Embracing The Cane

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

I’m sorry for the lack of posts at the moment but third year of university is the reason for that!

Just a quick note, today’s post is very long so grab a drink and a snack, sit down and enjoy!

I know that not all of you will be able to relate to this post but I know many of you like to hear my experiences of living with sight loss and this post is one of those where I discuss my experiences and also give some advice.

I hope you enjoy today’s post!

Embracing the cane is something that many blind and visually impaired people struggle with, others not so much. I was one of those that struggled with it for a few years; but now I’m completely comfortable using one. Looking back, I’m glad I did have that doubt, apprehension and anxiety when using one because it’s contributed to my thoughts and feelings when using a cane today. I can also empathise with others that don’t feel so comfortable using a cane.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m comfortable using a cane and I can openly discuss this topic. Today I want to tell you my cane story and how I learned to embrace it, seeing it as something positive rather than something negative. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a reminder that the glass is half full, not half empty.

 

My story

I first had cane training (mobility training as it’s formally called) when I was at school. The training is done by a professional, called a rehabilitation worker. The rehabilitation worker taught me some cane techniques and in the following sessions we proceeded to do routes around my school, to my classrooms and such places. Let’s just say, I absolutely hated the training. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy learning to use the cane, because that’s not true, I love learning but there was something about it that filled me with dread and a hatred towards this white cane. I don’t know fully what it was but I think there were a couple of contributing factors: the fact that I was using it for the first time around my school, the place where I knew a lot of people and they’d see me with this thing and probably wonder what the hell I was doing? The second being the negative thoughts that I was having, what would people think of me using a cane, was I standing out even more so than before, what if I bumped into them? Having mobility training isn’t something your average teenager does, unless they have a visual impairment. When you’re in your teens, you want to fit in, make friends, socialise with others…you get my drift. How the hell was I going to do that when I was lumbered with this thing? I also didn’t find the lessons fun, I’m quite a motivated person so I’d have preferred to get out and about rather than being in the same environment. Obviously, I needed to learn the routes round my school, but I would have liked a variety of routes, have a change of scenery, rather than just the same building constantly. I got to grips with using the cane and things improved slowly.

Later on, I was then taught how to cross roads safely and independently. One of the major downfalls of this though was that I only learned the route between my home and my school so I didn’t really enjoy it. There wasn’t any option for me to learn other routes and do things that I wanted to do. I was proud of myself for achieving this goal and getting that far but I still wasn’t fully happy within myself using a cane. I didn’t use the cane around school and when I went out I didn’t use it as much as I should have, when you don’t like something it’s hard to motivate yourself to do it.

When I entered sixth form, I gradually became more confident and comfortable using a cane. I started to realise that it was my way of being independent; rather than relying on others. Granted, I wasn’t 100 % comfortable with the whole concept, but I was getting there.

When I entered my second and final year of sixth form I started applying for university, just like everyone else. When I was doing this, I knew that I wasn’t fully confident using a cane and knew that I needed to get myself into gear and needed to do something about it. I spoke to my parents about it, we spoke long and hard and did our research into different options and this is when I enquired about going to a specialist school for a short period of time. One of them got back to me and it was agreed that I would spend a week there in summer. During this week I had intense training on independent living skills and mobility training. Let me tell you, I learned more mobility skills during that week than I had ever done previously. I’m not saying that this is the right option for everyone because it was something that I enquired about myself rather than a professional advising me to do something like that, but it was definitely a great experience for me. It really gave me the confidence boost that I needed. After attending mainstream school all the way through education, spending a week at a specialist school was rather interesting for me. I feel like that really set me up for starting university that upcoming September.

A few weeks before I started university I had mobility training around campus so that I knew where everything was, in order for me to be able to navigate to my lecture rooms and for me to have a good idea of the campus. I think this was really the turning point for me in terms of my mobility; I was far more confident using a cane and I genuinely felt comfortable using one; I wasn’t as bothered what people thought as it was my mobility aid and my way of getting around. The rehabilitation worker was genuinely lovely and made it enjoyable which took away any anxiety that I had previously. I think it also helped being surrounded by people that weren’t that bothered about my disability, they cared but it didn’t faze them as it did others in school. There’s people from all walks of life at university and others that have the same or similar disabilities so you’re not usually the only one in your institution.

Looking back, I think university was definitely the turning point for me. I found independence and I think that’s one of the most important skills for blind and visually impaired people to have. Since becoming comfortable using a cane I’ve been on a plane on my own and continue to tackle the challenges of public transport. But without motivating myself to be independent I would not have got this far.

 

How I embraced the cane

So as you’ve probably gathered from my experiences above that embracing the cane didn’t come easy to me, my experiences are just one of many and every blind or visually impaired person has their own experiences. Some, like myself learn to have a love/hate relationship with a cane, but for others they may never have this.

I want to tell you how I learned to embrace the cane in the hope that it might help some of you out there.

Do not give up

You may want to give up at first, especially if you’re finding it challenging but not giving up is key. If you give up then you won’t achieve anything so why quit? No one said that it would be easy.

Believe in yourself

This is so important. Believing in yourself is one key to happiness and independence.

Stop caring what others think and focus on yourself

This applies to many aspects of life but things become so much easier when you stop caring what others may think of you and focus on yourself. So what if you’re walking down the street with a cane or guide dog? Your disability is a part of you. Feeling comfortable within yourself is so important.

Think of the positives

Embracing the cane will provide you with independence, lifelong skills and so much more so rather than thinking about the negative aspects, look at the positives. Remember what I said before, the glass is half full, not half empty.

Look towards the future

Just think what you can achieve if you can conquer something like this.

 

That concludes today’s post, I hope you enjoyed reading and possibly learnt something from it.

As always, thank you for reading.

Holly x

Why I Write About My Disability Online

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

As you can tell from the title, today’s post is reasons for why I choose to talk about my disability online. I have picked my top 10 reasons for doing so, they are in no particular order., This post is something that I don’t really see much of on the internet or in the blogging world so I thought it was something different to write about.

I hope you enjoy today’s post, so without further ado let’s get into it!

 

  1. Blogging about my visual impairment gives me the opportunity to raise awareness of disability and blindness/visual impairment

Disability awareness is so important and reading first-hand experiences, accounts, tips, and tricks can really go a long way in my opinion. Being completely honest and open about my visual impairment on my blog gives me more scope to help raise awareness of disability and discuss some of the many experiences that us disabled people face.

2. It gives me the chance to tackle the stigmas and perceptions surrounding visual impairment and disability

There are many perceptions of visual impairment and disability in contemporary society, everyone has their own opinions on these so blogging gives me the opportunity to tackle these. Many of them are far from the truth so I can discuss and debate them right here on my blog.

3. Writing about my disability on my blog gives me the opportunity to educate others on sight loss

Many people have the perception that having a disability is all negative or that all blind people are all the same, well let me tell you that this is far from the truth. Some people have never come across a blind person before or others may have a blind or visually impaired family member, so me choosing to blog about my visual impairment gives me the chance to educate such people. Talking about my disability on the internet to educate others and to possibly change their perceptions on disability is so worth it.

4. Talking about my disability on the internet has given me the opportunity to create friendships

I have met some of my closest friends, including my best friend through blogging and this is all because of my little corner of the internet. It allows me to communicate and talk to those that are visually impaired or have another disability. If I didn’t write about my disability then we possibly wouldn’t be able to relate to each other as much.

5. Discussing my disability online allows me to be part of a community

In my case, I am part of the sight loss community and I really do love it. You can get advice, ask questions, learn about others experiences and so much more by being part of such a wonderful community. I’d also say that I’m part of the blogging community too which is something that I love.

6. I can be creative.

Often talking about disability can be regarded as being plain and simple, it may be ‘boring’ to some people. Blogging about my visual impairment gives me the chance to be creative through Q&A’s, collaborations with other bloggers, write and feature guest posts, and so much more.

7. Writing about my disability online means that I can share my own personal experiences on living with sight loss

For me, this is so important. I don’t sugar-coat anything on my blog, I’ll tell you exactly how I’m feeling. If I’ve done something then I’ll tell you, or if I’m having a down day I won’t pretend I’m happy just to make everything look positive. It’s important to be real and honest, people want the truth and that’s one reason why I choose to talk about my disability openly on the internet.

8. I can let my feelings out and be completely honest

This links in with the previous point, but if I’m annoyed about a certain aspect of my sight loss or want to share an specific experience then blogging gives me a platform to do so. It can sometimes be quite nerve-racking pressing publish on a post where you’ve wrote exactly how you’re feeling or have expressed your opinions on a particular topic but once you do it, it’s such a good feeling. The responses from my readers make up for it! I’d definitely say that blogging is a hobby and I love coming up with blog posts and writing them for you all.

9. Writing about my disability online allows me to empower, inspire and help others.

There’s nothing like a huge sense of relief when you can relate to someone, their story, their blog post or just what they’re saying. Being completely open about my disability allows me to create content that other people will hopefully relate to and possibly even feel inspired by. That for me is one of the main reasons for why I continue to write blog posts.

10. It gives me positivity!

My blog is no way viral and I’m by far not the most popular blogger on the internet but I have way more readers than I ever expected and it’s an amazing feeling! Receiving positive comments and messages really does mean the world. It makes blogging about my disability completely worthwhile and gives me the inspiration and motivation to carry on.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading some of the many reasons as for why I choose to talk about my disability on the internet.

If you are a disabled blogger then what made you decide to blog about your disability? If not, what was the reason for starting your blog? Let me know in the comments!

Holly x

My Top 10 Blind Girl Problems

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Today’s post is something that I’ve wanted to do for a while but never actually got round to it. As you can tell from the title, it’s my top 10 blind girl problems. It’s a bit of a light-hearted post, I’ve put together a few of the mishaps that I experience due to my visual impairment. This post is part of Elin and I’s seeing through sight loss series where we discuss a range of topics on visual impairment, we thought this was a great post to include in the series!

So, without further ado, let’s get into today’s post.

  1. Having a conversation with someone thinking that they’re still in the room and ending up talking to myself.
  2. Walking into a cupboard or door.
  3. Walking into the dishwasher because I left it open and ending up with a huge bruise on my leg.
  4. Falling or tripping over the kerb because I misjudged the step.
  5. Knocking the dog’s food or water over and it spilling literally everywhere!
  6. Dropping something on the floor and scrambling around on my knees to find it for a good few minutes…it’s like a mini treasure hunt.
  7. Losing something and taking forever to try and find it so giving up and asking a family member to come and help only for them to find it straight away.
  8. Tripping over someone’s feet when they’re sat down.
  9. Standing on something soft and panicking it was my pet, turns out it’s their toy.
  10. Walking slap bang into someone because I didn’t know that they were stood there.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Make sure you check out Elin’s top 10 blind girl problems!

If you are blind or visually impaired yourself, then let me know your common blind person problems in the comments. Can you relate to any of these?

If you enjoy reading posts like these then let me know and I can write more of them for you.

Thank you for reading.

Holly x

The Blogger Recognition Award

Hello everyone,

I’m sorry for the lack of posts at the moment, I’ve got rather a lot on but I’m trying to post as often as I can.

I’ve been nominated for the blogger recognition award by my best friend My Blurred World. Thank you to Elin for the nomination, it means a lot to me. Make sure you check out Elin’s blog!

blogger-recognition-award-logo

(photo shows the blogger recognition award logo)

The rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog ☑︎
2. Write a post to show your award ☑︎                                                           3. Give a brief story of how your blog started ☑︎
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers ☑︎                                          5. Select 15 other bloggers for this award ☑︎
6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link to the post you created ☑︎

My Blog’s story

I started my blog back in January 2015. I wanted to start a blog as I wanted to raise awareness of visual impairment and disability, to educate others and to share my story. I thought having my own little space on the internet would be a great way to do this but I didn’t really think that anyone would read my ramblings. I I also started blogging as a hobby as I do enjoy writing so thought it was something fun to do. I do hope my posts can help those in similar situations to me and for people to know that having a visual impairment or any other disability isn’t all bad, it can be very positive. I try to educate, inspire, support and provide an insight as to what it’s like being a blind girl in a predominantly sighted world.

My advice

The first piece of advice that I would give to any of you out there that are wanting to start blogging is to write about something you’re passionate about. When reading posts, you can really tell if people have a real interest about the topic they’re writing about or whether it’s all made up. If you’re passionate about a specific topic or subject then it really shines through, it gives you post ideas and you can grow your audience easier. Blogging about something you’re passionate about also makes it easier to think of post ideas!

My second piece of advice that I would give to aspiring bloggers is to communicate and engage with other bloggers. This allows you to build readers/followers, create friendships and possibly find people to collaborate with. It’s important to share the love and recognise other people’s hard work!

My nominees: Thinking Out Loud – Sassy Style The Heart Of Me Fashioneyesta The Invisible Vision Project Lauren Rellis Glasses Girl Kimberley Jessica Jade Marie Meg Says Luke Sam Sowden Well Eye Never Journeyofthemindblog Beauty Blog Wales Sarah and Ellie talks Sarah in Wonderland Make sure you check out their blogs because they’re all amazing bloggers!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I’m in the middle of planning some posts so if you have any suggestions then do let me know!

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Holly x

Two Years of Life of a Blind Girl

Hello lovelies!

On this exact day two years ago, I published my first blog post and what an incredible two years it’s been. So much has happened, both as part of my blogging journey and in my personal life. I thought I’d do a post reflecting on my favourite memories of blogging over the last two years and some of my favourite posts that I have published so far.

When I started blogging, I honestly didn’t think that anyone would read my posts and people would actually visit my little corner of the internet. When I published my first post two years ago, I didn’t really know what I was doing but since then I’ve grown as a person both online and offline, found my writing style and developed new skills that I never thought blogging would give me.

 

I’d firstly like to thank all of you for your support, you truly are incredible and the fact that you choose to read my posts means the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my posts or send me an email or a message on social media, knowing that you enjoy my blog and that some of you find it educational and inspirational is amazing. I can’t thank you enough for all of your support.

 

My favourite memories of blogging so far

I didn’t really achieve that much as a blogger in 2015, I was getting to grips with it all but one of my favourite memories of when I first started blogging was being nominated for the Blind Girl Beauty Tag, I felt like I was slowly gaining readers and other bloggers were wanting to read my content too.

In 2015, I blogged about my experience with special assistance when flying. For me, that was something that I’d never done before and I wanted to share my experiences with others. You can read that post here.

Fast forward to 2016 and this is where I started to publish posts a lot more and really found my passion for blogging.

I was featured in RNIB Connect Magazine which blew my mind a little bit.

I was also asked to write guest posts for Action for Blind People, RLSB and Through Scarlet’s Eyes to name a few. To be asked to write posts for such brilliant organisations was a huge honour.

I was asked to take part in the RNIB’s #HowISeeCampaign. Being asked to do something like that really meant a lot to me, I felt like my hard work was paying off. You can read my #HowIsee entry here.

I took part in my first interview for The Aidis Trust which was a great experience.

Whilst we’re on the topic of guest blog posts and interviews, I recently created a portfolio which contains all of my guest posts, interviews and reviews, you can find that here. I will keep updating it with new content so make sure you keep checking back!

I met my best friend. Without blogging, we wouldn’t know each other. We created our seeing through sight loss series and it’s something fun to do to help raise awareness of visual impairment/disability, educate others, and share our experiences.

I also made other close friends through blogging, such as Sassy. I also took part in Sassy’s disability Q&A series which was really fun to do, you can read my interview here.

One of my favourite blogging memories has to be  reaching 10,000 views on my blog. This was a massive achievement for me. I know it’s not a huge number of views but as I’ve said previously, I didn’t think my blog would go far at all.

Those are just a few of my favourite blogging memories over the last two years!

 

My favourite blog posts so far

I haven’t been happy with every post that I’ve published but some of them I’ve really enjoyed writing and had a great response from you all.

I’ve published 58 posts on my blog so far, so here are just a few of my favourite ones, they are in no particular order:

Embracing Your Disability Meeting My Best Friend My Mainstream School Experience The Importance Of Having Blind and Visually Impaired Friends Am I Inspirational? If I could See, Would I want to? Letter to My Younger Self

 

As you can gather, it’s been a rather fabulous two years. I could have definitely wrote a lot more in this post! Blogging is definitely a huge passion of mine now.

My blog wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for you all, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I hope you will continue to follow my journey and enjoy reading my posts as much as I enjoy writing them.

Bring on the next two years!

Holly x

 

My goals for 2017

Hello everyone,

First of all happy New Year!

Now that we’ve entered a new year, I thought I’d do a post on my goals for 2017, then I can possibly look back on them at the end of the year and tell you whether I achieved them or not. I probably should have posted this yesterday but I didn’t have time so today will have to do! I’ve set myself some realistic goals, personally I think there’s no point setting yourself things that you know you won’t be able to achieve. I’m all about chasing your dreams but I think it’s important to know what’s realistic and what isn’t. So here are my goals for 2017!

Graduate from university with a first or a 2:1.

Yes I’m aiming high here, but it’s something that I want to achieve. With the right amount of effort, support and motivation I think I could achieve this. My best friend is always saying to me that I’m constantly working too hard and never stop so let’s hope the hard work pays off! We graduate in a beautiful location so I really would like to have the opportunity to experience that.

Continue my career

I want to continue working with blind and visually impaired people and this is something I would like to maintain in 2017 when I graduate. There’s a lot of articles and statistics around about disabled people not being in employment, also the gap between disabled and non-disabled people is very high and employers not always seeing disabled people to their full potential and honestly this does scare me. I’m not one to sit around and do nothing, so I’m hoping this pays off.

Keep blogging

This is one of my biggest passions and I don’t have any intention of giving up soon, but I don’t want it to slip. Balancing university work, work, other commitments, blogging and a social life can be hard and I can only imagine this would be harder as I enter the world of full time work but I love blogging so my goal is to continue doing so.

Raise more awareness of visual impairment/disability and educate others

I try and use blogging as a platform to do this but I think there needs to be a lot more awareness out there. There are many misconceptions around disability and I think people should be educated on such topics. I want to educate others on the real light of having a disability in the hope that it tackles the stigma and perceptions surrounding disability.

Be healthy

In the last couple of years I’ve suffered from overactive thyroid, anaemia and most recently chronic inflammation of the iris; whilst these aren’t major health problems and I know that things could be 10 times worse, I think staying healthy is important.

Be a good friend/family member

Quality over quantity, all the way! I like to think I’m a good friend/family member, please do correct me if I’m wrong. I think spending time with the ones closest to you is so important. I want to be there for my friends and family when they need me as they’re always there for me.

So those are my goals for 2017. That concludes today’s post, I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little insight into my goals for 2017! What are yours? Let me know in the comments.

Holly x

My Favourite Memories of 2016

Hello!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! I just wanted to start off by saying a huge thank you for all your support in 2016, it has truly been incredible and I cannot tell you how much I really do appreciate it. It’s hard to believe that I’ll have been blogging for two years in January. I really upped by blogging game in 2016 and really put my mind to it, trying my best to get my blog out there and noticed. I know I’m not one of the most popular bloggers and I doubt I ever will be but I’m really pleased with the progress I’ve made with my blog this year, it’s reached milestones that I never thought I’d achieve.

In this post, I wanted to write about some of my favourite memories of 2016, it’s been a pretty rubbish year with everything that’s gone on in the world and for me personally, but there have also been some good times for me too so I wanted to share them with you all. I’ve tried to do it in chronological order, I hope you enjoy!

 

Putting my blog out there

It was only at the start of 2016 that I created a Facebook page for my blog and it’s really helped get my blog out there and I’ve received some lovely messages from my readers.

I also started doing guest posts at the start of 2016 and received requests from sight loss charities and organisations asking me to write a post for them. I felt truly humbled and this was a huge achievement for me. You can check out all the guest posts I’ve written so far in my portfolio.

 

Volunteering on an Action for Blind Family Weekend

This was such a big step for me. When I graduate from university I am hoping to work in the sight loss sector so volunteering on this weekend really did give me some great experience. One of the things that I did was help run a talk on education for blind and visually impaired young people which allowed me to explain my own tips, give my own account and experiences and answer any questions that the families had. This was something that I thoroughly loved doing. It was something completely new but I felt that I gained many skills and valuable experience from doing so.

 

Passing my second year of university

Second year of university is such a huge jump from the first, anyone that’s been to university will know exactly what I mean! Back in 2015, during the first semester of second year, I wasn’t sure if I was even doing the right degree, I’d gone from wanting to be a primary school teacher to not having the first clue of what I wanted to do. But I figured it out, now I’m working towards getting that degree and working with other blind and visually impaired people when I graduate. I finished second year of university with a 2:1 which I worked so hard to get, it set me up nicely for my third and final year.

 

Celebrating passing second year of university with my friends

Everyone was together, we were all extremely proud of each other and it was just a great time.

 

Getting my first job

I’ve wanted a job since I was around the age of 16 and tried ever since to find a VI person friendly job if you get my drift! I started as a volunteer for LOOK UK in the summer and was employed as a Project Worker a couple of months down the line. It’s such a huge achievement for me as not only am I gaining experience in the field that I want to work in when I graduate university but I also can work hard and earn money just like my sighted friends. It’s given me so many skills and I am really enjoying it so far.

 

Attending Sight Village

I’ve never been to an exhibition like this before, it was an opportunity for me to see the latest technology and services that are available for blind and visually impaired people. I got passenger assistance for the first time when I was travelling down to Birmingham for the event and it didn’t go as planned, I have discussed this in a previous post. That experience really opened my eyes and possibly made me even more determined to not let my visual impairment be a barrier, even when things go wrong.

 

Being featured in RNIB connect Magazine.

This was a real shock for me as I read the Connect Magazine, so to be asked to be featured in it was wonderful.

 

Getting my OrCam.

The OrCam is a marvellous piece of equipment and it has had a huge impact on my life.

 

My family holiday

This was such a lovely holiday, I had time to relax and spend quality time with my mum and dad. It’s important to have family time with those that mean the most to you.

 

Meeting my best friend

Some of you will know her as Elin from the blog My Blurred World. This was by far one of my favourite memories of 2016, it was genuinely such a lovely day. We’d been speaking for over a year and finally got to meet in person. We got to know each other through blogging so that day was so special for the both of us. She lives over 150 miles away so you really do have to treasure moments like that. We’ve helped each other through a lot in 2016, the good and the bad and constantly stuck by each other whilst we’ve both had people we cared about walk away, helped each other through the rough times, given each other the kick up the bum when we’ve needed it and I think that’s true friendship. I’m so excited for more memories with her in 2017.

 

Becoming more confident using a cane

I wouldn’t say that this happened at a specific point but I feel that I have become more confident and comfortable when using my cane over the last couple of years, even more so in 2016.

 

My 21st birthday

I spent the weekend before my birthday with a close friend and my actual birthday with my family which was special to me. Family really are so important.

 

Reaching 10,000 views on my blog

This happened a few weeks ago, and it’s crazy to think that I have had over 10,000 views on my little corner of the internet!

Those are a few of my memories of 2016, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. I would just like to thank you again for your continued support in 2016, it really does mean the world to me! I really hope you’ll stick with me as I continue my blogging journey in 2017.

I would like to wish you all a happy New Year and wish you all the best for 2017!

Once again, thank you.

Holly x