Monday, December 19, 2011

Just one of those things...

When I pulled myself out of bed Thursday morning, it seemed that my day was going to be filled with the usual stress that I absolutely do not look forward to, as well as the usual joys that I've come to depend on to help me cope with the stress that has plagued me for the last few years. But there was something different waiting on me in the afternoon hours. Something that hardly ever happens... Something I work hard to avoid... Something that I hate...

I work from home. So, I typically spend most of my time at the house. That's really not something I've come to like since I've been working from home. However, the total convenience of earning money in the comfort of your home is so attractive, there are only a few things in life I would trade my work at home option in to gain.

Well, last Thursday was one of those unusual days that I had to go into the office. After my niece called to let me know what time she was coming to pick me up, I slipped on some denim jeans, a blue, three quarter length sweater, and some high heel, black boots. Next, I flat-ironed my hair, applied my make-up, slipped my jewelry on my ears and wrist, and sprayed my favorite perfume around my neck. My goal to look the part, even if I didn't feel the part, was achieved.

After leaving the office, I asked my niece to take me to the bank so that I could take care of some of my financial affairs. She said yes, but made it clear that she had no idea where the bank was that I needed to go to. I called my sister to get directions. But instead of giving directions, she eagerly agreed to take me herself. So, my niece brought me home, where I could get out of her passenger seat to switch to my sister's passenger seat to go to the bank.

After handling my financial affairs with the teller, I slipped my cash and receipts in my pocket, grabbed my sister's arm, and exited the building, already processing how I needed to split my money to cover the household bills. When I stepped out of the lobby of the branch, I could feel the warmth of the radiant sun shining across my face. Even though it's winter, it was 79 degrees that particular day. So, I was enjoying the unusual warm temperature and the coolness of the wind that brushed against my face.

All of the sudden, without any foreseeable warning, I slipped off the first of several cement stairs in front of the bank. It happened so quickly. One second I was walking, thinking about all the bills I needed to pay, but still enjoying the Houston weather. And then the next second, I slipped off the stair and went tumbling down, and quite, quite fast and hard, I might add.

I tried to use my hands to break my fall, but gravity took over and demanded that I continue to roll down the stairs. My mind was racing as I was tumbling. I didn't want to hit my face on that concrete. I didn't want to break a bone. I didn't want people around me that were watching to think of me as the pitiful blind lady. It was all so terrible. Finally, after about seven seconds, my body rested on the bottom step. My sister grabbed me and helped me off the ground.

Before I could get home, my body starting aching. My leg, back, and shoulder were bruised up pretty badly. Thankfully, I had no broken bones. I took some pain meds and got in the bed to rest my aching muscles.

That night, my family kept asking me over and over what happened. They wanted to blame my sister or the bank. I had to explain to all of them it was just an accident. And while I don't typically have accidents because I'm blind, I really think that this particular fall was a result of not being able to see.

So, there was no point in being mad at my sister who was guiding me. There's no point in getting a lawyer to try to sue the bank. There's no point in even being mad at myself. It's just one of those things that comes with being blind. Sometimes you're going to bump into things, stumble and fall, knock things over, and lose something that's right in front of you. It is what it is.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twenty Years

As I'm sitting here working on my memoir, I just realized that I've crossed over into the 20th anniversary of losing all my sight. I was 10 years old when I first contracted Glaucoma. After a 7 year battle that included 14 painful surgeries, swallowing countless pills, and dropping liquid medicine in my eyes, I was left only with the ability to perceive light from darkness. A year later, the ability to see light would also turn into a nere memory. And the tripped out thing is that after going through all of that, there are still folks that believe I'm faking my
If I'm that good of an actress, I need to be making millions in Hollywood instead of sitting here in this armchair updating my blog.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I have a confession.

In general, I hate it when people use social networking sites, like Facebook, to air out their dirty laundry. Most of the times, I cringe and shake my head every time a highly inappropriate piece of personal disclosure from one of my FB friends pops up in my FB feed. I often wonder if these people just don't care what people think about them and their disclosures, or if they just don't realize what people really think about them and their raw FB confessions.

And then there are other times when I sympathize with my FB friends when I read their random confessions. I honestly think that people just want to be heard. They want their voices to be recognized. They want their story to be told. Isn't that why I and millions of others have started personal diaries on the internet in the form of blogs? Hmm...

Even still, I think that it's important for people to understand that telling one's personal story or honest perspective on an issue should require that you think before you post/speak/publish.
Words follow us. And words also have the power to empower or destroy.
I encourage everyone to find a way to use their words to empower oneself or others rather than using words to insult or disrespect.

And if you're one of these people that need to disclose for the purpose of cleansing oneself or unburdening yourself of bad feelings, be careful what you disclose and who you disclose it to. You never want what you needed to get out of your system in the first place to loop back and crack you upside your head when and if someone decides to use your confession against you.

There's no doubt that I have used this blog as a form of self-therapy over the years. There have been countless times since I started this blog back in 2006 that I felt like I needed to just get something off of my chest. So, I would write about what I was feeling and post it right here, on NuVision for a NuDay. But I would be kidding myself if I didn't think that my words weren't being read by people that I know and don't know. So, I don't post anything here that can revisit me in the form of emotional or verbal violence if it gets in the hands of the wrong people.

In the last few months, I've been working on my first memoir. As I write my book of confessions, I'm trying my best to write a book that will empower myself and others. I am not interested in hurting or outing anyone. I'm not interested in using my book to get revenge against people that have hurt me over the years. The only reasons why I'm writing my story is to take ownership of my personal truths, help someone else, and make some money. All true! LOL

I have another confession. It's 3:18 in the morning where I am. The truth is that I feel absolutely horrible right now. The truth is that I wish I could just get on this blog and complain, complain, complain, and complain some more. But what good would that do me or you? So, instead of complaining about all the things I'm going through, I decided to write something that can be helpful to me and others if you or they stumble upon this post.

I have one more confession before I sign off.
I hope you have a beautiful weekend! It is my prayer that you find personal fulfillment and peace.

Angela L. Braden

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Like a Ton of Bricks

The other day, I was in the laundry room transferring a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer when the darkness I live in 24 hours of the day suddenly became more obvious to me than it normally does. A profound sadness fell over me as the memories of losing my sight flashed through my mind in what seemed like a millisecond. For that very moment, I wished I could somehow forcefully plunge through the walls of impenetrable darkness that surround me and reclaim the light that was taken from me twenty years ago. And then as quickly as the sadness came, it left me. I tossed the last of the clothes in the dryer and walked out of the laundry room, determined to live a happy life, with or without sight.

Sorry, ma'am. This is real life. Not a Sprint store or a Lexis dealership...

There's no doubt that I wish my life came with an upgrade benefit, the same way Sprint allows me to upgrade my phone every two years. Boy, don't I wish I could trade my life in for a new one after so many miles has accumilated on it, the same way car owners do when their whip is starting to require too many repairs to keep it running. Can you imagine it...

Yes, sir. I'm in the market for a new life. This one worked out beautifully for me in the beginning. But now, it just doesn't have the reliability it once had. I'd like to see what new lives you have on your showroom floor. This time, I want one with a full warranty, a fantastic body, and a superior navigation system. Money is not an option. Just put me in a new life that I can be proud to live.

But hey... It doesn't work out like that. The life we have now was given to us by God. And it is our job to take care of it the best way we can and know how. And if there is an upgrade that we want in our lives, we have to work to attain it. There's no doubt that the work we have to put in to change and/or upgrade our lives is tough. But you're worth the hard work! Give yourself a good life! That's what I've been trying to do for myself lately!!!!!

Angela L. Braden
Award Winning Blogger

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Black Sky; Memoir of a Blinding Girl

I'm proud to announce to my readers that I'm currently in the process of writing my first memoir, Black Sky; Memoir of a Blinding Girl. I've completed 50% of the first draft a couple days ago. I'm working a few hours each day to complete this draft by January 15th. Once I finish, the hard work of rewrites will begin. I'll also start the process to find a literary agent to help me enter the world of publishing. Please keep me in your prayers as I pen my story.

Happy living,
Angela L. Braden

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful Times 7

1. I'm quite thankful that I got a chance to see the world through the lens of a girl with perfect eye sight the first ten years of my life. I'm quite fortunate to have seen exquisite paintings, marvelous sculptures, the mastery of an ant bed, the coolness of the color turquoise, the breathtaking ornaments that decorate the day and night sky, the broad array of human physical characteristics, a sleepy crocodile, the lapping waters of a massive river, and countless other visual masterpieces that I’ll be able to cherish for a lifetime. #thankful

2. I'm thankful that I can brush my teeth, use the toilet, bathe my body, perm/wash/flatiron/style my own hair, and dress myself, without the assistance of others. #thankful

3. I'm thankful that I got a chance to climb a tree, ride a bike, go horseback riding, jump from a swing while in motion, dangle from monkey bars, write in cursive, draw and paint an award winning piece of art, thread a sewing needle, light a firecracker, play Monopoly, catch a fish, and play video games before losing my sight. #thankful

4. I may not have all the $$ I feel like I want and need, but I'm so thankful that the money I do have has afforded me with a roof over my head, a mattress to sleep on, several sofas and chairs to sit on, two refrigerators to store my food, a washer and dryer to keep my clothes clean, a stove to cook my food, computer to type on, internet access to surf the web with, software to make my computer do the special little things it does for me to be able to use it, nice enough clothes and shoes, and food that I actually like to eat to keep me full. #thankful

5. I'm so thankful to b my mother's and father's daughter. I can't imagine what my life would look like if I didn't have both of them in it. Both of them truly are the reason why I am who I am today. I can never repay them for what they've done for me. I love you, Thurman and Margie Braden!!!!! #thankful

6. In 2008, I created a bucket list with 101 goals on it. Tracing my family history back to emancipation was #27 on my list. I'm so thankful that I achieved that and more. I've traced six branches of my ancestry to 1870: Wyatt, Grayson, Boyd, Dunn, Bacon, and Tillery. And I hit the jackpot with my Braden research. We've now been able to trace my Braden roots all the way back to the 1600's. Remarkably, I have ancestors that participated in the colonization of Jamestown. Because Dudley Braden had white ancestors, we've been able to trace our family history back to Scotland and England. I won't stop researching until I hit the banks of Africa. So, I forge ahead. #thankful

7. I'm quite thankful that I have the ability to remember, imagine, brainstorm, problem solve, analyze, criticize, and make decisions. #thankful

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Confrontation (Part 3 of 3)

Next we headed to the stables to embark on what was to be the first horseback ride for many of us. I held
Christie’s hand as we hiked on the dirt trail away from the lake and towards the horses. When we arrived at the stables, I was delighted to see the large, gallant horses that stood proudly as we walked towards them. Their brown coats were so thick and beautiful. Several of the horses were stamping their feet, trying to get the flies that were landing on them to fly elsewhere. I was totally disgusted by the sight of those huge, flying pests.
“Before we take our friends for a ride, let’s feed them a snack. Who wants to feed the horses?” Miss Lisa asked.
Several girls volunteered. I figured I should wait to see what did feeding the horses entail before I shouted meeeee.
A husky man with a gray mustache, dressed in distressed, blue denim overalls, an orange, cotton shirt, and a straw hat, grabbed a small metal box from one of the shelves in the stable and handed it to Miss Lisa. She grabbed three sugar cubes and put her hands up to one of the horse’s large mouth. That’s when I got a glimpse of how huge the teeth are in a horse’s mouth. There was no way I was going to feed one of these big teeth beasts one of those sugar cubes.
When the girls finished feeding the horses a couple dozen of the sweet squares, Miss Lisa announced that it was time to saddle the horses. She explained that she and the stable keeper were going to take two of us at a time out to the horse trail. I rushed to get in line, but I managed to somehow be towards the back of the line. Miss Lisa ignored my place in the line and motioned for me to come forward where she and the horses were standing.
She explained that I would be one of the first two girls that would ride, being that my parents were there to pick me up. I figured that someone must've informed her on the walkie talkie when I wasn't paying attention. I was so glad my parents were being patient, giving me a chance to ride.
I watched Miss Lisa help Sylvia, a petite, dark haired, Latina girl, mount her horse. It seemed easy enough when Sylvia did it. So, I figured it would be easy for me too. When my turn arrived, Miss Lisa held my waist as she instructed me to slide my foot into the stirrup and to hoist my other leg across the horse she affectionately called Benny. As soon as I had my leg hiked up to straddle the horse, the large animal stamped his massive hoof to shake off a huge, black fly that landed on his nose. He nearly sent me flying to the ground.
“It’s alright.” Lisa said.
“I got you.” Gripping me tighter around my waist.
I held tightly to the saddle as I mounted the horse. I looked down at the ground, quickly taking notice how far away I was from it, and also realizing how badly I would hurt myself if I accidently fell from the horse. I gripped the saddle tighter that circled Benny's waist.
“You don’t have to be scared. Benny's a good boy.” Patting the horse on its back.
Miss Lisa grabbed a leather strap that was attached to the harness of each horse’s neck. As she pulled forward, each horse started trotting to walk along each side of her. Fear crept up my back and tension gripped my shoulders. I felt so uneasy on that horse. I felt like I was getting dizzy, unable to keep my balance, and about to fall off the horse’s back at any moment. I kept looking down at the ground instead of ahead of me. Before I even recognized what I had done, I parted my lips and loudly blurted, “I’m scared! I need to get off.”
Miss Lisa stopped the horses from trotting and walked over and rubbed my back.
“You’ll be alright. Trust me.”
“No, I want to get off now.” Tears filled my eyes.
I’m not sure why I was crying. I’m not sure why I was so afraid. I just knew I wanted to get off that horse right then and not a second later.
"Please now!" I screamed.
Miss Lisa grabbed my waist as she directed me to safely get down from the horse. I tipped over to the side, nearly falling as I tried to catch my balance. I blinked my eyes over and over, trying to focus my eyes through the tears.
“We better get you back to the main office where your parents are.” Mixing the salty tears and sweat as she wiped my face.
Next, she used her walkie talkie to call someone and ten minutes later, Miss Tina arrived to the stables. She grabbed my hand and told me she was going to take me to my parents, who were waiting for me in her office. More tears entered the corners of my eyes. Miss Tina squeezed my hand and asked me why I was crying. Instead of answering her, I held my breath to try to get the disappointment to back out of my system.
I looked at all the girls, who were looking at me with puzzled expressions. I waved a sad goodbye towards them. I then spotted Christie, who was standing at the end of the line. Her reddish brown skin almost matched the red dirt Where she was standing in her blue and white Addidas. She had on a snazzy, red, white, and blue short set that I hadn’t really paid attention to before that point. Sadness filled her brown eyes as she waved goodbye to me.
“Bye Angela. See you at school.” She said.
I released the air from my lungs and offered her a somber goodbye as I wiped the remaining tears from my eyes.
Miss Tina and I slowly walked to the office where my parents were waiting on me. When we arrived to the air conditioned building, I was relieved to feel the coolness of the air and to also see my smiling parents. Daddy informed me that my things were already in the car, ready to go. And the only thing they needed to get back on the road was me. I pulled my hand from Miss Tina’s hand and went to grab my mother’s arm.
Miss Tina and my parents exchanged a little conversation about the weather, the campgrounds, the traffic in Houston, and the mosquito problem in the woods. Twenty minutes later, we were riding on 59 South, headed back to Houston. My daddy asked me if I enjoyed the horseback ride.
“It was okay.” I replied.
“Just okay?” Mama asked.
I didn’t tell my parents how scared I was and that I demanded to get off the horse. And even though my parents were very perceptive when it came to each other and their four daughters, they had no idea that I had been crying right before I met them at the office.
I did, however, tell them about my fish victory. Daddy laughed and laughed when I told him how Christie threw the fish back in the water. My mother didn’t think it was quite as funny. That caused Daddy and I to laugh more.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Confrontation (Part 2 of 3)

After about five more minutes of walking on the winding trail through the East Texas woods, we finally made it to the lake. I spotted the other girls in my camping group sitting on a large wooden pier. Each of them had small fishing poles in their hands. I couldn’t wait to get my chance to throw a line into the water.
As we stepped on the pier, someone tapped me on my right shoulder, nearly startling me. I looked to the right and it was one of the girls from my group.
“Oh, Hi Christie.” I said.
“I’ve been waving at you, trying to get you to come and sit on the pier next to me, but you were igging me. Are you mad at me?” Worry filled her large, brown eyes as she tried to figure out why I was acting the way she thought I was acting.
Christie was one of my best friends in the third and fourth grade. We were separated in the fifth grade when the fifth grade teachers did a lottery system to assign the students to the classes. We very seldom got a chance to play together since her school bus picked her up less than ten minutes after the dismissal bell would ring. So, any opportunity we got a chance to hang out, we anxiously grasped at it. I guess that’s why she was confused to why I didn’t respond to her waving at me.
“Christie, I didn’t see you waving at me.” I informed.
Her eyes looked puzzled as she studied me to discern if I was being honest. I grabbed her hand and smiled at her, trying to reassure her that I would never ignore her.
“Oh, you know I want to sit next to you on the pier.” I said.
I turned and thanked Miss Tina for walking with me. She tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me to be very careful. Before walking away, she told me that she would come and get me when my parents were back.
“Have fun!” She commanded.
I trotted down the pier, telling Christie about the squirrel and bird fight I witnessed on the way to the lake. She laughed and started acting out the fight scene, one minute pretending to be the bird and next the squirrel. Her twisted pony tails danced as she flapped her arms and jerked her neck, pretending she was pecking the squirrel. By the time we got to the line of girls that were sitting on the edge of the pier fishing, both of us were bubbling over with giggles. We sat down, and our team leader, Miss Lisa, brought us two small fishing poles. She then offered us a plastic bag that had about a dozen brown worms in it.
“Ew!” I yelped.
“Yes, we’re going to use live bait. I’ll put it on the hook for you.” Taking one of the worms out of the bag.
I looked at the squirmy creature as she slid the thin metal hook through his body. My mind raced back to the book I read in the third grade, How to Eat Fried Worms. There was no way I could ever eat a worm. I would eat dirt first. I thought.
She handed me the fishing pole and I dropped the line in the water, often pulling it up to see if I had caught anything.
“You’ll know when you catch something. Stop pulling your line out the water. Be patient.” The team leader said to all of us.
Christie and I continued to talk about the squirrel and the bird fight, our anticipated horseback ride, and the marshmallow roast that I was going to miss later that night. Suddenly, I felt a tug at my line. Excitement ran from the back of my neck, down the center of my back as I gripped the fishing pole with both hands.
I caught a fish!” I screamed.
One of the other girls quickly told me that I was lying. I ignored her accusation, knowing that the truth was hooked on my fishing line. Miss Lisa told me to pull my line out of the water very carefully. I slowly rose the pole in the air, lifting the line out of the water, and at the end of the string was a small, orange and white fish, wiggling and flapping its scaly body.
Christie and a few of the other girls clapped and celebrated my catch. I flashed the other girls a wide smile as I boastfully held my fishing pole.
“Good job, Angela.” Miss Lisa said.
“What do I do now?” I asked.
“We’re going to take it off the hook and throw it back in the water.” She informed.
Confusion accosted my smile and I shot Miss Lisa a bewildered look.
“Back in the water?” Christie asked, obviously just as confused as I was.
“Yes, we don’t want the fish to die do we? We have to hurry?” She insisted.
Miss Lisa grabbed my pole from my hand and asked me if I wanted to take the fish off the hook. I looked at the flapping, wet fish and quickly declined.
“I’ll do it.” Christie fearlessly volunteered.
Without any fear, Christie carefully slid the hook out of the fish’s bleeding mouth.
She proudly held the orange and right fish up to give the group a good look at the fish, who was obviously gasping for water. Without any warning, she tossed the fish in the air ahead of us like she was throwing a baseball across a grassy field. The orange and white fish soared in the air until gravity took over, causing it to plunge into the lake and disappear from our sight
“He’s probably for sure dead now.” I laughed and said.
”Why did you do that?” Miss Lisa asked after letting out a horrified gasp.
“You said the fish needed to go back in the water, right?” Christie said with a sheepish grin.
Walking away from us with frustration on her heels, the group leader replied, “Yes, we were going to drop it in the water, not send it flying in the water like a cannonball.” .
Christie and I giggled as we continued to sit on the edge of the pier. I noticed that some of the other girls were sniggling when the team leader wasn’t watching. After about five more minutes of fishing, Miss Lisa blew a whistle and told everyone that the fishing activity was over. I was the only girl in our group to catch a fish.

**Special thanks to Aunt Thelma, Frances, and Shirley for giving me feedback on part one. Stay tuned for part three. I'll post it tomorrow.**

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Confrontation (Part 1 of 3)

While in the fifth grade, I was afforded the very exciting opportunity to go on a week-long camping trip in East Texas with my classmates. Upon arriving at the campgrounds, I immediately noticed the towering pine trees that guarded each side of the dirt roads, the crystal clear sky, and the strange yet beautiful flowers that grew like vines around the massive trunks of the trees. There was something else that became strangely apparent to me after arriving at the camp. As I cautiously hiked along the muddy trail to the log cabin that I, along with nine other ten year old girls, would call home for the week, it seemed that the clarity in the colors of the leaves and wildflowers was not as defined as I expected them to be. Low hanging branches were discovered only when my face was being scratched up by the bristly leaves or pointy edges of the twigs. My ability to discern dry ground from puddles of muddy water was inexplicably impaired. To say the least, my ability to independently navigate, without incident, had been seemingly altered overnight. However, I didn’t know why.
With good reason, I experienced a great deal of trepidation when traveling throughout the campgrounds. No matter how careful I tried to be, I stumbled into one accident after the other. I was either stepping my brand new, white sneakers into a puddle of murky mud, getting clawed in the face by hanging limbs, or tripping over large stones and fallen branches.
The mystery of why I was having trouble seeing was outright baffling. Fear, confusion, embarrassment, and anger took turns visiting me while I was at the camp. I was scared and concerned for my safety. Likewise, I was embarrassed that I couldn’t manage to take a step without stumbling or losing my balance.
Children being the cruel, little people that they are so capable of morphing into tormented me with their jokes and ridicule. The more they laughed, the more I stumbled, and the more I stumbled, the more they laughed. The kids managed to keep my embarrassment heightened. I grew angry at the children for laughing and taunting me, rather than being concerned. Even my classmates, who knew me all of our school-aged-years, were laughing and making jokes about me the entire trip.
After three days of observing my unusual clumsiness, Miss Tina, the director of the camp, contacted my parents to tell them about the problems that I appeared to have with my sight. My parents did not hesitate to travel to the out-of-town location of the camp to come and rescue their child from whatever was happening.
When my parents arrived, I was a little disappointed that they were there to pick me up, being that later in the morning we were going to get a chance to go horseback riding. I pleaded with my parents to please wait a few hours to allow me to finish the morning activities. My father, who was always a stickler about time when he was traveling outside of Houston, reluctantly agreed.
“Margie and I will go grab something to eat while you ride the horse. And try to be careful. We came to pick you up to take you to see Dr. Jeffrey about your eyes, not to go to the emergency room because you done broke your neck.”
I hugged both of them and offered them a hearty thank you for giving me the chance to go horseback riding for the first time.
Daddy asked Miss Tina where they could find a Denney’s in the area. The nerdy, yet athletic looking leader of the camp pulled out a map from her desk, drew a line from the camp to an intersection on the map with a red marker, and assured him that he wouldn’t get lost.
Before leaving the director’s office, Mama pulled out a purple brush that had thick black bristles rising from it. Being the mother of four girls, she always kept a brush in her purse. She grabbed my face with one hand and started brushing the wavy strands of hair that crawled restlessly out of my pony tail back to a submissive position on my head. She took her hand and rubbed my hair back as she continued to brush.
“Margie, the girl looks alright. Let her go ride this horse she was talking about so we can get back to Houston.”
My mother kept brushing until my hair met her level of satisfaction. When she finished, she adjusted my clothes, rubbed my hair again, and then she looked down into my eyes.
“Promise me you’ll be careful, Ann.”
“Yes, Ma’am. I promise.”
“Yeah, at least wait until we get some more life insurance on you first.” Daddy laughed as he poked me in the shoulder.
“Stop it, Thurman.” Mama said.
Miss Tina left me in the small office as she walked my parents back to their car. All four walls of the office were covered with pictures of elementary school age kids of all races, smiling and waving at the camera. There were several boy scouts and girl scouts posters also hanging on the wall to the left of me. On the wall behind Miss
Tina’s desk was an eight by ten framed picture of a small, ruddy face girl with crystal blue eyes and golden blonde hair pulled into a pony tail on top of her head. She was dressed in a green and white shortset, white socks, and white shoes. She flashed a wide smile as she boastfully held a large, blue ribbon in her right hand. The little girl kind of sort of looked like our always smiling, overly energetic camp director, Miss Tina. I decided I would ask her was she the little girl in the photo when she came back into the office. When Miss Tina returned, I looked at her blue eyes and compared them to the blue eyes of the girl in the picture.
“Is that you?” Pointing my right index finger at the photograph.
“Yep, that’s me. I was ten-years-old in that picture. About your age.” She admitted.
She next announced that she would walk me over to where my group was fishing at the lake in the middle of the campground.
“Fishing?” I asked as I hopped out the wooden office chair.
“Yes, fishing got added to today’s activities since you guys missed it on the second day because of the rain. Let’s go.” Motioning me to follow her out of the air conditioned office back into the clammy, hot outdoors.
I was excited about getting a chance to go fishing and horseback riding. Two firsts in one day was pretty good. I thought. I was so glad Daddy and Mama agreed to let me stay for a few more hours.
When Miss Tina and I were walking to the lake, I was met with the same problems I had been experiencing the three days before. I stumbled over large rocks and broken tree branches. My steps slowed down as I looked down at the ground to make sure my feet wouldn’t continue to betray me. I looked over at Miss Tina, who looked nervous as she intently watched me. Her ocean blue eyes poured with concern and even pity.
“Be careful as we go down this hill up here.” She warned.
The dirt trail narrowed as we trotted down a decline in the ground. I turned my head and looked to each side of me. There were tall trees that stood closely together, making it difficult to see if some wild animal was lurking within the foliage. Suddenly, the largest brown squirrel I had ever seen darted down from one of the husky trees into the middle of the trail directly in front of us. Next, a small, blue bird with gray and white streaks splashed in its wings flew from the same direction and furiously dove its pointy beak into the top of the squirrel’s furry head. The squirrel quickly turned around and took a bold stance to defend itself. The angry bird landed about two feet in front of the squirrel and the two animals squared off.
My eyes popped as I watched the squirrel and bird challenge each other. Even though the squirrel was much larger than the bird, I quickly concluded that the bird definitely had the upper hand, being that the bird could fly. I rested on my heels and watched to see if I was going to be right.
The squirrel jerked his large, muscular body towards the bird, obviously trying to intimidate the small, feathered creature. But the bird didn’t fly away. Instead, the bird locked its tiny pupils on the squirrel and raised its wings in a seething motion, indicating it was ready to attack once again.
Miss Tina stopped and held her slender arm out in front of me to prevent me from walking further down the trail. There was no need for her to worry. I wasn’t going to take a step forward until the path was clear again. I didn’t want the squirrel and bird to realize we were there and then join forces and attack us rather than each other.
Miss Tina pulled me in closer and whispered to me. “The squirrel must’ve invaded the bird’s nest. Mama birds are very protective of their nests. I need to stop them from fighting.”
The camp director, who looked to be in her early twenties, bent over to grab a gray stone from the dusty ground. When she stood erect, her blonde hair swept across her narrow face. Next, she pulled her hair back behind her ears with one hand and tossed the round stone towards the squirrel and the bird, hoping she would startle them and cause their attention to shift off each other.
When the stone hit the ground, the squirrel snapped out of his fight trance and looked at the rock. Suddenly, the bird lifted its small body into the air, swooped down towards the squirrel, and pecked the furry enemy in its head three more times. The squirrel twirled hysterically as he tried to dodge the bird’s air attack, but the bird continued to swoop down and successfully strike the wobbling target. Finally, the bird flew up into the sky and back towards the trees, leaving the squirrel battered and disoriented in the middle of the dirt trail.
“Oh, my God! You think he’s okay?” I asked.
“I’m not sure if it is a he or a she.” She corrected me, rather than answering my question.
As she took a step forward, the squirrel realized we were present and it bolted into the brush within the wooded borders of the trail we were walking on.
“I guess the squirrel is scared we’re going to try to fight it next.” She giggled.
“So, do you think the squirrel will be okay?” I asked again, without the gender description, hoping she would go ahead and answer my question this time around.
“Yeah, it’ll be alright. I bet it won’t mess with another mama bird again.” She declared as she continued on the trail.

I'll post the other two editions of this recollection later this week. Please let me know what you think!**

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blind as a Bat

In the recent months, I've been spending a lot of time conversing with people that I have known all my life, but didn't really hang out with before now. Thanks to my family reunion, I've developed relationships that I truly cherish and hope to further develop over time.

While hanging with my family, I've noticed how often people use "blind" references to make their point about various things. And interestingly enough, they make these references directly to me when conversing to me, and they say these things while in my presence. Now, here's the thing... I'm not offended by their references, but I do notice them. And for the record, I don’t think they are being mean or malicious. I simply think that they are not used to being around someone that is actually blind.

I know you may be wondering at this point, what is a "blind reference. Here are a few examples and my silent responses to their remarks.

"If I don't have my glasses on, I'm blind as a bat."
Really how blind is a bat? Blinder than me? LOL

"Even Stevie Wonder can see that."
Why are you picking on Stevie? LOL Stevie is likely more capable of "seeing" than you. Seeing has very little to do with the eyes if you ask me.

"Those two are like the blind leading the blind."
Who said that the blind can't lead the blind? Ask a few blind people about that. LOL It is common for the blind to lead the blind. LOL

"Looks like Ray Charles picked out her clothes this morning."
I don't know about Ray Charles, but I pick out my clothes in the morning just fine. Have you seen me lately?

"I can't see a thing."
I'm the one that can't see a thing! LOL

Again, I'm not offended. My skin is thicker than that. However, I do notice when people make references to the blind. And with that being said I feel that people need to consider what they say before they say it.

And what’s really interesting is that these people really have no clue what it means to be blind as a bat or blind as Angela.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Considering the Comfort of the Cactus **Random Thought**

Have we assumed that just because the cactus can withstand the rays of the sun, the cactus never grows weary of the heat?
Have we assumed that the needles in the cactus flesh aren’t painful for the cactus itself?
Have we assumed that the cactus is so strong, just because it never leans or looks droopy?
Have we assumed that the cactus is not thirsty, just because it can live off of very little water?
Perhaps we should ask the cactus how it really feels.
Better yet... Perhaps someone should ask me how I really feel.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Random Reflections

1. I wonder what kind of personality and temperament I would've had if I wasn't introduced to the stress of chronic illness and loss at such an early age. What path would I have taken if disability had mercifully passed over me, rather than forcefully weaving itself into every aspect of my life?

2. I wish I could heal my mother of all her illnesses and pains. She doesn't deserve to endure so much suffering. Oh, how I wish I could make it all better for her. She shouldn't have to wait until she gets to heaven to be alright.

3. I wish I could press the delete button on the mental illness gene that runs in my family. I wish I could get rid of the fat gene too. :) Bad genes are one of those unfair aspects of living.

4. I need some rest.

5. I need some rest.

6. Did I say I need some rest already? LOL

7. So far, summer school is good this year. No complaints as the student or the teacher.

8. I'm trying something different with my hair. It's a style I've never tried before in my life. I think I like it already. Yay! This style will get me through the first two summer months. By the time my family reunion comes in August, I'll be back to the usual.

9. I wonder if I'm aging well, or do I look a mess?

10. I hate that I have to pay home owner's association fees.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Skin I'm In

Yesterday, while speaking on a panel discussion at a conference for the blind and visually impaired, I suggested that one of the ways a person can adjust to their physical impairment is by learning to love every part of oneself, including the parts that don't work so good or so fast. I never thought I would get to this point, but I'm learning to be okay with all of who I am. I am blind. And it's all good! I will never ever apologize for this skin I'm in. So, I depart from the shame and run towards the light of self-love and liberation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If I have so much to say, why am I not saying it?

There is no doubt that I've had plenty of introspections, ideas, and experiences that I've could've written about in the name of blogging. So, why haven't I? Hmm... Not sure... If nothing else, I could've been using this platform to unload, to unburden myself of some of the weight I'm carrying. But instead, I've stayed silent. Maybe I just don't have the energy to share some of the things I've been going through lately.

So, I apologize to my faithful readers. You come by and visit, even though I haven't posted anything in a while. Again, I apologize to you.

Well, if nothing else, I've certainly had some random reflections. So, keeping with my tradition of posting my random reflections when I have nothing to say, or when I have something to say, but no energy to say it.... Here goes...

Wait a minute... Hold on... I just had a thought...

Instead of me writing about my random reflections, which are not actually all that random, I'm going to save those things for "real" blog entries for the upcoming weeks.

Here's some of the topics you can look forward to.

1. The Blind Card
2. The Beautiful Cyclops
3. The Real Reason I Can't Swim

Alright... Meet you back here in a couple days.

Many blessings!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Light

I’ve been under stress since I was eight-years-old. So, I’m pretty good at stress management. Most people would crumble under the amount of stress that I’ve been under in the last 25-years. However, I’ve managed to stay on top. And it’s not because I’m so strong or so smart. It’s mainly because I’ve always been open to the notion that light can drive out the fear and anxiety that darkness brings.

Today, I’m surrounded by darkness. And I’m not talking about visual darkness. I’m talking about the darkness that comes when life circumstances are so gloomy and dark that it’s hard to find hope and encouragement. Right now, I’m battling fear, worry, and anxiety. However, I’m calling for the light to strike the darkness and drive the negative feelings away. I’m commanding the light to overtake the darkness and allow me to see God in all of this that I’m going through.

**God, I know you’re still here with me. But it would do my heart well to see you right now. God, Please shine your light and drive the darkness away so that I might see your hand at work in this situation.

I know I haven’t told you a lot lately, but I do love you beyond human measure. And my heart is yours. I place my life in your capable and loving hands.

Your child,


Sunday, January 02, 2011

The Tiny Giant (Part 1 of 4)

I’ve been hearing people say that 2011 is the beginning of a new decade. That idea got me to thinking… Hmmm… Is it really the beginning of a new decade, or was last year the beginning of a new decade?
Okay… Let’s think about this together… When we flipped from 1999 to 2000, people were calling that the new millennia. But was it? I’m thinking that the year 2000 was the last year of that particular century. Were we counting from 0 to 99 or 1 to 100?
Well if we were counting from 0 to 99, last year was the beginning of this particular decade, not this year… Yeah, I know that’s a little quirky and a bit technical… LOL My brain can be a little weird at times.
If you have some ideas on this let me know.

Okay… On to the good stuff…

Well, every since 2000 rolled in, my life took on a different look and texture than it had been before the start of the so called new millennia”. It was the first week of 2000 that I entered full time employment. It was the first year that I started my own business. It was the first year that I started feeling like a woman. I was 25 then. I was young and ready to take on the world! And I had proof that I could conquer the world. Just two years before the turn of the so called “new century”, I had successfully matriculated through a hellish college experience. So, I was convinced I could do any task that was placed before me.

Now, that I’m well beyond 25, I realize how much of a child I really was. Yeah, I was mature for my age, but I was so young, so naive, so inexperienced, so inspired to believe that there was nothing that could stop me from achieving my personal best. Now that I look back on the year 2000, I realize how innocent, pure, unchaste, and relentless I was. I had unbendable hope, defiant faith, and unwavering determination. Nothing… And I mean nothing was going to stop me.

Little did I know that in 2002, I would be introduced to a pervading force that was so strong, so bold, so fierce, and so vicious, that even the super, courageous, always achieving, blind girl would be knocked flat on her face, with no clue if she had the tools to overcome the towering giant. I was completely clueless that there was a set of circumstances that could leave me stammering and fumbling in the dark more than my blindness had.

However, on the night of August 2, 2002, a tiny, but massive giant marched upon my village and crushed the hut I was so comfortably living in. Without any detectable warning, the unforgiving giant traveled through my mother’s veins up to her brain and reeked havoc on a woman that was thought of as a saint by so many. On That unforgettable Friday night, a blood clot the size of a tiny pencil lead suffocated a major portion of my mother’s brain. She suffered a massive stroke . And there is no doubt that stroke changed the course of her life, as well as the lives of her daughters.

The night of August 2, 2002, I began to learn that a stroke was much more than a blood clot that attacks the brain. Over the last 8 years, I've learned that tiny clot not only kills brain cells, it kills and disables the family structure, stability, and direction.

**To be continued…**

(Update on the new millennia thing… I found out that there is a debate when the new millennia actually began. So, I’m on to an idea that’s already up in the air. So, for the record, it is unclear if 2010 or 2011 was the beginning of the new decade. But far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter. I’m just glad for the new year.)

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!!

I'd like to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year!!!!!

I hope that this year brings you great success and triumph!!!!!

Stay tuned for my 2010 reflections and my 2011 goals. I'll post them within the next few days. It's going to be good!!!!

Love and peace to you!

Angela L. Braden