Interview with Matt Harris (Guest Post #20) And a GIVEAWAY!

Matt is a good friend of mine. He writes amazing poetry. Be sure to enter the giveaway and follow Matt on social media. 🙂

Let’s start with the basics…

  1. What is your name? My name is Matt Harris, and I’m a fifty-nine-year-old poet—and author of Seeing Through Blindness. I live just outside of Baltimore, MD. Before we begin, I would like first to say hello to your readers and to thank you, Amanda, for giving me this opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my work.

 

  1. What is your college major/Minor? I am currently enrolled as an English Major, with a specialization in Creative Writing, at the University of Baltimore. Several years ago, my marriage broke up; and a year later, I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (US). US is a genetic disease that robs a person of both eyesight and hearing. At that time, as a former drug and alcohol abuser, who had been sober for 20 years, I feared that I might fall back into that lifestyle again, because I so desperately wanted to numb the pain from my marital breakup and Usher Syndrome diagnosis. The words Go buy a six-pack, one won’t hurt kept echoing through my mind. But I knew that was a lie. I knew from my past substance abuse that this old saying applied to me: one drink was too many and ten were not enough. So, I pushed those lies aside and decided to lean on my faith in Jesus. He has kept me sober and has given me the strength and comfort that I needed to cope with the pain. And shortly thereafter, I enrolled in the University of Baltimore at age 55, with a 99% vision loss and a 60% hearing loss. If everything goes as expected, I will be graduating in the spring of 2020. I plan to write a memoir based on this experience. I hope it will make a nice bookend to my poetic memoir, Seeing Through Blindness, which tells about my experiences with blindness and drugs as a teenager and young adult.

Let’s talk about writing/YouTube/Blogs…

  1. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel? My mother, who passed away last year, was a great inspiration for me. She grew up in Baltimore with 6 brothers and a sister. And although they lived in poverty, my mom chose to work hard and fight her way out of her circumstances. What inspired me initially about blogging, however, was that I wanted to try to get out information about my book—and to share its message of hope. I also wanted to blog about other poets’, or writers’, work as well. I think it’s important for writers to support one another, as you do, Amanda. But my blog turned into a rather eclectic assortment of topics—everything from an article about a blind man from Scripture named Bartimaeus to a friend whose rock band once opened for Led Zeppelin in Baltimore. But since starting college, I have largely neglected my blog because my studies have taken top priority. I hope to focus more on blogging after I graduate. As for YouTube, other than a few poetry recitations, I haven’t utilized my channel to its fullest potential. But after having watched some of your YouTube videos, Amanda, you have inspired me to take another look at how I could use my channel to help people and, at the same time, support other writers and promote my own work.
  2. Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love to read. I’m a HUGE Stephan King fan, currently reading Doctor Sleep. I also love reading Scripture. In addition to reading, I like walking, going to the beach, attending plays, poetry readings, going to the movies, engaging in good conversations, and eating at restaurants. During football season, I love listening to Baltimore Ravens’ games. The team was named after one of my favorite poems: “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe.
  3. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel? My blog, along with information about my book, can be found at my website: seeingthroughblindness.com.
  4. Have you ever written a book? If so tell me about it? My latest book, as I mentioned earlier, is called Seeing Through Blindness. It tells about my battles with visual impairment, drugs, and God during my teenage years and young adult life. It speaks not only to the issues of people with disabilities but also to issues concerning addiction and marginalization in society. Since I’m a poet, I wrote the book as a narrative poem in a free-verse style. I like this style because it allowed me to use a ton of imagery to tell my story by showing it. The poetic structure also enabled me to say what needed to be said in 100 pages—instead of probably 300 pages if I had written it in prose. A show called This Is Baltimore, Too produced a documentary about my book, which aired on a local cable television channel. Here’s a link to the show if any of your readers would like to take a look at it. This Is Baltimore, Too — Seeing Through Blindness with Matt Harris
  5. Where can people buy your books?

My book is available on Amazon—in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Matt
Photo of Matt Harris.

Let’s get to know more about you and your disability…

  1. Name a bad habit that you have? I have a tendency to rock back and forth sometimes when I’m standing up. I developed this habit when my oldest daughter was a baby. Sometimes the only way for her to fall asleep was for me to stand up and rock back and forth with her in my arms.
  2. Name your best quality? I’m a good listener.
  3. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? I would love to interview John Milton, the British poet who wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost. Milton was blind when he wrote this masterpiece in the 1600s. I would ask him how he, as a blind person, wrote and edited this voluminous piece using only seventeenth-century technology.
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years? I would hope to have published my next memoir and several more books of poetry by then. I would also hope to be traveling the country to recite my poetry at various venues.
  5. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? As I mentioned earlier, I have a genetic disease called Usher Syndrome (US), which causes both blindness and deafness. At age 21, I was first diagnosed with a genetic eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP causes severe visual impairment and can lead to total blindness. At the time of my RP diagnosis, I was declared legally blind and could still hear perfectly. By age 45, I started to experience hearing loss. About 10 years later, after my hearing further deteriorated, and since RP and US are genetically related, I was tested for US, and the results came back positive.
  6. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? Having a dual sensory loss can be challenging. It often feels like I’m in a foreign country trying to decipher language and the lay of the land. It sometimes feels as if I’m fading away. But, fortunately, the technologies available today help me maneuver through some of the foreign territory that I face each day. Also, as I mentioned earlier, my faith in Jesus helps to anchor me in peace while I’m trying to figure out how to navigate this new world in which I find myself.
  7. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? I feel that my condition is very misunderstood and that people have a lot of misconceptions about it. For example, there is a misconception that blind people have bionic hearing. This myth trips me up at times when people think that about me, not realizing that I actually have a profound hearing loss. This misconception can create misunderstandings when people speak to me and then misinterpret my lack of response as rudeness. I try to dispel these misconceptions whenever I can. On the other hand, some people, even though they still might think that we have superior hearing, still insist on speaking loudly to us. Although this irritates many blind people, it actually helps me with my hearing loss. All in all, however, I do believe that for the most part people in general mean well. I think that the people I meet in my everyday travels just simply do not know how to respond to me because they haven’t been around people in my situation. These are just a few of the many obstacles I face each day. I’ll save the rest for my future memoir.
  8. 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? I would say to try and develop a good sense of humor about visual impairment and smile a lot and try to put people at ease. Also, if you are losing your sight gradually, I think it’s very important to be aware of–and grieve–the emotional and psychological trauma that can occur in each stage of sight loss. These continual losses over a course of a lifetime can be harmful if not dealt with properly.
  9. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)

I mostly hang out on Facebook. Here’s a link to my Home Page: Matt’s Facebook page

Let’s talk about the holidays…

  1. What holidays do you celebrate during the winter season?

I celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.

  1. What is one of your favorite memories of the holiday? I liked when my daughters opened their presents on Christmas Day when they were little. They would get so excited. I also enjoyed the warmth and the scent of seasoned oak logs that crackled in our wood stove that we always burned on Christmas Day. These were very fond memories.
  2. Best gift you ever received?

The Gift of Eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord!

  1. What does the holidays mean to you?

In recent years, the holidays have become a time of reflection for me. But, of course, they also represent a time of giving. And with that thought in mind, I would like to conclude by giving a free copy of my book, Seeing Through Blindness, to the first five readers who comment on your blog using a quotation from your article. (Unfortunately, I can only send copies in the United States.) Just PM the location to Amanda to where you would like me to send the book.* Thanks again, Amanda, for inviting me to your blog. Happy Holidays!

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*Amanda’s email is: Amanda@amandagene.com

If you would like to be interviewed on my blog please email me at: Amanda@amandagene.com

Interview with Charli (Guest interview #19)

Charli and I met on Twitter, and we are now good friends. Be sure to check her out on social media.  🙂

  1. What is your name? Charli Dee, but everyone just calls me Charli!
  2. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel? My family!  My blog is all about sharing my experiences to inspire others. Those who are familiar with my blog might notice that I mention my family quite often in my posts, and the reason for that is my experiences with them are often my inspiration!
  3. Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love spending time with family! We love watching movies and tv shows together! It’s always so much fun! Some activities are just more fun when you are doing them with others! I also love reading. It’s one of my go to activities when I want alone time. It’s so relaxing to me.

4. Name a bad habit that you have? I can be pretty stubborn, and tend to learn things the hard way!

5. Name your best quality? I’d like to think I’m caring and compassionate. I tend to let others be the judge of this though.

6. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why? Oh this is a tricky one! I’ve been asked this before, and my answer always changes because there are a number of people I would like to meet! If I had to pick one though, it would probably be Mariah Carey. I’ve been a fan of hers since I was a little girl, so it would be great to meet her!

7. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel? The name of my Blog is Life With Charli.

8. When and why did you start your blog or YouTube channel? I started my blog in March of 2019. I’ve always loved writing, and had been considering starting a blog for a long time before I finally set one up. I just never had the time. I finally made time in 2019! I wanted to use my love of writing to help inspire others, and that is the focus of my blog!

9. Where do you see yourself in five years? I would like to think that, over the next five years, my blog will have really grown into a very successful one. I hope to have a number of collaborations under my belt by then with other bloggers and companies. So far my blog has been getting a lot of great feedback, so I’m very excited to keep the momentum going and seeing what the future holds.

10. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? I have a genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome. It is  when a girl is born with one of her X chromosomes fully or partially missing (boys generally have an X and a Y chromosome, while girls generally have two X chromosomes. I’m sure most people know this already though). The condition can lead to a lot of different complications, including learning disability.

11. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis? The type of learning disability I have affects my processing speed. I usually take a long time to complete tasks that would take others just a few minutes. I often need help from others, or for others to understand that I might take a while to finish whatever assignments are asked of me.

12. What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? People usually believe that I don’t have a disability at all, because my disability is invisible. It’s not very easy to tell that I’m a person with a disability when first meeting me. However, after getting to know me, the signs are there. Since people usually assume that I don’t have a disability, proving that I do in order to get the help I sometimes need is often very difficult.

13. 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? I have had so much doubt placed on my disability status that sometimes I start to have doubts myself. However, in the end, I know myself and my limitations enough to recognize that my struggles are very real. To those who also have invisible disabilities, I would say your disability is valid. Your struggles are valid. Don’t doubt yourself, and advocate for yourself until someone listens.

14. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links) I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bloglovin. Feel free to reach out to me on all or some of these platforms and say hello! Links to my social media pages are below:

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/charlidee_1

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/charlidee1/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlidee_1/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/charlidee1/

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@charlidee8

 

Interview with Alex (Guest Blog Post #17)

This guest post comes from my friend Alex on Twitter. She has an amazing blog and is active on Twitter. Be sure to check out her content. 🙂

  1. What is your name? Hi, my name is Alex.
  2. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel?  No one particularly inspired me to start blogging, I just started so I could write about what I’m passionate about or what I’m thinking.
  3. Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time? I love to do photography. I also love to go on adventures with family and friends.
  4. Name a bad habit that you have? Procrastination is a bad habit I haven’t been able to break yet.
  5. Name your best quality? My best quality would probably have to be compassion, I guess.
  6. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would that be and why? If would love to interview my favorite YouTuber Molly Burke. I find her channel inspirational and I love that she talks about the good sides and the bad of living with disabilities.
  7. What is your college major/minor? I’m majoring in Psychology
  8. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel, and when did you start blogging? The title of my blog is ‘A. P. Livolsi’s Blog’, and I started my blog a few months ago.
  9. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? I was born legally blind and I have other physical disabilities.
  10. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you have) effect you on a daily basis?  Honestly, when people ask me how my disability affects day to day activities I am not quite sure how to answer. I just do what able-bodied people do. Get up, eat, get ready for the day, go to school, and do homework. I use a White Cane as a mobility device to help me get around. If I can’t see something or I need directions I just ask. I feel like a normal person, despite having disabilities.
  11. How do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? Family members and close friends really don’t care about my disabilities. It’s just a part of who I am. Occasionally someone at school or out when I’m walking will stop to ask respectful questions about my vision. The thing that annoys me is when people ask questions and don’t bother to listen to my answers. They just pity me for being legally blind. I don’t like being pitted because of it. I love myself the way I am and I wouldn’t change it.
  12. If you had to give one piece of advice to others about having a visual impairment (or other disability) what would that be? My advice to a person who, not just have disabilities, but are dealing with any issue that is not easily solved is to keep going. I see life like a book. One chapter may really suck, but the new chapter might be ten times better. You never know what can happen.
  13. Where can other people find you on social media? (please list and provide links):People can find me via Twitter @alexpl20me  and Via Instagram alex_blindphotographer    Alex’s  blog https://aplivolsiblogonline.wordpress.com

If If you would like to be interviewed as a guest on my blog feel free to email me at: Amanda@amandagene.com

Interview with Northwick the bear who has Nystagmus (Guest Blog Post #16)

Hi Northwick,

My name is Amanda. I live in The United States in a state called Florida. I like you and your friend, Frank, who you live with, I also have wobbly eyes due to Nystagmus.

For those of you who have not heard of Northwick, he is a friendly bear who lives with a family and a boy named Frank, and together they navigate the world with Nystagmus. The author who writes these stories is named John Sanders.
Thank you so much for taking the time to be interviewed by me.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself? – Well, first of all, thank you for inviting me to appear on your blog. As you say, I’m a bear who has Nystagmus which is something a lot of people may not have heard of. Basically, Nystagmus means my eyes flicker from side to side so I don’t see very well and glasses don’t fix it. As well as not being able to see very far, I need more time to see, how much I can see changes throughout the day, sometimes everything around me looks like it’s moving and I have to turn my head to look straight ahead. My flickering eyes use up a lot of energy, so I have a big appetite. That’s what I think anyway.
2. What is the hardest thing for you and Frank to see? (For me, it was hard seeing balls in games like soccer, and being able to see my school books and worksheets) – Yes, like you say Amanda! Things that move fast like balls in games, Frank’s friends running around and it’s really annoying when people say, “look at that bird up there!” Usually I can’t see birds or planes. …
3. What is your favorite thing to see? – Grass and trees and flowers and the sea and mountains and parks. I may not see these things in as much detail as people with ordinary eyes, but I like being in the countryside and drinking in the thousand shades of green, the smells of sea and rain and plants, the sound of burbling streams, the feel of leaves and rocks and wood and water.
4. What is your favorite kind of snack to eat? – Easy question. Cakes! Especially chocolate cakes.
5. How is Frank? – Like me, Frank has ups and downs, often because of Nystagmus. But we’re both happier now that we can talk to each about seeing the world differently from most other people.
6. What is your favorite subject in school? – French. Some people say learning another language is hard. But I think they’re wrong. I listen carefully and you don’t always have to read, so that makes it easier for me than subjects like sums or geography. J’aime bien parler français!
7. Do you ever feel sad about Nystagmus? – Oh yes. Before I met Frank I thought I was the only Bear / Person in the world with Nystagmus. Now I know I’m not alone and that helps a lot. We talk a lot about what we see or don’t see and that helps both Frank and me.
8. How does Amy the Orthoptist, who you see at the eye hospital, help you and Frank see? (Dr. Douglas Reynold helps me see better. He gives me new glasses.) – Amy makes sure we have the right glasses too. She also explains things to us. Like that glasses don’t fix Nystagmus, but they help with some of the other ordinary things that are wrong with our eyes. Amy makes us feel more confident. We know we can ask her questions. Sometimes we bring questions to her that children in Frank’s school have asked him and she can give us answers.
9. What has been the funniest Halloween costume you and Frank have worn for Halloween? – Pirates! Frank had a parrot (not a real one!) on his shoulder. We both had eye patches too. That was the best part. The funny thing was that, because of the eye patches, people were more helpful than usual because they realized we couldn’t see so much.
10. If you and Frank could give any advice to children with Nystagmus what would it be? – Don’t feel sad. Find out all you can about Nystagmus and talk to other people about it. Most people are interested. And remember that some very famous people have Nystagmus, so it doesn’t stop you from being happy and successful.

 

Interview with John Sanders (Guest Blog Post #15)

Hi Everyone,

Today’s guest post is from author John Sanders. He write on all different kinds of topics including the eye condition, Nystagmus. Thank you John for being a guest. Please be sure to check out John’s social media links and his books and posts.

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself? – Born in the UK in the late 1950s, I moved around a lot as a child which was an education in itself. I worked as a translator, journalist and manager of the Nystagmus Network. Now I live in Wales and am fortunate enough not to have to do paid work anymore. That said, I still give the occasional talk about Nystagmus and volunteer with several charities. I also try to grow vegetables and fruit on an allotment which means struggling against slugs, pigeons, weeds and weather.
  2. What made you want to choose a career in journalism or writing? – No great plan. It was mostly by accident. My mum saw a job ad which didn’t involve driving. One thing led to another and I became a translator. Eventually that opened up an opportunity to become a journalist where the pay was better and the work more interesting. I missed my colleagues from translating though.
  3. What has been one of the hardest pieces you have written? – Not so much written, but the Dunblane school massacre in Scotland in 1996. That day I was sub-editing for an online news agency as the story unfolded. That meant I was the person checking the copy and pressing the button and sending the story out to screens around the world piece-meal as it happened. Initially all we had were reports of an incident at a school in Scotland. As the minutes and hours ticked by, it became apparent that children were dying and it wasn’t accidental. That was a horrible day. The British Government changed our gun laws following the Dunblane massacre. We’ve not had an event in a school like that here since.
  4. What made you want to write the Northwick stories? – Through fiction and drama you can often reach a larger audience – and have a greater impact – than simply trotting out facts and producing information sheets (although these have their place). Opinion-changing films about illness and disability that spring to mind are “My Left Foot”, “Rain Man”, “The Elephant Man” and “Children of a Lesser God”. One year I had to write up the Nystagmus Network annual open day for the charity’s newsletter. I was fed up (as a journalist) of reading dreary reports about meetings and events. So from almost nowhere sprang the idea of taking a humorous look at the open day through the eyes of the bear we’d raffled to raise money. Some people liked the story (others didn’t), but there was enough support for me to carry on writing about the world from Northwick’s flickering perspective.
  5. What has been the most challenging part of having Nystagmus? –What has probably frustrated me most is how hard it is to learn about how nystagmus affects us. And I’m sorry if this upsets anyone, but after years of thinking about this issue I’ve concluded that – based on the evidence available — much of the blame lies with the medical profession. I know some wonderful people in the medical world who are exceptions to this rule. But so many people’s lives would be so much easier and less stressful if the world of ophthalmology in particular changed the way it communicates to patients who have nystagmus. And, from talking to other people, this applies to other eye conditions too. Instead of simply complaining, I’m one of a small group of people developing a Nystagmus Care Pathway (see https://www.bioj-online.com/articles/10.22599/bioj.126/) which we hope hospital eye departments will adopt one day.
  6. If you could give any piece of advice to a beginning freelance writer what would it be? – A few things: Read good writers. Write short sentences. Be wary of how you use adjectives. And try to write something every day.
  7. What was one of the hardest things that you struggled with in school? – Sport obviously (because of dodgy sight), seeing the board, having to take part in activities I couldn’t see, glare from windows. But also the dreary uniformity — which contributed to making life harder for anyone who didn’t quite fit the norm.
  8. Has Nystagmus impacted your career choice? – I suppose so, but I think most of us are limited one way or another: for instance where we are born, who our parents are, where we live, the subjects we choose to study and to drop early on in school. I was lucky to find work I could do and enjoyed (most of the time anyway).
  9. Has Nystagmus influenced you as a writer (as in how you actually get the writing done, etc)? – Possibly in more ways than I realize. If you’re vision impaired and going along to news conferences you have to develop strategies to get hold of information other people can see and take for granted. On a positive note, not seeing very well has made me more aware of other senses and therefore not limiting myself to describing the world purely in visual terms when I write. Nystagmus was one of the factors that prompted me to go freelance and work from home, mostly by phone and email. It’s so much easier than working in an open plan office (crazy environment for writing anyway) where people generally forget you don’t see the way they do.

Let’s have some fun with these last few questions!

  1. Sweets (which is the British word for candy) or Biscuits (which is the British word for cookies)? – Dark chocolate (candy).
  2. Tea or coffee? – Both.
  3. Bed made or unmade? – Not something I ever think about!
  4. Favorite author? – I’m impressed by people who can choose favourites (English spelling). I’ve read a lot of books by very different authors and know that my tastes have changed and continue to change.
  5. Favorite Food? – See my answer on books. Maybe I’m just indecisive?

Please list your links where people can find your work or if you want how people can reach you:

http://www.northwickbear.com/index.html

https://cvisociety.org.uk/news.php?cat_id=143

http://www.wcb-ccd.org.uk/roundup.php

http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/858/1033

If you would like to be featured on my website feel free to contact me at: amanda@amandagene.com

 

Interview with Stephanie Davis Bolinger (Guest Blog Post #14)

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post is from Stephanie.

Stephanie is a friend of mine, and we met at our local independence learning center for the blind. Stephanie is very active in the community.  🙂 Thank you, Stephanie for being a guest.

  1. What is your name? Stephanie Davis Bolinger
  2. Age? 32 years old
  3. Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging and or YouTube channel?  There is not one individual who has inspired me the most in my life. I have been fortunate to surround myself with women and men who strive to be the change this world needs so I am inspired on a daily basis. My traumatic childhood is what has inspired me to become a writer for my blog as well as my upcoming book.

4.     Besides writing or making YouTube videos, what do you like to do in your spare time?  I was just asked yesterday “When do you sleep?” during a news interview so reading this question made me giggle. My response was “Well, I get 2 to 3 hours per night.” However I will share a few of my hobbies.   My biggest passion besides being a Local Outreach Ambassador for multiple organizations is interpretive ballroom dance. I have been lucky enough to dance locally for about 6 years and have even had the opportunity to dance with some of the professionals of the ABC Dancing With The Stars television show during a local benefit on two occasions. I very much enjoy spending my Sunday’s on the beach with all of my friends relaxing and paddle boarding. I am an avid reader and even have my own tutu making business on the side. I would love to go in detail about some of my daredevil stunts on 4wheelers, zip lines down mountains or some of my other blind adventures but those will eventually be out in my own book.

5. Name a bad habit that you have?  Wow, giving up my bad habit secret is difficult for me because it reveals the vulnerability that I so often try to hide from others. I discredit myself all to often. If you compliment me I will most likely give the credit to someone else. This seems strange to so many considering the amount of local attention that I receive on a daily basis for my efforts within my local community; however I do none of it for attention. Everything that I do or have ever done is for a purpose of helping someone else or helping a specific organization so I will 10 out of 10 times credit my many mentors for helping to mold me in to the woman who receives such compliments.

7. Name your best quality? My best quality… hmmm… since I’m the same lady who just told you that I struggle with giving myself credit for my efforts to better the world this one is difficult. I suppose that my best quality and my biggest strength is honesty and empathy which in turn mold in to one great thing to have which in my opinion is helping others with compassion in my heart and mind.

8. If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?  If I could interview anyone living or not I would without hesitation choose to interview my Daddy. He passed away when I was about 8 years old which is when my life turned in to hell on earth. I would like to ask him what he thinks about the woman I am today after overcoming so much and I would like to ask him so many questions for the book that I’m writing about my life.

9.  What is your college major/Minor?   I am a Massage Therapy student graduate as well as an Accessibility Specialist graduate holding 26 international web accessibility certifications.

10. What school (college or university) did you go to?  I Graduated as an LMT from Pensacola School of Massage Therapy. Graduated as an Accessibility Specialist with 26 international certifications from Deque University.

11. What is the title of your blog or YouTube channel? My blog is on Facebook and is called From Trauma; To Triumph Inspirational From Trauma to Triumph Inspirational speaker

12. When and why did you start your blog or YouTube channel?  I started my blog in 2018 because so many people wanted me to write a book. I do not write as often as I should but then that is due to that 2 to 3 hours of sleep, I find time for each night. Little did everyone know I have been writing a book since a couple of years after becoming blind due to a suicide attempt as a way to help myself heal from the experience, as a way to help me cope with everything I’ve gone through. I only recently announced that I have decided to publish the book once I’m done.

13. Where do you see yourself in five years?   Five years is such a short time yet such a long time away. I can honestly say that almost 8 years ago I never imagined myself where I am today so I can only hope that I am growing as a woman, wife, friend and employee 5 years from now. I hope and pray that my book is out helping others through their situations and I also hope that my public speaking opportunities have grown.

14. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)? My visual impairment is total blindness. I do not like to refer to it as a disability because it has strengthened me in so many ways as a person.

15. How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis?  Nothing can affect you negatively if you choose not to allow it to take you over so I would say that my vision loss affects me on a daily basis by offering me opportunity to raise awareness by teaching others about my many abilities regardless of the vision loss.

16.  What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?  Others, the word I work so hard for in order to help yet the same word I use when I experience cruelty. As I stated above I specifically choose to surround myself with like minded friends which all treat me so normal they often laugh forgetting that I’m even blind at all but I do experience bullying from others as I’m out and about. I would say it’s a mix of good and bad however I refuse to allow the bad to change who I am as a person. I choose to smile and appreciate the good.

17. 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?  May I have 10 pages to answer this question??? I would simply tell someone else in my situation or even a different type of situation that blindness or any disability for that matter does not define us as people. We are not disabled, we are people who live productive and independent lives with a disability. I would also say that you are the only person who can hold you back from achieving your goals so as long as you care enough to work harder than the average person has to and you put your entire heart and mind in to achieving a goal you can do anything you go after. As wrong as this may seem to others I will also say that because I’ve been at rock bottom and worked with more determination than anything before to be successful, to help others, to have confidence, to have self respect, to have self worth, to have self love, to respect and love others that I have no pitty what so ever for someone whether they live with a disability or not if they do not put in the necessary effort to help themselves. Once we become adults we have the right to choose who we will be and what we will do with our lives so choose to be the best you every single day. Choose to be the change, to be the inspiration that this world needs.

17. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links) My social media pages are private for family and friends other than my blog page.

If you would like to be interviewed as a guest on my blog feel free to email me at: amanda@amandagene.com

 

Interview with Ailsa (Guest Blog Post #13)

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post is from Ailsa.

Ailsa has her own blog and she is active on her social media websites. Be sure to check out her blog and her social media 🙂  Thank you, Ailsa for being a guest.

  1. What is your name? Ailsa
  2.  Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging? My friends and other bloggers.
  3.  Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time? I like to listen to music and play games.
  4.  Name a bad habit that you have? Biting my lip.
  5.  If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?  I would interview Olly Murs because I have a slight crush on him.
  6.  What is your college major/Minor?  I went to St Vincent College in Gosport,
    U.K.
  7.  What school (college or university) did you go to?  I went to Portchester Community School.
  8.   What is the title of your blog?    My blog is called Brains on Wheels
  9.   When and why did you start your blog?  I started blogging in February, 2016 because I wanted to have something to do besides going to college.
  10.    Where do you see yourself in five years?  In five years’ time, I would like to be living in my own place.
  11. What is the name/cause of your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?  I have Cerebral Palsy (also referred to as CP). When I was born, I didn’t breathe. I was stillborn, but I was resuscitated, it took the doctors about twenty minutes to resuscitate me.   As a result of me not breathing, in that period when my brain didn’t get the oxygen I needed, brain damage occurred. I was on a ventilator for two days; the ventilator took breaths for me by pumping oxygen around my body and into my brain.   There were about three stillborn on that day, and I was the only one that survived. The doctors turned my life support down, so they could find out whether I would breathe on my own, and I did. I came off the ventilator on my sister’s birthday, which was a wonderful birthday present for her.
  12.  How does your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have) effect you on a daily basis?  I need support with almost everything; self-care, eating, drinking, dressing, ect.
  13.  What do other people feel about your visual impairment (or other disability that you may have)?   I don’t know, but I would like to think that it doesn’t bother them.
  14.   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?  Don’t give up, you’ll get there. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  15. Where can other people find you on Social media (Please list and provide links)  Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BlogbyAilsa and – https://www.facebook.com/ourlifecp                                                                                  Twitter – https://twitter.com/AilsaSpeak, https://twitter.com/BlogbyAilsa and https://twitter.com/ourlifecp

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ailsa.k.speak

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/4il5a

If you would like to be a interviewed as a guest on my blog feel free to email me at: amanda@amandagene.com