What, a blindness blog?
Well, the journey begins. If you had told me even a month ago that I’d be starting a blog like this, I’d have said you were nuts, crazy, etc. “There’s no way,” I would have thought. Why? Because I don’t like making a thing out of my blindness. It isn’t my identity. I wasn’t raised to let it define me. But nor was I raised to be ashamed of it. It was simply a thing: a thing that affected all or most aspects of my life, and a thing that did much to shape who I am, but only a thing. But here I am, and here you are. So here we go.
then who am I? The author name shows you that I’m Holly. The biography shows you that I’m a Christian, a guide dog user, and a singer. But just like all of us, I’ve got layers, (Schreck reference intended). Don’t worry. I won’t stretch out your agony, I mean coffee break, by uncovering them all.
I was born blind due to a genetic disease. I can see a small amount of light, but not enough to distinguish natural from artificial brightness. I used a white cane until my late 20s, when I got a beautiful and quirky guide dog. While not a cane-hater, I don’t think I’ll ever want to go back. A cane never made me feel on top of the world. I found the joy of a life in Christ at the age of 12, though I’d been raised in a Christian home from the beginning.
When I grew up , it took years to decide on a career. During my Batchelor of Arts studies, I did a summer internship as an English tutor for an organization helping refugees in my area. I had no idea what I was doing, but with the kind help of the teachers, and the patience of the students, not to mention the grace of God, I muddled through. And I loved it; absolutely loved it. So later, when it was really high time I decided what to do with my life, I went back to school for an M.A. in Linguistics, with a specialization in teaching English as a Second language.
After school, I had to enter the real world. Because of lack of experience, ineptitude at filling out applications, and other factors, finding a job proved difficult. Then I stumbled on the live stream of an ESL class that was being taught online. Wow! Really! That’s a thing? Wo. I could do this. I could really do this. Providing, of course, that the software was accessible with a screen reader. Unfortunately, that company was in the process of folding at the time I applied, but it directed my search to locate and apply with companies delivering online classes.
I remember the day I got my first job. I was in the vet’s office getting a little lump on my guide dog’s ear checked out. The same day I found out he didn’t have cancer was the same day I got that email. Talk about a red letter day. Next month, it will have been 3 years since that wonderful email. I have since been bitten by the business bug and started my own teaching website, thus the journey into entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur is challenging at best, and comes with some unique quirks and pitfalls when you can’t see.
Even so, this blog is not a blog about all the challenges and how they can paralyze me at times. It isn’t even a blog about blindness. It’s a blog about faith, hope, love, and life. Faith in a God who caries me through and is patient when I don’t recognize it. Hope that there is a way forward, even if it’s just taking 1 step. Love for what I do and who I have around me. And life that is just as full of ups and downs as any other person out there. And in a way that I can’t explain, it is part of finding the strength to rise and fight another day; because faith, hope, love, and life are worth fighting for. It’s kind of a journal and a place to be a little bit real. Hopefully when I am real, it will bring some good to others. It’s a journey, and I am privileged that you want to take it with me. Here I am, and here you are. So here we go.