I forget that being visually impaired is hard. The struggle has become second nature. I forget the emotional turmoil I went through, or maybe I block it out.
Recently, I have heard multiple stories of people losing their vision, struggling to start using canes and visual aids, struggling to cope. They remind of my story, my journey. I assume people will get through it. I should never assume. Assumption is lazy.
I don't even know if I should be saying these things considering the project I've put together. On the other hand, I'm hoping this project will help some visually impaired people get through it. Who am I to say they even need help? Maybe some have already got through it. What does getting through it even mean? It's a patronising thing to say.
I put in my Arts Council budget that a certain amount of money will go towards travel expenses for the participants, so maybe I haven't forgotten how hard parts of being a VIP is.
I recently was in a BBC 3 short film type of thing about being visually impaired. I was shocked to see some of the negative comments, or maybe I was naive. I thought by taking part I was doing a good thing, but it upset some people. Here's the video:
I laughed off the negative comments and just thought leave them to it, they are bitter. I forgot I was bitter at one point. I was angry, I was devastated. I was grieving for my own life although I was still breathing.
I'm not the patron saint of visually impaired people and never will I ever try to be. I somehow got lucky and got through it. I'm being patronising towards myself. Because I seem happy, it means I've got through it? Maybe it's because of the people I have around me. Some were really shitty when I started to lose my sight, they SAID I was a burden. They confirmed what I felt about myself. Maybe it was because I was forced to go back to work because of financial commitments. I was threatened with the sack because I simple couldn't do my old job. I was at my lowest point and it felt like the world was trying to push me under. Everything I loved became everything I couldn't do. As I'm
writing this, tears are filling my broken eyes. I was forced to get through it. It still hurts. Maybe there has been so much hurt that I've become numb to it? Maybe I have just forgotten how to feel.
The only hope I found was in music. I found hope in other people's heartbreak. I found hope in other people's happiness. I found hope In music.
I couldn't speak about my sadness, I couldn't say it out loud, because the words would echo on forever. It would become real. I could write them down. I wrote some of the darkest poems & songs during that time. I'm too scared to even look back at them. Writing my feelings down was what pulled me towards a happier time.
Someone said to me the other day that I am handling being visually impaired very well and I'm the most positive VIP they have ever come across. That made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I'm not the most anything. I'm just trying to live like everyone else. I'm trying to fit into a world that wasn't made for me, but I mostly hide my struggle, my anger, my annoyance. It made me wonder, how do people expect me to be?
This project is turning out to be a treacherous walk down memory lane. It's full of potholes, overgrown bushes with branches of thorns waiting to trip me up.
I sit with my guitar and begin to write, the path clears & I forget about the obstacles.
That's what I want this project to be for the participants. A place to forget.
Thanks for reading and listening.