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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Bus Story

I grew up in a small town where you could walk down the road and run into people who knew you from childhood. Everyone looked out for you and you were never afraid of being messed with. I never had to talk about my disability. Why? Because everyone knew. And though they often forgot that I was different (which was a relief) they looked out for me, they were not thrown off by my inability to see things and I didn't have to explain myself. So when I went away to college I had to start over, I needed to learn to tell my story for the first time. Telling my story is still a challenge at times. I was telling a small piece of my story to a dear friend on Monday night and it was heart wrenching. I realized even more that I wish I could write these things down so that I could share more effectively, communicate it without telling and retelling the stories.


I rarely take the bus home from work on Tuesdays, however this Tuesday my plans changed and I found myself standing in the cold waiting for the 11 just outside of work. As I got on the bus I found a seat near an older woman using a walker. She kindly asked me if I was completely blind. I aws grateful for the question. I would rather people ask than assume what I can or cannot see. So, I proceeded to tell her a little bit about what I see. Though it was awkward...it was a wonderful interaction. And then, things turned ugly...

I exited my bus when arriving downtown. After crossing the streets and finding my bus, a good block and a half away, I boarded the bus and quietly found a seat. A man proceeded to point and scream at me. Apparently I had "bumped" him with my cane while crossing the street. Due to the fact that it was dark I can only assume I was close to the curb and mistakenly thought I had hit the curb. But anyway....the problem occurred when he followed me onto the bus, began screaming at me and pointing with some force. H continually told me that I am not "F*ing" blind and that I had no right to "bump" him and needed to apologize. While he continued to yell I calmly stated that I was sorry and didn't realize he had hit me. He continued to yell, curse at me and call me awful names. I tried to block it out as he walked off of the bus. The woman who got on after him looked at me as tears filled my eyes and said "you stand up, curse him out, he has no right to treat you like that." I simply shook my head and let the teras trickle down my face.

As I arrived home the tears continued to fall. I was angry at how I had been treated. How not even the bus driver said anything. While I didn't agree with the statement of the woman who told me to stand up for myself...however I was secretly comforted inside by her support. My other response was anger at the accusations and assumptions he made. He should sit in "sensitivity to blindness" training at my work. He would learn a lot and I think his attitude woudl be transformed.

No, I am not blind. Yes, I can see. No, I do not like using my cane or traveling by bus. But yes, at night it is incredibly necessary for me to use my cane. By day I can listen to music while I ride the bus and walk with or without my cane...at night...that is not an option.

So to Mr. Jeff (a friend named him that), get over yourself, educate yourself and stop making assumptions about what I can and cannot do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Years go by....

I haven't updated this blog in months...I don't think anyone even reads it. But that is ok...let's see how it goes trying to update it more regularly.

In the past few weeks I have been convicted by simplicity. Yeah, I have learned this before, but I don't mean simplicity of how much junk I keep in my room. I mean simplicity in words and actions. I guess I have learned that I want my actions to follow my words. If I say I am going to send you an email, I better do it. When I love someone and speak of who they are, I want to show them that I love them. When I say I will be there to support you in person and in prayer, I want to do that. I am sick of not following through. Yeah, I am probably better than others at this...but I am still not great. In regards to loving someone...this quote came to mind:
There's something in a simple hugThat always warms the heart,It welcomes us back homeAnd makes it easier to part....~Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.


I work in "social work". Well, kind of. And, though I have had 5 years of education and mounds of things on top of it, and I have always bought into the idea of empathy. I am just now fully applying it to my life. A simple, "wow, that must be difficult for you" goes a long way. I get angry when I get the cold shoulder...so I am not going to give the cold shoulder to someone else. I will greet this day with love and empathize with those, as they go through good and bad, to offer my support and love them.