Ten Worst Things about being blind Molly Burke Response Blog Post

Recently YouTuber, Molly Burke, did a video called, 10 WORST Things About Being Blind!. Even though I am not completely blind, I have low vision. Some of the things Molly mentioned in the video I cannot relate to. However, some of them I can, and I would like to explain some of my own personal experiences within the topics that Molly mentioned in the video.

  1. “Feeling vulnerable”- I feel this a lot when I have my white cane out. Especially, when people think that I am faking or that I am using it without the training that I have had. I have two stories to share, to explain what I mean, the first one happened when I was at the local college, I had just come out of the restroom, and a classmate said she saw a man walk into the woman’s bathroom and a few minutes later come back out. Since we did not see any sign of him being a staff member, we wanted to report it. I went with my classmate to report it, the staff member refused to listen to me saying, that I was blind and could not see; therefore, I did not know what I was talking about. I explained that I had low vision and that I could see some. I felt like I was not heard. I am not sure what happened after it was reported.

The second story I have to tell is from the same school. It was raining, and I had to get a paper towel to wipe my hands and bag. I needed to travel to the next building; and I knew that I was going to be needing my cane. I got it out, and finding that it was wet, I wiped it down. I left the restroom, and started to go my way when a student looked at me with shock. She had seen me before without my cane.  She was polite and asked me why I needed my cane sometimes and other times I did not. I was able to explain my condition. I do not mine when people ask questions, and are nice about it, however, I hate it when people say, “You have glasses; you’re faking it.” or “You do not have any training with that thing.”  Another thing that makes me feel vulnerable is when I have my cane out and I am traveling by myself. Even though I do not qualify for a guide dog, I feel that I would be safer. I remind myself that there are good people in this world, but I still have to be careful. I even feel more vulnerable while I am waiting for the paratransit bus; especially if it is running late.

  1. “When people, in general, expect less of you,”- This one really hit home for me. From the time I was young until all of my disabilities were diagnosed and I was getting the proper treatment, there were low expectations by my teachers and doctors. I held a higher standard for myself by getting a regular rather than a special diploma and getting a college degree. I have dreams of getting my master’s one day. What is worse besides the educational system is society. Let’s be real, in the video, Molly states that society has low expectations for people with disabilities because there is a lack of education about blindness. I feel that way too especially when it comes to employment. Society, I feel from my own personal experiences, expects us to either have crummy low wage jobs or no job at all because of the barriers that we face.

I feel low standards from my caseworkers. Last year, Division of Blind Services wanted to drop me all because of lack of employment placement. I had to appeal their decision because I felt like I needed more help with daily living skills. It hurt, even more, two years ago when I did a vocational assessment, and the summary of the report said to give up on the job search due to my many health issues. I refuse to do that because I see my full potential in gaining self-employment. The last and final point I want to bring up on this topic is how my family treats me. They refuse to learn about my conditions and how I can reach my potential. I have set higher goals for myself rather than giving up.

  1. “Accessing information and education,”- This one hit a nerve. Because until I was diagnosed with my visual impairment and started getting large print some of my school work was very inaccessible. I can remember that my mother used to either read my homework out to me or write notes explaining that I could not see my work. This, in turn, would make my teachers upset. Even in college things were not as accessible as I was hoping they would. I took a computer class and because the disability office had problems getting the book in a proper format I struggled. I passed my class but just barely. Thankfully, at the end of the term, I received Kurzweil 3000 which is a text to speech screen reader.
  2. “Having to rely on other people”- This one hit me right in the heart. Probably more than any other topic. I lack the ability to drive and I either have to rely on public transportation or friends and family to take me to where I want to go. When I was younger, I dreamed of being able to hold a restricted driver’s license. My eye doctor was not sure what my future held for me and there was hopes for better treatment and advancements in technology. In recent times, I am learning how to become independent by taking lessons on cooking, technology aids, and travel.
  3. “Lack of employment opportunities”- This one I can relate to as a person who has been looking for employment for five years. Finding a job is not easy. I agree with Molly when she states that its easier to build your own success then it is to prove it to other people.
  4. “Being more at risk for sexual abuse and violence”- I feel strongly about this topic because I know a few people who have experienced this themselves.

I am sure there are more topics that can be talked about when it comes to having a visual impairment, but I think I can agree with Molly that this is a good place to start talking and how to improve these topics and more for the community.

 

2019: More movement, patience, and positivity

2018 went by so quickly; and now 2019 is here. I decided to set a theme for the year. More movement, patience, and positivity.

The reason I chose these key points are simple and easy to understand.

Movement: For me, this means a couple of different things.  The goal I have is more self-care. I want to take better care of myself because I deserve it. I want to work on worrying and stressing less.  I can do this in a number of ways. Writing in a journal, reading, and just getting things done without procrastinating is a great way for me to help myself.  More exercise: I would like to lose some weight. I am conscious about how I look and feel, and even though I am only slightly overweight, if I do not lose what I need to, it can become a problem.

The second goal is to work on my craft. As a writer, I should always work on improving my writing, and I want to work on my editing skills. I want to work on continuing to grow my audience by being more present on my social media platforms.

Patience: This is a value that I need and want to work on.

Positivity: I want to stop being so negative. I found out, in 2018, that being and thinking positive helps. I want to achieve my dreams and goals no matter how big or small they are; having family and friends who hold me accountable is a great help. Finally, I want to focus on giving back to the community. No matter if its big or small I hope that God will allow me to be more thankful during this season and to help me realize its not always about me but others.

Do you have a theme for this year or do you have any specific goals you want to achieve? Tell me in the comments below.

An Interview with Jaidie (Guest Blog post #5)

Hi Everyone, this month I got the pleasure of interviewing Jade. She has a Twitter, Facebook, and blog. Many thanks to Jade for allowing me to interview her and for allowing her to interview me in return. Do not forget to check out her social media and her blog. 🙂

  1. What is your name? My name is Jade, though I prefer Jaidie as I believe it best suits me. I’m called other things apart from jade far too often
  2. Age? I’m 24 years old.
  3. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging? There are many people who have inspired me in life and blogging. I met a man named Dale who has been an inspiration to me for many years. My grandmother is also an inspiration to me and someone that I have looked up to for most of my life. In terms of blogging, I look up to many of my fellow blind or vision impaired bloggers out there.
  4. Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love reading. Reading is something that I have loved for many years. I have memories as a little girl of being told to put down the braille book long after lights out and my brothers have gone to sleep. I also have a passion for slow cooking. In fact, I’m planning a curried sausage dish as I write this post.
  5. Name a bad habit that you have? I stress. Far too often and I also don’t believe in myself as often as I should.
  6. Name your best quality? This is something I struggle with. Physically, I think it’s my hair. In other aspects though, definitely my writing.
  7. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? This is a tough one. I’d love to interview some of the authors of my favorite books.
  8. What is your college major/Minor? I haven’t actually completed my course due to taking a mental health break, though I will eventually complete my grade 12 certificate before I find something else to study.
  9. What school (college or university) did you go to? I am completing my course through Tafe Queensland.
  10. What is the title of your blog? The title of my blog is Jaidie’s Words.
  11. When and why did you start your blog? I started my blog in 2017 as a hobby. I would love to turn it into a means of earning a little bit of money though to fuel other project ideas.
  12. Where do you see yourself in five years? I struggle with this one. I hope to be living happily with my partner, continuing to blog and surrounded by animals.
  13. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? My condition is called optic nerve hypoplasia. It’s basically an under-developed optic nerve.
  14. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? I don’t let it. If there is something that I want to do I find a way to do it.
  15. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? I’m often asked how I do what I do. People don’t believe that blind people can do all they do, and I make it my challenge to change those thoughts.
  16. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) what would it be? Live life to the fullest. Don’t let others put up barriers in front of you. Make life what you want it to be, even if it means adapting what you want to do so that you can enjoy it.

Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)

I can be found on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/writingjaidie

My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/jaidiesblog

And of course, my blog link is: www.thejaidie.me

 

The Bedtime Tag

I saw this tag on Luke’s Twitter and I wanted to do it too. Before you continue reading my tag be sure to stop by Luke’s blog and give him a like, comment and a follow 😊

  1. What is your usual bedtime routine?

For me, I usually take a warm bath, then I get my PJ’s on, brush my teeth and grab my mouth guard. I get my reusable cup, fill it with water and grab my medicine. I take my medicine. Then I get my dog off the couch and tell him its bed time. He then comes and finds a spot on my bed. I usually call one of my friends from England and we chat until I get sleepy.

  1. What are some of your favorite pajamas to wear to bed?

I usually wear the soft black and gray ones I got for Christmas last year, or if I cannot wear those then I just wear an old shirt and some pajama pants.

  1. What is your current bedtime reading?

I am in a book club with my best friend and I read one of our books that we are reading at the moment.

  1. What would I find on your bedside table?

I do not have a bedside table; however I have a dark wooden desk by my bed. I have a lamp, my talking book player, and then I have a tissue on the shelf that’s on my desk in case I need it in the middle of the night.

  1. What scent makes you sleepy?

I have an aroma therapy diffuser in my room. I love the sent of lavender and it helps me fall asleep.

  1. What is your usual bedtime and wakeup time?

I try to go to bed around 10 to 10:30 p.m. and I usually wake up anywhere from 6 a.m. to 7:30ish a.m.

  1. What are your top three bedtime products?

I love my diffuser that I have in my room. I love my calming body wash that I use when I take a bath before bed. I also love my face wash that I use.

  1. What is your most common sleeping position?

I usually sleep on my left side and hug one of my small pillows. My knees are bent underneath me.

  1. Do you have anything you like to take to bed with you?

I can not go to sleep without my dog, Duke. I also take a big cup of cold water with me.

  1. What is your worst bedtime habit?

I think it’s letting my mind race about what I have to do tomorrow or whatever I have to do in that week. I worry a lot about my life and if I am achieving my dreams and goals.

I hope you have enjoyed this tag, and now I would like to challenge Well Eye Never to do the bedtime tag.

 

Christmas Party Fun! (independent living skills series 30)

I was excited for today; it was the last day before Christmas break, and the school’s annual Christmas party.

When I first arrived at the center my Orientation and Mobility teacher exclaimed, “Wow, Amanda you must really be excited for the party.” “I am,” I said as I quickly put down my purse.

I could tell by the buzz around me that everyone was excited. However, there was still lessons that had to be attended. I, along with another classmate, was assigned Orientation and Mobility. Since we only had to attend class for an hour, we requested that we go get coffee at our local Starbucks. When we got there, I went and ordered first. I ordered a small Hot Coco. My classmate ordered a hot tea. Since my teacher does not care for Starbucks, we went through McDonald’s so she could order a drink for herself.

We still had some time to spare before we had to go back to the center so we went on a tour of Pensacola as I commentated the sights, so my classmate could enjoy the ride.

Once we got back to the center, the food was cooking and my teachers, staff and classmates all enjoyed each other’s company. Soon it was time to eat and there was a lot to choose from. We had home-made chilli, mini hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. I got a little bit of everything.

All of the staff, including the teachers and my classmates enjoyed their lunch and each other’s company. After we had all finished eating we played Dirty Santa. The rules of the game are simple, each player gets a number and picks a gift or they can steal a gift that someone else has opened. One by one each student got a gift from under the tree. I got a Starbucks gift card and I was hoping that no one was going to steal my gift. No one was stealing until one student decided that he didn’t like the Starbuck’s coffee mug set, so he stole a chip dip bowl. That set off a few steals which included my Starbuck’s gift card. I was sort of disappointed. I ended up with a Chick-Fil-A gift card. In the end everyone enjoyed the gifts that they received.

It was a great day, one that I will enjoy memories of for years to come.

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Christmas party fun!

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Author’s note: Hey everyone, don’t forget to join me Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 6 p.m. for a live Q and A. https://www.facebook.com/AmandaGeneN/ I hope to see everyone there.

 

 

Cooking Pizzas and an informal luncheon (Independent living series 27)

It was a busy day at my school; we all met in the technology lab for a class meeting. Our cooking teacher told us that members of the public would be taking a tour of the school and then having an informational luncheon. Pizza was on the menu. Our teacher divided us into two groups: those that would be helping prepare the pizzas and those that would be staying in the technology lab. I was asked to help cook.

Once we were in the kitchen my teacher went through the ingredients. He then organized how the 16 pizzas were going to be cooked in a timely manner.

It was time to start preparing the pizzas. The first pizza was made by our teacher. First, he added a little bit of olive oil to the crust, then he added about a teaspoon of pizza sauce, then he added a little bit of oregano and pepper. The final step was to add the cheese.

The students then got their own pizzas. I made a pepperoni pizza. The olive oil was slippery as I spread it on the crust. Then I added the sauce, oregano and pepper. I must admit I felt like I added too much oregano. Then came the cheese. Once I finished adding the cheese, I asked my teacher if my pizza looked okay; he felt that I missed a spot and I needed to add a little bit more cheese. I did. Once that was finished, I added the pepperoni. I felt like my pizza looked good. Once the rest of the students finished their first pizzas the teachers took our finished ones and put it to the side. Then we all started our second pizzas. This time we had a rhythm to getting the pizzas ready. It was more like an assembly line as we passed the ingredients around and helped one another as needed. We really do have a great group of people in our class. The last pizza I did I needed help pouring the sauce, so my teacher helped me. Preparing the rest of the pizzas was easy. Once the pizzas were finished the teachers were able to put them into the oven to cook. The students were then able to sit and chat quietly about the class party and other topics of interest.

Soon it was time to eat. During the luncheon, the public got to experience what it is like to eat while totally blind because they were wearing blind folds. One of the members of the public asked, “How do I pour my drink?” As I watched, I wanted to go up to him, introduce myself and show him how it was done. However, I let him figure it out on his own. While we were eating our director talked about the five programs and how they had an impact on the community.

I wanted to stand up towards the end and talk a little bit about what the program has meant to me. As a student, I can honestly say that these classes have helped me grow as a person. I can cook, use technology such as my Alexa, and ZoomText, and I can travel independently. With the help of the dedicated staff and teachers, I am no longer relying on my grandfather as much as I used too.

The director emphasized the fact that most of our funding that runs the school comes from donations from the public.

Once lunch was finished all of the staff and students cleaned up. I have to admit I enjoyed the pepperoni pizza better than the cheese pizza.

Then we went back to our lessons. I had Orientation and Mobility. Three of us worked on sighted guide and how to shoreline when we were doing routes. It was a great day.

 

 

 

 

Cooking Quick Chilli (Independent Living Skills Series 26)

I had to be picked up by my computer instructor due to my bus pass being expired. I got to the center with some of my classmates early enough to have a chat before class. Today, before we started our lessons, we had a class meeting. The class has decided to have a pot luck/gift exchange party before Christmas break. Over the next week we will decide who is going to bring what to the party. I’m excited to have some fun after all the hard work we put into our lessons. 😊

After our meeting, my teacher, classmate, and I went into the kitchen to decide what to cook. Since it was a cold day, I suggested we have soup. Quick chilli was on the menu. We quickly got a school car and went to Publix. When we got to the store, I found out that my favorite chocolate chip muffins were on special. Buy one get one for free at the price of $4.99 was something I could not pass up. After I had gotten my guilty pleasure we went to the deli and picked up two loafs of Italian bread; my classmate and I got to choose two types of meat for sandwiches. I chose Black Forest Ham and my classmate chose sliced Boars head chicken.

We then moved on to the seasons section. We decided to get the McCormick Mild chilli spice, then we reviewed the ingredients that we would need for our dish. We would need meat for the chilli so we headed over the meat department and we picked up one pound of 90% lean hamburger meat. Then, because we were getting lunch for the rest of the students and staff we went and picked out two kinds of chips. I chose a Mexican style chip that could be enjoyed with both the chilli and the sandwiches, and my classmate chose a regular flavored potato chip.

The last two ingredients that we needed for our chilli was a can of tomatoes and a can of Pinto beans. Since they were in the same aisle, we were able to find them quickly. Once we had all the things on our list, we checked out quickly and headed back to the center.

While my teacher got ready for our lesson my classmate and I sorted our groceries, and we washed our hands. Once our instructor was able to join us, we were able to get cooking. First, we made things easier for ourselves and gathered all our cooking equipment. The first step in cooking was to open our meat. I learned how to open a package of meat without getting the juice or raw meat touching my hands. Open it on the side and then peel the packing back. We browned our hamburger meat on medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Then we drained the grease by putting the meat into a colander and draining the grease into a small bowl. We then put the meat into another pot and we added McCormick Mild Chilli spice to the meat. Then we stirred the meat and spice together. We then added the tomatoes and beans to the meat. We let the ingredients simmer for ten minutes. Once the chilli was done cooking the staff and students made sandwiches, and we enjoyed the chips and chilli.

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Chilli I made @independence_for_the_blind yesterday.

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