Vision awareness month

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Vision awareness month

October is almost upon us and it marks the beginning of a very busy and important month for all those associated with the blind community. It’s vision awareness month, world blindness awareness month, world sight day and white cane awareness day to name just a few. There will be events taking place all over the world as well as social media campaigns to highlight the lives and experiences of people affected by vision loss. It’s a perfect time to share our stories with the world the help educate and erase the many misconceptions surrounding blindness. Now although this is something I try to achieve everyday through my poetry, I’m conscious of the opportunity to reach a much wider audience when it comes to October. It’s one thing to be able to reach out to the people I’m our community to support and inspire but reaching those outside is the best way of making a real change. The simplest of posts can be the catalyst to make someone think differently about disability and the way they interact with people. In recent studies it’s been shown that a large percentage of people affected by disability experience loneliness due to people not knowing how to communicate with someone living with additional needs. It’s often the fear of not wanting to say the wrong thing and offend that leads to people saying nothing at all. I’ve experience this first hand many times. I’ve had friends and even family members drift away because they don’t know how to approach me anymore. It’s this lack of understanding that can lead to people like me feeling isolated. So as we approach October let’s share our stories, write a poem or share one of mine. Write a blog, share your experiences and let the world know that living with blindness isn’t as scary as they think.

Here’s a poem I wrote 8 years ago that still resonates with me today.

My Story

It was only just last year you see,
when the news of blindness came….
And one thing that I knew for sure,
my life would never be the same.
The thing that hurt the most that day,
told I’d never drive again.
I knew one day get used to it,
just didn’t know quite when.
My purpose in the future seemed,
to me now so unclear.
If anything was positive, then I refused to hear.
Retreated from the outside world,
for feeling vulnerable.
Affected by the brightest light,
as well as slightest dull.
Frustration grew inside me,
as the bruises they increased.
As some friends slipped away from me,
my social life deceased.
I tried to get the help I’d need,
but no one seemed to listen.
To keep a roof above our heads,
became my only mission.
To get most basic of support,
the system made me wait.
I knew that one day help would come,
and prayed it’s not too late.
My wife picked up the pieces,
whilst my children looked afraid.
This blindness taking things we’d built
and future plans we’d made.
I reached out through my iPhone,
to the online community.
I didn’t know these strangers,
Would soon feel like family.
I listened to their stories,
all so similar to mine.
In seeing all their struggles,
made me realise I’d be fine.
Then one night as I lay in bed,
my goal was clear to see.
Use music to open hearts and minds,
the birth of Stand By Me.
The lyrics flowed from pen to page,
poured out my fragile heart.
And instantly I knew
that this,
would only be the start.
Spent each day writing poems,
for the ones who feel alone.
We’d hold hands now together,
take first steps outside our homes.
I pushed my words around the world,
in to their warm embrace.
They seemed to mean so much to them
and helped their world to face.
The messages received each day,
from all my new found friends.
Began to help my pride return,
the hole in my heart mends.
A dream I never dreamed before,
to print my words in book.
To give back all the things to us,
that this RP has took.
So here I am now asking you,
to help me change my life.
And lift the pain of blindness,
that sometimes can cut like knife.
But all the while my journey in to darkness must progress.
The symptom of this RP is,
we all see less and less.
Although my future fades now,
like the world in front of me.
I’ll change how they all view us,
make them see how we all see.
I’ll try to help those near and far,
who wait for distant cure.
Live for today, not worry, bout a future still unsure.
So share my words around the globe,
then one day they’ll all know.
For this is the beginning and we have a way to go.