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Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Grass might be greener...but...

This week was overwhelming...but not in a bad way. Yes, its not ideal to NOT eat lunch some days....or to eat lunch at 2pm while kneeling in front of your boss's desk asking her lots of questions. But...it wasn't bad. the overwhelming part comes as I take the steps to moving forward on my own journey.

I had my first O&M lesson this week. It went wonderfully. The grass is greener.... A cane two inches longer made a huge difference in my ability to navigate my environment. But just because the grass is greener on the other side...doesn't mean its easier. Two inches on a cane adds a little more weight to what I carry on a regular basis. Adding a rolling tip means that I have more to learn. With a rolling tip I am able to use constant contact techniques...these are more effective in knowing the surface of what I am walking on and the objects in front of me...but it means more vibrations reaching my arm. I need to build up some muscle memory and strength to use my cane regularly. In walking to the Y this morning I was in excruciating pain with my larger tipped cane because of the amount of messages reaching my arm. I think that it would be a huge adjustment to move to this cane tip.

I also began my adaptive tech assessment Friday.  For so long I have just used the minimal accommodations available to me by changing the resolution and settings on my computer...but that is now not cutting it. As my coworker and I began exploring the different options I began to get so excited. Most adaptive tech doesn't work for someone with my eye condition because of field loss. It is difficult to follow jumpy programs and see large print. When things get blurry or too big...they become too difficult to see...so we are working with a small frame. But these simple modifications made to my computer could make things much easier. It will be a learning curve of becoming used to using a screen reader. And as we explore these options I am reminded of all the ways using these modifications will make it that much easier for others to see what I am doing from a farther distance.
Then she showed me these simple handheld magnifiers that I could use in many environments. Like...I am in the grocery store and won't have difficulty reading an ingredients list or allergy notes? I can read the instructions list easier when i'm cooking? or how about when I am at a restaurant and can't read the menu? How about the times I am in intake and can't read the tiny papers someone hands me? It might help with all of t hem. Its one more thing to carry. Its one more than to learn to use.

I have choices. I have the choice to accept the joy of being able to do these things....or I have the choice to be weighed down by the annoyance of one more thing to carry or learn to use. Its a hard choice. Its a choice I have to make each day for that day...not for tomorrow. Not for next week...but for today. Today...I choose to be honest with myself and do my best to be honest with others. That's what I can do today...tomorrow might be another step forward.

Friday, February 8, 2013

looking back and moving forward

Yesterday I had the odd opportunity of attending a play therapy class with a friend of mine. I went for many reasons, many of which I didn't tell people before hand. I went because I respect and admire the professor who teaches it and I wanted to see her. I went because I miss education...ok so that is a loaded response. But after sitting in the class I walked away with a new perspective on my education, my career and who I am.
As I sat in class something the professor said stuck with me. The topic was on Filial therapy and a conversation proceeded as to why parents were reluctant to participate. But the answer is simple: because it is uncomfortable, because we don't want to fail, because we don't want to look stupid. Its the same with school. We don't want to do the presentations because it means putting our vulnerable selves out there. This is one reason I was comfortable going back to class. Because it is comfortable, known and I know that I can overcome the challenges it brings. But it was more than that. I hunger for knowledge. I hunger to learn and grow and become a stronger and more effective social worker. I desire to further who I am in my position. I desire to learn the things that I lack. When I was in school I focused on what I thought was beneficial. I focused on what I thought I would need to know in order to achieve success. But now that I am on the other side, now that I am putting that practice to knowledge...I am wishing I focused on other things. I am wishing I had invested my time in the things I know now would be beneficial. I wish now that I could go back and get my degree now. To have that opportunity to learn these things again.
While that is not possible. I am inspired to learn what I can. I am inspired to press through what is uncomfortable now. I look at my team leader, my boss, the woman who leads our fearless group through the everyday challenges and desire to have her experience and knowledge. For a while this intimidated me. It made me cower in frustration and fear. But then I realized that she is my go to person, the person that can share all of that knowledge and understanding. She in her own way is teaching me as I had been taught in college.