Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

But Trust Me On The Sunscreen

Last week was a free post week with:

My Free Five.

It’s mid-March already. The weather is just starting to become reasonable, Dairy Queen was giving away free cones to celebrate their birthday, and I came home today to some good news which I will write about for this week’s upcoming Fiction Friday.

It’s been a pretty good last few days for me, always offering up possible topics I can write about here.


Now, back to business.

For today’s Memoir Monday I answer another question for the challenge…

“The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientist; whereas, the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.”

The above advice (in quotes) is given by others. It was first published as an essay in a newspaper and turned into a song that goes by multiple names.

The next part is all me.


Q: What would you tell someone who has recently been diagnosed with your disabilities or disabilities that you are familiar with?

A: I hesitate to offer up too much advice or to give my version of what anyone else should do in their own unique situation.

I spent a year listening to people on the other end of a crisis hotline telephone. They poured out their anger and their loneliness and occasionally they asked, point-blank, for me to tell them what to do.

Actually, they wanted to know what I would do if I were them, in their position.

This, I will readily admit, can become a highly intoxicating feeling, but this feeling did not last more than two seconds for me on the other end of that phone line.

I have hesitated to offer someone my advice ever since. Perhaps one good lesson to come out of that whole experience, for me.

I gave them what they asked for, grudgingly, and now I will again because it was in the question today.

However, it leaves the advice giver in an awkward position of their own, when, as it often does, the advice does not live up to the promise of itself.

I have made a friend this past year who is going blind. The friendship exists online. I met him over a Facebook group or some such thing. Funny that I can’t now even recall where or how exactly.

He has a lot of education and a good job, but is finding it harder and harder to keep up with certain demands and expectations as his vision worsens.

I won’t go into too much detail about his situation, in case I betray any confidences without meaning any harm.

I will say that he seems to find something valuable in the way I have handled my own life with a lack of vision. He asks me how I’ve handled this or that and I tell him the truth of how I myself have muddled through.

I hope he takes what I say with a grain of salt because I’m just making it up as I go along. I have no answers on how to cope and I don’t even feel all that successful most days, if I’m being honest.

He has it a lot better than me in many ways, a start I did not have, as he is just now starting to really feel the affects of lack of sight.

I guess he finds comfort out of hearing that another person can relate. He simply relays to me the stories of the barriers he’s encountered during his days and I listen.

That’s all I can really do. I know it’s hard and life just seems to keep getting harder all the time.

I don’t sugar coat anything when it comes to losing sight. I would just say that it is made easier when you have others to lean on.

Without that, I don’t know how anybody copes. I talk to others, seeing that life is a struggle for many people, for all sorts of reasons, and the feeling not being so alone is what keeps me going.

Why do any of us look to others for the answers?

It’s because we can’t so easily see clarity of how we can go about our own lives, but can best see these truths in other people.

I can’t live someone else’s life for them. I can’t possibly accurately show them what mine is like either. I don’t know how closely any of us can really relate our life to another person’s life.

disability of any kind presents the kind of challenges unique in life, in a way that roadblocks are put up at every corner. Problem-solving is a key skill to develop. Patience with life is mandatory. Support from others is essential. The world is not fair. People are going to give up and get frustrated with you, just hopefully these people aren’t your only support network.

I could go on listing a string of platitudes here and a lot of it would be true, but some of it might not apply at all. I think inspirational words, pep talks, and advice can be a dangerous thing if we come to rely on them too much.

Instead, we must learn to lean on others for support, all while learning how to best trust our own individual instincts. I haven’t figured these questions out myself yet, thus I feel inept at presenting any fully formed answers to anyone else.

My friend writes powerfully about these instincts and these missing answers to life’s questions and I show him my writing too.

Perhaps we don’t get any answers, from each other, but we do get something from the words we have shared on all that we’re still just beginning to discover.


This might not have been your run-of-the-mill advice column formula, but I hoped I could use an example or two from my own life to express just how shaky any advice can be. We still crave it from others and offer it, in my opinion, much more often than we probably should.

The well-known: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!

This is a warning sign and it should be applied to all advice, when sought out, and offered up.



What would you like the general public to know about your disabilities, disability in general, or any other relevant subject?

This is next week’s question for the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

In the meantime…

“Take care of your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.”

This was my favourite track of 1999 and I thought it might add a humorous element to this post.

Do you remember this song?

What was the best or worst advice you’ve ever been given?

What was the best or worse advice you yourself have given someone else?