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My 2018 Resolution For Us All, #JusJoJan

New Year, new month, and it’s time for another yearly, month-long instalment of Just Jot It January.

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I am doing this again, to help motivate me and get me going into a new year.

Last year at this time I did pop in and out for this, but I was preoccupied, full of thoughts of a week-long trip to a writing workshop in Mexico at the end of the month. I was excited and afraid and everything in between.

Just Jot It January #JusJoJan

I think we should all make it our 2018 New Year’s resolution to have less drama in our lives, but of course, as soon as you call it a resolution, people won’t see it through anyway.

And how can we expect such a thing from people, especially young people, when it is all over the place with those running our world?

Well, anyway, I believe it would make a big difference and so I am putting the idea out there for consideration, nearly pleading even.

Am I nuts, the only one who thinks of drama as something we should strive for less of?

I know family can get complicated and this time of year can be heavy with emotion, but it is a bad habit that doesn’t just remain around the holidays. It tends to extend into daily life, for some, and it can turn toxic. I know nobody’s life is free from it, but it would be nice if we could work harder to eliminate it, for children, even as we try to shield them as best we can.

I wish this for everyone as 2018 dawns.

For the first prompt of January, 2018:

But I Smile Anyway with “drama”
as the word of the day.

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Humbug: Review of “The Man Who Invented Christmas” #Humbug #AChristmasCarol #Review #SoCS

A little
yuletide and humbug for you
on Christmas Eve Eve, or however one might say that.

And now, here we are, and you’ll forgive me if it’s now officially Christmas Eve. I am about to watch A Christmas Carol with my father, a Christmas Eve tradition.

Please enjoy this brief summary/review of the tale of the man who came up with the story in the first place.

Light in places, nearing the absurd, but it took me back to the times, those days.

The year was 1843 and Charles Dickens was under pressure to come up with his next big hit. He’d toured the United States of America and the crowds there loved him, but Christmas was coming and he wanted a seasonal story for the ages.

He swore he could come up with one in a matter of months/weeks.

His home was filled with beautiful new things, purchased from his previous book’s success, and a family full of life. The more he pressed himself to come up with a Christmas tale, the more consumed by it he became.

His household employed a young Irish woman who loved to tell the children old Irish ghost stories. What a thing to share at Christmas I say.

Ghosts at Christmas…well I never!

Charles overheard her telling on of these tales and ran with it and a story of an old miser being visited by three spirits came to life in his head and soon onto the page.

Literally, it came to life, as soon I was confused, as a viewer without sight or an audio track to explain.

Scrooge was there and Dickens was talking out loud. Soon, his room was spread out with papers and his characters, talking to him.

Tiny Tim was apparently inspired by a real life nephew who was ill and whose progress was uncertain when the family came to visit the Dickens’ home.

How did A Christmas Carol come to be? – BBC

Charles deals with a father who was the root of many of his son’s issues, growing up poor and with debts owed. Charles fears the fame drying up and his own future debt, making his own family suffer the way he did as a boy.

His memories of going to a poorhouse and having to work in a factory, being teased by other boys, and all this with deadlines for what was shaping up to become A Christmas Carol.

So, we all know the book does get written, obviously. No mystery there. He did it when he was younger than I am now. Times were different then, or not so much as we’d think. This story still applies.

I only read it (the novel that is), for the first time, a few years ago. To me, the title of this film is apt, as Charles Dickens, in many ways, was the inventor of Christmas, to me, a lot more recent than two thousand years.

My father has been watching that old version of the classic story, the film, since my childhood. When once I couldn’t quite grasp the whole story, finding it boring in parts, I now treasure it for its lessons on compassion and humanity.

I can think of a few souls, in need of a lesson on mistakes of the past that cannot be undone, realities of the present in other places and in the lives of other people, and the chances still available in the future to make things better.

This film told a behind-the-scenes story that made for a pleasant and sometimes gritty glimpse into poverty and one’s life work, in this case being writing. Such a career and success can dry up as fast as from whence it came.

I am inspired, as a writer myself, by a story created, as Charles did, in those stories that span the test of time, from England to North America and around the world.

I’d add this one to any list of movies to view around the Christmas season, for sure.

Humbug and Scrooge to view, for you.

“And God bless us, everyone!”

The Real Reason Charles Dickens Wrote A Christmas Carol – Time

I once mistook the author’s main character for the author himself. Charles Dickens was no humbug!

You’ll forgive me, Mr. Dickens sir, won’t you?

Yule tidings to you all.

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TToT: Silver, Gold, and That’s So Weird – Go Train Phenomenon, #10Thankful

To drink from the fountain
Of the little you know about love and god

—Sarah Slean

I can’t see silver and gold anymore, but at least Canada still has net neutrality.

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Photo caption: Max and Auntie Kerry. My favourite picture, though I cannot see it.

I have been watching many of the holiday programs in the run-up to Christmas: Home Alone, Rudolph, and an old Frosty classic.

My jolly holiday spirit has been waxing and waning this year, all depending on the day, which is why I am still here with my third Christmas season with Ten Things, keeping the gratitude going and written for the record.

It’s funny, that the Christmas song I ended last week’s TToT post with (all about the kind of snow we get here in Canada) and then that is the one Christmas song Sarah Slean chose to perform at her concert that night, the one I am happy to report I got to enjoy. This leads me to my first thankful for this last week before Christmas finally arrives.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the weather holding back, if not the bitter cold, at least the blowing snow.

I live over an hour from Toronto and where most of the concerts are. I am thankful the weather cooperated and that I had family willing to make that trip, to drive me to see Sarah Slean and her band live.

December in Ontario, Canada can be unpredictable, but though it was so bitter cold, I was eventually warm inside the intimate venue, with some lovely music and a good friend.

I’m thankful for a truly uplifting early Christmas gift of a concert, with a friend and fellow writer.

Sarah sang beautifully, with a woman who doubled as backup and cello. She also had a guy on the drums, violins, and viola players. Slean herself, as well as being lead singer, played piano.

She even forgot the first line of her big single (Sarah) and had to stop the music and shout out for the lyrics. It was a sign that nobody’s perfect and we all forget things and make a mistake, if you can even call it that. We are all human. It happens. She has been writing songs for something like twenty years and her audience of all us fans were understanding.

Sarah spoke, in between songs, about the shelter she volunteers at in Toronto and the people she’s met there. The concert was raising money for food for Christmas for
St. Felix Centre on Facebook.

She spoke of the snap judgments we are all guilty of making in our daily lives, using one of many hashtags during the evening (#GOTrainPhenomenon) for what happened the night it was just her and one scary looking man on a GO Train. When you’re trapped on a moving vehicle, you have nowhere to run and hide, which can open your eyes in unexpected ways.

She considers herself something of a #SongWitch for what happens to her when a set of lyrics and piece of music come to her and become something special.

Her lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful and wise.

Sarah Slean – Perfect Sky

I’m thankful my friend and guest (her birthday being the next day) and I could talk, even during intermission, and her spirit could be lifted just as mine was.

We struggle with writing, at times, but we shared our experiences, back and forth. I know we inspired each other to never give up and to continue on this path we’re both on.

It was different songs that spoke to the two of us, but all that matters is we got something special and unique out of it.

Mine was the first song Sarah sang, about there never being a perfect sky and right away I was listening. She had my attention for sure. I am often afraid I will one day no longer even see what sky is, but the message about not waiting for some perfection that will never come was duly noted.

For my friend, it was a song about finding the right words and that endless search to say exactly what it is any of us wants to say.

I’m thankful for more speaking up and activism from a powerful advocate and friend, after an unexpected piece of news.

I went to the Sarah Slean show, happy to avoid hearing the news of the vote in Alabama that I’d been hearing, frankly, too much about.

What happened in that state was and is a smaller scale example of the disbelief I have for who is POTUS right now. It is all so nonsensical and disgusting. I feel like I live in some kind of upside-down world, on a daily basis, even from my semi-regular life here in Canada at this time.

It’s a sign that sure things shouldn’t be assumed/presumed or counted on. It felt like all those who mocked anyone for their confidence in Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, like it was such a sure thing in 2016, were given a taste of their own medicine here in 2017. Cockiness is not such a good attitude to have when it comes to these things.

Enough people, the right people weren’t having it and I will let Kerra speak on the rest.

How black women saved Alabama — and democracy (CNN Opinion)

I am so proud to know her and that she has found this place for her opinions on the fate of her birth country.

I’m thankful for people to check on me when I’ve had a bad day and couldn’t be found.

I stay in touch with someone, as I am on my own a lot, and then I have my bad days when the pain makes me want to sleep and shut out the world.

I appreciate being left to this sometimes, but I know I am always being watched over and protected.

Whether it’s family or neighbour, it is a nice thing to know.

I’m thankful for a pleasant and successful final National Foundation of the Blind Peer Advisor conference call before the holidays.

We are a team in many ways. We support each other in our limitless pursuits. It’s a good group.

We speak, by phone, one Thursday evening each month. This was our evening to hear about holiday plans and traditions. Still, I am the only peer advisor from Canada in the group. One woman calls from Australia.

Maybe we will all meet in person one day.

I’m thankful for such fun kids in my life.

It was a wonderful pre-Christmas Saturday with my niece and nephew.

My niece has herself a dollhouse, which is actually for a family of bunny rabbits. My nephew played with his big sister and her rabbit family.

I sometimes like to join in their games. Other times, I love to just watch and listen as they play. They fight, like siblings often do, but they love to play together too. It’s super sweet to witness the fun they have with each other.

I’m thankful for Chippy.

I believe that is his name, their Elf On The Shelf, who shows up somewhere new every morning leading up to Christmas.

My niece and nephew enjoy looking for him in a new spot every morning, like hanging from a light, as he was the day we were there.

I guess, I don’t really know the rules, as this wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Still, they seem to love it. It is one of the special holiday traditions they have as a family.

I’m thankful for such smart kids in my life, asking questions.

My brother had the new Blue Planet oceans shows all downloaded and my niece was all into learning about sharks. She could become a scientist (marine biologist perhaps) or an artist. That’s what is so amazing about her. Her future, with all that curiosity and intelligence, is wide open.

My nephew is settling in at school his first year and making friends. He is so inquisitive and full of life. He makes me smile, the sweetest little soul.

They asked questions and seemed to begin to understand, more and more, about what blindness means in their aunt and their uncle.

I am glad we could share a love for marine documentaries and colours.

I’m thankful for old champaign still tasting good.

Thanks for the hospitality goes out to my brother and sister-in-law, for the snacks, and the holiday cheer.

S…A…N…T…A
S…A…N…T…A
S…A…N…T…a
And Santa is his name-o!

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A Reckoning: 2018 and the next 100 years #Disability #Equality

Today I am giving a friend a platform. Since he no longer has a blog, and I do, I am sharing this here.

***

Today, I’m so angry, I can’t concentrate on my labs. This morning when I checked my email here is what I read:

“With sight loss, everything you have ever known becomes unfamiliar. Your favourite T.V. chair, your reading nook, your computer desk: all become symbols of the quality of life you feel vision loss has robbed you of.

When you donate to CNIB, you help give that quality of life back. You help people learn new ways to enjoy their favourite movie. To read a book. To connect with loved ones.

Friend, your donation today can give families back their life.”

This has been eating away at me for a while now, but I am finally sick of it and I have to say something.

My friends, everything in the quote above is an absolute lie. If you were to dress up as a beggar on weekends and hit people up for money even though you have a good job, it would be no different from what is happening here.

“With sight loss, everything you have ever known becomes unfamiliar.”

Wrong! In fact, just the opposite is usually true. In my experience serving hundreds of people over the years, I have found that familiar things take on special significance and offer tremendous comfort to the newly blind.

This email says that newly blind people resent familiar things, that those become unfamiliar, mocking, threatening, icons of a supposed life we have lost. Get that monkey off your heart strings for a minute and try and think about this logically.

If you undergo a major life change, no matter what that is, wouldn’t you rather be in your familiar home surrounded by your possessions?

This email says that sight robs people of their life, but that isn’t true at all.

I have seen this countless times for myself. A newly blind person is not going to deny themselves their morning coffee just because they went blind. No, they are going to fiddle and futs and do what comes naturally until they get their coffee. They may not be confident of making coffee at a family member’s house, but they aren’t going to go without at home. In fact, something as simple as fixing coffee for a guest can be an outstanding source of pride and self-confidence for someone. There are always variations in situations, experiences, and coping mechanisms, but generally speaking, people take pride and comfort from being surrounded by familiar things.

Losing sight requires a person to develop new skills and use new tools, but it doesn’t rob most people of their life.

Only a very small percentage of us actually commit suicide because of losing sight. Many of us are turned away from daily activities because of the fears, low expectations and preferences of the sighted.

“don’t pour that coffee! It’s hot! you’ll burn yourself.”

We can damage some one’s fragile outlook by so denigrating something they take pride in. The newly blind person pours coffee for himself every day when the sighted person isn’t there, but it’s too much for the sighted person to watch. Thus, something the blind person worked hard to accomplish and may have been looking forward to sharing with the sighted person is diminished because of the low expectation of the sighted person.

Low expectations are the damaging factor here, not blindness.

Promotions like this one add insult to injury by demeaning the actual bereavement process people go through because of something like vision loss. As much as people learn, adapt, and go on to lead full lives, being blind in a world designed by and for the sighted is not without it’s sense of loss, of being singled out in a negative way.

We get through it, not because of money, but because of family and peer support, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Playing on the natural grieving process of the newly blind to tragify us and scare you into giving money is an insult.

According to
Charity Intelligence
there are an estimated 500,000 blind Canadians, and CNIB provides approximately 560,000 hours of service delivery across canada each year. You can do the math in your head.

That’s just over one service hour per blind Canadian.

The annual budget of CNIB is just under $30,000,000 per year

– 54 cents of every dollar goes to programs.

The top ten earners at CNIB earn approximately $2,000,000 per year collectively, with the president earning $350,000 per year.

I believe this aspect of the pay structure is not reflective of the income experience of most blind Canadians, and I choose to be insulted that this one person makes so much money from the blind while the actual state of the blind continues to be abysmal and expectations continue to be oppressively low.

Can we do better? I think we can.

Is CNIB the answer? Maybe at one time they provided real value, but in my view that value is at an end.

How can the blind achieve dignity, respect, inclusion, equality, and increased quality of life if people who haven’t experienced blindness believe life ends with blindness?

If blindness is an irrevocable, life shattering tragedy, why will a human resources person want to hire someone who is blind?

How can we convince people to design all things inclusively, …that including every one in design benefits every one?

How can we convince people to rent us places to live, include us in social orders other than those specifically for the blind, or let us raise our own children in freedom?

If blind people are viewed as perpetually broken, how will we ever have our ideas, accomplishments, and opinions respected?

How can we lie to people and beg for money and expect to teach those same people that blindness is not hopeless, …that blind people are successful in their own right and deserve equal participation in society?

Please be angry. It is time. As long as we channel that anger properly, it can be a source of passion and determination blind people can use to build a future for ourselves where-in we are included as equals, not tagging along as third class citizens.

It would mean more to me as a blind person, if you would take the money you would have donated to CNIB, buy yourself some beer and pizza, and spend an hour or two a month coming to CFB meetings where we can work together to find sustainable ways of delivering needed services that don’t require us to lie, grovle, and debase ourselves to get the crumbs left over from sighted executives.

The blind community is not made up of deficient and damaged people. We have creators, innovators, educators, technology, legal, medical, and financial professionals, and thousands of hard working talented people who can be successful in their own right with real support, tools, reduced societal barriers, and sustainable services.

The blind community has society, culture, political agendas, philosophies, all intertwined with, having things in common with, connected to but not completely the same as those of the sighted or any other social political group.

Let’s build our own movement large enough to provide a valid alternative the state we have now that sells us at a premium, yet far short of our true abilities.

***

Here is my take!

I was born with vision loss (blind) and so was my brother. We grew up with the CNIB who sent us braille/audio books and where we learned how to properly use a white cane to get around safely.

The CNIB is the organization most people would name if asked, have heard of here in Canada, mostly because it has been around the longest. It is celebrating its 100th birthday next year, but things aren’t the same as they were back in 1918 and that can reflect how things are, here and now in this moment.

I don’t want to just be angry either, to demand without being willing to listen, but I do think there has been a reckoning.

We are all individuals of course and I don’t dare speak for all people with sight loss by any measure. This is only one woman’s opinion, mine, and my friend’s reaction to the status quo.

From what I’ve seen and experienced lately though, the disability community, as a whole, are declaring the intention for more equality and rights. I know some of it rests on our shoulders, and that’s why I believe it is time I used my abilities and talents to make life better for the next one hundred years and beyond.

I do wonder who wrote that bit for the newsletter though.

There are only a few weeks left in 2017, but this next year of 2018 is when I plan on becoming more active, both with the American Foundation and Canadian Federation of the Blind.

American Foundation for the Blind

We need to make more changes and to do that, we need to use our collective voice.

Canadian Federation of the Blind

Signed,

Chair and Secretary of the newly formed Ontario chapter of the CFB

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TToT: Shrill Robots and Thumb Slam, #10Thankful

“I dreamed I saw a great wave climbing over green lands and above the hills. I stood upon the brink. It was utterly dark in the abyss before my feet. A light shown behind me, but I could not turn. I could only stand there, waiting.”

—Lord of the Rings

I was recently brought back to my love of LOTR and this quote jumped out at me when I heard it again. I feel this way a lot now.

People tell me not to be scared, but I can’t help it. I can take up violin and yoga and other things, to keep focused on the positive, but I feel this quote intensely and I wish people would stop trying to make me feel something that has taken root and is, for better or for worse, how I feel.

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It’s nearly Christmas and I am making my way through these last few weeks before it arrives upon us. The news around the world, this week, was not much improved from previous ones.

Here in Canada, in the last week or so…
a young man was only trying to stand up for someone else
and he lost his life.

Then, another man and his family were targeted,
in a racially motivated attack,
by a man with a bat in a WAL-MART parking lot.

And this was just in Ontario mind you.

So, I sometimes start off my weekly TToT post sharing my fears and concerns and the things that feel so out of my control and which are so often wildly unfair about the world.

Then I list what I am thankful for, to help me get through the week and focus on the beautiful things and the magic to be found all around me.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a quick reply/acceptance.

From last week’s TToT…the audio piece I did with my brother will be included in the holiday marathon radio show.

The man in charge asked how to pronounce our last name. He isn’t the first to ask that. He also asked how we’d like to be billed and the question was a new one, hadn’t been asked that way before.

Whose name should go first?

I am thankful for more writing support/discussion with those who know and understand.

My two writer friends, I originally found on Facebook, are such a pleasure to spend a few hours with.

We talk writing and I found out one of them wrote a children’s book about Helen Keller.

The other is a knowledgeable scientist/science writer.

I learn so much from them, have learned so much, in this last year since we first met.

I am thankful for a pleasant holiday mall experience.

I found a bright and friendly deer.

I found my favourite holiday scent, vanilla bean. I got myself some hand soap, shower gel, and body spray.

I found a few gifts in my favourite store, that which is full of mostly books, but not all.

I went in for books and came out with a super soft blanket. Still, I hope bookstores never disappear like Blockbuster has.

Santa was, of course, also there.

My Grownup Letter For Santa

I am thankful for my writing group on a bad day.

My internet was causing me problems and I was stressed out by the events of the world. I needed to escape to “The Elsewhere Region” for a few hours.

These people are clever, creative, and fun. It cheered me up in a major way, just being in their presence.

I am thankful for a most pleasant surprise gift from the heart.

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Anything coloured or any sort of writing/drawing tool makes me sad, as someone who once lived for colours and drawing colourful pictures.

Still, it was a sweet gesture and a bit of an inside joke/had to know the giver, to fully get how meaningful it really was.

Mine is yellow and you can write on just about anything with it. It’s gel and smells like heaven in crayon form.

I am thankful for an enjoyable lunch with a new friend.

On a limited amount of time, a lunch break, I found it hard to both eat and be able to say all the things I wanted to say.

She started out as my travel agent when I went to Mexico, but we formed a kind of special connection since then.

I trust her now, as I plan out future travels in the years to come.

I am thankful for my violin teacher’s invite to an all strings concert.

I knew little about baroque music and I still don’t.

I would have recorded the actual concert I attended, but I was advised against it.

Oddly Shaped Pearl

I researched the word and found out that is what Baroque means.

I am thankful for a new possible public writing spot.

Burnt Brick Cafe

I am thankful for my mom’s delicate and detailed Christmas care.

Clever, original, and inventive.

She decorates my home, even though I can’t see much. I don’t put in the work and she comes over and makes the place feel like Christmas.

This year she only made the pine branches she had look the shape of a Christmas tree, but soft pine this time. I see the bright white lights she adds and then comes the star.

No photo can capture it, but the star wouldn’t stay up on such a soft pine branched tree and so she used one of my old white canes. She put it up the back and this was enough to steady the star on top.

I am constantly in awe at the things she comes up with. It’s always been that way, as long as I can remember.

That’s my mom alright, all three of those, the exact definition of ingenious.

I am thankful for a second favourite Christmas gift.

My sister loves Pinterest and found a Harry Potter quote, printed it out and framed it for me.

This has been the week of surprises, let’s call them semi Christmas presents, both I was not expecting.

As for another Christmas present I was given early, Canada and all the snow might want to put a damper on that one tonight.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV4F2yfEt9o&app=desktop

Just not on this day/night…okay? Please! I wanted to go to Toronto.

More on that next week, if I actually get there that is.

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Oddly Shaped Pearl, #BaroqueMusic #SoCS

I hear the flock of Canada geese out my open bedroom window. They fly along, a gathering in the air, and it sounds to me like they are all having delightful conversation with each other as they fly along. It’s a honking that I hear as a chattering of all the geese gossip that’s relevant in any goose’s world.

I know I shouldn’t technically have my window open in December, but I need to feel the chilly air and to hear those gossiping geese, gathering gliding along through the sky.

I need to find those things that bring me peace, or else I’d have no choice but to turn to liquor to distract myself from so many things that gouge out my gut.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Wildfires springing up, madly in California, is just the latest place where the fire burns. Those poor horses, caught up in the inferno. Global warming…does it play a part?

Middle East peace…is it forever ellusive?

Fake news is all around us, many believe. I’m starting to greatly dislike religion and what the religious do in its name. Fake news there too?

At this time of year, a time of holiday cheer, I fear…I fear so many things for this world.

Old wooden floors creak and soft carpet underfoot. I have been in a church only twice this year, in the giant one in Mexico and now on the outskirts of the university. Will I go for three, a Christmas Eve church service?

Will I find peace there again?

And then I sit and listen, in those hard church pews I’d forgotten were so hard, to strings, strings, and more strings: violins, violas, cellos, bass, and harpsichord.

I am tense and the first half feels as hard to take in, as hard as bench under me. Then, intermission over with, they begin again and I am at peace, hard bench fading away and I rise to this occasion of experiencing some most eloquent baroque period music.

I have nothing against the horns section or woodwinds. I used to play the clarinet. Strings are where my heart lies though.

I am at attention, as violins speak to violas, back and forth is the chatter, like the geese and their horn section. Like a musical debate of things going on.

Fast or slow. Intense. Dark. Light and airy. I float along or grab on for the ride. I slide along those strings that whisk me away somewhere, somewhere where liquor is not the answer to fixing that gouge in my gut.

Music is. Music is eloquence. Music is my liquor.

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RESERVED! #TGIF #FTSF

There is a new coffee shop/bakery/cafe in my town. It reminds me of one I discovered and wanted to take home in my suitcase when I was in the Yukon six months back: Burnt Toast Cafe (Whitehorse) and Burnt Brick Cafe (Woodstock.

Both have similar names and beet salads. The similarities start and stop there.

Yes, while trying to envision the decor of this new cafe I have felt the brick wall next to my table. I called ahead and reserved a place. This means I was expected by the staff when I arrived, like I belonged there.

As I sit and eat my beet salad with goat cheese and candied pecans, I decide this will become my new out-of-the-home writing spot and I will be a local that will soon become a regular, maybe even with my own regularly reserved table where I will drink lattes and write all the things.

I would belong there.

When it comes to belonging, I know everyone says it, or at least feels it, at one time or another. We all struggle to belong somewhere. I am no exception.

I think of myself as a bit of a misfit and I have claimed the title with pride, though I live with feelings of not being enough or those of embarrassment a lot.

I want to blend in, to belong there, to belong anywhere. I want to be just another customer.

Customer. Decor. Furniture.

In the cafe today I was finding my way back to my table, after paying the bill, but before eating my dessert. I do hope to come often enough that soon enough I know my way around, but this was only my third time.

Friends either give me their arm, speak directions, or suddenly I am on my own, just me and my white cane.

It taps the metal of table legs and people stare.

Okay, so I don’t know if they do, or if they are nervous I might knock a table over or what, or maybe neither. Today, either way, one of the staff silently pushed me from behind in the name of guidance.

They didn’t do this violently or rudely, just in an attempt to show me how to find my table again.

And did I pull away, whirl around, and correct them, asking them not to put their hands on me without saying something?

Did I say politely that wasn’t the right way to go about that, to help the blind costumer who’d just spent $40 at their establishment?

No and no. I continued to use my cane to find my place and I sat down to enjoy my mini Oreo cheesecake.

I can’t just expect people to know the proper procedure, but it’s hard to explain, n the proper tone, in the moment.

I definitely don’t know how to blend in, to be just another customer, to feel like I fit in, when I feel like an object that must be moved. I say I feel like a misfit, or like a piece of miscellaneous furniture they move into its proper spot in their cafe so I am not in the way.

But do I even go with the rest of the place’s decor?

Hmm.

I should have explained why silently pushing me from behind was not the way to help someone, me, who can’t see. Somewhere inside I have the urge to whip around and tell them to take their hands off me. Or, that they should at least say something before doing it.

Anger and rudeness isn’t the answer. I want to soon be a regular there, to support the community, and to eat good food. Maybe I will even write great things there.

First, I must become comfortable there, with all them, and they must become comfortable with me too.

I want to belong somewhere, a community, even its businesses, such as interesting cafes like those you hear about in Paris, where people drink their lattes, observe people, and write.

Okay, so Woodstock is no Paris, but right now, I am the blind woman who clearly hasn’t figured out her way around quite yet. Friends don’t always know how to help and staff doesn’t yet know me either. If I wait, let time do its thing, I can hope to belong there, the woman who comes in with her laptop and her stick once a week, to her reserved people watching/writing/latte drinking table in the corner.

I can hope. I can dream.

I can do that. I can be. I can belong.

Finish the Sentence Friday:

Finding Ninee
and
Hillary Savoie
hosting.

I belong at this end-of-the-week blog exercise. I am back where I belong.

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