

4. I'm meeting so many new family members as we are gathering to plan our grand reunion. I'm amazed how most of them don't act shocked when they find out that I'm blind. Is it because we're all getting older, wiser, and more mature? Or is it because society's views on the disabled is improving? Hmm... Good question...

5. Even though I'm not losing weight, I do appreciate the fact that I'm doing my heart a favor by riding my bike. I know my body is glad to be moving. And I know that it will render good results for me in the long run.

6. In less than one month, my financial situation will improve. I can't wait!!!!!

7. My site for my speaking and training business is not completely finished. However, I want to invite you to take a look at it.
By the way... If you would like to book me to speak at an upcoming event, by all means, contact me!!!!!!!!

8. I'm looking forward to hanging with my girls in LA in December. Yes, I know that's three months away. That's how much I'm looking forward to it!!!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Vision Impairment: Racial & Ethnic Differences" *I thought I would share this with my readers.*

**I grabbed this article from the Lighthouse International's website. Even though most of the data is over 10 years old, I thought I would still share. I seriously doubt if these disparities have disappeared since the time these stats were recorded.**

•Based on findings from The Lighthouse National Survey on Vision Loss (The Lighthouse Inc., 1995), among persons age 45 and older, those who report some form of vision problem are more likely to be non-Caucasian (23%) in comparison to those who report no vision impairment (17%).

•African-Americans have a higher rate of legal blindness than Caucasians, but much of this difference may be due to poor access to appropriate eye care services (Prevent Blindness America, 1994, p.3).

•The Baltimore Eye Survey found that the overall age-adjusted rates of visual impairment among African-Americans was twice that of whites (Tielsch, Sommer, Witt, Katz, & Royall, 1990).

•Data from the 1991-92 Survey of Income and Program Participation indicate that a higher proportion of African-Americans have visual impairments than do Caucasians. Although African-Americans comprise 12% of the U.S. population, among persons with visual impairments 18% are African-Americans and among those with a severe visual impairment 21% are African-Americans (Schmeidler & Halfmann, 1998a, p.539).

•The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) found that the rates of vision impairment in Latinos are higher than those reported in Whites and comparable to those reported in Blacks (National Eye Institute, 2004).


•The overall prevalence of open-angle glaucoma among Latinos in the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) was nearly five percent. This is higher than the rate reported for Whites and similar to that for Blacks in this country (National Eye Institute, 2004).

•Based on findings from the Baltimore Eye Survey, the prevalence of blindness due to glaucoma is 4 to 6 times higher among African-Americans than Caucasians (Tielsch, Sommer, Witt, Katz, & Royall, 1990).

•Almost 4% of African-Americans (409,643) (age 40 and over) are reported to have glaucoma as compared to about 1.7% of Caucasians (1.6 million) and 1.5% of Hispanics (131,654) (Prevent Blindness America, 2002).

•Research on a population-based sample found that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among Hispanics (Rodriguez, 2002).

Diabetic Retinopathy

•The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) found that almost one-half of all study participants with diabetes-almost a quarter of the LALES population-had some signs of diabetic retinopathy. Latinos had a higher rate of more severe vision-threatening diabetic retinopathy than Whites (National Eye Institute, 2004).

•According to Prevent Blindness America (2002), before age 40, diabetic retinopathy affects Caucasians more frequently than other races, however Hispanics are the most commonly affected in later decades.

•Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely and non-Hispanic blacks are almost 50% as likely to develop diabetic retinopathy as non-Hispanic whites (American Diabetes Association, n.d., b).

Macular Degeneration

•The Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) found that while Latinos had the early signs of AMD at rates comparable to Whites, the rates of advanced AMD were lower than seen in Whites and comparable to Blacks (National Eye Institute, 2004).

•Age-specific prevalence rates of age-related macular degeneration are initially comparable between races, however advance more significantly for Caucasians after age 75 (Prevent Blindness America, 2002, p.18).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

22 Random Facts About Angie (Part 1 of 2)

1. I'm a proud Cancer. I know that many Christian organizations suggest that Astrological signs are not of God. However, I have found that many of the characteristics of individuals born in a certain month match the description of the characteristics of the signs. I don't know if there is a science to Astrology. However, I do believe that there is some truth to it.

2. Although I've traveled from the left to the right coast, I've never been outside of the 48 connected states. So, here's a freebee. I've never been on a cruise.

3. I was diagnosed with Uveitis when I was eight years old. Two years later, I was diagnosed with Glaucoma.

4. I used to have to get steroid shots in my eyes to treat the Uveitis.

5. My daddy used to give me $20 to motivate me to bravely sit still while the doctor was lowering the needle into my eyeball.

6. I refuse to drink tap water. Yeah, I know that they say the water in many of the plastic bottles come from tap. I guess it's just a mental thing.

7. When I was a child, I prided myself in having beautiful cursive writing skills. Both of my parents print and write in cursive beautifully.

8. I love watching old shows like, Three's Company, The Jeffersons, A Different World, The Cosby Show, and Good Times. I guess it's because I remember how the people looked that are on the show. It's like I'm actually still "watching" the shows, even though I can't see anymore.

9. I hate the taste of Dr. Pepper, raw celery, raw onion, and coconut.

10. I've worn the same size shoe since I was 12-years-old. If you're interested in buying me a pair of shoes, you should know that it is a size 7.

11. I hate it when people call my cane a stick.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What the heck is acting blind?

Earlier this week, I visited the doctor’s office to get what is supposed to be an annual physical for the first time in three years. Because the medical group that I’ve been using since I’ve been an adult stopped taking my health insurance, I was forced to find a new stranger to conduct my well woman’s exam. Oh well… I guess using a stranger to probe your private space keeps it impersonal. So, I guess this new doctor situation can work for me.

After signing in at the front desk, I sat down in the waiting area with my sister, Kim. While we were waiting, Kim assisted me in filling out the medical history paperwork the docs always give you when you’re a new patient.

First of all, I’m so glad that no one else was in the waiting area. I hate telling whoever I’m with all of my medical history in front of others. There’s no privacy in that. Secondly, I actually sometimes hate having to tell my sister or whoever I’m with certain things to help them answer the questions on the questionnaire. What if there’s something quite personal that I want to keep a secret? My personal business is being exposed to others, simply because I can’t read and write print. They need to find some kind of way to allow the patient to fill out those forms with one of the staff or through electronic means. **My two pennies on that…**

Well, moving on… The above is really not the purpose of this blog post.

After filling out the paperwork, the nurse called me to come to the back. She asked me all those basic screening questions, and then left me to wait for the doctor.

Five to ten minutes passed; then this very friendly female doctor entered the room and shook my hand. I believe that’s when she noticed I couldn’t see. It was the way she paused and glared down at me before saying anything else.

She turned to start reading some of my information on the computer. Then she turned around and asked me what was the extent of my blindness. I told her that my eyesight was completely gone due to an awful bout with Glaucoma.

She then looked at me and said, “Wow. You don’t act blind at all. That’s great.”

I was like, “Oh really?”

I couldn’t believe that this doctor, a highly educated, professional, modern American woman, would say such a thing.

“I don’t act blind? How does a blind person act?” I silently wondered.

I guess the fake smile on my face wasn’t convincing. She retracted her comment and said, “Well, how does a person act blind anyway? I’m just saying you don’t act like you can’t see.”

“Oh that’s better, doc! I don’t act blind. I just don’t act like someone that can’t see. Hmm...” I thought

You can imagine how amazed she was when she found out more about me. She nearly fell out of her chair when I told her that I am an adjunct prof at a college.

“Oh, so you’ve gone to college and everything? Very good! You've done very well.”

After she finished conducting my medical interview, the impressed doctor shook my hand and told me how proud she was of me. For what it was worth, I accepted her sincere praise with a bashful smile and a modest thank you.

She politely handed me the robe I was supposed to put on after taking my clothes off. She hesitated a little after that. I was wondering if she wanted to watch me undress. Not in a perverted way, but as someone that was curious about how a blind person actually does things, such as dressing and undressing. After I stood and waited, without taking my clothes off, she exited the room to give me some privacy.

Despite how uncomfortable she made me feel about being blind, I will be seeing this doctor again. She gave me the most comfortable physical I ever had. LOL I can deal with a lack of understanding of the blind as long as you don’t hurt me when you’re examining me.

To read more entries from Angela Braden's personal diary, visit her award winning blog, NuVision for a NuDay.

Monday, August 09, 2010

You should check this out!!!! A Possible Opportunity to be Published

Call for Proposals: Disability in America: Voices of a New Generation

Ari Ne’eman and Stacey Milbern, Co-Editors

Deadline: January 15, 2011

This year, the disability community is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), civil rights law that protects the rights of disabled people.
Growing up in a post-ADA America has meant that many of us have had access to more opportunities than previous generations. We know if we had been born in 1967 instead of 1987 our lives would look completely different. We know the history of our people is tainted by eugenics, ableism, lack of access and the sting of low expectations. We recognize the work that has been done by disability movements over the last century to make the current lives we live possible. We are proud to be members of this vibrant, breathing, community.

Although the struggle continues, we recognize that the realities of disabled people look vastly different in many ways. With this in mind, we are requesting proposals for chapters in a book-length anthology to document this legacy and record the stories of disabled young people
talking about what it is to grow up with a disability in this day and age.

Part One of our anthology will attempt to explore how a new generation experiences these age old challenges, affording a chance to assess how far we have really come. Part Two of our anthology asks disabled young people to identify what our struggle looks like now.

We’re seeking a diversity of perspectives and topics. A few questions we pose as food for thought:
What does it look like to navigate the medical system?
What is it like trying to find and keep a job as a young person with a disability today?
How are mental health challenges and psychiatric impairments approached by family members?
Do students still have to choose between support and inclusion?
What is the impact of pity and charity?
How do we survive the traumas we experience by people who say they are helping us, whether this is in schools, in doctor’s offices, our places of worship, or within our support systems?
How do people with less visible disabilities choose whether or not to disclose?
How has the nature of “passing” changed or not changed?
How do we fight eugenics, with its many faces?
How do we work with personal assistant services and our support systems?
How is disability portrayed differently in American society?
How are media, and pop culture representations of disability viewed by the new generation of young people with disabilities?
What do our relationships and sex lives look like?
How do we find community?

We are seeking creative non-fiction essays from young people with disabilities ages 13-30 (some flexibility will be available for compelling submissions from individuals slightly outside our preferred age range). People with all types of disabilities are welcome to submit. Speaking from personal experience is strongly encouraged. The intent of this project is to use personal voices to capture the experience of the new generation of young people with disabilities.

Submissions should range from 2,000 to 5,000 words. Please include your address, phone number, e-mail address and a short bio on the manuscript.

Proposals are due by e-mail to to January 15, 2011 but we encourage and will consider for approval early submissions. Please e-mail co-editors Stacey Milbern and Ari Ne’eman at with questions.

**I thought the above may be of some interest to some of my readers. I encourage you to consider submitting your story/perspective. I know I plan to submit several proposals. Good luck!**

Friday, August 06, 2010

This Truly Doesn't Happen Often

When I have an awful experience, I quickly try to search through the rubble and find whatever life lesson that may have come along with the bad experience. Then I try to lock the negative memory away in the dungeon of my ever-expansive castle of personal memories. I'm not a person that likes to relive the experience by thinking about the memory over and over again. So, because I can't forever get rid of the memory, I try to lock it away and handcuff it to a part of my brain that is seldom visited. Last week, I had one of those experiences that created a memory that will for sure get stored in that cold, dark dungeon in my head.

Unfortunately, I can't go into detail here on my blog. What I witnessed is now a legal issue. Perhaps once it's resolved, I will write about it in detail. But until then, I will say that it was perhaps one of the most horrific experiences of my 30+ years.

The memory of this experience is so strong. All of my available senses participated in capturing this event. The only thing that stopped me from fully experiencing the heinous moment was my blindness. Because I could not see, I've been spared of having a visual memory of this experience.

Thank God!

I never would've thought I would've said that.

Here's what's interesting. Because I'm the one that couldn't see the various parts of the ordeal, I'm the one that focuses on all of the other vivid experiences that were perceived with the other four senses. I remember the hideous smell in the hot, moist air. I remember the needle poking pain of the tiny ants biting my feet as we stood in the soggy grass. I remember the taste of my tears and sweat as they rolled down my face to the corners of my mouth. I remember all the sounds that circled us as we stood, trapped in the middle of this mind blowing experience.

Everyone else in my family mostly speaks of what they saw. I'm haunted by what I heard, tasted, felt, and smelled. And unfortunately, the memory is still so fresh.

I'm so glad that these blind eyes of mine benefited me that day by making it impossible to have a visual memory of July 28, 2010.
**applauding for the broken eyes**
My blind eyes did me a favor this one time.



To read more entries from Angela's personal diary, feel free to visit her award winning blog!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy 20th Birthday to the Americans with Disabilities Act!!!!!!

Today, July 26, 2010, is the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act!!!!! I, along with 54 million Americans with disabilities, are benefitting from the allowances and protections brought forth by this act. I applaud President George H. W. Bush and Congress for passing such important legislation!!!!!!!

No, the ADA didn't erase discrimination, prejudice, and barriers completely. However, it for sure created possibilities that were impossible in the lives of Americans with physical and psychological disabilities. Because of the ADA, people with disabilities can get an equal education, access public transportation, and stay at any hotel, among other personal freedoms.

It is my prayer that this country continues to embrace legislation that would further create barrier free opportunities for the disabled population.

It is also my prayer that people will work hard to decrease their negative ideas and opinions about people with disabilities. As with any population of individuals in a particular subculture, it is imperative that the people outside of the subculture learn to celebrate the diversities present in the differing population. And people within that population need to teach others about their culture, with the hope that the knowledge will discourage prejudice and discrimination, while encouraging inclusion and acceptance.

This is exactly why I maintain this blog. I want the individuals that stumble upon NuVision for a NuDay to know that people with disabilities have stories to tell, have an opinion about various issues, hope to build a bright future, and desire to excel in all aspects of their life.

Happy Birthday ADA!!!!!!!!!!!

Angela L. Braden

"I now lift this pen to sign this Americans with [Disabilities] Act and say let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down." President George H. W. Bush

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"You can't see anything?"

For whatever reason, people are often shocked when they learn that I am completely blind. They seem to find it unbelievable that I can't see anything at all. After talking with me about my blindness, there are some that work up the nerve to ask me the one question I get asked the most.

"You can't see anything?"

Yeah, that's the most popular question that I get asked by curious individuals that have encountered yours truly.

Well, here's the answer for any of you that have wondered, but have not had the nerve to ask.

I cannot see anything at all. I cannot see shapes, colors, hands waving in my face, shadows, artificial light, sunlight, or a flashlight shining right into my eyeball. I haven't seen the aforementioned and anything else since the spring of 1994.

If you have anything else you would like to ask, go for it. If it's within reason, I'll answer. LOL

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!!

Angie B.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Super Power (Revisited)

I can’t number the times that someone asked me, suggested, or even outright insisted that a blind person’s hearing is better than a sighted person’s ability to hear. Well, maybe for some blind people. But for me, I don’t think I’m able to hear any better than I did before I lost my sight. I’ve just learned to use my hearing more effectively.

When you are blind, you must, make good use of the other senses you are left with. Well, if you want to be successful as a blind person you must make good use of those other senses.

Likewise, you must tap into the greatest power that a human has--the mind. Do I have super powers? You darn right I do. It’s my mind. And the other 4 senses I’m left with undergird the power of my mind.

Getting back to hearing… The other day, my love, my doll, my niece, Jasmine, was sitting upstairs with me in the gameroom watching television. She was watching the Cartoon Network. I was busy on the computer, doing whatever it is I find myself doing on the computer. And what did I hear? The sound of a cartoon episode that I will never forget… There were no words, just the sound of music coming from the television speakers.

I asked Jasmine was she watching Tom and Jerry. She said, “Yeah.” I knew it… Then my next question was, “Are those the ants marching at the picnic?” “yes.”, she replied. I was right again.

It was amazing to me that the sound of that particular Tom and Jerry episode has stuck with me all these years. How many years? More than 20… The mind is something else. I can see those ants in my head as if I had just seen that particular episode just yesterday.

I’m so thankful to God that I got a chance to see when I was a little girl. The visual images of so many experiences are burned into the walls of my memory. I’m so glad that I remember the color red, the beauty of the ocean waters, the magic of electricity falling from the sky to the earth, the image of a tiny ant carrying a bread crumb, 5 times its size, the brightness of the sun, a sparkling diamond, a bald eagle soaring in the sky, The smiling faces of the people who stood on the ground as I was flying through the sky on a wild roller coaster, flames reaching for the sky as it consumed a burning house, perfect cursive writing, beautiful, exotic animals at the Houston Zoo, and the darkness of the night sky. And that’s only mentioning a few of my visual memories…

Although I wish that I will be able to see again in my lifetime, I’m thankful that I have my other senses. I’m also thankful that I have my mind. I don’t take it for granted. My mind is my super power. I’m able to choose, daydream, remember, analyze, love, influence, survive, and create thanks to the most valuable gift that God gave me, my mind.

Thank you Lord for such a fantastic gift!

**Written and Previously Posted: April 6, 2007**

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Brother's Arm (Revisited)

Most people would say that I have bad luck. But I choose not to look at my circumstances that way. I see them as challenges, obstacles to overcome, unfamiliar territory that God must have thought I needed to discover and conquer. I trust that all of my life experiences, the good ones and the ones that didn’t feel so good, were God’s way of teaching me something I needed to know.

My last semester in college, God must have been trying to put me in a crash course of some wild, highly complicated science of surviving a crises. Here I was, trying to get out of college as soon as possible. I was taking twenty hours, and all of my teachers acted as if they had all teamed up and decided that each of them were going to shove as much work on me as possible. But I was up for the challenge. I had already endured four tough years at University of North Texas. Why were the years so tough? Well, being totally blind probably had a little to do with it. But I didn’t let that stop me. I had one more semester before I would be walking across the stage to receive my bachelors degree.

Everything was going smoothly, that is, until I slipped off the side of a sidewalk and cracked the bone in my ankle. When I heard the bone that helped my left leg balance on my left foot snap, I panicked. I knew that this broken bone was going to possibly throw a monkey wrench in my goal to graduate. I thought to myself, “How in God’s name will I use a cane for the blind and use crutches to get to class?? This was absolutely great. I was already blind. Now here I was, in the middle of the semester, blind and crippled. I started to ponder the possibility of not graduating. I guess this would be yet another time that people would probably say that my buddy, bad luck, had thrown me another party. But I was determined to vacuum up the confetti and pop all of the balloons. I was going to crash this party. I was going to graduate on time.

One of my brothers on campus… Well, he’s not my birth brother. But that’s how I referred to Dhati. He was one of the few men in my life that I felt close enough, trusted, enough, fought enough, forgave enough, and loved enough to call my brother. He did what any good brother would do. This strong, chocolate college football star offered to give me what I never expected him or anyone for that matter to give. He offered to help me get to all of my classes until I got strong enough to walk on my own. He knew that it would be hard for me to hold a white cane in front of me and grip crutches with each of my hands. I would have to grow another arm to do that. But now I did have another arm, my brother’s arm.

Every day, Dhati would knock at my door with his strong fist and tell me to hurry. Even though he seemed to be a little impatient, I didn’t mind. He was doing more than I could thank him for doing. He helped me get to class, so that I could walk to the stage that I longed to cross, the stage that I did cross. I graduated on time, just as I hoped to do.

Dhati reached out his hand and offered his arm to help hold up his sister, just as a brother should do. I knew in my heart that this man would be my brother for life. I can still fill his arm of love holding me up and helping me get to my various stages of success.


It’s been years since you and I have talked. But I never forget about what you gave to me. Thank you for helping me cross one of the most important stages in my life. I don’t take it for granted.


Angela Braden**

Written and Previously Posted-July 2007

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Forever? (Revisited)

Last night, my darling, Jasmine, walked over to me, lifted herself up, and plopped her little body into my ever-available lap. She rested her head on my chest and asked me a question that probably has been lingering in her head for at least a few minutes, which is a long time when looking at the attention span of a five-year-old.

"Ann, are you going to be blind forever?"

The word "forever" rang loudly in my head. I didn't quite know what to say. "Forever is such a long time." I thought. And the idea of admitting that my blindness could be sticking around forever was a bit overwhelming at that particular moment.

I quickly thought, "What do I tell her?" If I say yes, I would basically be telling the truth. Well, at least the doctor's version of the truth... But saying yes is surrendering to the condition, and signaling to the atmosphere and perhaps God that I don't have enough faith to believe that I will see again.

The truth is that I absolutely want to see again. And I would do anything, and I mean anything to get that chance. But to be quite honest, I think that I am at a place that I honestly believe that the chances of seeing again are slim to none. But I haven't always felt this way.

When I first started losing my sight, my folks used to drag me to every healing crusade, revival, and conference that was being held in the city. My aunts would recommend certain preachers that they believed had the gift of healing to my Mama. And my mama would take me to each of them, hoping that the Lord would touch her baby and give her sight back. And I was hoping too.

So, it didn't matter to me how many prayer lines I needed to stand in, how much blessed oil needed to be splashed on my forehead, how many times I needed to turn around in a circle, and how many meals I had to fast from...I wanted to see again. And I believed that God could do it. And I really thought that believing that He could do it meant that He would do it.

But with each passing year, the Glaucoma that was ravishing my eye continued to get worse, and my sight continued to fade. By the time I was thirteen-years-old, my right eye was completely blind. And the visual acuity in the left eye was so bad that I could not walk in unfamiliar territories without sighted assistance. But I didn’t stop believing though. I continued to fast, pray, anoint my own head with oil, get prayer from the elders, call prayer lines, quote scriptures, and declare the victory over my blindness.

But to no avail, despite 14 surgeries and my unwavering faith in God, I lost all of my functional vision my senior year in high school. I only had light perception in my left eye. But no matter how dark it was, I continued to fast and pray. I refused to give up.

Two years later, the tiny bit of sight that I had left to let me know if the sun had rose in the morning had left me. And I was left in total darkness and complete despair. My faith was shattered, and I begin to wonder if believing and expecting a healing was handicapping my ability to “see” what God truly wanted for my life.

After a lot of aching and pain, I realized that I saw God as a healer and not a sustainer. I believed that He could heal me. But strangely enough, I didn’t believe that He could make life with blindness be alright.

Huge leap from then to now…

I do believe that God can heal. But I refuse to spend too much time dreaming about the day that Angie possibly gets her sight back. Instead, I spend my time trying to figure out how I can trust God to see what it is I’m supposed to be looking at.

So, back to Jasmine's profound question... After allowing memories of pain, disappointment, and sadness rush through my head, I took a deep breath and with confidence, I told Jasmine that yes, her aunt will probably be blind forever. And that it is truly okay.

**Initially Written and Posted December 2008**

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This is perhaps my shortest post I've ever posted on my blog. I just felt compelled to share a lil' something-something I wrote as my status update on Facebook. This is short, but it says volumes about who I really am.

"I'm a barrel of imperfection, a wardrobe of flaws, a garden of conflicts, an ocean of frailty, and a coppice of ambiguity. When you blend all of that with love and faith in God, I become full of amazing potential to become perfect and beautiful in Him.:

See, told you it was short and sweet!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

My Random Thoughts About Very Specific Things

Every now and then, I post an edition of my "random thoughts" on my blog. I usually do that when I have something to say, but my thoughts are so all over the place, it's hard to write one complete post about one subject. So, here I am tonight, all over the place, but still with something to say. So, these are my random thoughts.**

1. A friend of mine asked me if I wear gloves when I wash dishes. I told him that I prefer not to wear gloves when I'm doing certain tasks, simply because I rely on my sense of touch to do a good job at whatever I'm doing.
I relax my hair without gloves. I clean the tub and sink without gloves. I clean the top and inside of the stove without gloves.
Yeah, sometimes I feel kind of gross for letting these hands of mine touch such germy areas. However, I figure as long as there is soap and water, I can wash my hands and keep moving.
Because of my "no loves" preference, I have a tough time growing my natural nails. I have to go to the salon and get fake nails if I want my hands to look like I care about myself. :)

2. Lately all of my friends are talking about their class reunions. However, I'm not talking about mine. :(
I graduated from the school for the blind, where the graduating classes were on average between 12 and 20 people. Most of the class had other disabilities aside from the blindness, which often times included mild mental retardation. Basically, the make-up of a single class didn't have the people in it that could/would actually plan a reunion. And if they did, only half a dozen would show.
It kind of makes me feel a little sad. Well, not a little sad... a teeny-tiny-bit sad... LOL
Perhaps one day, they'll have one big reunion for multiple classes. That would be great. I would actually go.

3. My desk-top and lap-top decided to take a dirt nap last month. I had to break down and buy a new computer. Even though it's a fabulous computer, I really couldn't afford a purchase like that right now. Sometimes, I wish I could just pull out a pen and paper like the average chick. Oh well...

4. I wish that one of these metal birds flying over my house would swoop down and gobble me up, fly to the west coast, and then spit me out.
**Yes, I know that sounds crazy as hell. LOL**
That's how bad I need a vacation!!!!!!!!!!

5. Sometimes, I get sick of being the blind ____________. It's so sickening at times. I hate it that certain people only see my blindness when they see me.
It's like my blindness makes them blind to seeing the "real" me. They don't see that I'm smart, capable, out-going, professional, or social. All they see are these blind eyes of mine.
Oh well... All I can say is that it is their loss.

6. Next month, I will join the population of Americans that actually have medical insurance!!!!!!!! Yay!
My Medicare will become active again. I'm going to every kind of doctor I can in the next few months. LOL
I think I have an iron deficiency. I hope nothing else is wrong with me.

7. Sleeping sometimes feels like a chore. It's one of those things I feel like I have to do, rather than something I want to do.
Well, I guess I have to go to sleep now. No wonder I wake up and still feel tired... I had to work to go to sleep. LOL

Good night!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

NuVision for a Nuday; The Book!!!

I have great news!!!!!!!!!!

I've decided to take some of my favorite essays from this blog and self publish my first book!!!!!!

The book will be a compilation of 100 essays, all from this blog. I plan to break the book into sections, such as coping with change and loss, family, overcoming fear and uncertainty, learning how to love yourself, and overcoming obstacles.

If there is a blog entry that you like the most, or one that you feel should be included, please let me know. I want you to be apart of this process!!!!!!! You are just as much part of this blog as I am.

Thanks for being my loyal readers, even when I'm not so loyal to posting new content. :) Hopefully, you'll be just as loyal when the book is released.

Spread the word about NuVision and the upcoming book project!


Angela Braden

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!!!

I'd like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all those beautiful, strong, selfless moms out there!!!!! I celebrate you for keeping the world spinning on its axis!!!!

I'd like to send a special Mother's Day shout out to the mothers in my family.
mama Margie, Paula, Frances, and Kim!!!!!!! Happy Mother's Day to each of you!
And before I get in trouble, I better wish my aunts a Happy Mother's Day also!!!!!!!!

I'd like to also wish a Happy Mother's day to all of my beautiful grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-great-grandmothers!!!
Ella Louise, Ivory Lugene, Hattie, Mattie, Luvenia, Kate, Emily, Vinia, Relia, Ann, and Sussy
Each one of you women established the foundation in which I would be raised! Thank you for rolling out the red carpet for this star!!!!!!

In closing, I would like to wish a Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there who have the beautiful job of parenting a child with a disability!!!!!!!!!!
I applaud you with a thunderous handclap!!!!!!!
Your relentless determination to give your child the very best that life has to offer is amazing!!!!!!!
Keep up the good work!!!!! I know it's tough at times. However, your love, understanding, and commitment is appreciated!!!!!!

Much love!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No, I do not want to feel your face!

"I've been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I've kissed your lips a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass outside my door
Hello, is it me you're looking for?

I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You're all I've ever wanted, (and) my arms are open wide
'Cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much, I love you ...

I long to see the sunlight in your hair
And tell you time and time again how much I care
Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow
Hello, I've just got to let you know

'Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying, I love you ...

Hello, is it me you're looking for?
'Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying ... I love you."

Those are the very beautiful lyrics of Lionel Richie's 1984 hit song, Hello.

I'll never forget the video to that song. In the video, Lionel Richie played a professor that admired a good looking, blind lady that was a student at the college. He noticed her as she walked on the campus with her cane. Heck, he noticed everything she did.

My youngest sister, Kim, actually told me it was kind of freaky and stalkerish the way Lionel Richie watched every move of this unaware, blind woman. LOL I actually don't agree with her. I just think he thought she was beautiful. He couldn't help it that she couldn't see him looking at her. I'm digressing here... LOL

Okay... I need to continue to digress for one quick moment... Before I go any further... Let me tell you that I never would've thought that ten years after that video came out, I would've been the blind lady walking on the college campus. That song and video haunted me my first year at college. LOLOL

Okay... Moving on to the point of this blog post...

Well, at the end of the video, the blind woman shows Lionel Richie a sculpture she did of his face. After she shows it to him, she goes to feel his actual face. Of course, Lionel Richie melts as his beautiful, blind love interest rubs her hands across his sincere looking face.

I saw that video perhaps a hundred times before I lost my sight. And every time I saw it, I made the assumption that all blind people feel the faces of people they know. I also told myself each time I saw the video that if I were blind, I wouldn't want to go around touching people's faces.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the beginning of my unwillingness and discomfort with touching faces.

First of all... All blind people do not go around feeling the faces of their friends, family members, or strangers. Well, at least I don't. LOL

Feeling someone's face is incredibly intimate!!!!!!!! It's almost like kissing. In order to touch someone's face, you have to be right up on them. Likewise, you have to put your fingertips on a part of their body that is usually not touched by anyone other than the people that they are close to. There are only a few people that I feel close enough to in order to lean my body towards theirs, touch their face, and then caress it in order to feel it.

You have to admit... That's quite sensual, right? LOL

So, do not get offended when I don't ask you to touch your face. Likewise, don't get offended when I turn my nose up and say "no" when you ask me if I want to touch your face.

If we're close enough for me to feel comfortable enough to touch your face, just know in your heart that we are "right there" with each other. It will happen without any solicitation.

"Well, Angela, if you don't touch my face, how will you know how I look?"

Somebody will tell me. Don't worry! In fact, if you want me to know, you can tell me. Alright? Alright.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Graveyard Treasures

I've just heard that a very successful film and television writer, who was also a very popular blogger, has passed away. He was only 48.

So many thoughts have rushed through my head since I heard the news. I won't go into it here. Well, not now. Perhaps, when my thoughts slow down, I'll be able to articulate what I'm feeling.

Honestly, it's not that I'm particularly heart-broken for this man. I didn't know him. I'll admit to not being a consistent reader of his blog. And I didn't know until this morning that he was a multiple Emmy winning writer. Interestingly enough, I wasn't even a fan of those shows that showered him with so much commercial and critical acclaim.

To be quite honest, his death, more than what I knew of his life, has inspired me.

His life ended so young. However, during the 48 years that he was able to live, he did live. He enjoyed his life, and shared his God-give gifts with the world. He has passed away from this world, but he left a legacy behind.

Yes, he died... But his writings will live forever.

My friend Randevyn wrote and recorded a song entitled, "Graveyard Treasures". The song is about all the books, scripts, music, sculptures, paintings, architecture, scientific breakthroughs, athletic abilities, and so on are buried in the graveyard with individuals that didn't share them when they were living.

Thankfully, the gifts that God gave this particular writer didn't go in the casket with him. Instead, his treasures will live, even when all of us have gone.

I'm now more motivated to make sure that I'm not buried in a casket that is made crowded by all of the treasures I should've left behind.

**Rest peacefully, David Mills. Thanks for using your life and death to teach us some lessons.**

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I can't believe that one day I'll be an old blind lady!!!!!

The other day, my six-year-old niece, Gabby, was suppose to come over and spend the day with us. Well, let me be specific. Gabby was coming over to play with my other six-year-old niece, Jasmine. The girls love each other so much; and they long for the weekends to come so that they can meet up here at my house to play with one another. We just happen to benefit from the visits. LOL

Well, this particular Saturday afternoon, Gabby was scheduled to come over. However, Jasmine had a birthday party to attend with friends of the family. So, Jasmine wasn't going to be here for a couple hours after Gabby was supposed to arrive.

When Gabby was asked if she wanted to go ahead and come to our house, without Jasmine being here, this was Gabby's reply.

"Yes... I'll go over there and take care of Ann because she's blind."

My mouth dropped open. I wasn't offended at all. I was just shocked. It was my first time hearing Gabby certify that she indeed has a blind auntie. I felt naked for moment. I felt like the condition that I had managed to pass over as "not a big deal" for six years had become a "big deal" in the eyes of my niece. It had become a big deal so much that she felt like she, in all of her six-year-old glory, needed to declare that she should make the effort to take care of her 30-something-year-old aunt.

In many situations, I'm known as the blind teacher, the blind motivational speaker, the blind neighbor, the blind church member, the blind blogger, and the blind lady to strangers. And that's cool... I used to have a real problem with being the blind anything. But now, I've learned to not pay it any attention. I know that there's much more to me than my blindness.

However, what I do hope for is that my three nieces, my one nephew, my dozens of cousins, my remaining uncles and aunts, my loving parents, my three sisters, and my circle of intimate friends do not see me as their blind ________________. I don't want my blindness to supersede everything else that I am. I want my blindness to be the last thing those particular people see.

But with all that being said... I think it's great that Gabby wanted to take care of her auntie, even if it was due to her thinking that I need someone to take care of me because of the blindness. That lets me know for sure that she loves and cares about me. That makes me feel like one of the luckiest women (Not blind women...) in the world!!!!!

I'm also glad that Gabby has a heart of compassion for individuals that may possess some level of need. Let's be honest here... No matter how independent I am, the truth is that I cannot see. And that presents countless opportunities I can use a helping eyeball to look out for me. LOL So, I'm glad she's willing to be helpful!!!!

For sure, I'm going to need her help to read something for me, guide me in an unfamiliar territory, assist me with finding something that's lost, and hopefully one day take me shopping for clothes, shoes, furniture, or make-up... You get the point.

Perhaps what's more troubling than being a blind aunt is being a blind aunt that has no kids or husband of her own. One of my real fears is that I'm going to grow old and be alone. This is why I work so hard to play a visible role in my nieces and nephew lives. I want them to remember their aunt when they become adults. I want them to one day look out for the old blind woman that's their aunt. LOL When I’m an old blind lady, I’ll be glad if any of them come over to take care of me. Hopefully, Gabby will still have the desire!!!! LOL

**This is dedicated to my babies. I live the life I live to be an inspiration to each of you. I love you soooooo much!!!!!!!!

Always and forever,
Aunt Angie**

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Birthday NuVision for a NuDay!!!!!!! (Has it really been four years?)

Earlier today, I was talking with a good friend about my blog. We were discussing all of the attention and opportunities that my blog has introduced me to. While conversing with him, I realized something. I've actually maintained this blog for four years now!

I started NuVision for a NuDay March 9, 2006. And since that first entry published on Blogger, I've written and published over 300 more. That is an amazing accomplishment for a recovering, procrastinating, easily distracted girl, such as myself. LOL

So, today, I would like to take some time to celebrate NuVision's birth and continued growth!!!!! Despite how many times I wanted to back away from the blogger's table, this blog continued to call my name. This blog has demanded that I tell the story of a 30-something, African American, blind woman in Texas. This blog has insisted that I'm honest with myself and the world regarding what it's like to see the world through blind eyes.

NuVision, thank you for giving me a voice!!!!!!

I would also like to thank all of the readers that so graciously stop by here to read my words. I'm honored that you would take out the time to read about my journey from darkness to light. I hope that you will continue to join me as I share with you my experiences, perspectives, and even my emotional nudity.

All the best to you!!!!!!

Angela L. Braden
Award Winning Blogger and Motivational Speaker

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tempted in the Wildnerness (Part 3 of 3)

****Before reading this post, you may want to start here and here first.*****

Taking care of my mother has been perhaps one of the most painstaking experiences that I will likely have in this lifetime. While grieving and coping with the changes in my mother that the stroke caused, I had to step up to the plate and provide A+ care for her. I couldn't let my pain, my disappointment, my sorrow, my depression get in the way of what I needed to do for her. I couldn't let her know how messed up I was. I knew if Mama realized how hurt I was to see her in that condition, she would become discouraged and wouldn't push as hard to overcome the disabling effects of the stroke. So, instead of me taking time to deal with my pain, I put Mama in the front, and took care of her, without taking care of me.

And that has been where I've been for the last seven years. I've put Mama, along with her children and grandchildren, in front of me in the line of people I should and actually do take care of. I've neglected myself, perhaps for noble reasons, to take care of others. I've put my mental health on the backburner, while trying to help my family retain a certain degree of sanity. I've fallen off the weight loss bandwagon, picked up weight, basically killing myself, while trying to help Mama stay alive. I have basically sacrificed myself and my life, with the hope that my family will hopefully choose life over death.

And now, I'm suffering for making those choices. I'm feeling the affects of not taking care of myself. I'm feeling the pain that I neglected to deal with so many years ago. I feel myself breaking into millions of pieces.

I decided a few weeks ago that I should seek counseling. I started going to Celebrate Recovery at my church, with the hope that I would find strength to manage as I try to reclaim my life. I started planning/strategizing/brainstorming on ways I can turn this thing around.

Before I go any further, let me clarify something. No, I do not want to stop taking care of my family. I just want to start taking care of myself first!!!!!

I heard a preacher say something over ten years ago. I now understand the magnitude of the wisdom he spoke.

"Fill your own cup first, and nourish others with the overflow."

How profound!!!!

When I first heard it, I thought it was selfish, but now I get it!!!!

I've been filling others folks cups first, and getting mad when they don't realize what a sacrifice I've been making. LOL

And that was part of my problem the other night. When mayhem broke loose in my house, I was mostly upset because, despite my best efforts, despite all the sacrifices I had made for my family, they would not stop fussing long enough to consider me. I was hurt that they put themselves before me.

I think they are the ones that got it right!

I should learn to do that too!

I should learn to put myself, my desires, my motivations at the top of the list. Of course, I shouldn't be selfish and hateful. However, I'm learning from my family that the first person that should look out for Angie should be Angie. And I should not ever expect anyone to look out for me as much as I should look out for myself.

The other night, I felt the pain and sorrow of what I've been enduring for years. I felt trapped. I felt like I had no way out of this life. The enemy came to tempt me in the wilderness. He came to make an offer for me to escape this pain. He suggested that I end it all. He tempted me to abort all that God has placed inside of me for this journey.

When he tempted me with such an offer, I was startled. I hadn't felt like that in a long time. I hadn't experienced suicidal ideation in years. So, when the enemy was standing in front of me, calling my name, trying to usher me to turn away from this life I have, I paused to hear his voice, my voice, and the voice of God.

All of those voices in my head... I could hear them all at once. Sometimes, one voice would be stronger than the others.

The enemy telling me it's not worth it.
God telling me that He wouldn't have guided me into any experience, without giving me the provision to survive it and gain from it.
My voice, admitting that I'm tired of this situation...

I decided to take a hard, strong look at what was being told to me.

I considered my voice and questioned the validity. Was I really tired? For sure! Do I feel that God has and continues to equip me with what I need to survive in the wildnerness He guided me into? I do believe that. The one voice that I knew would lie to me, that consistently lies is the voice of the enemy. I rejected him with fury!

I made up my mind, yet again, that quitting is not an option. Yes, this life I have is hard, but it is manageable. I just need to approach it differently. I need to seek God and other wise individuals to help me navigate better. I need to put my mental, physical, and spiritual health at the top of my list of priorities.

I chose life over death! And I lived that night to live the life that God has given me.

Am I still in the wildnerness? Yep! I now know more than I've ever known that there are lessons, gifts, and triumphs that I will encounter in this wilderness. The wildnerness is not a place of punishment, it is a place to get closer to God. That night, I got a little closer to God.

**God, I thank you for all that You’re teaching me in this wildnerness experience. Thank you for continuing to reveal Yourself and Your plan for my life. Help me develop the strength that is necessary to continue to resist the enemy, and to develop into the Angie You’ve designed me to be.**

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Tempted in the Wilderness (Part 2 of 3)

**This started off being a two-part narrative. If you haven't read the first one, you should do that before starting here. Tomorrow, I will post the third and last installment. I hoped to only do it in two parts, but I'm emotionally drained.**

For years, every since my preteen years, the tempter would seduce me with the idea that death was my only escape from my problems. In fact, when I was twelve-years-old, I took my suicidal ideation a little further than just thoughts. I overdosed on some of my medication. Thankfully, after I swallowed the last pill, I came to my senses.

I alerted my adult cousin of the nearly fatal step I had taken. My family got me immediate medical attention. Turns out, I didn't take enough to "Kill" myself. However, I did take enough to potentially cause major physical damage. Thankfully, they were able to flush out the chemicals from my system before any damage was done.

Although I survived that incident, I still lived in utter conflict. I wanted to live as much as I wanted to die. I wanted to triumph as much as I wanted to give up. I wanted to boldly confront my pain as much as I wanted to run and hide from it. I was torn between hope and hopelessness.

I lived with that conflict for another twelve years. It wasn't until I was in graduate school at Dallas Baptist, and until I was a member at The Potter's House, that I was able to completely turn my back on the demonic temptation to take my own life. I made a decision to start coming to grips that I may never "see" again. I began the process to cope with the darkness that was around me. I embraced the idea that my God, in all of His wisdom and authority, may indeed have a plan for this blind life that I was now left to live with.

And once I stopped spending all of my time praying and crying for a miracle to rescue me, the miracle happened. I found the courage to live in the darkness without being afraid, without being depressed, without being suicidal.

Life was still tough, and I would still have my moments that I felt overwhelmed. However, I didn't want to die. I finally realized that life provided me with opportunities to experience happiness. Death only would stop the pain. Life was capable of giving me joy. So, I chose life, and turned my back on dying.

It's only every now and then, I briefly think about death. I think that suicidal ideation is like a conquered habit for me. It's almost like a recovering drug addict. You may never try the drug again, but from time to time, the thought crosses your mind. That's how it was for me and the suicide thoughts. However, I knew it was nothing. It would pop in my mind, but I would kick it out as fast as it would come.

Interestingly, when the thought popped into my head the other night, I hadn't wanted to die in a long time. I guess the emotional pain and frustration I was feeling was so strong, so overpowering that I actually revisited the notion that death was the only escape to my problems.

When my mother got sick, I petition god to heal her. I begged Him to make Mama better. I cried and cried, hoping that He would respond to my plea. Mama did get better. However, she was still quite sick, extremely weak, and mentally impaired. The doctors told us that she required 24-hour care and supervision.

So, I prayed and asked God what I should do. He spoke to my spirit and inspired me to take the responsibility to be my mother's caregiver.

I allowed God to guide me into the wilderness. I allowed Him to direct me to an unfamiliar place of pain, hardship, and emotional trauma. Yeah, I was all too familiar with pain and disappointment. However, the trials that were introduced to me in this wilderness were stronger and bolder.

**Check out the last of this narrative tomorrow**

Note to Patrick: God is able!!!!!!! :) I'm still here!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Tempted in the Wilderness (Part 1 of 2)

I've been quite reluctant to write this post, being that so many of my current readers actually know me. In many ways, I feel I have an image to uphold. I have to, no matter how I feel, give folks the impression that I'm strong, that I'm an overcomer. Not because I want folks to celebrate me, but because I want people to be encouraged themselves. I know so many people are depending on me to be strong in this dark life I live in, so that they can know they can also be strong in their dark moments.

However, I feel that there are some things that I must get off my chest. There are some things that I need to say out loud to provide myself some therapy. And perhaps my honesty will help someone as much or more than my seemingly strong demeanor.

Last night, I was visited by a horror that is all too familiar to me. I was awakened from my restless sleep by fussing and screaming. I tried to lie in the bed and ignore it, but the verbal violence was rapidly rising. And there was no doubt about it, a referee was needed to defuse the situation.

Who was fussing you might wonder? My mother and my sister was having an all out screamathon at 1:30 A.M

Because I'm the most skilled at managing the emotionally charged conflicts that erupt in this house, I jumped up to do my job. The problem with refereeing fights that involve your parent is the "parent" always trumps the children, even if one of the children is the inexplicit family referee.

I tried to talk everyone down. I tried to even scream everyone to silence. I tried to confront the issues head on, knowing that despite my best efforts the conflict could easily turn on me.

And it did...

My mother wouldn't back down. She told me to shut up and go back to my room. She told me that nobody was going to tell her where to go and when to be quiet in her house.

I looked past the blindness in my eyes to look directly at my mother. I pleaded with her to call a truce for the night. I told her that I have borderline anxiety issues. (My diagnosis...) I begged her to consider my mental health. She told me to go to my room. I tucked my hope for a resolution in my back pocket and retreated to my room, but not with an ounce of solace.

This is a good time to throw out this disclaimer. My mother is not an angry, screaming, emotionally wild woman. She is a kind, loving, peaceful creature. Well, that's what she was before the stroke.

Now, my mother is a sad, easily angered, bitter woman, who also happens to have a speech impairment and a massive brain injury.

The stroke robbed my mother of managing her life.
The stroke stole my mother's career as a teacher.
The stroke murdered my mother's artistic and creative gifts, such as playing the piano, writing poetry and plays, as well as her gift of interior decorating.
The stroke kidnapped her ability to clearly articulate thoughts, ideas, requests, happiness, and pain.
The stroke divorced her from her life-long friends and co-workers.
The stroke suspended her driver's license for life.
The stroke slaughtered her ability to think critically.
The stroke killed much of the woman I knew to be my mother.

I hate strokes because of what it did to my mother. I hate strokes because of what it did to my aunt, Linda. I hate strokes because of what it did to my grandmother, Mona. I hate strokes because I'm scared that one day I will also become its mangled prey.

After going back to my room, I crawled into my bed and into the emotional arms of a friend. I vented, using colorful language and explosive emotional energy. He listened to me as I verbally vomited through the phone. He talked to me until I had nothing else to say. I appreciate him for being there for me.

However, he was on the phone, and I needed someone to be there with me in person. I needed to be consoled beyond a phone conversation. I needed to hide from all that pain. I needed an uncharted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to vanish to. I needed more than a friendly voice on the phone. I needed God to rescue me.

After hanging up the phone, frustration mounted in my heart and mind. I felt hopeless. I felt strained beyond repair. That grief, that sorrow, that pain prompted me to wish I was dead. And before I knew it, the desire to kill myself was standing before me, calling my name, like it was my friend, like it was my savior, like it was the solution to all of my problems.

**I'll post the 2nd part to this post tomorrow. Don't worry! I'm not dead!!!!!! LOL**

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Here's a few random reflections regarding "my" experience with blindness.

1. One of the things I hate about being blind is that I often cannot come and go when I please. When you depend on other folks for transportation, you're left to arrive and leave whenever they are ready to go. That annoys the daylights out of me!

2. And what annoys me the most is that the folks that I'm forced to wait on are usually so impatient themselves. They don't want to wait for anyone, at any time. So, looks like they would understand how I feel the same way.

3. Okay... Let me explain this. For me, being blind introduces so many opportunities to be bored to death!!!!!
Think about it... I'm sitting in the complete dark all the time. I cannot focus on what people look like around me. I can't focus on how a room is decorated. I can't doodle notes on a piece of paper to kill a little time. I basically have no visual stimulation.
So, I often find myself wishing and wanting lectures to come to a close pretty fast. I fall asleep in cars when going for a long distance. I get bored out of my gored at parties. (Yeah, it's the truth.)

4. One of the reasons why I love to listen to audio books more than listening to television is because the book provides me with all the visual details. Television doesn't provide me with any visual details. I'm left to use my imagination on how someone looks, how their dressed, and how they facial expressions look.

5. I wonder what kind of personality I would have if I never lost my sight. I wonder if I would be social, kind, and out-going. I wonder if I would be confident and assertive. Hmm... Just wondering...

6. Sometimes my sighted friends and family get on my nerves. They can be so insensitive at times. I sometimes wish I can make them blind for a week. They need to know how this 24-hour darkness feels!!!!!!

7. If I could see, I would often leave the house and go somewhere to sit and think. Being with people all the time kind of gets on my nerves.

8. I hate it that church folks think the notion that "when I get to heaven, I'll be able to see again" is any type of real consolation to me. I wonder how satisfied they would be if any and everything they wanted in life was put on hold until they died.

9. I think it's hilarious that the braille Bible that Eli was carrying in the movie, "The Book of Eli", had to be only a small portion of the entire Bible. The actual Bible in braille is dozens of very thick volumes. He was probably only carrying Genesis. LOL

10. I hate that I can't independently set my DVR to record some of my favorite shows. A friend told me that I should switch to AT&T for cable. He said you can set your DVR from the computer. That would be the bomb if AT&T was actually in my area. Come on, Comcast!!!!! You're going to have to offer more functionality to "all" of your customers!!!!!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Random Reflections About Very Specific Things

**Every now and then, I post on my blog some of my random thoughts and perspectives about very specific issues that I'm dealing with. There is no particular time I post them. I just write when I'm inspired to. So, here goes...**

1. I'm so mad right now, I'm fuming. I hate it when I get like this. I hate it when people and/or circumstances cause me to react in a way that is not typical Angie behavior.

2. If you don't like me, then don't talk to me at all!!!!!!! If you're conflicted on whether or not you really want to have me around, I can help you with your conflict. Do us both a favor... Let me go!!!! I will not be hurt if you don't speak to me.

3. I saw District 9 tonight. It was rather interesting, to say the least. I actually enjoyed it. I need to watch it again to really get it.

4. Did I say I was mad?

5. Perhaps I'm not as mad as I'm hurt.

6. I need to get back on my work out regiment. I haven't worked out in three days. That is not good!!!!!!!

7. I feel like crying.

8. I wonder why crying is not easy for me. Some folks can start crying at the drop of a hat.

9. Despite my lack of regular attendence, I'm so glad to be a member at Good Hope. It helps give meaning to my life.

10. I need about two weeks of vacation time. Dang, I wish I didn't have to work in the summer.

11. I can't stand dealing with folks that have split personalities!!!!!

12. I miss my daddy. For a full month, he stayed with us. He's been gone for the last three days. I wish he would come back.

13. If I had someone in my life that was like me, I would be so appreciative of them. I certainly wouldn't treat them like trash on the street.

14. For the last year, I've been pissed off at a particular person. I'm releasing them now. I'm finish with that. Your loss!!!!!

15. My website should be up in a few days. That's exciting!!!!!!!

16. I love my students at the college!!!!! It is such a pleasure to have the opportunity to invest in their lives. I feel so fortunate.

17. Tomorrow, I'm going to go buy something/anything. I need a little retail therapy.

18. I wish some smart, fine, conversational man would find me irresistable. :)

19. I got too much gray in this head of mine. Looks like I'll be applying hair color in it real soon.

20. I'm not the same Angie I was five years ago. Depending on which view you have, that could or could not be a good look. LOL

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Pink Eye **The First Draft of the Beginning of my Memoire**

**I've decided to go ahead and start writing the first installment of my life story. This is a very rough draft of the first chapter. Let me know what you think! Would you be interested in reading more? Thanks for your feedback!**

When I was a kid, having “the pink eye” was like having the cooties. Nobody wanted to even be in the same room with the kid who had the sick looking eye, let alone sit in a desk near the kid. So, if you looked like you may have “pink eye”, you were band from coming to school until you had a note from the doctor, indicating that you were cleansed of the highly contagious, icky, pink eye.
One spring morning, seemingly out of no where, the white of my right eye was eclipsed by a pink veil of sickness and pain. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was eight-years-old and in the third grade. Up until that point, illness and I had no acquaintance. Little did I know that illness would soon be introduced to me as my new cell mate.
As I did every morning when my mother called my name to wake me up for school, I took a deep breath of the new morning’s fresh aroma, hopped out of my bed, and turned the light on in my peach and green decorated bedroom. As the frosted dome flashed with a burst of light, surprised gripped me as the light plunged down, causing my eye to shutter with an unfamiliar pain. My eye began to weep as I squeezed my eye lid shut in order to hide the sensitive eye from the glaring light.
I walked over to the other side of my room and took a look into the smeared mirror that crowned the scratched up surface of my walnut dresser. I lifted my eyebrows high to force my protective eyelid to let me take a look at the aching eye. The brown of my eye looked like it was a perfectly round island in a sea of pink waters. Clear tears poured from the corner of my pink eye, pass my nose, down to the corner of my lip, and then finally to my chin. I lifted my right cheek high to squeeze that painful eye shut. Closing it seemed to be the only relief from the sharp pain.
With my hand covering the offended eye, I walked across the small hallway that separated my room from my parents’ sanctuary. My daddy was sitting on the edge of the king-size bed that he and my mother shared, lacing up his mud stained boots. He was already dressed in his clean, yet dingy looking work clothes. He looked at me, his oldest child, and asked me what was wrong with my eye. I sat down on the bed next to him, pulled my hand away from my face, cranked my eyebrows up yet again, and force my apprehensive eye to expose its sorrow.
My daddy, who was a tall, strikingly handsome, yet unrefined man, gently touched my right cheek as he peered into my eye. He squint his hypnotic green eyes as he looked into my painful eye. Without saying anything to me about what he perceived, he yelled to my mama, who was in the bathroom getting dressed for work. “Margie, Ann looks like she has the pink eye.”
My mother immediately turned around and stepped out of the bathroom. She had on a black bra, a full-length white slip, and off black stockings. Her round face looked like a freshly painted canvas of beautiful brown and burgundy tones. Her ears were adorned with large, gold loops. Every strand of her black wavy hair was brushed perfectly in a conservative, yet stylish bun in the back of her head.
She walked over to me and leaned her pregnant stomach towards my face as she lifted my chin to look down into my sick eye. Within sixty seconds, I was diagnosed.
“Yeah, she does have the pink eye. She’ll have to stay home with Mama today. I’ll take her to Dr. Silverman’s after I get off.”
Staying home from school was never fun if you were really sick. So, news of my declared absence from school was rather disappointing. I actually liked school, even though my mama was also my teacher.
I lifted my body up from the bed and moped across the threshold of my parent’s room, sighing and frowning with every step. Daddy called out to me before I could make it back across the hall.
“Go wash your hands. You don’t want to give your lil’ sister the pink eye.”
Frankly, I cared very little about my three-year-old sister, Paula, at this point. For that brief, selfish moment, I was thinking about myself. I didn’t feel like being sick. I wanted to go to school. And I certainly didn’t want to have any type of condition that would cause me to be pegged as “the girl with the cooties.” However, I did what Daddy said to do. I stopped, took a sharp left and entered the restroom to disinfect my hands of the yucky eye disease.
Later that afternoon, right in the middle of one of my favorite “Woody Wood Pecker” shows, my mother showed up to my grandmother’s house to pick me up to take me to the doctor. I kissed my grandmother goodbye and followed by mother to the gray Thunderbird that was parked on the gravel covered driveway. I looked up and daringly opened my right eye, hoping that both of my eyes could stare at the brilliant star that hung majestically like a dynamic jewel in the endless, blue sky. As soon as my eyelid cracked open, light assaulted my fragile eye. Tears escaped my eye as I barricaded my eye shut.
I hopped in the car and closed both of my eyes as Mama drove to Dr. Silverman’s office. His office was only ten minutes away from my grandmother’s house. So, the dark ride didn’t last long.
Dr. Silverman was an elderly, extremely friendly, white man, who ran a family medical practice in the middle of the ghetto. His unglamorous office sat on the corner of two of the most beat down streets in Houston. Partially bald up Paper, empty soda cans, and beer bottles garnered the edges of the tar covered streets. Old cars and trucks parked around the brown, brick building, providing the community with proof that Dr. Silverman was one of the most popular doctor’s in the ghetto.
My mother and I walked into Dr. Silverman’s tidy, little office. Brown paneling covered the unexcited walls. The tile floor looked as if they were swept and mopped only a few hours before we arrived. It was always clean in Dr. Silverman’s office. Likewise, it was always crowded in his office. Every plastic chair that was lined up against the walls were occupied by distressed looking black and brown folks, who were all waiting to be seen by the good doctor.
Dr. Silverman was a favorite in the community because he offered inexpensive medical services to poor, working class families. Many of his patients had no health insurance, which meant they had no options. So, they would sit in Dr. Silverman’s office and wait, no matter how long it took, to be seen by someone that seemed to know what they were doing.
My family had health insurance at this point, but they didn’t have it always. Dr. Silverman was declared the family doctor long before professional incomes and comprehensive health insurance coverage was introduced to my once impoverished daddy and mama. So, for loyalty sake, familiarity, and the convenience of a doctor that accepted walk-ins, we would travel to the ghetto from our suburban home to see Dr. Silverman.
After checking in at the front window, we waited in the crowded waiting room to be seen. At first Mama and I had to sit apart from each other, being that the only available seats were scattered in between people that gave no indication that they would shift to allow the pregnant mother to sit by her young child. After a few names were called, a seat next to Mama became available. I quickly jumped up and claimed the vacated seat as my own. With my left eye, I looked over at the Jet Magazine that my mother was flipping through. Pictures of beautiful, successful black men and women were on every other page.
As Mama slowly flipped through the pages, I quickly took a glance at the beautiful woman that was crowned Jet’s Beauty of the Week. Her coffee brown legs were so full and long, giving my chocolate dipped Barbie a little competition. Her thick black hair rested perfectly across the top of her supple left breast as if the photographer choreographed the seductive pose to offer picture perfect femininity. The only thing the young woman wore was a bright, white smile and a shiny red bathing suit that exposed her narrow waste and bell curved hips. I secretly wished that I could one day be a Jet Beauty of the Week, showing off all of my future goods to all of Black America.
After sitting in the hard, uncomfortable chairs for nearly ninety minutes, it was finally my turn. “Angela Bradley”, the nurse bellowed.
Even though my name is Angela Braden, I’ve learned from a young age that most people will hardly ever say my name correctly on the first try. I blame it on pure laziness. My name clearly doesn’t have some of the letters I hear people say when they call out my last name.
I jumped up, knowing the nurse was finally calling for me. My mother lifted her body up from the plastic chair, stomach first, every other part of her second. We traveled down what then seemed like a long hallway to an empty examination room. Once I was in the examination room, I knew that we were simply going to wait a little while longer. But at least, we were a little closer to actually being seen by the doctor.
After about fifteen minutes, Dr. Silverman popped open the interior door to the examination room. I always wondered what was on the other side of that door. I tried to take a sneak peek as he entered, but before I could take a look, the tall white man, with the white hair, who was dressed in the white coat, slam the white door, leaving me to wonder yet again, what was on the other side of that door.
After waiting for nearly two hours, Dr. Silverman looked into my sick eye for about two minutes and into my unsick eye for half a minute, and loudly announced to my mother what she thought she already knew.
“Looks like she has pink eye. I’ll write a prescription for some medicine that’ll clear it up right away. She can go back to school in a couple days.”
He firmly shook my hand, shook my mother’s hand, and quickly exited the office, going back into the part of his office that was never seen by any of his patients. My mother and I waited quietly until the nurse returned with the prescriptions. As the nurse entered, I tried to look pass the door as she entered the tiny office. The door quickly closed behind her. I silently sighed.
“I’ll be back to normal in a couple days.” I thought as I followed Mama out of the freezing, clean office back into the humid, dirty landscape that surrounded the clinic.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm Back!

Happy New Year!!!!!!

Thanks for being patient with me as I took a little time away from my blog. I feel energized and ready to go! I think it's going to be a great year for NuVision for a NuDay!!!

Here's what you can expect to be posted on the blog this year.

1. More stories that discuss my experience as a blind woman.
2. Honest reflections and revealing personal discoveries.
3. Monthly interviews with other individuals with visual disabilities.
4. Updates on legislation that impact individuals with disabilities, particularly the blind.
5. Details on my quest to get CNN to produce a "Disabled in America" documentary.
6. And whatever you say! If there's something in particular that you would like me to discuss, let me know!

I'll be posting at least once a week, but hopefully more! In the meantime, tell your friends about NuVision for a NuDay. We're back!

God's best!
Angela L. Braden