A Sight For Sore Eyes
The Lighter Side to Facing Vision Loss
TAKE YOUR DREAMS OUT OF THE CLOSET
Thunk! Huh? I moved my long white cane sideways.
Thunk! In the opposite direction.
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.
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“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: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site:www.blindskills.com.”