A Shift in Focus
When I returned home in 2006 from nearly ten years in the Middle East and a lifetime of teaching overseas before that, my focus was still in travel mode. I had a lot of trouble separating my traveling persona from my everyday person and settling into small town life. My father had recently passed away and I missed him terribly so my writing (not then taken to the blogways) focused on my travels, re-adapting to life in a small town, my father and my faith, which was a constant.
A few years later in 2009, I started my first blog called Writings from Amy’s Wood Loft . Looking back, it was really just a place to hang my writing as I didn’t introduce myself and had no specific audience. I simply started posting my writing taken from what I do on the church bulletin, family or home. In the world of blogging, I now see how unfocused it was. But blogging was a big step in my writing. Of course, I rarely received any comments but I tried to develop a consistent habit of writing. I was moving forward!
In 2010, I developed my website with its own blog. Consequently, I abandoned my first blog and started posting on my website. Interestingly enough, my first post (September 2010) was called “Beams and Blindness.” That Spring I went through Orientation and Mobility Training with a blind instructor–simply put, learning to use my mobility cane. With that post, I took my first steps in publicly accepting myself as a vision-impaired individual.
With the A to Z Challenge, I focused on a different overseas adventure each day, but for the most part, my writing started to shift. On February 26, 2014, I blogged the entry, “My story with RP,” and it was no longer a secret. My vision loss had a name my readers could attach to it. After that, I started sharing more about my vision loss and what everyday life was like. My memoir (Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith) came out on October 14, 2014.
Publishing my memoir catapulted me to a new level of awareness of choices available for those with vision loss. I met other vision-impaired and blind people. Before that, I felt alone but now I was part of a team. I realized losing my vision wasn’t a life sentence and I didn’t have to sneakily hide that I couldn’t see.
My life with or without vision loss would be what I made it. Boy, did that thought free me! I didn’t have a choice about what I could see but I had a choice about how I responded to it.
I slowly began speaking to groups about vision loss, accepting this was now part of my persona as much as my travel had been earlier. My blogging took on a new lightness as I reflected on life with vision loss. Now my posts had lost the grief I had felt for so long. They were changing to acceptance and laughter. The basis of those blog posts make up my new memoir, Cane Confessions: The Lighter Side to Mobility.
I have come so far from that unfocused individual. Last year, a reader commented that my website blurb didn’t match up with my content. I couldn’t believe it. I still saw myself as that adventure traveler. But she was right. My content was focused on educating others about blindness and managing everyday life with vision loss.
I guess we blog about what is most prevalent in our lives. I’m glad we have periods like Blindness Awareness Month to put a spotlight on our focus. Those early days of uncertainty when I returned home from the Middle East and floundered, not knowing how to fit in the small town where I grew up in had to take their course. The bridge came, strangely enough, with facing my vision loss. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, my poor vision placed me on firmer footing. My niche for now is vision loss. My writing is honed and focused.
I realize it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Humans are multi-faceted with many interests. But just as the wind of change blew my faluka off course along the River Nile in Upper Egypt in the Nubian village, it has now blown me to my current focus, shining the light on vision loss.
Have you ever noticed a grand shift in your focus? What did it change from and what did it change to?
You have just read, “Change of Focus,” by Amy L. Bovaird © October 2, 1016. Please take a moment to leave a comment!