During last Monday’s post for
The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge
I described a typical
for me, someone who just happens to be visually impaired. I explained how I do the everyday things we all must do.
In contrast, my school and work experiences haven’t been typical at all.
Q: Is your work or school life affected by disability? Describe some of these challenges.
A: Simply put … yes.
This may be the most difficult question I have answered for this challenge yet. It involves a lot of what my educational history has been and a lot of the fears I have for my future.
As a writer who uses writing to convey my feelings and thoughts in, what should be a clear and concise manner, I am not sure where to begin or what to focus on here. I am under know obligation to even answer if I don’t want to, (the option to simply skip over any questions I find difficult to respond to), but then how would I ever come close to figuring out how school and work have or will affect me in future? It’s through the writing that I come to find the answers I seek.
My parents, my mother had to fight hard to get me educated along with my peers in my neighbourhood school system. I did not feel it when I was young, but there was great pressure to prove all that hard work worth it and to show people I was just as capable as any other child.
Things became complex when my situation was made even more complicated by additional health problems. I was in sixth grade and over time everything began to suffer: my schoolwork, my social development, my physical health and state of mind. At first glance it appeared the stress and the pressure had finally gotten to me and maybe it was all too much.
After I was finally diagnosed with kidney disease my blindness suddenly seemed like nothing at all in comparison.
Would I make it to high school? Would I graduate?
It’s years later and I did make it to high school. I made it through a year of dialysis and a kidney transplant and I battled back to be ready for the next stage of my life. They wanted to hold me back because they thought I wasn’t ready. They were wrong, but I couldn’t possibly know what life had in store for me.
I did not graduate. This isn’t easy to talk about, but I have to.
Again my blindness was overshadowed by the other medical issues that plagued me through my teen years and beyond. I could not concentrate on completing high school when I could barely get through a day without pain.
I became isolated. I faded from view. I fell behind.
Now I am thirty and I feel like ever getting a degree or a job is way far off and, many days, I simply can not see either one happening for me. I know, however, that this is just the fear talking. The fear that I can’t hack it is a constant companion.
The truth is that my blindness has been an issue, but it hasn’t been my biggest one. This isn’t to say it hasn’t been a challenge and that it won’t present problems for me in going forward, but what else is there to do but fight for the future I know I deserve.
We are coming to the end of October in a few short days and with this the final few days of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. I wrote about the part we as a society all must play to find a way to bring people with disabilities such as blindness into the work force a few weeks back:
National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
This is possible, I believe, and necessary for a more inclusive world.
I hope to return to completion of additional education as I enter into the decade that is my thirties. Better late than never.
I will get my high school diploma. I will strive for a degree in English literature, creative writing, or tourism. These are my passions and any disability I have dealt with in my life has made me dream bigger, able to see how far I have come and to feel appreciative for all those who have helped me along the way all the more.
I will do my part in showing the world that I can learn and work just as hard as anybody else who looks for fulfilment through a useful degree or a worthwhile job.
If my school and work life have or will be affected by my disabilities it’s all the inspiration and motivation I will ever need to carve my own spot in future.
And I will celebrate by announcing it here when I do achieve these goals. Disability does affect all these parts of life, but it does not have to define who I am and predict what future success I may have.
IT CAN BE DONE.
For next week:
Is your family life affected by disability? In what ways?
A brand new month and maybe a brand new perspective.
I will think about this and may once more return to asking those family members involved.