all blurred

Deep breath…here I go…

Recently I’ve been battling my own demon and I’m ready to talk about it. It’s no secret that I’m blind (duh, I have a blog about it) and most of you probably know that I do have some usable vision. The best way to explain it is I can see up close and can see quite a bit of detail IF I can hold the object real close to my face, the further away something gets, the blurrier it gets.

The best description of my vision is to imagine wearing a pair of glasses or sunglasses that get smudge on them; my vision is a lot like wearing much smudged glasses. My condition however is rather unusual and because it is, its never been clear what will happen to my vision as I grow up. However, many blind and visually impaired people have similar vision and have various ways of describing it. Okay, it’s not really important what I see but I thought it would help tell my story.

Recently I’ve been noticing my vision changing. Rewind a bit, my vision has pretty much been stable most of my life, maybe a few minor changes in light sensitivity, but in general it hasn’t changed. Okay, back to the story. My vision has just seemed blurrier and blurrier in the last six months or so.
One night in particular, last week, my husband and I were driving to his work Christmas party and suddenly everything became very blurry. I kept telling him I must have something in my eyes, I rubbed and rubbed them and even washed them out, but nothing changed. It was dark outside and all the car lights seemed brighter but everything else was fading. Tears welled up in my eyes (which surely didn’t help the blurry part), my husband simply reached over and held my hand and let me cry.

My vision never changed back “to normal” after that night.

In the car that night I sat there in a bit of shock, reality sort of hit me square in the face and my eyes welled up with tears. I felt sad, scared, lonely and confused. You see, for the last 5 or so years of my life I’ve been travelling around the country talking to blind people, many that are struggling with sudden vision loss, and I’ve been a mentor to blind youth, taught blind children and devoted a large portion of my life advocating that blindness is okay and doesn’t have to be a life-ruiner. Yet at that very moment my strength crumbled and I felt heartbroken.

The truth is, I feared writing this post because I know I’m an example to some. I feared that this would make other’s doubt my sincerity in my previous posts about the un-importance of having vision. I feared sitting down and writing it would hurt. I feared those who have mentored and taught me would feel their work unsuccessful, but mostly I feared that people would lose faith in my ability to be strong and resilient.


I am slowly gripping onto the fact that what I am feeling is okay and normal. I need to be real. I need to be sincere. I need to be truthful about my emotions. I do feel emotional pain right now, I’ve felt a little sorry for myself this week, I’ve cried a couple of times, I’ve wanted to just lye in bed and be sad for a while. I’ve told no one (other than GQ) about any of it, I wanted to grieve on my own first. In all of this I’ve had to stop, accept my feelings and emotions as they are and then I’ve had to move forward.

I don’t have the vision I once did (just a week ago) but I do have the skills I need to be successful with zero vision at all. I do have the perfect people in my life to encourage me, guide me, love me, motivate me and empower me. I do have the resources necessary to be successful and stay on the path I’ve plotted for myself. I do have the greatest husband in the world who let me cry it out and then said, “Good thing you don’t really need that vision to keeping being so awesome anyway.” I do have the National Federationof the Blind that literally saved my life by preparing me for this and whatever else may come my way. 
I do have EVERYTHING I need to be everything I’ve ever wanted to be.

Even those of you who are not blind, this story may strike you as familiar. We all had moments where we have looked at someone going through something challenging and thought to ourselves, “I would never respond that way…” or “I would never do it that way…” AND then you end up going through the very same thing later on in your life and realize, it’s not quite as black and white as you may have thought. Growing up I vowed to myself I would never get divorced, I was pretty judgmental of people who did get divorced, I believed firmly that EVERY problem could be solved. THEN I went through the process of deciding whether to get a divorce and boy was it a lot different on the inside than on the outside looking in.

Now, I know I will be okay but I also know it’s okay to take time to grieve. I found a quote that has encouraged me greatly and reminded me that it’s okay to be sad BUT you have to stop being sad and start being happy soon! The quote says, “It’s okay to not be okay as long as you’re not giving up.”

NOTE TO SELF: It will be okay. Whatever you are feeling right now is okay too, just accept it and take it head on. BUT then figure it out, get help, seek guidance, buck up, figure out a new way to do something, smile and move on.

Happy Holidays Everyone!
Photo Credit: Trever Hoehne


Louise said...

I don’t see any major conflict between what you’re saying now and what you have said in the past. Nobody said transition is easy, but you’ve had the right opportunities and training to make it work out pretty nicely in any event. I think this post is a testament to how quickly a person can bounce back. I mean, you wrote this a week after a major event. I’m sure you’re not feeling super chipper aboutg the change right now, but you’re carrying on with life pretty normally I’m betting. This is firstly because you have strong character, and secondly because of the opportunities and training you’ve received. Let’s keep packaging that up and shipping it out to others as best we can.

I don’t think any of us really are thrilled about being blind. I mean, I could be wrong. The truth is, I don’t love being blind, however, if I got to choose between my current life or a different life where I was sighted but never got to meet you and our other blind friends, I’d definitely choose to be blind . I wish I had a way to test my theory, but I’m pretty darn confident. What a great blessing to know you and so many friends and mentors in the National Federation of the Blind. Keep doing what you’re doing. Mine is a life saved also!

Meg said...

I'm so sorry Deja. I'm sorry that this is happening to you. I think it's OK to mourn more loss of your sight! Even though you have been trained so well to handle this trial in your life it's still OK to be sad that it's happening. I think you're amazing and have accomplished so much in spite of this!!

Meg said...

I'm sorry that this is happening Deja! I think it's OK to feel sad and mourn the loss of the sight that you had. Even though you have been so well trained for this, it's OK to feel sad about it. I've always been really impressed with how well you have handled this challenge in your life. You don't let it get in your way of doing what you really want! Hang in there!