Post Title: Cheers from My Biggest Fan
My Approach to Writing
Writing is a solitary occupation. I write what I know about. Using a mobility cane impacts my life in a way nothing else has. I trust that both the successes and my roadblocks within mobility are such that others with vision loss have wrestled with them, too. Using a mobility cane provides the independence I initially felt I gave up when I began losing more vision. That’s for certain.
So why do I sometimes approach mobility with its strange foibles? Why do my stories show the lighter side to getting around with a white cane—on the days when we make our rounds and our day doesn’t quite pan out as we envisioned it would.
I suppose because there’s no story when life moves like clockwork, when my mobility is without its flaws. Or perhaps it’s that so many other aspects influence my mobility that I can’t resist sharing these trials and tribulations, even idiosyncrasies.
Fans and Cheerleaders
Whatever the reason, we all need those people who cheer for us!
For me, it’s my older brother. He’s my biggest fan.
He has a way of surprising me when it’s the furthest thing from my mind.
My Biggest Fan Cheers
Shortly after my mother passed away—during the adjustment phase of getting our lives back on track—he wasn’t getting ready soon enough to suit me. “I don’t need you to take me to any speaking engagement,” I shouted.
We could’ve had one of those old fashioned, knock-down-drag-out fights.
In the middle of our shouting match, he said, “But I like driving you to your speaking engagements. I like hearing you tell your stories. You smile and laugh and it makes me feel happy.”
I stopped mid-roar and immediately calmed down. I never knew he felt that way. That was such news to me. I could encourage even a family member just by sharing my imperfections, my humorous stories about getting from place to place, my ability to keep moving forward.
Reading between the lines, it meant that my optimism in the face of my limitations motivated him to move forward in his own struggles. It was such a humbling discovery. My talks, though aimed at those with sight loss, impacted a whole other person and, in extension, set of people.
Who Our Audience Listens to
Listeners and readers of all walks of life are drawn to cheerfulness. They’re not just searching for the words of those who have it all figured out. We are drawn to those we can relate to and who reassure us.
That finding has kept me tied to my message. We are who we are, always striving to be better, but not locked into a pigeonhole of what that looks like. My brother taught me that.
Showing His Pride and Support
Although he doesn’t often say he’s proud of me, he shows it in a number of ways. He surprises me by buying one of my books and gifting it to someone when I least expect it.
For example, he has had some heart problems so was taken to a local hospital by ambulance. During his stay, one of the doctors he met had also authored a book. He showed such a great interest in his doctor’s book, he showed him my brother the manuscript of one he was currently writing. This, while still in the hospital. My brother then explained, “My sister is an author. Do you want to read her book?” Just like that, he called me from the hospital and asked me to sign one. The next morning after getting out, he returned to the hospital and true to his word, dropped off my memoir for the doctor.
This greatly encouraged me.
Gifting My Books
Sometimes he gifts my books to old friends, and other times to newly-met friends. Just the other day, he asked me for a large print book to gift to our new neighbors, who we are getting to know and like. He has already gifted two books to the wife.
It touches my heart when he does something like that. It’s so spontaneous and a big blessing.
When I least expect it, he also surprises me with words of gratitude. “Thank you for making dinner.” Or “Thank you for lending me gas money for gas for the baseball game.” Or even “thanks for going with me” somewhere.
What a Fan Does
It’s always wonderful to have a big fan that believes you make a difference in the community and who wants to listen to you speak. It’s rewarding when you know someone who can lift your morale when you haven’t had many sales in a while—and someone who is grateful for you.
It tells you even when you don’t believe in yourself that your life matters. Your approach to life does, equally. What you may see from day to day as inconsequential, someone else may see it as essential.
I often joke that those with low vision may not be able to see that well, but we can feel the strong support of our loyal enthusiasts in the moments we need it the most.
Where Can Supporters be Found?
Supporters can be found among family members, friends, or even strangers that hear us speak. They show up by sending us emails to thank us for our books. They’re all around us—in shopping malls, at baseball games, and in restaurants. They open doors for us, and help us find our way when we lose it—not judging or coddling us, just lifting us out of moments of challenge.
And when we find such admirers—we need to see them as the blessings they are. As they hoist us on their shoulders and carry us through the crowd, cheering us on, let’s remember to pay it forward—be a fan right back and to others.