Okay, so, I just slammed the door a little too hard when letting my dog out a moment ago. The force of the slam knocked a clock from my wall that my grandparents gave me after one of my life saving medical procedures as a young girl.
They are both gone now and I will never get the clock so many of my cousins and my older sister have that was the wedding present from Grandma and Grandpa. This was the only Ruby/Melvin clock I will ever possess and it made bird noises. They loved birds and the noises they make, even if we could never guess what bird made those noises when the clock struck on the hour.
Sounding a little dramatic am I? I agree, but, you know, glass everywhere and memories shattered.
Okay. So I wanted to start out with a story, but every part is one hundred percent true. It is the perfect way to end a bad week, but I will try not to judge myself too harshly, if you won’t judge me for my theatrics.
Firstly, this song uses ice cream as a metaphor. Who doesn’t love that? Second, I first heard this song on a CD I purchased, shortly before receiving the clock I began this post with the demise of, and it was one to be found on an album full of songs, by women, about female empowerment. Third, who is fighting for her place in that area this coming week, especially?
Well, it’s a good message anyway, about not judging, as hard as that is for us all, no matter what we might say.
Squint your eyes and look closer I’m not between you and your ambition I am a poster girl with no poster, I am 32 flavors and then some
And I’m beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head ‘Cause someday you’re going to get hungry and eat all of the words that you just said
I am what I am, I am 32 flavors and then some God help you if you are an ugly Course too pretty is also your doom ‘Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room God help you if you are a phoenix and you dare to rise up from ash A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just flying past
I am what I am, I am 32 flavors and then some I’m taking my chances as they come I am 32 flavors and then some, I’m nobody but I am someone, someone…
I’d never try to give my life meaning by demeaning you And I would like to state for the record… I did everything that I could do
I am beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head ‘Cause someday you’re going to be starving and eating all the words that you just said That you said
I am what I am, I am what I am I am 32 flavors and then some I’m taking my chances as they come I am 32 flavors and then some I’m looking for truth and there is none 32 flavors and then some I’ll never forget where I came from 32 flavors and then some I’m nobody but I am someone 32 flavors and then some I’m taking my chances as they come 32 flavors and then some Looking for truth and there is none
I don’t know Hillary Clinton. I know—shocker, right?
I doubt the kind of person she is, sometimes too. I try to keep control of my judgments. I doubt myself and my own instincts. Then I wonder what is true and what isn’t and I hate that feeling.
I don’t know her and what she has or hasn’t done for sure and behind closed doors, and even so I can’t say I won’t be upset if she looses, but this song is really about all judgment, even though she has dealt with worse, more scrutiny than I will ever know.
This song is one I thought fitting for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday
for obvious reasons and for all reasons not to judge too harshly, that we may or may not know.
and I went on to expressing my feelings, which meant criticizing the authors involved in the writing.
They were only being humorous, provocative; yet, due to the news of a two-year-old girl and her father being murdered in Alberta (which could be the inspiration for a more on time response I could write for this week’s prompt), this heartbroken Canadian wasn’t able to see any humour whatsoever.
It made me think about writing and its possible consequences because I was able to have a productive discussion with these writers, after-the-fact, and I wanted them to know why I may have sounded at all harsh. That is not how I usually am. Just a bad day.
Something seems odd about this day. What could it be?
Oh yeah, I am pulling into my driveway. Yes, me.
For years it was me, in the passenger seat, the passenger. Shotgun was where I was designated to be.
Now I am driving. All those self driving cars in the works, for so long, well they are out and they are becoming the norm. Sure, it could lead to some sort of science fiction nightmare, cars becoming intelligent and driving their riders into trees and over bridges, but I overlook this fear because things are perfect now, right here, as I don’t have to have sight to operate a motor vehicle.
I enter my house and notice a suitcase sitting out, ready for packing to commence. We are soon off on another trip.
We met at TBEX, a travel expo I finally made it to a few years back. It was in Honolulu, my dream spot. I’d always wanted to visit there and this travel writing/blogging conference was the perfect chance. Two birds with one stone as they say.
I didn’t expect to meet him, but, I must admit, I hoped it would happen, sooner or later. I am comfortable with some independent travel now, after a lot of practice, but it’s still nice to have someone there to experience the world with.
He is a photographer and knows about technology and websites.
I may be able to drive a car, but I haven’t wished hard enough for perfect sight, at least I guess not. Huh.
If I had that, I wouldn’t be The Insightful Wanderer, as the whole position of my travel blog would be altered. I am insightful, just as I am, but I will never stop wandering. It does not have to be a bad, lost, aimless way to go through life.
I struggled to learn about my blog and website, for a few years, but am glad I can leave that responsibility to him.
I am still The Insightful Wanderer and Her Headache. I am KerryKay.com too. Bought that domain ages ago, as my writing needed my real name to be known and featured more prominently.
Branding is a strange thing, but I have embraced it and now am known as three brands in one.
I haven’t given up on my writing, memoir and literary mostly, because fiction is a beautiful thing, but not where my natural talents are.
I walk past one of the many bookshelves in my house, and there are some of my books there, a few are fiction. I had modest success with that, beginning with the anthology I was accepted into, my first real big break really.
I have written three books and am currently working on a fourth, two memoir and two fiction: Piece of Cake, Connecting the Dots, Till Death, and Out Beyond the Hedgerows.
The first two are memoirs about my life, struggles, with disability, being a visually impaired woman in a mostly sighted world.
The third is a fictional story about how death and loss affect three different generations of one family.
And the fourth is an historical novel, based on family who lived through World War II.
I did not start to write a string of genre books, ones that get put on Amazon and Smash Words and of which I would have needed to keep on putting out to gain any momentum in the book world. I found my own path to success.
I have books everywhere, which brings me peace and solace when I’ve had a bad day.
It’s so nice to have found a partner who loves travel and we are a team. He takes care of the site and its visual elements, while I write. Writing has its place, but the world is and always will be a visual one.
I think a world of all blind humans is worse than the one where the cars take over, but I can’t say. Science fiction writing is not my area of expertise.
I have checked off many of the items on my bucket list, which brings me great pleasure, but it’s nice to know I will soon have a husband who is committed, not only to me, but to helping me achieve the rest. Life is precious and it goes by like that! We are making the most of every day.
I have broken the record for longest living kidney transplant recipient and the medications have made it possible that this won’t change anytime soon. When I reached my twenty year mark (June 5, 2017) I had a huge party to celebrate and everybody I know came.
In this fantasy, we have not cured cancer yet, but we are actually getting close this time, no fooling.
We’re still trying to decide what kind of a wedding to have and where to have it. Being the travellers we are, a destination wedding is most appealing, but I don’t want to put that pressure on the people I hope will attend.
I want to have it at the hotel in Niagara Falls, the one from my childhood and its precious memories, moving to the closest hotel to the falls for the wedding night. I will finally feel that vibration of the roaring falls through the window of our room.
Maybe we’ll get married on a beach or on top of the CN Tower in Toronto. I loved it up there, the first time I tried it, and a wedding on that ledge sounds strangely perfect to me. After all, isn’t marriage a little like standing on a ledge?
It’s scary but exhilarating. It’s freeing, once you find love and let yourself feel worthy of having and holding onto it.
I can admit, finally after years, that wanting marriage, a wedding, this does not make me weak. I am not some Disney fairy princess, waiting to be rescued. I want a partnership and that commitment is and always has been important to me. I’ve been shown what that can be like, through the examples of my wonderful parents and their parents before them. It’s in my bones, just like writing and travel.
I can make a living from my writing now. I was afraid that was holding me back from finding a guy who could understand, accept me for me, and not let money and pride and the pressures of that get in the way. I am not rich, but I am rich in all that I really will ever need.
I have seen my words in print, in a book, on my shelf and in a bookstore.
I have an advice column which helps people. I can write and offer my advice, which can be a tricky thing to give others, but I know I’ve had more experience with the hard stuff than most. Plus, this side work allows me freedom to travel. I can answer people’s questions from anywhere I might happen to be.
Blog. Writing. Travel writing is my first love because the world is everything. It’s all around us. We are it.
I had to build up my writing portfolio. I had to practice my craft, art as pure as anything.
Now, I can admit that making a reasonable living off of that is no crime. People are paid for all kinds of things, some that might seem less deserving, but that’s how the world works. It’s all about money, for so many, but it doesn’t have to be.
We discuss having children, after we decide on a wedding spot, but the jury is still out on that. I can accept that, even as I know the rules of this writing challenge aren’t at all limiting, because sometimes life means accepting some realities and hard truths.
It’s still open for discussion. Age doesn’t have to matter because I want to freeze this day, in time, so my parents are here and the children currently in my life stay the sweet age they are.
We will deal with the future tomorrow, but let this day and the moment linger.
Anyway, we are off, to make our flight. I will finally get my chance to swim with jellyfish, in their lake home, on the island of Palau in the south pacific.
Why do we feel so guilty, why do I, just for speaking up and admitting what it is we want for ourselves?
Why do I feel so selfish and awful to be so open with the things I dream about having, the life I would ideally wish for myself?
Do you ever feel that way?
If you could have an ideal day in your own life, what might that include?
I know I am worth it, I am worth everything, and I want to say so. I know what some people say, about the universe and just by saying it, you are actually letting into your life the things you believe you deserve. This is what I am doing here, today, because I am tired of holding myself back.
Yes, believe it or not, this blog has been me holding myself back, up until this point.
I have been blogging for a year and a half now and I continue to be myself, to let my self shine through here. That is what is at the essence of Her Headache.
It’s a little like swimming at night. I’ve long wanted to do this and I thought of it, again, on Labor Day.
It’s a bit of a frightening thing, the thought of being out there, at night. I guess it’s the way I live most of my life, stepping out, in the darkness of the unknown, but taking the plunge anyway.
For the chance to spend, what was said to be the hottest day of the year, in the water and so I didn’t even notice the heat they spoke of.
We decided to spend our Labor Day at the lake. We are lucky to live so close to all those fresh water sources.
For my flexibility.
In life, sure, I’m improving. However, I mean that literally because I have been told, by doctors on more than one occasion, that I am incredibly flexible. My muscular skeletal system can bend in strange directions.
So, when I decided to jump in the sand, right along with my nephew, I just so happened to land on a log that was sticking out at my feet.
Luckily my ankles are one of those highly flexible parts of my body and although I went down, landing hard in the sand, my ankle did turn over but did not sprain badly. I felt it go over sideways, but I have stretched out those muscles so much over the years, leaving little to no pain as a result.
The opportunity to chase seagulls with my nephew wasn’t to be missed. Just thankful I walked away from that and did not have to crawl back to the car on hands and knees.
Stephen Colbert makes me smile and I look forward to his jokes and his unique style of interviews.
One of his first guests, on his very first week, was George Clooney. They discussed and even showed a clip of George’s new film: Decision Strike!
Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Well, don’t go looking for it in theatres in the coming weeks or months, as it is only a fictional movie, as he did not actually have anything real to promote. Sounds impressive anyway.
With all the talk of the heating up of the late night show wars, now that Colbert has thrown his own hat into the ring, Stephen made light of this when he mentioned all the thoughtful first-week gifts the other late night comedians have been sending him. He joked that they could all be expecting the best thank you card ever, with the words: GO THANK YOURSELF, written in them.
TAKE THAT! … Jimmy, Jimmy, Conan, John, and the rest.
For whatever it was that got me a replacement battery for my iPhone 5 and finally, after talking about doing it for months.
I put it off for too long. Not sure why. I can actually go a whole day and my phone does not die, a beautiful thing. This will be necessary for my trip to Toronto later this month.
I went in one of those crazy Apple stores, so hip and which make me feel very uncool. They have the genius bar. Well, I was informed of some loophole which made it so I did not have to pay the $100 for a new battery. Okay by me.
It just so happened to be September 9th and the big reveal day for Apple. I did not upgrade to the newly revealed iPhone 6S. My iPhone 5 works just fine, but it’s amazing just how revolutionary the iPhone has been for so many, but for anyone who is visually impaired especially.
For the people, in my life, who have gone through the loss of a loved one to suicide. They teach me things, all the time, about survival and resilience.
The day was such a beautiful one this year, the weather anyway.
“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”
–Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
For a dream come true – a dream of clarity, reason, and shape.
First I was accepted into an anthology, with my short story: One Last Kiss.
Then it came out, on Amazon, but first only as an ebook.
It wasn’t until this week, finally, that I actually got to hold a print copy of the book in my own hands. I could feel the weight of it, turn the pages, and smell that signature bookish smell, all knowing my words could be found within. It is an indescribable feeling, a dream come true for me, and I will never forget what that felt like.
For a friend, somebody there on the day the book arrived in the mail. Someone to celebrate with.
We got Dairy Queen confetti cake blizzards to celebrate. Her five-month-old daughter sat, in her carrier, staring at me and I wanted to share, but unfortunately she isn’t eating ice cream, not just yet. I loved celebrating with her too, all the same.
Thanks, Mom, for bringing the book over.
For the best, most loving parents my nephew could ever have. And it all began on that warm day in September, back in 2009 – Happy Anniversary guys!
I will never forget that summer, that day, as long as I live. It was the day my sister had worked so hard for and looked so forward to. I got to be in the wedding party and was happy she allowed me to give a speech at the reception.
My sister’s favourite movie is The Princess Bride and she wanted my uncle to sing the theme song from the film, at the wedding. It made it special, unique, and all hers. She wanted to get married in our back yard, of the home we grew up in. It was a wedding at home and meant so much to all of us.
For rainbows, literacy, firsts, celebrations, dreams, and anniversaries.
I am thankful I’ve gotten to share my words, more and more, in recent days and weeks. I guess, for me, the need to share my words with the world goes back to all that stuff I said about night swimming.
It’s scary, certainly, but the idea of being swept up and away, washed out there and with no sign or footprint to show that I was ever here, that is what I am most afraid of.
Sure, the chance for rejection is ever present in the present, but not nearly as great as that there could be no proof that I ever existed in the first place.
“I don’t know how long I kept at it…
I felt reasonably safe, stretched out on the floor, and lay quite still.
It didn’t seem to be summer anymore.”
–Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
It’s not what’s often seen in the movies or on television, the woman screaming bloody murder and, “I WANT DRUGS!!!”, as doctors and nurses all around her yell: “PUSH!” – at least, not in my sister’s case. It wasn’t exactly what I’d pictured. It happened so fast. It felt like a blur, but a vivid and memorable one. It was special and it all seemed to happen as it should.
She was quick about it – my sister, true to form, had the baby out before any of us could blink. So quick in fact, it was like we were all almost late to the delivery, including her. I knew it would be a boy, just as I knew it would be a girl for my brother and his wife before. Everyone always says they just had a feeling and I did, I just knew it. One moment he wasn’t there, just this concept of what he might be in our minds, and the next he was out and a part of our family.
I think, as close as we are, she mainly agreed to have me in the room because she could be assured I wouldn’t see anything. One perk of having a sister, blind since birth, was that having me there wouldn’t make her feel any more embarrassed or exposed. We were expecting a labor lasting hours. I was prepared for a marathon. Instead, it was a sprint for my older sister. It was a relatively easy labor, as labours go.
That August day, my sister and her husband awoke in the early morning, to the alarm clock: him to get ready for work and her to labor pains. She assured him he could and should go to work because maybe it was only false contractions. The first stage of labor could take hours that she preferred be spent at home. However, within the hour the pains were so intense, she called and ordered him back immediately. I was awakened at 6:00 a.m. by the startling sound of the phone. She was a few weeks early, ahead of her due date, but I wasn’t totally surprised.
I was honoured to be asked to be a witness, one of few, to the birth of this child who’d been so desperately wanted, yet at such a high price and with so many intense struggles and plenty of tears. The miracle of birth is unmatched in its beauty and magic, yet it can seem like the most natural and ordinary of life events for people, all around the world, every single day. This isn’t the case for everyone. It hadn’t been so easy for my sister and her husband.
I was there before the mother-to-be. As I sat and waited for them to arrive, flashes of my sister unable to make it to the hospital and giving birth in their car, at the side of the road flitted through my anxious mind. Leave it to my chronically late sister to be late for this. As I heard her being wheeled passed out in the hallway, my fears were put to rest. I hadn’t really been waiting long, but it sure felt like it.
As I entered the Labor and Delivery Room, the nervous father-to-be had only just spilled his bottle of Diet Coke all over the floor. In his excited frenzy, the cola he’d brought in preparation for any presumed hours of labor and a possible diabetic low blood sugar had exploded, at a most inopportune moment. He was scrambling to clean up the sticky mess while I held tight to my sister’s hand in his place, none of us realizing how soon it would be all over. She squeezed as she fought through the contractions, vowing to refrain from any pain control or epidural. I wondered how her pain threshold would hold up against hours of continuous, growing, and building agony, but within a very short half hour or so, he was out.
All the chaos and the things that could and did go wrong: doctors showing up late (not to mention the parents) and with Coke spills and alike, I barely got to take it all in. I could only imagine how the experience felt for the two of them. She’d pushed through her contractions, squeezed my hand, and made very little sound, nothing like I’d learned for years in the media. Suddenly, after only three hours from when it all began, there he was.
As easy as this all sounds, it was really only fair to them, due to how difficult it was to actually arrive at this point. The struggle and the fortitude of the two of them, in dealing with everything they had to bring him into the world and into our lives is something truly remarkable. I witnessed it all from my position as sister and housemate for a good chunk of the time. They had been trying for a baby since becoming man and wife, and it had been the longest three years of their lives.
Infertility is becoming more and more of an open subject in our society today, with friends and family, in the community, and through media coverage. It is talked about, not just behind closed doors, unlike years ago. This allows for much more discussion and the reluctance to speak about the many struggles couples go through becomes a thing of the past.
Having a baby – it all seemed so normal when teachers spoke about it in sex ed. It was what was supposed to happen, right? Well, when it doesn’t happen like that, women are faced with the fears and the questions that medical science must try to address and alleviate, such as:
What’s wrong with me?
Why can’t I have a baby like other women?
It feels like a crippling burden of failure, that I am not a real woman if I can’t do what a woman is supposed to do, was made to be able to do. To be a parent is a deeply entrenched and unbelievably strong instinct, from what I’ve seen and felt up close. I felt it too, but can’t yet see how it fits into my own life. Being blind presents a whole new set of concerns and fears. Sometimes the answers aren’t as simple as whether or not to have a child. I struggle with this in my own mind, yet still I am left able to relate to my sister and her husband, and their own situation, in my own way.
I wanted, what my sister desperately wanted, for them and their need to start and grow a family for themselves. The pressure of that can be a very great weight. I saw it and felt it in the words they spoke and how they spoke them. I felt it in the air after their wedding and over time, as I shared a house with them for the first few years of their marriage. I saw it all up close and I yearned for the success of this most important of ventures, the most important they would ever face together. Young newly weds aren’t usually tested so early on as to the ultimate strength of their relationship.
Soon came the pressures of doctors visits and monitoring cycles of ovulation, or lack thereof. It was a lot of information, trying to learn all about infertility and its causes; how sometimes there is an explanation and other times it is simply known as unexplained infertility. It really can’t be seen as one person’s problem or fault. I see so easily how these fears and guilty feelings can cause a rift between an otherwise happy couple, so eager to experience parenthood and to make a child, a part of both of them. It’s sad and, like financial problems in a marriage, the intrinsic need to have a child can be the one thing to drive a wedge in a loving relationship. this wasn’t going to happen to my sister. We as a family weren’t going to let them be disappointed and left empty-handed. I wanted this as much or more than I’d ever wanted anything for myself.
It is cruel how much it costs to get what comes so naturally, free and clear to some people. It feels like paying for oxygen – getting pregnant shouldn’t need a category in the budget, where a couple who works hard and only wants a family has to scramble to come up with the money to pay for medications and the cost of infertility treatments. Not everyone has the resources and the giving nature and spirit as we have in our family, as they had in our parents. Our parents are indescribably generous and kind. They’ve worked hard for many years to give their children the things we’ve wanted, the things they’ve wanted for us since we were born. They made it all possible.
However, along with these gifts there comes the inevitable landslide of guilt and worry. As the cost began adding up, thousands and thousands of dollars, so did the feeling of:
“What if it doesn’t work and all that money was wasted, with nothing to show for it?”
As the weeks and months of medications and treatments passed, the pressure built. On one such occasion, I recall hearing my sister shaking uncontrollably with sobs of despair. Such a thing rocks one to the core and I hurt beyond explanation for her that night. She feared failed rounds of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) – a procedure where sperm is injected directly into the uterus. Had that all been for nothing?
They were lucky to find a very supportive and capable fertility clinic. When they were there, they felt heard, understood, and taken care of. All the trips for blood tests and ultrasounds and the disappointing phone calls, with no baby – it was all starting to add up. Adoption, child fostering, or a life with no children flashed before their eyes I’m sure. Was all of this worth it?
When the IUI attempts didn’t work, the next logical step was to try IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) – where the sperm is injected directly into the egg, which is then inserted back into the uterus. She went through all the necessary steps, the needles she gave herself, often helped along by her husband, and the hormones. All this lead up to a summer of hope and disappointment and pain. We all learned of the existence of “Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome” – a condition where the body produces, with help from all those medications, many eggs for possible fertilization. In my sister’s case, more than thirty were produced to another woman’s one or two – with this, the ovaries become over-stimulated, resulting in extreme illness. She appeared six months pregnant, almost at once, when not even confirmed to be so; all that fluid, released by the ovaries, began leaking into her abdomen. This is, however, a positive sign of a successful pregnancy.
That same summer, I was told by a friend of her first pregnancy and I was left with so much joy in my heart for her, yet so much anger that so many women were seemingly able to become pregnant so easily. Why then was it so hard for others, just as deserving of a baby? Life seemed horribly unfair at that juncture.
Then, a glimmer of hope; a call from the clinic with the blood results showed good numbers, indicating optimal chances for a positive pregnancy test. My sister appeared to have what she wanted and what we all wanted for her. It was finally happening – it was necessary, at such an early stage, to monitor the numbers and make sure they continued to rise. Every few days she anxiously call and things looked good; yet, things aren’t always meant to be.
When a pregnancy isn’t meant to be, it’s probably for the best, but which makes it a tragic loss nonetheless. I sat there, while our inherently positive and optimistic mother comforted my sister through her tears. I was off to see a part of the world I had always longed to see, a trip of a lifetime with an old friend, while my sister and her husband were left behind to deal with the reality of their situation. They’d had a baby for a week and lost it, before most would even know they were pregnant. I left the country wishing them all the love in the world to recover, move forward, and to begin to look ahead to brighter days.
Who knows what I will end up taking away from this experience, but I just wanted to try something different. Networking never hurts and if I can learn anything from someone with success as a travel blogger for over four years, I will be happy. I am always glad to discover others doing what I hope to do.
Two: I finally decided to go for it and make an appointment with a website building business,
This particular company came highly recommended to me, by one of their happy clients. She is a friend and common acquaintance. The three of us went to school together as children and now we are all grown up.
Being a local company, started and run by someone I went to school with. There is that added comfort of that history.
It was strange, sitting across the table and having coffee with this person, for the complimentary consultation he offered. It was a strange thing to listen to his process for finding out what I hope to do with a website, remembering school bus rides and field trips. Now he was so professional and seemed to know what he was doing. This made me feel at ease.
Now we are both grown adults, with lives and career aspirations. He runs this successful local business and I have big dreams as well, thus the reason for our meeting.
I explained to him my plans to write about travel: local and international. I tried my best to clearly relay what my goals are to him and he was extremely accommodating.
I need someone to register a domain name and set up a site, leaving me free to make it into something through my writing and my unique voice and love for the world around me.
We discussed where I wanted to take a website. HE asked if I hope to monetize it. Of course that would be nice. I believe most people, who make the effort of starting a website or blog, have hopes of making a profit.
I can balance my need to write about people and places, my art and passion, with the need to become self-sufficient, even a small amount.
Of course I had to make sure he realized the possible issues with creating a website that would not function with Voiceover and Mac Journal, the special journal program I use to write these blog posts. I believe he even learned something and took something away from our meeting. I just hope this is an achievable situation for us both.
Three: I heard about the opening of the newest chapter of the
in my town. The announcement was on the radio a few weeks ago and I immediately thought, on hearing it, that I could possibly get something out of this.
I did a fair bit of speaking in front of classroom children, organizations, and groups about my experience having a guide dog. This was a long time ago now, but I always did include public speaking on the list of my skills.
I guess I never found it all that intimidating, as so many do, possibly because I was never able to see all the faces of the people staring at me while I spoke, unlike most people who have a fear of speaking in public. Lucky for me, this meant I never had any need or reason to picture anyone in their underwear.
Since those days I have written and spoke for special occasions, several more times, whether it be a speech at my sister’s wedding or the all-important tributes at a grandparent’s funeral. I knew I could organize and voice my thoughts and direct both toward an audience.
Who knows. A future where I have developed a successful travel website and blog could very well include public speaking and I wondered if this meet-and-greet/open-house for the newest opening chapter in my town could be a good place to start. I thought it couldn’t hurt to attend the free first session and find out what it was all about.
The whole thing was held at a very nice area restaurant, known for serving from a menu full of freshly prepared local items.
The number of attendees was high enough that a general chatter somewhat overwhelmed me, name tags being useless to mostly just myself.
I listened to what the PSA had to offer, including the three types of public speaking: key-note, marketing, and platform. I had no idea.
I don’t know if I will end up becoming a member because I must keep track of costs right now and there is a fee to join. If I am to ever make any money with a travel blog/website I will need to make smart decisions.
Either way, I may just have made a few beneficial connections with some interesting people, a few people who’ve showed some interest in what I have to say.
I continue to use evenings such as this to work on my shyness and confidence levels and you just never know whom you could potentially meet at these things.
When telling a few people about my current blog I said something like, “I just have a free WordPress blog right now”. Someone pointed out to me that I should refrain from using the word “just” at all.
They were correct, of course. I don’t know why I said that in that way. I love my WordPress blog and “just” is a word better left out, for the most part.
I took steps in the past few days, toward future success as The Insightful Wanderer. I see people going into business for themselves everywhere these days: bloggers, photographers, and indie authors and I want to see if I can do the same. All I know, going forward, is if I don’t try I definitely will not succeed. Sure, there are kinks to be worked out along the way, but I’ll never know if I don’t at least try.
I am willing to take whatever courses I need to take, to learn about business and marketing, and to learn about the travel industry and how it works. I know I have something to offer and through my own unique voice. I am starting fresh, in this, my favourite season. Autumn feels like a new beginning, as spring often brings rebirth and renewal.
I started HerHeadache and I love writing the things I write here. I originally had the idea for Travel Tuesday as a featured day on this blog, but now I can’t help feeling like it could be more. I have lots to come in the weeks ahead. Hopefully soon Travel Tuesday will find a new home, separate and yet still alongside this blog because I am not willing to give up one for the other.
Two songs in particular come to mind with Sherry in the title and written about a girl just like my friend: “Sherry Baby” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and “Oh Sherry” by Steve Perry. There are very few people I’ve known who stick out in my mind like this particular bride. There are a few girls I have known who have seemed free to me, free spirits who were always attracting people to them with their bright sparkling personalities. This bride always seemed like this, almost like a female super hero who could take on the world and did.
This was unlike any other wedding I had ever attended, a good thing for sure. The real thing was done at City Hall, but a small gathering of family and friends were invited to help celebrate the happy couple, a real life love story to my wild imagination and literary mind. I was lucky to be one of these select few.
I grew up just outside of a small subdivision and, as a child, I was constantly looking in on this place, just up the road. I went to school with the kids here and became friends with many of them. I suppose it wasn’t much different for them than it was for my sister and brother. They pretty much grew up with me, having a blind girl in their class from the very beginning, unlike the kids I would meet at the school we would go on to attend later on. These kids knew me and accepted me, almost from the beginning.
I was never lacking in a friend or two for very long, a bit of a rarity for visually impaired kids in their neighbourhood schools. Many had trouble adjusting and socializing, not meeting and making friends easily. I would meet many of these kids and we would go on to become good friends.
This subdivision had a general store, a baseball diamond, a church, and a grammar school – a perfect start to introduce me to school and socializing. Sherry was one of these good friends. We started going to school together in kindergarten, but it was first grade when we started spending any real time together.
I found myself, the other night, sitting at a table and reminiscing with several of these children, all grown up now. There were inside jokes and old stories, lots of laughs and I felt a nostalgia I couldn’t quite put my finger on – a past long gone now and a simpler time. I was lucky enough to sit in on this remembering and, all those years ago now, on the lives of these people. I would go over to one of their houses and inevitably their neighbours would be other kids we went to school with. We would all play together.
The bride grew up with boys all around her. She had no sisters and her next door neighbours were a family of only boys. She always played with the boys and became one of the boys. I and some of the other girls at school were happy to fill that void; I was lucky. I witnessed and was just happy to tag along, to look in on the many adventures rehashed at that table the other night.
We’re all grown up now of course, but some things never really change. Sometimes the more things change the more they remain the same. Sure, there has been years of education, marriages have taken place, and babies are now the order of the day, but these people are all the same friends and classmates I once knew, including Sherry. We are adults and that’s hard to believe when I looked back on all the time spent with these people when we were just children.
I was honoured to receive a personal invite to this particular wedding celebration. I recently reconnected with Sherry over our love of writing. I looked to her, respecting her views and opinions, to read over the novel I started last fall. She provided essential feedback and a boost of inspiration and motivation. I find inspiration through witnessing her unique brand of creativity. Our little gathering, a dinner after Christmas, allowed us to get to know each other again, just a little. So many years passed and she had found her partner in crime. They make beautiful music together and are taking on the world together.
Listening to her speech I heard her say so much, but it was in her personal choice of every song her guests listened or danced to that I learned the most and felt the most about who Sherry was now and what this all meant to her. This was the soundtrack of her life and future with her husband. All the years we lost touch I could feel being filled in by listening to the songs she chose. Every song had personal and private meaning to her and I could relate with this more than anything because I would want to do the exact same thing. Music, memories, and love are so intertwined to someone as creative and artistic as Sherry and to me as well.
She’d hand-picked every guest in attendance and every song to be played over the evening. Rumour has it she spent ten hours making up the song list and proud of it (her new husband thinking her a little crazy and loving her for it I’m sure), choosing carefully each and every song for its meaning and dedicating specific songs for specific people. Even I got a song. I was touched to hear of the Lana Del Ray she dedicated to me. The music was different from that played at the usual wedding reception with its hired DJ (no Macarena to be heard). The music ranged from 50s and 60s rock and roll to 90s rap: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Elvis, Frankie Valli, David Bowie, Neil Young, and Paul Simon. Then there was some Lauren Hill, and a little Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio thrown in there for good measure and Onto the most famous artists of today such as Lorde. Everywhere around me there was plenty of laughter, talk and dancing and I felt at home.
This was a wedding celebration of uniqueness, just like the bride herself. It was full of personality, just like the bride. It felt intimate and fun, fun like she always was. In inviting me to her celebration she did more than she could possibly realize. Listening and witnessing the love she has found and seeing all those people who love and care about her there to celebrate this love I felt better than I had in months. She gave me hope and showed me that love does exist and that when it’s right you know it.
“I look in the mirror. Wanna change my clothes, my hair, my face.” – Bruce Springsteen
I wore makeup, for a short time, when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I did it grudgingly and just barely. I asked my sister to help me pick out a basic colour Lipstick, Eyeshadow, and blush. Each time I would apply it, remembering what my sister had told me, I looked for someone sighted to show myself off to before I would dare step out in public, fearing I had made an obvious blunder.
Growing up I never liked to wear brightly coloured makeup on my face on Halloween and I never got my face painted at a carnival. I didn’t like the smell and the feeling of the thick paint on my cheeks. I was a sensitive child, if not overly so. Was it just me being silly or was it something more?
Even when I was older I did not long to wear makeup like the other girls. I would stand by my friend’s locker in the ninth grade, each and every morning while she applied all that makeup before class. I had no interest in following suit. I supposed if the boys didn’t like me for that I would have to make due, or that is what I told myself at the time, but was it about the boys at all or is it only us women who care? The question baffled me as a teenager and still does to this day.
I wore makeup when I would attend a wedding and my sister would apply it for me. I knew better, but I couldn’t help picturing myself as a clown with dark colour covering everywhere and I felt uncomfortable and awkward. My eyes would itch and tear. I just didn’t get it (clowns having always scared me).
I know why women wear it and I too have the urge, sometimes, to be one of them and to do what they do. I know it is permeated in our feminine culture to want to look our best and I want the same. I stopped doing it, in the end, because I couldn’t be bothered. I told myself it was vanity anyway and I didn’t need that, but I understand it still.
I sometimes think it sad that we are so desperate to cover up every blotch, blemish, and freckle. I wish my fellow women did not have to feel like they were less than perfect, but it is the reality we live in in today’s society.
I’ve heard that guys don’t like girls to wear too much makeup, but I do believe all things in moderation can’t possibly be bad. I sometimes wonder how many hours, a woman spends over her lifetime, putting on her makeup. I know there could be other things to do with that time, but peace of mind is a small price to pay I suppose.
It’s hard to not have a clear idea of what you look like. Every day, morning and night, I look into a mirror I see less and less of myself. I begin to forget what my own face looks like, staring back at me still. I know I am in there somewhere, but I feel a disconnect. This makes it easier and harder, all at once, to do the things that most women do to look their best. I can’t ever get a good idea what I might look like and this often causes feelings of doubt in my physical worth as a woman. I am left to my imagination to picture what I look like. Sometimes what we imagine is worse than the truth (the clown in my mind’s eye). I have only my memories and vivid imagination for my daily reassurance.
I love colour and miss it. I love fashion especially and wish I had the money for a huge wardrobe to choose from. I feel my best when I am wearing something I love. This helps me to understand why makeup matters so much to women. I can’t possibly use the word “vanity” without putting that title back onto myself. I care just as much. Self image and body image are so very intertwined. I know there is nothing wrong with the confidence which comes from the things we do to attain it.
Sometimes I work so hard to recall what a bright blue or a striking red look like. I listen to a fashion show and the descriptions of the outfits and I strain to remember what, visually, that would appear as.
Other times my memories of the colours I love are as sharp in recollection as they were when I saw their beauty with my own eyes.
All of this adds up to my stance on fashion and beauty. Do I think we care too much and let it rule our lives in all the wrong ways? Yes. Do I wish we valued a little more of the substantial and a little less of the irrelevant? Yes because I know we all grow old in the end.
Do I want to be just like every other woman and to look my best for myself and for others? Of course I do. I long for all of this.
The image of a blind girl who has no interest in looking presentable is one of Helen Keller as a child, before she was taught decorum. In the film adaptation of her life she is seen with tangled dirty hair and dishevelled clothes. This is an extreme example of course, but I don’t know what most people think of when they think of blind people and all these things.
We care about our hair, nails, skin, and clothes just like everyone else. I could write a whole other post about my hair and I will, but this weekend I wanted to focus on fashion and makeup specifically.
Coming up tomorrow I feature a woman who is doing her part to dispel myths and to help blind women feel better about their appearances and themselves as beautiful women. I will be partnering the interview I did with her about the work she is doing with my view on the subject today. I hope you will check it out.
The term honeymoon refers to the trip a newly married couple takes after their wedding. Then there’s the term “honeymoon period” to describe the stage of anything which is overly happy and all loving, but of which usually does not last. Like the moon and its phases, this love, which starts out strong eventually fades.
The other day was Friday the 13th and it was accompanied by the full moon, Strawberry Moon, Rose Moon, or Honey Moon. These two events coincided in a rare combination. I wrote a short story of fiction set around this and now I want to write about a real life occasion which I can not let pass without speaking about it.
The Honey Moon has a scientific explanation, but basically it has to do with the amber colour, the warm glow of the moon. Love, in its infatuation stage, causes strong feelings of glowing warmth and devotion.
Weddings were commonly held in the month of June, although now it is less common, but today I mark a milestone for the two greatest influences in my life: my parents. They were married thirty-five-years ago on this day, two days after my grandparents, who would have been married sixty-four years if they were both still alive. What better examples could I ask for than these?
It’s a sad thing these days that many marriages don’t last ten years, let alone thirty-five. The world seems to be changing at an alarming rate and marriage becomes harder and harder to sustain. People can not find happiness and contentment with just one person anymore. A lifetime of commitment is becoming too hard for people to hold onto. I ask myself every day why this is.
As a result, families are torn apart and lives forever changed. The examples for children as they become adults and find love are broken and lost forever. This has an effect on who they become and these cycles are repeated in their own lives.
It would be inaccurate to make it all seem so simple. Of course it is not and has not always been easy, but they demonstrate the best example I know of. They are a team through and through. They consult each other and lean on one another for support.
How have they done it? I really should have asked them, sat them down together and wrenched the secret out. I see their commitment in the life they have built together. It is clear to anyone who knows or meets them. They are in this for life.
They make me proud and I am constantly in awe to my core. I know about love because of them. I know how to love thanks to them. I know what is truly important and how to fight for all these things.
The day of their wedding was a hot one, like today. My mom and another from her wedding party went to pick up the cake and raced back, windows open and cake melting in the heat. I was not there, but I wish I had been. I wish I had seen it all begin, but I have seen it grow. Year by year and their bond was sealed.
They are role models to their children and to anyone who can see what they represent. I am who I am because they made me that way. They are a shining example of what true love means. The lessons in love they have provided are key to the stability I have had. Where would I be without that?
I ponder all this, all these questions today, but I hope They are celebrating in a big way. They deserve to experience the good things, what the world has to offer. A toast to you; I raise a glass to you both!
They’ve worked hard and will continue to do so. I strive to live my life like they have shown me to do. They give me hope to believe that a love of my own is indeed possible, not to dare settle for anything less than I deserve.
Nobody is perfect of course, but if I had to name two people, a couple who have it down, I would not have to look any further than Mom and Dad.
Mom, Dad, thank you for all you’ve shown me and for the love you share. It is a beautiful thing to behold and I am honoured to be one with a front row seat. You are everything to your children and grandchildren. You are the example you’ve set for us and we are proud of all you have done and continue to do.
Thanks Dad and Mom…thanks a lot! I count on words to help me express anything I feel, good or bad, but I am having trouble this time. I fall short as I write. I feel all you have taught me so strong, words fail me in every way. I am rendered nearly speechless at this moment, on this momentous day.
Every moon will wax and wane, as do the stages of life and love, but you are still here and still together.
June 16th belongs to you. Happy Anniversary from us all.