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    

     

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

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