A Sight For Sore Eyes

The Lighter Side to Facing Vision Loss



Photo Courtesy of Tour of Mars Alliance Church

Thunk! Huh? I moved my long white cane sideways.

Thunk! In the opposite direction.

Thunk! Backwards.

Thunk! I could barely move, but I stepped forward.

Bam! My head smacked into something flat and hard.

Out of habit, I reached up to feel for blood. As I did that, I knocked something else over. It sounded like a tin can. I turned a full circle in place–terribly cramped quarters. My hand brushed something bristly.

I bumped into another object–a plastic spray bottle? I found the nozzle and took a whiff. Ammonia! When I stepped on something soft and squishy, I found a long, thin and smooth object projected out of a curved base. I followed it to the floor. It felt suspiciously like … a mop and bucket.

Wait a minute. This is not where I want to go. This is a walk-in janitor’s closet!

You might think it odd I found myself feeling my way around an assortment of custodial supplies in a dark closet, but for me, a woman losing her vision from retinitis pigmentosa, these occasional side adventures are a regular part of life when I’m outside my familiar environment. Normally, I don’t mind.

This time, I happened to be at a writers’ conference. Just outside this closet stood a well-known speaker in the Christian publishing field giving a workshop. Conference attendees were gleaning all they could to embark on their own writing careers. I could hear the rise and fall of his voice and people laughing on the other side of the door. I certainly hoped they weren’t laughing at me!

How did I wander into the closet in the first place? I signed up to speak to a literary agent and took a wrong door. One of the perks to attendees at these conferences is speaking to editors, agents and publishers. Writers looking to match their talents to industry needs quietly slipped in and out of the scheduled presentations to pitch their ideas.

The key word was “quietly.” I didn’t do much quietly. And now, I had a dilemma. I could stay put until the session ended so I wouldn’t further embarrass myself. But then I’d miss the appointment with the agent. Worse, the group might pity me.

I could burst out of the closet and say, “Wrong room. The agent is not here,” and exit through the other door. Or I could say, “Surprise! Avon calling!” How would I handle this situation with dignity?

A minute later, I found my courage and stepped back into the room. The speaker halted, and a sea of eyes riveted on me. I directed my loveliest smile at everyone and waved good-bye. “Thank you,” I mouthed to the speaker, giving him a thumbs-up for his talk and exited.

I took a deep breath and made my way to the main forum. A conference organizer scuttled over. “May I help you?”

“The Seymour Agency, please?”

She guided me to the table herself. I held out my hand to greet the agent. She had a brisk, firm grip. After sitting down, I launched into my one-minute elevator speech about FADING LIGHT, the memoir I dared hope to peddle.

Our meeting went well and I found myself one step closer to finding the right agent to manage my career.  Or at least I knew a little more of what to expect from one.

The last morning, I tapped the shoulder of a woman from one of my sessions. She stood out to me because she talked about her hearing disability, yet had participated in a lively discussion. After we introduced ourselves, she snapped her fingers. “I know who you are.” She giggled. “You pranced out of the closet, gave us that dazzling smile and left the room. It took us all by surprise, but we had a good laugh.”

“Yep, that’s me all right.”

We talked a little about our goals and the challenges we faced. She mused, “Confidence has little to do with what you can see or hear. It has everything to do with how you feel about who you are.”

I agree. Confidence means believing in your talents, picking up your two feet and taking your dreams out of the closet.


You are reading “Taking Your Dreams Out of the Closet ”  © Amy L. Bovaird Aug 2014.

What kind of embarrassing situation have you overcome? Share it in the Comments below. Don’t forget to Like / Share this post with your contacts on Facebook or other social media forums.


“The above blog post was first published as part of a longer article in DIALOGUE in Fall 2012.  For a free sample issue of DIALOGUE or information about other publications, contact Blindskills, Inc., P.O. Box 5181, Salem, OR 97304-0181; Phone: 800-860-4224; E-mail: info@blindskills.com; Web site:www.blindskills.com.”

Take Your Dreams Out of the Closet
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22 thoughts on “Take Your Dreams Out of the Closet

  • August 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Was it really the “Seymour” Agency???

    Too funny! Glad you made it out of the closet 😉

  • August 19, 2014 at 2:02 am

    Yes, it was, Beckie. Have you heard of them? That day I talked to a wonderful woman named Mary Sue Seymour. She worked with me later for two weeks on Fading Light, for a fee, of course. But she was so helpful! Can you imagine that closet situation? I couldn’t believe it but it was pretty funny!

  • August 19, 2014 at 2:05 am

    What a lovely story. I remember several years ago at Huckleberrys (Natural Food Store) I lost my keys. I responded by having a panic attack (my first ever!) I felt terrified and was on my way to a meditation class about six blocks away. It was raining and I asked a man in the store if he would take me. I would never do that usually. I finally calmed down, found my keys and drove to the class. I walked in late and they were all in a meditative mood. I looked and felt like I came from a hurricane. Oh, we really have to be able to laugh at ourselves. The funny thing is, I have been a mental health counselor for years and never had this kind of anxiety before. 🙂

  • August 19, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Dear Candace,
    Panic attacks are no fun! It’s only when we pull ourselves together that we can see the humor, huh? That could be five minutes, half an hour or for some, thirty years! But thirty years is an awful long time to dwell on something that everyone else has long forgotten!! I’m so glad you can see the humor…and the irony!

  • August 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Excellent! Keep moving forward!

  • August 19, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks so much, Barbara, I will!!

  • August 19, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    This is so funny Amy. I’m a coward and could see myself waiting until the session was over or until the building closed down for the evening (which ever would come first). But seriously, I could picture you coming out of the closet, big smile plastered on your face giving the presenter the thumbs up – now that’s classy!!

    Great story!!

  • August 19, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    that’s one way to get people to remember you! Well done for handling it with dignity. Good luck with the sale of your book; it sounds like it’s going to be really inspiring. I’ve just come to your blog from UBC, and I’m glad I did. It must be really difficult to come to terms with something like losing your sight, I can’t imagine it, especially as a writer.

  • August 20, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Hi Stephanie,
    You cracked me up with your line of waiting “until the building closed to come out! You’re so funny! I think I was full of bravado. =) I didn’t want to miss that talk with an agent! Thank you so much for weighing in on this experience.
    PS Love your comments!

  • August 20, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Hi Andrea,
    Thank you so much for your well-wishes and for taking the time to read and comment on my post.
    Coming to terms with vision loss is a day-by-day commitment. :/
    For example, I turned around today and ran into the banister. Now I have a goose egg on my forehead!
    Always an adventure … of sorts!
    Have a great day and come back to check out more of my stories! =)

  • August 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    I love this quote, “Confidence has little to do with what you can see or hear. It has everything to do with how you feel about who you are.” It’s so true, isn’t it? Your challenge may be vision, but my challenges may not be so black and white. But, our reality is all about how we react to the challenges at hand. Do we embrace the challenges or wallow in self-pity? So inspired by your story.

  • August 20, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Sounds like you handle yourself with grace and humor. good luck with you and your “bumps” along the way!

  • August 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Ha ha, Kacy. I try. Some days I’m more successful than others! =)

  • August 21, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, exactly, Alison! And thank you. =)

  • August 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I can relate to this story so well. I have been blind since birth, but have lost more sight in the past 15 years. I still don’t handle embarrassment
    very well. I just can’t seem to get used to the discomfort it brings. My face turns hot and red, I am sure. Thanks for sharing. I once ran smack-dab into the corner of a wall, but I was alone in my house and nobody saw it. It hurt and I did have a mark on my eyebrow so people did notice something had happened. I use writing to deal with feelings of embarrassment and discomfort and enjoy reading other people’s experiences. Sounds like it was still an incredibly fruitful writer’s conference experience, even with the closet incident. 🙂

  • August 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Hi Kerry,
    So glad that you can relate!
    You wouldn’t think that running “smack dab in the middle of the wall” would hurt, would you? Until you do it! It does hurt a lot!! I ran into the railing of my banister a few days ago and received a whopper of a welt on my forehead! LOL. I can take bruises and goose head bumps. It’s more difficult when my confidence is battered! So I just have to forge ahead!
    Come back and read some more, please!

  • August 22, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Amy, I just love your blog. Hmmm a funny story, huh? Well I pretty much embarrass myself on a regular basis just by opening my mouth…lol…but I did have something funny happen on Tuesday though. We just got a new puppy last week. So here I am getting ready for work and of course I was also playing with her. I gave her and my husband a quick kiss and off I went. I drove to work, walked into my dept, went and got coffee and of course stopped to talk to one of the directors. He said to me, do you have two different shoes on, Jen? I looked down at my feet and sure enough…YES, I had two different shoes on! I bust out laughing…oh my goodness. I have heard of putting on two different socks before, but two different shoes?! That is a first. Now in my defense…yes I have to defend my silly mistake…they were the same style shoe just in two different colors. hahaaaaa

  • August 22, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Great story! Thank you for sharing it.
    Were the colors similar or completely different?!
    Have a great day!

  • August 24, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Hi Amy; I love your post. its the kind of thing we can never hear enough of. I remember a few years ago I got a friend to make me up some business cards on her home computer. I was told they were good. but later that year my mom attended a trade conference for the amusement industry with my uncle. when she got home i asked her why didn’t she give out any of my cards. she said she was embarrassed to. I thought well why didn’t you tell me that sooner before I had handed out quite a few of them. Last year a sighted friend helped me through the process of moo.com to order some cards. I am very happy with them. I recently ordered some shirts. and i was surprised to find my mom liked them too. its one of those things just because it didn’t work the first time doesn’t mean you should quit trying. thanks again, max

  • August 24, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Max,
    Building new careers is all trial and error, isn’t it? I made my own cards on the computer, too, but have since gone to vistaprint.com.
    Reading your comment, I wondered if you were still in the Amusement industry or if you were forging a new direction for yourself with your ebook?
    And I wondered what kind of t-shirts you had made. =)
    thank you for signing up for my blog! Looking forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  • August 26, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I’m looking forward to the book, Amy.

  • August 26, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you, Melinda.
    It will be out very soon.

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