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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I will not be your poster child, nor will I disgrace your name

I have had some unfortunately awkward interactions with a member of the senior leadership team of the organization I work for. I have been continually placed in a position where I feel like the "poster child" for success for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. At first it was just awkward, but as the wrestling of my heart continues I have come to a different attitude. I can't be this so called "poster child." There are so many reasons. First of all it is not in my nature to take on this role. And, while I can be a liaison between the individuals we serve and the individuals who serve, taking on this role would jeopardize my professional career. I can not wholeheartedly do the work of a social worker while meeting the goals of this individual. Most importantly, it is not the role a disciple would take. Yes, I am a "success story", but at the same time, I am an individual who is part of a family. And this role takes precedence over my role as a social worker or advocate. I cannot and will not publicize my experiences or successes in any way that will negatively effect my career or the individuals I serve...

On the other end of the spectrum I get many irrational comments from individuals in public while I am on and off the job. For instance yesterday a mother asked me "can you see?" And downtown on my way to the Y two individuals stepped out of my way as I came down the sidewalk using my cane. On saying "thank you" one child punched the other and exclaimed "see, I told you she could see us!"  My boss once said to me; "you don't need to be nice when you are off the job". And While this is entirely true, I can't take on that role either. My mother taught me manners and I will live out those manners and principles. As a disciple I will not treat anyone with disrespect. And on principle I don't want to give a bad name to the population of people I represent in the public mind. Yet I do wonder that if I were bigger in a physical sense if my response would be different. If I wasn't smaller than the people who belittle me, I wonder if I would have a more bold response than just ignoring and walking away.