Post Title: Be the Change You Want to See.
Looking Back on my Journey.
I am not a big Michael Jackson fan. However, he addressed social change and knew he had to be part of the process.
When I read the lyrics to Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” it caused me to reflect on my own journey. I think my advocacy for the visually impaired came about in bits and pieces as I matured, a result of slowly accepting myself as I was, receiving letters written from my readers, and meeting others with sight loss but possessing great vision.
Jackson’s song starts out, “I’m gonna make a change for once in my life. It’s gonna feel real good. Gonna make a difference. … this wind is blowing my mind. I see the kids in the street with not enough to eat. Who am I to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs.” These lyrics hit me, especially with the phrasing, ‘blind’ Pretending not to see.’
I was doing a podcast interview with a representative from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and we talked about the stigma attached to blindness and why I preferred others to think I was “clumsy” rather than having an actual vision problem. Shame kept us silent. Later, when re-reading these lyrics, the thought came to me “Who am I to be blind / Pretending I did see …”
I wasn’t ready to be any part of change. I felt sharing that detail would irrevocably alter the way others viewed me. I didn’t consciously think that. In fact, I tried not to think about being legally blind at all. But I am sure the thought was in the back of my mind, unfaced but lurking.
In the past twelve years, my outlook has changed. Optimism replaced fear. Honesty replaced excuses. Now I think, like Michael Jackson, “who am I to be blind / pretending not to see” the changes we need to make to cause society to view those with vision loss / blindness differently. I can’t un-see the changes that need to take place. I can’t pretend everything is okay or that we don’t need social change. We need to believe more in ourselves. We need others to believe we are much more capable than they see us to be. We need to fight for jobs, equality, accessibility, responsibility, so much more.
But what determines out outlook? Speaking out. Modeling change. Pursuing it with determination.
Chasing the Silver Linings.
I realize change does begin with the man / woman in the mirror. The change I now long to see starts with me. In light of that I want to share a recent podcast I gave to two young and passionate college student entrepreneurs who took up the podcasting call, and who want to empower women around the world.
Our podcast “Getting Golden” was their sixth episode. Entitled “Chasing Silver Linings,” my story unfolded. Sharing my outlook for that podcast did feel “real good” and I felt like I was part of a positive wave of change.
Shout Out to Others.
Jena Fellers, fellow author and a great woman of faith recently spoke at a Women of Faith Conference and published her second book. Five Keys to Surviving Life’s Storm
Kudos to my good pal Maxwell Ivey, Jr and VisionAware, both of which were chosen to be included in The Top 25 Visually Impaired blogs to Follow in 2020. That’s around the world, folks! In addition, Max is to open at PodCon, a two-day virtual conference for indie podcasters, on Sept. 16. This event is hosted by Super Joe Pardo. Check out Max’s latest podcast here.
Another great friend of mine, Lynda Lambert was interviewed on Artfelt, ACB Radio at various times throughout August. Great job, Lynda! Check out her website. Scroll down a little bit and you can hear her recite “Graceful Choreography,” one of her beautiful poems from her book, Inner Vision.
Finally, congratulations to Becky Andrews, of Resilient Vision who joined the Peer Advisor team for VisionAware. She also celebrated the 8th birthday of her guide dog, Georgie, this week.
I reached my own milestone last week when Hitting a Home Run: Blind and Thriving came out as my fourth audiobook on what would have been my mother’s 91st birthday. Also, I am on the verge of selling my 100th Mobility Matters audiobook!
What social change are you interested in seeing take place? What do you plan to do to bring about part of that change?
You have just read “Be the Change You Want to See” by Amy Bovaird. © Augusts 25, 2020. All Rights Reserved.