Post Title: SECOND SIGHT – Exploring Milestones in Mobility
Journey with my White Cane
For those experiencing sight loss, transitioning to a white cane is life-altering. That’s partly because it involves a public admission of one’s lack of sight—which feels like a private affair. The journey to becoming independent again challenges us physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It’s never a linear journey, even for those who are most confident. Becoming “comfortable” with ourselves occurs in an often-uncomfortable way. That’s the crux of the dilemma.
It takes courage to begin this journey.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
That something, to me, is finding a way to live a life just as rich or fuller than before. I don’t believe any of us should be captive to our obstacles. We have the same dreams anyone else does. To reach our goals requires sacrifice. Finding a way to move forward. Living Life. Problem-solving. Stretching ourselves to reach our goals. Along the way, we may even change our priorities and find the new ones even more satisfying than those we had before.
Subject of Memoirs
If you’ve read any of my earlier memoirs, you know that mobility has been my biggest hurdle and that I’ve handled it in various ways—including humor and sorting out life lessons. In Second Sight, I reflect on the milestones that have brought me through more than a decade of using a white cane.
WIP Second Sight
My current WIP (Word in Progress) is a memoir that takes a look back through stories of challenges with my white cane – so a focus on reflection and growth.
Who is my target reader?
Obviously, my ideal target readers are those who are coping with sight loss and using a white cane. But also, their family members, so they can better understand their frame of reference and mindset. But I also hope to educate readers who are sighted to look at their own challenges in ways that show them their growth and always a means of approaching them.
Authentic Stories of Support
In the last few years, the slogan “RP Strong” has floated around the support groups. It can be found in online comments, on bracelets, in Braille, printed on magnets and other products for the blind. Of course, we’re strong and even stronger together as we lean on each other, attempting to provide understanding and empathy to comfort and build each other up.
My stories involve common themes others in sight support groups grapple with—dating, attitudes, communication, fear, avoidance, friendships, driving, going public, remaining private, advocacy, days that go wrong, breakthroughs, weather conditions, traveling, balancing dependence with independence, and self-worth, to name some of them, all with a white cane.
Universal Stories of Overcoming to Inspire Others
During the Covid-19 challenges, each of us has had claw our way through layers of negativity found in the political arena, news media, and the health experts. We’ve had to weigh uncertainties and for many, the realities of unexpected losses.
My stories have the ability to inspire us all to look through individual challenges and cut through the negativity in our environment. If we use our “second sight,” we can view our experiences from a different angle, always taking time to cultivate the best from them. Conditioning ourselves takes constant practice and clear focus – which sounds funny, since my physical focus is somewhat of a blur!
I’ve learned when I can see my everyday situations through the lens of humor, family, and commonalities, I’m able to cull out life lessons and find where I’ve grown.
We can all strive towards this goal.
As my brother neared the parking lot at the supermarket, my chest tightened. I glanced away from my folded cane. “Mike, can you go in and pick up the groceries for dinner tonight?”
He stared at me through sleep-deprived eyes. “I just took you all over town. I’ll wait here.” He pulled to a stop, reached for his cigarettes, and opened the car door.
“No!” My breath came faster. Think. I played the martyr card. “I cook dinner every single night. Please do this … one … little … thing.”
We glared at each other, at an impasse. He looked away first and set his smokes down. “Whaddya’ need—spaghetti sauce, French bread, anything else?”
“That’s it.” I breathed again, letting the air out slowly. After he left, I picked up my cane and spoke to it, as if it were human. “You little weapon of destruction.” I said softly. “At least in my hands.” Five years now. I should be an expert at maneuvering it around these aisles.
Just last week, my cane slapped up against a cardboard display … of all things … miniature boxes of raisins. Flying high in the air, and low on the floor. Those displays weigh nothing. I’m heavy-handed, I guess. Superwoman….
My friend, Julio, saw it differently. “Who are you—Tiger Woods going in for a long drive?”
I’d laughed, but the tight feeling inside me never left. “I know. When I’m in that grocery store, sometimes I probably do use my cane like a golf club. I’m sure those employees grit their teeth. ‘It’s that blind lady again. Calling all patrols. Guard those displays.’”
I leaned against my car door and rested my eyes.
When I hit the panty hose display, at least I picked them up before anyone found out. Well, mostly. I chuckled recalling what happened next. That little kid came running after me. “Lady, miss, with the stick … you forgot one of your legs.”
What on earth is he talking about? One of my legs!
The little boy handed me a round egg-shaped container filled with panty hose. “oh, o-oh.” I giggled. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” His cheery voice made him sound like a saint, doing his good deed for the day.
What do you like or dislike about grocery stores? Can you recall a time you’ve gone through or witnessed an embarrassing incident? Share in the comments below.