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Ice Cubes, Cough Candies, and Skulls #JusJoJan

My bracelets are my fidget spinners.

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I don’t know a lot about the names of different stones and minerals and jewels.

I wear my rubber
Bold Blind Beauty
band around my left arm to remind me that I can be bold, blind, and beautiful too.

When I did some public speaking the other day, I wore my wrap around blue beaded bracelet I got from a woman at
Women’s Travel Fest
last year.

I now have two bracelets with bigger assorted beads I wear on my right wrist and I think one of those beads might be
jade,
though don’t quote me on that.

I got one of these in Mexico back in 2017 from
this man!

It has flower beads, beads that feel like giant marbles, one bead shaped like a heart, one that makes me think of a cough candy, and a few small skull beads which is a cultural thing from that country.

My newest beaded bracelet was made by a girl I met out west last year. I wanted to support her artistic entrepreneurship and, I have to say, the bracelet she made me is lovely.

It has a pattern, two beads that feel like a different type of cough candy, and one centre bead shaped like a cube. Or, as I like to say, one of those ice cubes that come out of the ice machine at a hotel.

The sound these beads on these bracelets on my right hand make sounds like the jingling that always accompanied Lady Mary on the Downton Abbey series.

They are my good luck charms, peace and meditation, and memories of my travels.

Thanks,
MB,
for this prompt that posed more of a challenge than some.

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I Am No Rarity #JusJoJan

I took yesterday off, from this
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
challenge, but there remains a lot to do.

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I had an
experience
yesterday, a speaking invitation to something called
PROBUS.

This was a chance to be a guest speaker for a room of retired professional women. I wasn’t just there to speak about my life as a sideshow of what’s known as inspiration porn, meaning a story of my disability that does nothing to truly educate, challenges preconceived notions and to show them what has been kept too well a hidden secret up until now.

I wanted to talk to the ladies about my life, my blindness sure, but of some of the things I’ve accomplished. I made the theme fear and travel and they were amazed I traveled to Mexico alone, to attend a writing workshop in 2017. Sure, many sighted people are amazed I can dress myself let alone travel by myself.

The point is that there are ways to know what I’m wearing and how I get to my gate to fly somewhere. I don’t do it without practice and, sometimes, without assistance.

I talked about my fears and the fears my parents had when they first learned I was blind. I talked about my loss of sight over the years and how I faced my fear of rejection to start this blog and share more of my writing with the wider world. I talked about how to face the fears and push passed them, while they keep on coming.

I impressed them, all kinds of them coming up to me after to shake my hand and tell me to keep it all up.

I couldn’t hope to change every mind about the capabilities of blind people, but maybe I enlightened some of them so that they will realize that I am not such a rarity, that many blind people live happy and active lives.

There is much work to do, why I’ve become involved with the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
to, in many cases, fight back against society’s fears of blindness and what it’s really like to live with it.

I want to improve opportunities for my own life and for those born blind or who go blind later in life. It isn’t a black hole of hopelessness.

The government could be doing a lot more to help. If they listened more and realized it is a good investment to make into disability communities like that of the blind, that given the right kinds of opportunities and supports and training, we can give back to society like we want, like anyone else might do.

Our challenge is to make blind people, struggling to know their options and worth and opportunities, understand and believe that they can live the life they want.

I have been to a yearly convention for the CFB in Canada for the last two years and to one in the US in 2018. I wish I had more money for travel because it isn’t only a chance to do that, but it’s a chance to gather together and share with one another and boost each other in our lives all the rest of the year. I face my fears by traveling, again and again and again, and to put myself squarely in a situation where I am anxious and uncomfortable, a large crowd or group of people.

The experiences I’ve had since I realized my power to make changes through advocacy with like-minded blind people have been some of the best of my entire life and I’ve met people that inspire me for those times when I do feel like it’s all too much and I’d like to give up all together.

It’s often stressful because there’s more work to do than those of us willing to pitch in with our own unique talents and skills, but it’s a brand new year here and I know I’ll keep busy, whatever happens. Life is rarely ever boring for long.

Thanks,
Dan,
for this prompt that I had a lot to speak on. My life has been a rich tapestry of meaningful and impactful experiences for sure.

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Gloria In Handcuffs Signing The Constitution #JusJoJan

People are protesting, challenging their governments, and more.

And here I am.

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I can come here and I can
publish
my feelings and my fears for our world.

I am approaching my six year anniversary with this blog next month and I can speak my mind in Canada and share it with anyone who comes here. I am not protesting for the world to see on screen, like Gloria Steinem or Jane Fonda are doing, both these high profile women and both in their eighties now. Instead, I keep writing it all down and I don’t quit as times grow tough.

I have the freedom to write about climate change or disability rights as civil rights or about misogyny and the men who’ve run this world long enough and brought us to where we are today. I can say the things I’m drawn to say and publish without waiting for some mighty publisher to look my way.

I can’t control what the government does or what other governments around the world do, but I can write and speak my mind and for this I’m grateful.

Thank you,
Ritu,
for this prompt word, a favourite of mine.

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TToT: An Ode and Lament For “No Need to Argue” #FlashbackFriday #10Thankful

Had they but courage equal to desire?

William Butler Yeats – Poetry Foundation

It’s around that time: celebrating The Cranberries biggest and best of all their albums – No Need to Argue, 1994.

First off, I just like that message, being someone who never liked to argue much at all myself.

It’s not only one big time radio single that’s on offer here, but a lovely and haunting collection of songs, that moves me from start to finish.

From family ties to Ireland’s well-known Troubles to a tribute to a long-since-passed Irish poet.

During the later half of the 90’s, I’d place the tape in my walkman, crank the volume in my headphones, and drown out the world, a world of medical tests and uncertain outcomes. Not all my childhood was about, but a big big part of it and this album was a piece of that.

And it all started with my sister (thanks) and an Irish boy on our school bus.

RIP again, Dolores, and a great owing of gratitude to the entire band for this album.

What album (not song) has been there, done this sort of thing in your life? Albums are often neglected pieces of art as a whole.

Ode and Lament (From my 20th anniversary post for this album.)

I’m back for another round of
Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful
and this week I am thankful for more than ten things, but for every song on this memorable album and for those who made it – those still alive and those no longer with us.

I think of that quote from the top of this post and hearing her murmur those words of W.B. Yeats (in that song on the album) and I often wonder if my courage is equal to my desire for so many things.

Her haunted voice will forever ring inside my head.

Had they but courage equal to desire?

Had I? Have I?

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Stretch and Still #SoCS

Unsure if anyone truly noticed the absence of activity here these last few months. That’s right-it’s been two months since I’ve written on this blog.

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The
silence
has felt strange to me, a void of something I’d been doing for five years of my life.

It’s like anything else, a muscle that must be worked. Without the work, I find myself forgetting how to do simple tasks that were always a main part of this blogging process for me.

I’m evolving, I guess is what it is. I’m doing new things that aren’t involving this blog directly now. It feels like a lousy excuse, but nobody else holds me to this place but me.

I am on radio now. Ooh, look at me! Ha!

I am writing, not less, but differently. Wait…less sometimes too. Scary stuff to me and the silences make that thought hard to stomach.

I don’t stop thinking, but that continues on in a silent stream of consciousness action. Just not here. Never here anymore it seems.

So I heard this week’s prompt and I knew about the silences. I knew it and so I’m writing through it.

The silence scares me, I admit. It threatens to drag me away somewhere. I cling to the edge of this blog with my fingernails (threatening to break), wondering whether it wouldn’t be easier to just let go.

No no…I don’t have to. This is my place and I am comfortable here, but maybe it’s harder and more of a necessary challenge to pull away sometimes, or risk never growing at all.

I spend a lot of silent moments and I think of sound as the opposite. Then I know I don’t have to be silent when I’m here. The point of being here is to not stay quiet like I’m drawn to being.

I sit in silent contemplations. I will always, but I love this place too much to leave it for long.

Two months does feel long enough, but I know I am always welcome here.

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TToT: Be Or Not Be, That Is Question – Go! #10Thankful

A birthday is a good time to reflect on all that’s happened since the last one and a chance to let go of whatever might need letting go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDocib2cAVQ

I am still doing this
Ten Things of Thankful #TToT
exercise, but I am feeling a distance from what used to be something so joyful for me.

I am thankful
Kristi
has been so helpful to make up for the lack of accessibility with InLinz.

I am thankful
Clark
is so skilled in his descriptions of his photos.

I love reading and sharing these TToT posts, but with this InLinz problem, I am left to consider if it’s time to move on…

But no because this is my weekly gratitude journal. It’s where I keep track of things that particular week and I like to include a photo of something that took place, a favourite quote I came across, a link to an article of interest, and a song I may have discovered and want to keep a record of.

I am thankful for the bloggers who did it first, when I happened across them in 2015 and that I am still here, four years later.

I am thankful for my brother, on his birthday weekend, and for the final few days of March.

I am thankful for what we’ve achieved with
Outlook CFB
so far and for Brian’s position at
94.9 CHRW Radio Western
already with his music show every Friday.

Without that, we never would have gotten the idea to do a show, based on the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and a place to educate and to be visible.

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I am thankful for our family weekend in Niagara Falls and for all the whacky stuff that transpired at that favourite childhood hotel of ours.

I am thankful I participated in my first group exercise class and that I was able to keep up and face my fear of looking ridiculous in front of other people.

I am thankful my father likes to walk and that we can have this new thing together, walking together, as I prepare and train myself for a walk along the Thames.

I am thankful my first paediatric kidney specialist from 96 saw me on the news and reached out via a good, old fashioned letter in the mail. A return to a simpler time.

Or was it just as complicated?

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TToT: March Breaks and Time Straddlers – Design and Procurement #10Thankful

I can’t get the image of all that plastic in that whale’s stomach out of my head. Or the gorilla who was shot and blinded. Or fifty human lives lost in New Zealand last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yks0RggaluY

But then, I am reminded, we live in a world with rainbows.

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“Watch the rain drop.”

I’m thankful for new Cranberries music. She’s dead, and that’s still unbelievably sad, but this song just released is powerful, even more because of how things are.

I am thankful for a good
classic Irish memoir
to read on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. (All twelve braille volumes of it.)

I’m thankful that another news network put a spotlight on the disability issues radio talk show I do with my brother.

Radio Show About Blindness Promotes Accessibility – CTV London

I’m thankful an interesting documentarian/filmmaker was generous enough to give me a few hours of his time, to ask me several thoughtful questions, to get to know my story a little better. I’m discovering, life’s all in the connections that you make.

I’m thankful for an upcoming Niagara Falls weekend trip with my family to celebrate the start of spring.

I’m thankful for my recent weekend away in New York City with my friend and travel agent extraordinaire, just in time for International Women’s Day festivities.

I’m thankful for rooftops, bars/restaurants/nothing but the roof.

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I stand on one, on a cold International Women’s Day in New York City, with my friend Anita.

I’m thankful for fear that I keep facing.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my fears and not feel so alone. On the stage, the presenter (my “writing mentor” was the presenter) spoke about fear in her talk and then called me up, along with two other ladies, to share what we’re afraid of.

I’m thankful for lovely songs and their singers.

Though I don’t mind winter like some do, I am thankful for this first day of spring.

“Everything is new in the spring,” said Anne. “Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness. See how green the grass is around that little pond, and how the willow buds are bursting.”-
L.M Montgomery, Anne of the Island

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