It Has Taken Me Sixteen Years…

Happiness. That is something we all strive for. How can we be happy? What kinds of things promote happiness? When will we know full happiness? The answer is uncertain. Both unfortunately and fortunately, there is no instruction manual on how to live life happily.

Happiness is hard enough to achieve when you have everything in life, but even harder when you have something that adds an extra burden. Being visually impaired has been the best and worst part of my life. Nothing comes easily when you have a struggle. Whether that struggle be a physical disability or an inner struggle that only you know about.

I want to be someone who breaks barriers and opens up about the struggle. What some would consider taboo, I consider the most important.

I was in a dark place for 16 years of my life. Ever since I knew how to speak, I hated that fact that I was not normal. When people would ask about my disability, it just seemed as if I was uttering a bunch of broken words. “I am blind. I have Optic Nerve Hypoplasia”. That is a sentence I have spoken hundreds of times and for the longest time, I thought of it as a series of words, because really thinking about it brought me to a place I could not physically or emotionally handle. In the year 2018, I changed my attitude and outlook on life. I could be sad, lonely and turn away from God, or I could be happy, grateful and inspirational. I had a choice to make, and right there I chose happiness. Life almost never turns out how we expected, but we can make the best of the cards we have been given.

For anyone struggling with something physical or something they keep in the deepest parts of their souls, just know that getting help, seeing a therapist might seem like the worst and most embarrassing option, but in reality it is the one that brings you the most long term joy.

I know I was tired of living in darkness, in sadness, so I changed it. I changed the way I thought, the way I acted and the way I lived. Instead of being sad about all the things I could not do, all the things I could never see, I was happy and grateful for all the things that I had.

I want to be positive and show everyone that all of us have struggles, and getting help or talking about them is not embarrassing and should not be considered taboo.

Let your brightest light shine and remember to laugh everyday.

Also, my posting schedule on here is Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays if you were curious.

If you are interested, please check out my YouTube channel. Subscribe, like and comment on my newest video.

February is a Special Month

Happy February Everyone!

Did you know that February is Low Vision Awareness Month? Well, if you did not know, then there is an interesting fact for you.

To honor Low Vision Awareness Month, I figured the best way to do so was to write a blog post about it. If you are new to my blog, my name is Zoe and I am a visually impaired young adult in the community.

Being visually impaired is hard, but in the end the experiences that have come from it are beyond worth it. They are the experiences that shape us into who we are and without them, we would not develop a strong personality.

During the month of February I want to take time to reflect on all the good in my life and what I have to be thankful for. I want to thank my family and friends who continue to support me on this journey through visual impairment and those who have helped me discover myself.

Through the month of February, I will dedicating specific posts to specific topics.

I just wanted to come on here quickly and let you guys know that this month will be full of new and interesting blog posts that I will try to make as enjoyable as possible.

Posting Schedule:

YouTube- Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays

Blog- Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays.

I Went To See Panic at the Disco, and it BLEW MY MIND….

Hello Everyone! First off, I want to apologize for my absencce on both my blog and my YouTube channel. These past few days have been super busy. Whether that means homework, cleaning or family stuff, I just haven’t been able to upload and while I apologize, I hope you understand.

So, for todays blog post, I wanted to do something a little different. Instead of making a blog post all about my vision, I wanted to take a little break from that and show you guys other things that I do.

On Wednesday, January 30th, I went to go see Panic at the Disco. I entered the arena with high expectations, but leaving my expectations were far exceeded.

As a visually impaird woman,, going to concerts is difficult. Through the hustle and bustle of the crowd to trying to find my seat, there is always someting happening.

Sitting in the handicapped area, I got an amazing view. Not only were the atual lyrics of the songs amazing, but his voice was amazing. Sometimes you hear sngs on the radion and then you go and see them in person, and their voice does not seem to be as awesome. Well, this may be the only concert I have ever been to that the live performance was better than the recorded performance.

Something I can take away from that concert is that things are not as they seem. The people you see on screens, voices you hear over the radio do not define a person.

This experience really opened my eyes to true music and the passion that some artists have for what they do.

I am so sorry that this post is especially short, but I just wanted to get one out there for you guys. So, as always, remember to keep following the blog, and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Posting Schedule:

YouTube- Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

Blog- Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.

Life Has Challenges

Recently, someone told me that I write a little too much about blindness. So, I thought I would change up the feel a little while still relating it back to blindness. Life is not easy whatsoever. Whether that means that we struggle in school, have a rough home life or face our own challenges, life always is challenging.

I received a suggestion from a viewer to talk about a time where my vision became embarrassing. Oh man! There are too many times. So, thank you to the viewer who suggested this idea that will be the focus for todays post.

A few weeks ago, I was at the mall like any normal teenager. I walked past with an ice cold starbucks in my hand. Strawberry acai refresher to be exact. My friend and I had just finished shopping and were making our way back to our car. We walked into Dicks Sporting Goods, a popular sports store.

Let me pause here and ask a quick question. Do any of you guys who are reading this recall those tower like structures at the entrance/exit of stores that will alarm if you try and shoplift? Well, that is what made this shopping trip go south. And no, I did not shoplift if you were hoping for a juicy story. As we strode into and through the store, we were nearing the alarm system and just like that, I smacked head first into the security.

For anyone who has not read any of my previous posts about how much vision I have, I have no peripheral and limited central. So, you are probably thinking that this alarm system was somewhere on my side. Well, I have news for you, unfortunately it was right smack dab in front of me. My friend immediately burst out laughing. I mean can I really blame her?

Even though this was quite embarrassing because I am 90% certain that half of the people in that store just saw me smack my face, I found a way to laugh about it. Life is painful sometimes. It throws us a curve ball once in awhile, but if we face life with a positive outlook, we will be unstoppable.

It is not easy being blind, but laughing about it with friends every once in a while takes your mind off of all the hard parts. Don’t be discouraged by what you can’t accomplish, be encouraged by what you can.

Hope to “see” you guys back on Wednesday. Haha, “see” what I did there. Man, I am making myself crack up just writing this. Also, quick announcement, we are almost at 1,000 visitors. Please spread the word and tell all your friends.

Remember to laugh everyday.

My Apologies, No Post Tonight..

Hello everyone! I want to apologize in advance for not having a blog post up tonight. There are some things going on that I am chosing not to discuss on here, but I just wanted to let you know.

I will be back to my regular posting schedule on Saturday.

Thanks for your support!

Check out my new YouTube video! Remember to subscribe.

Zoe

The Untold Truth of Applying to College….

College. A word, a subject and another chapter of our life that we procrastinate thinking about for as long as possible. Throughout every stage of life we hear people use the word. In elementary school it is a far off land where grown ups go. In middle school it is something that teachers talk about, but something we put off thinking about. In high school, we hear this word every day and night. The word looms over our heads and for some odd reason, if you don’t go to college, you are now “uneducated”.

In some ways, college is that taboo subject that is not brought up until necessary because people only mention the fun parts about going to college. The parties, the freedom and the fact there is not limits. They don’t mention the neverending application process. If they did, would that twist your view of applying?

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it was probably pretty smart of everyone throughout elementary, middle and high school to not really metion what college applications entailed because if they did, I don’t think I would have been roped into applying.

How naive we are about these details of the application process. I shall not let this secret go untold any longer. Applying for college is long, hard and frankly draining. The process is literally everything but easy. You start by submitting the first application. That’s right folks, you heard it here. I said the FIRST application. There are plenty more to come. After you submit the common application, you wait. And wait. And wait. Weeks if not months later you get a letter in the mail. That letter is the most emotional letter you will receive. Life can change in one instant. I was lucky enough to hear what everyone wants to hear “congratulations on your acceptance”. Well, at least I heard that from 2/3 of my colleges.

You think to yourself that the hardest part is over, but unfortunately it is just beginning. After submitting the 40 pages of the common application, you start on this lovely form called FAFSA. Never heard of a FAFSA? Consider yourself lucky. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It asks all kinds of questions about your families finances and all that wonderful stuff. Then you get a bunch of confirmation letters and after months of waiting, you get the amount that each college decides to give you after submitting your FAFSA 4 months back. Currently, I am still playing the waiting game. I am waiting to hear how much money I received.

“Amen” you say to yourself. I get a 4 month break while waiting for my FAFSA to be processed. Wrong again. You now start on probably the most grueling part of the application process, scholarships. “They give you money. Isn’t that fun?’ No. No it is not. The problem is, people don’t just tell you where to apply, you spend hours typing into the search bar of Google and feeling hopeless. it is kind of a destructive cycle. Type into Google, look, find out you’re not eligible, cry. That usually goes on for several hours every week until one day your internet craps out on you. Luckily, my school is pretty awesome so I have a lot of great people helping me out along the way, but it doesn’t lessen the burden we carry all throughout senior year.

Thank you guys so incredibly much for checking out this post! I am not trying to deter people from applying to college. The final result it totally worth it, but the path you to take to get there is very long and stressful. I just wanted to make a funny post warning people of the journey ahead and to make it pretty relatable to any high school seniors that follow me.

Make sure to keep an eye out for my next YouTube video coming out tomorrow. I will see you guys back here on Wednesday. Remember to laugh everyday.

Zoe

It Is Here!!! My Life is Changed Forever

You guys, it is finally here!!! i have been waiting with baited breath for this day to arrive, and on January 18, 2019, it finally happened.

Let’s get this blog post started with a little bit of a background story. I am visually imapired and in elementary and middle school I had a number of aids that helped me live an easier life. When we moved to our current city, we switched states and I lost all the equipment i previously had.

Through the course of 2018, I filled out many applications, and interview sheets and evven tested a bunch of piecces of equipment. Afteer many months, that equipment is finally here! I can not begin to express how incredilby grateful I am for those whoo have helped me throughoout these past few months, who worked tirelessly to make my life easier. You guys are true angels.

Currently, I am typing this blog post on one of my new pieces of equipment. I will now tell you guys the different pieces of equipment I got.

  1. The Prodigi Connect 12
  2. The Explorer 5
  3. Monocular
  4. Slanted Clipboard
  5. Portable Chargers
  6. A Large Print Bluetooth Keybooard

This equipment is very complicated, so I won’t go into mucch detail and bore you guys to death, but if you would want to see exactly what equipment I got and how to use it, head over to my YouTube channel on Sunday and check out the new video that will be going up.

The prodigi basically like a tablet that has a magnifieer under it and a distance camera on the top and it magnifies, and also converts into a android tablet where I can access my schoolwork. In a way, it is an updated computer.

A explorer 5 is a small electronic magnifiying glass. Thee monocular is a just like binoculars, but just one.

I feel like the rest is pretty self explanatory.

Thank you guys so incredibly much, I am so grateful to have this many people vieew my journey everyday. I love you guys and will see you again on Monday.

10 Worst Things About Being Blind

So, I have seen a couple of YouTubers do this and if you do not know already, I have a YouTube channel and I am sure that I will also do this. There are many positives about being blind, but that does not mean that blindness does not come with struggles or hardships. This post is not meant to be one giant pity party, but a post that educates people of the negative effects of being blind.

  1. NO DRIVING! As you can probably guess, driving is not permitted for the blind or visually impaired for reasons I do not feel need explaining.
  2. You are constantly using some kind of equipment or mobility device. When you are blind or visually impaired you are most likely always using a mobility device or some type of equipment. Whether that be a cane, a guide dog or a CCTV, most blind people can’t go without their equipment.
  3. The Looks. No matter where you go, you always get looks. People can see physically that you are disabled and it just makes life harder because they end up thinking of you in a different way.
  4. Access Issues. When blind, it can be incredibly hard to be granted access everywhere and therefore it is harder to travel.
  5. People ignoring you. Depending on your vision loss, people may think that they can ignore you and walk away because you may not see them.
  6. You’re the Exhibit. Now that you are different than everyone else, you are an attraction. People put things in your face, ask you questions and test your limits.
  7. Assumptions. People make many assumptions about what kind of vision you have and what you are capable of which frankly is disrespectful and rude to say the least.
  8. They know your situation. People who are not visually impaired pretend to “know your situations”. Before someone comments that I am discrediting anyone’s experiences, that is absolutely false. Everyone has struggles and hardships in their life, but unless you are visually impaired you can’t really say that you “understand what I am going through” or that “it is not that bad”. You can be supportive and say that you are there for someone, but do not say that you know what they are going through. I once was talking to my friend and I was having a bad day and was really frustrated with my vision. I was complaining a little bit, we all do it sometimes. She turns to me and says, “well, I sprained my knee last week, so I basically know your situation”. Not exactly dude. Again, this is not to make anyone feel bad, but it is to say, do not try and compare your experiences if they are completely the opposite from someone else’s.
  9. Injuries. Injuries basically come with the job of being blind. No matter if that means you are bumping into things or just plain falling over things you can’t see, this is basically a given when you are blind. I mean look at my last post.
  10. Last, BUT certainly not least is…….The Movie Theatre Situation. When going to the movies with your friends, it makes it difficult when they have opinions on where they want to sit!

Thanks for tuning in today! Hope everyone has a great day! Hope you guys are ready for a video on my channel tomorrow!!!

My Advice To Those Struggling to Accept Their Challenges

I wanted to address this topic because I get question after question about how I stay so positive. Truthfully, there is no simple answer. There is not medication or solution to changing your attitude, it requires countless hours of hard work.

My journey to find the positivity in my life has truly been a challenging one to say the least. From struggling with visual impairment, to bullying to constant injures from the visual impairment, life has been anything but easy. Something that I can say that has helped me throughout the years is having a strong family support system by your side to protect and stand by your side through thick and thin. You also need to make sure that you are in charge of your life and that you have a stable grip on any lasting anxiety or depression issues.

When I ask people what they think the word positivity means, they tell me “smiles and rainbows”. That could not be farther from the truth. I am not sure what urban dictionary says about positivity, but I would define positivity as making the best out of an unpleasant situation. We can not always be positive, in fact sometimes we just need a good cry. But, we can go down knowing that we always tried to be happy and thankful for what we had been given in our life.

Being positive is not always easy. This post is not to make anyone feel bad or guilty about themselves, but merely to answer a question I had about being positive and to give you guys some tips and tricks that you can use to stay positive throughout your day.

Positivity does not come easily and even those of us who look like we are always smiling have inner struggles. Never judge a book by its cover or a person by their physical features. I want you all to know how beautiful each and every one of you are.

Please remember to leave a comment telling me what you think or any future ideas you would like me to write about. Do not forget to also check out my YouTube channel which is linked in a previous post.

Remember to laugh everyday! Until Wednesday my friends…

I Injured Myself in the Uninjurable Sport

Before I continue to the tell the story of my injury, I wanted to apologize for already not sticking to my set posting schedule. Unfortunately, because of everything that has been happening over the past few days, I went to sleep at a friends house and left my backpack in the car which contained my computer.

So, now that I have cleared that up, I can explain how and in what sport I recently injured myself in. If you have been following me for a while you that I am a competitive swimmer. If you know anything about swimming you know it is the sport that they recommend to people with pre-existing injuries as a form of therapy. Well, since I am absolutely the clumsiest person alive, I managed to injure myself during a swim practice. We were working on our 100 freestyle and I was on the third lap about to make my flip turn. Being visually impaired, doing a flip turn is pretty hard because you are supposed to have your eyes looking at the bottom of the pool. I went to flip turn and turned a little too early and when I went to push off, one of my feet was in the wrong position and as I pushed off I heard a large pop. After the pop there was an immediate burning and throbbing sensation.

At first, thinking it might have been a cramp, I jumped out of the pool, but quickly realized that I could not bend my knee. I sat out for the remainder of practice and afterwards walked slowly to the bathroom to change and by that time the pain had slowly dissipated. I went home thinking that if not a cramp, it might have been a pulled muscle that would heal in a bout a day. Since I had previously been a track runner, I did what any athlete would do when they had an injury, I iced, rested, compressed and elevated.

When I had gotten up the next morning, instead of the pain having lessened , it had only gotten worse. I then decided to try and take an advil and proceed with the day as normal. This incident happened on a Tuesday and on a Friday I visited the orthopedic surgeon. He informed me that I had two strained muscles. Quite the strain too. I had strained my hamstring and its connection to the back of me knee and my gastrocnemius which is the large muscle in the back of your calf.

Ever since Friday, I have been overtaken by a knee imobilizing brace which constricts my movement and bending of my knee. It makes everyday tasks so much harder than they need to be. I can not sit in the front seat of a car, go to the bathroom in certain bathrooms or even sit in a pew at church.

Well, I hope that you guys enjoyed this story of me being clumsy and wrecking myself for the millionth time in a row. Thank you guys so much for tuning into today’s post! Please remember my regular posting schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. I love you guys and please check out my YouTube channel, link in previous posts.