“You should write a book,” many of my friends have said. I did. It was published a year ago, and I called it “The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living a Daughter’s Memoir,” (shameless plug) available on Amazon.com But ever since then, I’ve been itching to write a second book. Today, I’m sending you the first draft of the first chapter of “Insight Out, a Memoir.” Let me know what you think.
You may have heard some version of this quote, but I think this is a good place to put it in this book. Blindness “is only part of who I am, not the definition of my life.” Wow. How true this is for me.
I should use it as part of my signature on my email messages. I should get a T-shirt with those words written in puff paint. Blindness is only part of who I am, not the definition of my life. Now, if only the rest of the world would forget the stereotypical image of blindness and view those of us who have a vision impairment as people first. . As you might guess, I’m really big on “people first” language. You will never hear me refer to a group of people who are blind as “the blind,” just as I refuse to say “the elderly,” or “the homeless.” We are people who have personalities, regrets, knowledge, sorrows, happiness, jobs, families, problems, joys, disabilities, and a host of other attributes unique to each of us.
Some of what you read in this book may surprise you, especially if you have never met a person who is blind. Somehow, I seem to always be the first blind person most sighted people have ever met “up close and personal.” Am I the first for you? Well, welcome to my world. In this book, I will talk about many aspects of my life that have relevance to my blindness, but sometimes, what I have to share has nothing to do with being blind, just to illustrate that blindness is not the definition of my life.
This book is also for a person who is experiencing vision loss or who is close to someone who is. You can read all sorts of books about accepting blindness and the stages we go through as we lose vision, but in this book, you will peek inside the life of a person who has experienced the whole journey, from poor vision to total blindness. I will share with you the struggles of recognizing my limitations and the joys of overcoming them and everything in-between. I am 73 as I begin to write this book, but the story begins when I was in the second grade. Even a beginner in math skills can tell that I have had plenty of time to adjust to blindness and make my life as close as possible to what I want it to be.
When people meet me at first, especially those who have never met a blind person before, and they learn about my accomplishments, which are only everyday activities that most people, at least in the U.S. enjoy without a thought, they are impressed beyond belief. the first comment they make is, “You are so amazing,” or “awesome” or “inspirational.” Later in this book, you will learn why I think these reactions are ridiculous and unwarranted. Naturally, if I had become totally blind overnight and then proceeded with life as I have, I might have agreed, but as I said, my blindness sneaked up on me and gradually changed the path of my life. It didn’t ruin my life, just altered it to make me work a little harder to live it the way I wanted to.
I have been told that my sight has been replaced with insight. I’m not sure that’s true, but let’s go with it and see if it fits the title of this book.
Author of “The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir”
Available at Amazon.com