Overcoming barriers in sport as a blind person – My experiences

From a very young age I was always taught the benefits of sport, but I never realised how important it would become to me. I’ve been registered as severely sight impaired from birth, with a number of conditions including Nystagmus, with about 5-10% vision, and I learnt very quickly that there were extra barriers to accessing sports for VI people.  I’ve never let that stop me, and I’ve managed to reach an international level of competition in Para swimming, but there are still difficulties out there for VI athletes, in any sport.  

When I was in primary school I was never able to fully participate in the PE curriculum because of a lack of learning support provision at primary level, and even when I could join in, I was often left with the task of keeping score as I found it extremely difficult to keep up since most of the time we played hockey, netball and badminton. This carried on in secondary education as although I was given a learning support assistant to help me, large class numbers and quick paced lessons meant I did have to sit out at times, although I always tried to participate in some way.  However, I had taken swimming lessons since the age of 4, and some of my family were very keen runners, so I used to try and join weekend activity clubs in those sports.  In year 6 I also helped to represent my school in cricket at some local inter county competitions, as I was very fortunate enough to be given 1-1 sessions with a teacher and felt like giving myself a challenge. 

When I was 11, I went to a talent ID day with other SEN pupils from my local county and it was there that I was encouraged to join a swim team. I had always liked swimming but never really thought that I was any good.  A couple of years later and I was competing in able bodied competitions all around my county, and when I was 14 I got my Para swimming classification.  Since then I have entered and won medals in many Para swimming regional and national events as well as local ones with my swim club, including 4 county championships. Over the past couple of years I have competed in international competitions, including the Rio 2016 Paralympic trials and the 2017 British International Paraswimming championships.  I also became National gold medallist in my favourite events in 2016, the 50m and 100m freestyle, and National gold medallist in the 100m backstroke in 2015.

Swimming is probably one of the main driving forces behind my self-esteem, it has allowed me so many wonderful opportunities and I have met some fantastic people, even if I have had to make sacrifices along the way. I have also become much more independent and focused on what I want to achieve both in and outside of my sport, and am forever grateful to my parents too.  They always kept encouraging me through the horrible training sessions, and drove hours on weekends so I could compete. 

However, although the Para swimming world is inviting for VI swimmers, there are still difficulties. When I have received target sheets and results from national coaches they are often handwritten or in very small font, making it difficult for me to access them.  In addition, competition set up can mean that officials and technical equipment can be in the way on poolside, therefore sometimes it is difficult to make my way around them.  From talking with other VI athletes, it is also a common trend to find that in a lot of sports there is still a lack of awareness on the difficulties visually impaired athletes face; one of these particularly being when sorted into our race positions with other competitors, as organisers can be very vague in explanation or try to rush.  Sometimes it is a lot harder to be a Para athlete too, because we aren’t always taken seriously, and training can be more difficult when coaches do not understand your needs.  There were many times where I seriously questioned whether this was worth it, and whether I could actually achieve anything.  It can be a lot harder for athletes in Para sport to gain confidence, but you learn quickly that progress takes a while.   

Although these are challenges, improvements are being made, particularly in Swimming, and many more VI children are being encouraged to be involved with sport. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a much better experience in Para Swimming, and over the next couple of years I hope to achieve even more as I go to university and compete there.  Even though there are people who will question your commitment to sport, who may not believe that you have much potential, the most important lesson I have learnt is to prove them wrong.  Do the unexpected; go to that extra practice, because it is really worth it.     

VioletKatie xx

Lost

In 4 days, I take my first finals exam of secondary education.  The truth is, knowledge and subject wise, I’m 90% ready.  I know all the content, I’ve done many practice papers and done many revision sessions at school planning essay responses.  But that isn’t my problem.  My problem is that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to feel okay.

Despite the unnecessary stress to get the grades I need for my first choice university, and the pressure I like to put on myself to do well.  I didn’t realise till recently that I haven’t been myself for a while.  But I think I know the catalyst.

As I stated in my previous blog post, I broke up with my boyfriend.  We had been dating for about 9 months or so, but he had started going out with someone else, and had started spreading rumours, as well as a few other issues.  Now it hasn’t been getting over him that has been the hardest part, but dealing with the train wreck of emotions that I was left behind with.

To find out that someone you really cared about has cheated on you, with a girl 4 years older, who he bad known for 3 weeks, is bad enough.  But the amount of confidence he took away from me, that is the scar that I try to hide.  Confidence is like glass, it is fragile, and a lot of the time, the damage caused to that glass is irreversible.  I don’t think my confidence in myself has ever been as low as the past 3 months.  I have second guessed myself in every decision I have made.  I have stopped celebrating things that go well because I don’t believe I’m good enough anymore.  I know that I can get my confidence back, and I have got a little bit back already.  But I am no longer proud of myself for any things that I achieve.  I just look at all my failings, and how to make them better.

The weight of guilt is something that no one ever really understands, until you carry it on your back wherever you go.  When you see all the couples in your year, you realise how much you took that feeling of safety for granted.  Even though I am better off without him, I still can’t help but ask myself what I did wrong, I obsess over my mistakes to the point where I count my achievements as flunks.  I don’t believe I deserve to be happy yet, and that thought is suffocating.

I didn’t realise how I’d been feeling until last week.  It was the second to last day of the year, before study leave started.  I have been friends with this boy, lets call him J, since I was 12.  He had asked me if I wanted to  go to our leavers dance with him.  I said yes, because I was honoured to be asked.  But I spent the next 10 minutes sobbing.  That feeling of being wanted, and appreciated, had escaped me for so long that now someone showed how much they cared I had no idea what to do with it.  He had asked me what was wrong and I said that I didn’t want to embarrass him.  He hugged me for about 5 minutes, trying to tell me that I was just as good as the other people in my year.  I knew I could believe him.  But I realised, My boyfriend had torn apart my self esteem, and I had grown apart from my real self.  My friend said he knew.  People had noticed, but none of them thought I felt this bad.  And to be honest, neither had I

 

If there is one thing I have learnt from all this, is that it is ok not to be okay.  Sometimes things happen and they can take a long time to fix.  Although I am not completely broken, I have a way to go before I am mended.  Let’s just hope that I can be myself again, and love myself for being who I am.  Everyone deserves to be happy, including all of you.

 

From Violetkatie xx

 

Saying goodbye to old romance

Hey!

I will warn everyone now that this post is not going to be a happy and cheerful one.  I am normally one of those people who always look for little lights at the end of the tunnel, and to hold onto hope, but for one of the first times in my life, I don’t know how to act, and my emotions are rather unstable.

I guess it’s fairly obvious from the title that this is a post where I say goodbye to a form of romance, to my first boyfriend to be precise.  I hope that by doing this, I can gain some understanding of my feelings, and get a grip on the overwhelming pain that has consumed my heart for the past few days.

Last Thursday I was at a residential weekend for visually impaired people, and on the first evening I was brought to a corner of the corridor, and he revealed his feelings which were that ultimately, we should break up.  I had known previously that he had been struggling to cope as it was a long distance relationship, and that it was unlikely we’d see each other much before university starts, but it still came as hard as a stab in the back.  What I didn’t know about the situation was that there was another girl involved, and that he’d had feelings for her for a while, and in the end felt unable to control his emotions anymore.  When I’d heard that they’d been dating for 2 weeks, my stomach tightened, I felt like a brick had knocked my skull and my defences broke.  He tried to apologise, and he said he felt bad, and I know he isn’t lying, at least I think I know.  In the last few days I’ve cried about 10 times, sometimes for 5 minutes, and sometimes for 20.  My closest friends know and so do my parents.  I cannot put into words how grateful I am for all the love and support they have given, both at the residential when it happened, and the days after.  They have helped soften the pain, and told me it wasn’t my fault.  My friends are dearly loved as they made me smile and laugh even in the midst of chaos.  I cannot blame myself, although it feels like I should.

For a couple of days I was convinced I wasn’t good enough and his new girlfriend was way better than me.  I believed that compared to this girl I was probably stupid and rude, ugly and annoying but I know that I can’t think that.  He may have lost a lot of my trust and it will take a long time to forgive him, but I think I can.  I can never send this message to him, especially not now because it hurts too much, and I have no words to say to him but I feel that I should say this anyway, to give myself some final closure.

I understand, deep down, why you wanted to break up, and I know you don’t blame me, and that in the end we had no control over the distance.  I know that in your mind, you didn’t want to hurt me that much and that you won’t be able to realise how much confidence I’ve lost because of the way we broke up.  I know that in the end I will be okay, and that I can move on and we can both be happy.  One day I would like you to say sorry, for keeping me in the dark, and lying about how you felt.  I hope you and your new girlfriend will be happy, because you do deserve happiness, and she is lucky to have you.  You were a kind, sweet and understanding boyfriend, although I feel betrayed and as if I’m second best, I will move on.  I don’t want to know why you chose her and couldn’t wait until we broke up before going out, but I know we all make mistakes.

Thank you for all our late night chats, the ones  on the phone and at each other’s houses.  Thank you for your morning texts and your ability to always make me laugh when I’d had a rubbish day.  I will always remember that hour we had alone in Paris, where we danced together and curled up near the window of your hotel room.  I still remember us holding our hands under the table so that your parents couldn’t see, and I am grateful for all the silly music we tried to make on your keyboard.  These are memories I will treasure, because I know you are a good person as a whole, I just happened to receive some of your bad sparks.

You made me really happy, and taught me what love could feel like, and I am glad I had the chance to be your girlfriend.  Please take care of your new one.

Love

Violetkatie xx

 

 

 

A letter to my parents

Dear Mum and Dad

I don’t really know where to begin, but this letter is really just to say thank you!  Thank you for raising me and putting up with me for the last 17 years.  I’m so grateful for everything you did with me when I was younger that allowed me to have an awesome childhood and teenage years.  Thank you for being my taxi, taking me to swimming, ballet and all the social/school events I’ve been involved in, even though you’ve had better things to do, especially in recent years with my siblings. 

Thank you for all the money you have spent on me over the past few years, and for filling in all the forms too.  Thank you for letting me explore the big wide world and for not stopping me from doing all the things I’ve wanted to do.  You taught me how to get the most out of the activities I do and to treasure the memories I have, the good ones for happiness and the bad ones as lessons.  You taught me how to be brave and persevere, even when I gave up at first, and you taught me to always go one step further, to push myself and become a better person. 

I know I don’t show it properly but I am so blessed to have done some of the things I have done, but I wouldn’t have been able to do them if it wasn’t for your love and encouragement.  You helped me to become more independent and shared many words of wisdom, and terrible jokes too.  Even when you were stressed and tired you would still help me with any problems I had and that means so much.  I know I haven’t always been easy to deal with, I’ve answered back, slammed doors, cried and said stupid things and for that I am sorry.  Sometimes I take for granted your unconditional love and kindness, but I know how lucky I am.  I am nearly 18 now, but I hope one day in the future I can give something back, although I could never pay back for everything.   

I am always thankful and hopefully I’ve made you proud.  I hope I haven’t let you down.   

Love you lots,

Violetkatie xxx 🙂

Reaching for my dreams

Hello!

The final few months of my time in school are coming to an end.  And it’s hard.  Really hard.  You never know how much you’ll miss something until it’s gone, but I can already tell my life will be changing a lot.  I’ll be moving away from home, living at university, closing the gap on my dream.  And yeah, I am so excited.  It’s a new chapter of my life, one where I get to be a fully independent me, one where I get to start afresh, and that makes me smile.

I’m going to take a degree in Psychology (I know it’s crazy, me, actually at uni) and then take a few more years of training so that I can be a fully chartered professional counsellor or behavioural therapist.  I’m hoping to be able to specialise in a particular area that I am closely associated with: teenagers with disabilities, particularly sensory impairments, because I myself am severely sight impaired, with only about 7% of vision.  Now when people ask me what I want to do for a career I tell them what I just told you.  I often get some stunned faces, some questionable voices back: “but are you even allowed to do that?”, “but you’re Visually impaired!” and so forth.  When I first heard these comments I used to let them consume me, I trusted their judgement that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t cut out for a role that is, in all honesty, quite tough.  I know that it isn’t just me, a lot of people in today’s society get examined by practically everyone, seeing if they fit into a category of work.  And I hate it.  I hate how I let so many people knock my confidence, how I listened to them calling me weak and dumb.  But then I realised that there is a fire in me, that really wants to prove those people wrong, and to prove to myself that I can make a difference.  The whole reason I want to be a counsellor is to help people handle difficult situations, to understand people who can be hard to reach, to teach them how to be happy again.  I have always had a fascination with understanding the human brain, to question different behaviours, and ask what makes everyone so different (I’m hoping that doesn’t sound creepy aha).   

I have had my fair share of difficulties which needless to say, have really tested me, but they have taught me how to be strong, and have courage, and to follow my dream.  I have had friends, even family, who have had mental disorders like OCD and Depression, who were too scared to ask for help, who needed someone to listen.  I do wish that society lost the stigma of mental illness, allowed people to know that wounds don’t have to be permanent, that they can heal.  I won’t be prevented from being who I want to be any longer, at the end of the day, I just want to show people there is light.  Yes it will take a lot of work, and sacrifice, but I’m okay with that.  If I can give back to the people who helped me, by helping other people, then I will be happy.

The gap between my dream and reality is closing, I can do this.  I believe I can.  I wouldn’t have said that 2 years ago but I am so grateful I never gave up my dream.  I want to give a voice to people, to let them be free from the mould society tries to put you in, because that is what people did for me and I am so thankful.

My biggest lesson for people is probably my simplist: if you have a goal, aim for it, and don’t look back.  “Shoot for the moon, because even if you don’t reach it, you’ll land among the stars”. 

Violetkatie xx    

     

I don’t know where my heart lies

Hello again blog!

I am so sorry I have been neglecting this blog, I have been slightly caught up in a world of exams, university applications, social and family issues which just got time to catch up with me too quickly.  It isn’t even an understatement that I’ve barely had a weekend since august and before that I was struggling to find myself the spark for writing that I wanted, but I’m so glad I’ve found it again.

I won’t begin with my huge emotional problem just yet, but I want to just point out a lesson I learnt last year.  It doesn’t matter how bad, how good, angry or excited you are, always do your best and always give back to those around you.  I honestly couldn’t thank the friends who made last year so fun, and taught me so much, and all the people who helped me survive school.  I am definitely going to work a lot harder this year.  I think I finally am confident enough to go for it this year, and that is what I intend to do.

Now unfortunately, I would love to say that this year was a great start, but it hasn’t been completely what I planned.  I am rushing to complete a 5000 word essay as part of a school qualification and it’s due in at the end of January.  Not only is it 5000 words, but I have no idea how to fit all the things I’m supposed to in it.  I also have managed to become very much reliant on chocolate over Christmas, and if I don’t get it under control I will probably end up 15 stone.  But that isn’t the thing that has pulled at my heart.  Let me give a brief summary so I don’t mess up my words.  Not many people know that I have a boyfriend, apart from my closest friends and a couple of his, oh and my mum.  We’ve been together 8 months, and on Sunday it will be 9.  Our relationship is a long distance one, he lives about 3-4 hours away, so I only see him every 2 months but we’ve always had a great time and I really appreciate our time together.  We are both 17 and in September we are both hoping to go to our favourite universities which happen to both be in the same city, only 20 minutes or so away.  Neither of us knew which universities were each other’s favourite but when we found out we were both excited (because why not).

A couple of weeks ago he said that he found the distance hard, but he still wanted to be with me, and he knew that we should be together.  I will admit that it’s not easy at all to love someone so much who’s far away.  But we’ve both learnt to cope with it pretty well and we know it will be easier when we are at uni in September.  Then a couple of nights ago we agreed to go on a bit of a break, as he was finding it a bit too hard.  We both know each other so well now, and trust each other so much and more than a few tears were shed.  We promised we wouldn’t break up, it was just a break.  I know some people will think it was stupid but breaking up was the last thing we wanted.  It was a very brave thing for both of us to do but we believe that it will help us cope a little better if we take some steps back for a few months, and I fully respect that and believe it  So why do I feel so sad?  I know that we still love each other, we are still going to meet up and we are still as close as normal, but I feel like a pin put a tiny hole in my heart.  It’s a small thing, but it really hurts.  I can’t even believe I’m acting so soppy, but that’s love I suppose.  He didn’t hurt me, he never would, it was just the situation did.  I know he’s been feeling this way for a month or so, and he’s thought about it a lot, whereas I never really thought about it.  It’s only a few months, not even 6, and it will mean that when we are at uni that we can be together properly.  Things haven’t changed that much but I know I’m not completely okay.  I know he doesn’t find it easy either, but it is making him happy and as long as he is, then I am.  It just feels so much more lonely.  I’m scared to say some of the things I used to, our nicknames, our really bad but hilarious flirting.  I don’t know what’s right or isn’t, and now I miss him even more.  Oh what I’d give for summer to come around quickly, and to be able to ask him all the questions I want to.  I think I’m scared of what will happen if it changes, if he finds someone else, or if I will (although I doubt it).  He said the other day that he doubt that would happen, and that he believes in us, but I can’t help but feel a little vulnerable.

I know that I’ll be okay, and I could tell him anything.  I just don’t feel ready to yet.  We know how much this relationship means to us and I could never be angry at him.  He cares about me in a way that no one else really does, he’s made me smile so much more than I used to, and he’s one of the most genuine and kind people I know.  I just have to get through the next  few months.  I know it will be worth it, in the end.

I think I’ll just leave it there, before the tears start to fall.  But one quote I think I’ll leave with is from a great scholar: Winnie the Pooh – “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye to so hard”

VioletKatie xx

It’s okay to be different

Good morning!

I would like to address an issue that is constantly appearing in my school during different phases of the year, and which appears to follow me around all the time….

Everyone is different, and everyone has their quirks and their limitations.  However one thing that we do too often is to let other people’s opinions and criticisms consume us.  We feel more influenced by what others think, than what we think ourselves.  This does make a little sense to be honest, however I feel that some people just take it too far.  I know I am different, you know you are different, there is no normal.

One thing that has led me to become largely annoyed over the previous weeks is the inability of some to accept that we do not go by the same lives.  I have countless people tell me in the past week “well it’s your fault you can’t see the worksheet, you deal with it” and “you aren’t very popular so why would you not accept an invitation to come to my party – I’m trying to help you look cool”.  First of all, may I just say I wouldn’t change who i am for anyone, and there are things that do prove challenging to deal with.  However I wouldn’t be who I am without them.  The person who thinks that I’m not cool, and not popular, has never before talked to me.  They don’t know that I swim, dance, volunteer and have a seperate life away from school.  And I enjoy these things, they help me learn and grow as a person, and I’ve had so many opportunities to make new friends and try other things.  The reason I don’t really go to parties is because I don’t have the time and I don’t find these people interesting.  The sad thing is that some people go to parties every week, as it is the only thing they do.  That is their choice, and my choice is mine.  If only more people would understand that it is okay to not follow the crowd, and to be your own person, and I am happy to have my small group of friends at school.

To the people who blame me for my visual impairment, and tell me to “deal with it”, I’ve been doing that all my life.  I don’t just “deal with it” anyway.  I embrace the fact that I perceive the world differently, and although it does take more time and effort to do things, that is okay.  Life is too short to worry and be upset by your limitations, I learnt that a long time ago.  Being visually impaired is part of who I am, and I feel it makes me more interesting.  I’ve had challenges and setbacks, just like everyone else.  However I have accepted these and overcome them.

To the people who tell me I’m boring, and that I look weird.  You never talk to me unless you have to.  You may ignore me and pretend I’m not in your class, but I am.  I have opinions like you do, you just never hear them as you are too scared to talk to the “vi girl”.  But I’m not just VI, I’m a student, I’m a girl, and I’m a human.  Everyone deserves a certain level of common decency and respect, but unfortunately there are people in this world, in this generation, who are not able to look past the obvious.  It is a shame this is true.  I may not be able to talk about everything you want to, and I may not understand why people chose to do some things, but I can discuss ideas, and events, and many things inbetween.  I do have a brain, and a heart, just like everyone else.  But I am different, and that is nothing to be afraid of.

My message to the people who doubt me is; I am just as capable as living life to the fullest as you are, and I intend to do so.  People believing I can not do things very well, and I don’t fit in with everyone else, I honestly don’t care.  I have my life, and I will enjoy it.  I have often spent hours crying because I couldn’t accept who I am, and I thought I was a disappointment to everyone who knew me.  I used to deliberately skip social events because I thought I would embarrass everyone else, but I won’t do it anymore.  I’m tired of sacrificing who I really am to make others feel better.  I want to live, and those people who aren’t happy with that – you deal with it.

Love Violetkatie xx

Growing up

Hello once again!

I am writing this in my double free period today, which is probably the thing I should not be doing but oh well!  I have recently been having many interviews and meetings on top of my usual busy school weeks, and it.s given me a good opportunity to step back and think about life in general, but also about growing up.

Last week I had an interview with a counsellor and an educational psychologist, to talk about their jobs as these are possible careers I want to go into.  This was a very interesting experience indeed and I learnt a lot of useful information which will really benefit me.  However, at the end of the interview with the counsellor he randomly asked me “what are you afraid of?”.  I was a bit confused as I never really thought I was afraid of much.  Spiders, heights, needles, none of them have ever scared me.  After a couple of minutes I did admit one thing that has probably made me the most annoying person since I was 3.  I have a fear of failing and letting people down.  I know many people have this fear in some sort of way, but it’s the fear that will make me cry, and make me have a panic attack.

Even when I was 6 and 7, I would cry if I didn’t get less than a 17/20 on my spelling test.  I cried on results day last year too.  Initially of relief and happiness, but then i realised how many C’s and B’s I got, and I felt that all my teachers were going to be so mad at me.  Everyone has said o me that I did well, but for me anything less than an A is a fail.  When I was telling the counsellor this he was silent for a while, and then asked me if I.ve ever thought my fear to be something that isolates me.  I responded with a very unreassuring “I guess”. I was too busy in my mind thinking about human nature at this point.  Will a fear go away as we get older, or will it just change into a different one?  Why do we spend so many of our teenage years saying no to things because we are scared?   Why are we scared anyway, what’s the point?  This led me into a deep cave of thoughts for the rest of the day.

I am beginning to ramble on here which I am very sorry about, But I never fiully appreciated my teenage life before.  I have done some incredible things before which maKe me feel so blessed.  When I was younger I had never believed that growing up would be as emotional as it has, I just assumed that when you were an adult you had all the freedom in the world.  In some ways this is true, but not in as many ways as I can think of.  For me there are days when I wish I was a child again.  Having to pay fees to keep my swimming up and pay for school trips gets me so stressed out, I don’t even want to go and pay bills yet.  That’s another thing though, I don’t know if I want to grow up, is it ever okay to be just a mature teenager, or is adult life really a social convention everyone has to abide by?

In addition, I have always wondered what I should be doing every year I get older, but there is always eternal conflict creeping up on me.  I feel ss if life goes too fast, and wonder if we become expected of too much.  What is the real beauty of life first of all, and why do we always forget it!  Speaking of which, why do we get so fearful of the future, we don’t embrace it enough!  I feel as though grown ups today are cutting us out of their territory (as it were) and not letting us know what it really is like.  It’s important that we can get the truth, so we can fix the mistakes made by previous generations and gain a sense of importance that seems to be lacking in today’s society.  The world is a vast place, full of good, bad and much in between, but I don’t think that teenagers really get the opportunity to learn and explore this, as adults are too busy covering up the dark and ugly, but the truth is that no one and nothing can be hidden forever!.

I’m not really sure what my aims of this post were, I am just aware that I don’t understand a lot of things in this world, and I probably never will either, not completely.  I apologise now however, as I never normally ramble on about so many things at once – but I hope maybe this blog post did spark some interest!

Hope you are all well and I will be writing again soon!

Love Violetkatie xx

Misconceptions about visual impairment

Good evening again!

The second half term of the year has began, and I’ve been given the task to support some young SEN students in year 7.  Of course this has been quite interesting and kept me on my toes, however I feel as if this has brought back memories from when I was in year 7, and how many of my peers didn’t understand the term “visually impaired”.  Since I have been at my school for such a long time, I feel that views on SEN people have changed, but this isn’t exactly true in the “outside world”.  Today I will be listing a few common misconceptions of visual impairment.

  1. Visual impairment isn’t actually black and white.  Excusing the pun first of all, I used to get told that I was making up the fact I was visually impaired because I wore glasses, but in fact my glasses only correct a small percentage of my vision as the rest can not be corrected.  There are many different eye conditions that affect how much we see, and even when people are registered as “blind”, many people do have light perception or can see hand movements.
  2. .Just because someone is visually impaired does not mean they are dumb.  This has actually happened to me so many times. When I was younger I used to have a couple of support assistants in my lessons to help make sure I could access the lesson material.  However I would be interrupted very often when they asked me questions like “do you want me to help you spell difficulty?” and “do you need me to rewrite the instructions in simpler vocabulary?”.  These have ended up being used as jokes between me and my friends, however when I was younger I did feel as if they were treating me like an idiot, even though I was in top sets for most of my subjects.  This is also very common for some of my other blindie friends.
  3.  Having a visual impairment does not make me any less normal than anyone else.  To this day I have had people tell me “but you’re so normal”.  This is in fact the thing which probably annoys me the most.  We have all been told that everyone is different.  People who are visually impaired are not defined by their disability, it is their ability which is the most important.  Many people don’t realise that visually impaired people can do a lot of the same things and be just as good, or even better, as everyone else.  The only thing is we have to do things a bit differently.
  4. I am not ashamed of who I am and there is no need for “I’m sorry”.  Believe it or not, I do not wish to be any different than who I am, and my disability is not a burden.  A lot of adults have always apologised when they have found out I am visually impaired, telling me I’m “very brave” and apparently follow that with a sorrowful look.  I will not lie and say having a disability is not hard, because to put it politely it can be very frustrating.  However I will set the record straight and say that visually impaired people are in charge of their disability and their life, not the other way round.  We do not let it hold us back and so there is no need for any pity, because we do not need to be reminded of our disability and we are not helpless.

I could go on forever about the misconceptions of visually impaired people, however I’m not that mean.  Hopefully this post hasn’t been too dull, and I will leave you with my life philosophy.

“Love who you are and be yourself because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”

 

Love Violetkatie xx

A little bit about me

Good evening ladies and gentleman!

This is my new blog where I will probably write about anything and everything, so I feel as if an introduction is definitely needed!

First of all we will begin with the basics.  I am a teenager with a range of hobbies (probably too many to be honest) and am in the midst of exploring the big wide world.  I am currently in the middle of my A levels in year 12, which are going very well at the moment.  I may not be saying this next year however, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!!  In case anyone is interested, I am studying English Literature, Psychology and Sociology as well as doing the EPQ.  Within school I am a sixth form ambassador, which is basically an alternative to saying I’m a prefect, so I usually have a lot of jobs to do at school.  Something I should probably add at this point is that I am also visually impaired, registered specifically as “severely sight impaired”.

Outside of school I am very busy.  I am a ballet dancer just completing my grade 6, and have been dancing since I was 6 years old.  I also do competitive swimming and compete as both an able bodied swimmer and a Para swimmer.  I do many competitions ranging from regional and national level, and am beginning to participate in bigger events.  In between these and schoolwork I like to read many different books, as well as meet up with my friends (who I may say are wonderful) and sometimes go skiing too.

That’s just a little bit about me, I hope you have enjoyed my first blog and I will be writing again soon!

Much love,

Violetkatie xx