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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
Hi Everyone, I got the pleasure of interviewing my friend Glen. He is the fantastic blogger and YouTuber who runs Well Eye Never. Many thanks to Glen for allowing me to interview him and for allowing him to interview me in return. Don’t forget to check out his website 🙂
- What is your name?
In a few days time I’ll be 35 years old.
- Who has inspired you the most in life and your blogging?
My parents also have sight loss like myself, and have always encouraged and supported me to achieve whatever I want to do. At the school for the visually impaired I went to, the teachers there were also very supportive and really helped me to grow in confidence. My friends also mean a lot to me and inspire me, of course. And the blogging community has been so welcoming and supportive of my efforts since I started doing this. It’s great to see that so many people want to work together with others, and aren’t just in it for themselves.
- Besides writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like going out and about a lot, to see theatre shows and museum exhibitions, take part in quiz and game nights, go for walks and socialise with my friends. While at home I enjoy listening to a lot of music, podcasts and audiobooks, and watching TV and films.
- Name a bad habit that you have?
Not exercising as much as I should. Walking’s great and important in itself, and I eat well, so I’m not particularly unhealthy. But I would like to get fitter, and I could do with something like a gym buddy to give me the help and motivation to do that.
- Name your best quality?
I’m friendly and kind, I like to help others, and I have a positive attitude to life. There can of course be occasional frustrations because of my disability, but I very rarely get angry or really upset about things, because I don’t like feeling negative.
- If you could interview anyone living or dead who would it be and why?
I could pick loads. But from the music world it would have to be Freddie Mercury, because I’m a huge fan of Queen and Freddie was an amazing man, taken from us far too early. I could talk to him forever about the songs he wrote and performed with the band and in his solo career, and about his early life in Zanzibar and India. He had a great personality and sense of humour, so he wouldn’t be boring. And from TV, I’d love to interview David Jason about his life and work, as I love his comedy shows in particular, especially Only Fools And Horses. He’s such a genuine, down to earth, clever, funny gentleman, so it would be absolutely fascinating to chat to him.
- What is your college major/Minor?
At college I got A-Levels in Maths, Information Technology (i.e. computers) and Economics.
- What school (college or university) did you go to?
I went to the University of Exeter after leaving college, where I got a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Accounting & Finance.
- What is the title of your blog?
My blog’s called Well Eye Never. It took me a while to think of a name that felt unique, and I wasn’t sure if it would work to begin with. But it’s actually caught on really well and people seem to like the play on words. So I’m very happy with it and have no intention of changing it.
- When and why did you start your blog?
I’d never really used social media much in the past. But when I was preparing to move to London, I started exploring online to see the best accounts I could follow for news and events, and useful ways to make connections with other visually impaired people. That was when I was discovered the disabled blogging community, and the more I explored, the more tempted I was to get involved. So eventually I did, and I’m very glad I did. I’m really enjoying raising awareness of my visual impairment, discussing disability in general, sharing the adventures I have in London, and talking about other stuff that I enjoy, because people have responded so well to it.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll be 40 then, wow. I’ll still be in London, still exploring the city and still enjoying myself. I have no plans to leave the city, I love it here, as there’s always so much to see and do. Hopefully I’ll be settled down with a partner by then as well. It’s possible I might look for a new job in that time too, but I’m not sure yet.
- What is the name/cause of your visual impairment?
I have Aniridia, which means I don’t have an iris (the coloured circle around the pupil) in my eye. The iris is a muscle that controls the size of the pupil, to regulate the amount of light coming into your eye. So without it, I cannot easily adjust to changes in light. I do adjust a little bit, but it’s not very much and it happens very slowly. So I’m very sensitive to glare when I go out, even if it’s not sunny, and I find it harder to see in the dark. I also have Nystagmus, which means my eyes shake and wobble involuntarily all the time. So I can’t focus on things that are small or at a distance – they have to be large or close-up instead.
- How does your visual impairment affect you on a daily basis?
I have to wear green tinted sunglasses when I’m out in the daytime, even if it’s not sunny, because they help to reduce the glare a lot. And when I use my computer or iPhone, I invert the colours to have the screen in negative mode. That way, the background is black, so there’s no glare, and the white text on top stands out very clearly Also, when I’m outdoors I can’t see signs, street names, train departure boards, museum object labels, what’s happening on the stage in the theatre, etc. But I get around that by using a small telescope called a monocular, and at the theatre and museums I can get audio description and touch tours too. It can also be hard to find and navigate unfamiliar places, but apps like Citymapper and Google Maps really help there, while other apps like Seeing AI can help me to read things if need be. Technology has really helped me to be more independent, it’s amazing.
- What do other people feel about your visual impairment?
Members of the public often don’t notice it, because I don’t use a cane or a guide dog, as I feel I can see well enough not to need them. But people are generally happy to help if I need to ask them for it. My work colleagues were a bit unsure about how to interact with me when we first met, and were worried about saying anything that might offend me, as they weren’t used to having a visually impaired person around. And they weren’t sure how much I would be able to do in terms of the work. But very quickly, as I settled in and they got to know my personality and capabilities, they realized I was basically just like them and they didn’t need to worry, so they relaxed around me very quickly.
- 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 assume you can’t do things, because you’re capable of far more than you realise. You can do almost anything that anyone else can, with a bit of help if need be from technology or other people. So don’t be afraid to try new things, take up opportunities and pursue your dreams. It’s entirely possible to live a successful and happy life with sight loss.
Where can other people find you on Social media? (Please list and provide links)
Blog – https://welleyenever.com/
YouTube – https://youtube.com/c/WellEyeNever
Twitter – https://twitter.com/well_eye_never
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/welleyenever/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/welleyenever/
Hi Blog world,
As I was looking for ideas to write about today, I came across this question, and since I’m still on Unemployment island I watch a lot of YouTube channels. Here’s a list of the top five channels that I watch on a daily basics.
- iiSuperwomanii this channel is run by a very talented woman named, Lilly Singh, I like here channel because of the funny comedy videos that she produces every Monday and Thursday. He content makes me laugh and reminds me to stay positive.
Here’s the link to Lilly’s channel:
- Gone to the Snow Dogs, is a fun-loving all around dog channel, that features humans Jessica, and Jamie and their three adorable dogs: Shelby, Memphis and Oakley. I love their channel because they give me ideas for my dog Duke. They do treat videos, training videos, and other fun related dog topics.
Here’s the link to Gone to the Snow Dogs:
- As mentioned on my “How has 2017 been…January” I watch Cherry Wallis , who like me loves Harry Potter and Makeup. I love her Harry Potter hauls and her craft ideas that are Harry Potter themed. Watching her do Makeup tutorials are a lot of fun too.
If you haven’t already done so you can check out her channel by clicking the link below:
- Another YouTuber that I really enjoy watching is the amazingly funny, but yet he provides great information about Britain, Even Edinger. I found his videos by accident one day when I went searching YouTube for information about Britain, ever since I clicked on one of his videos I’ve been coming back for more.
Click here to check out his channel:
- Last and not certainly least is the fun, and honest Molly Burke. She has an amazing positive attitude towards life, and I love how she helps educate the public in funny, yet down to earth ways, about blindness. These videos make me want to continue to smile even more everyday even though I face many challenges as someone who also has a visual impairment.
Click here to find Molly’s latest video:
Please take note readers, this blog post was not sponsored by YouTube or any of the YouTubers that I have mentioned above.