I Can Do Anything...With the Right Accommodations
Does anyone else ever expect defeat before even trying? I know I have, and my default excuse has been my visual impairment. As mentioned in my previous articles, I struggled in school until I accessed the proper accommodations. To be completely transparent, I feel at times it’s easier to say what you cannot do than to actually try.
Not letting vision loss hold me back
We all have those days where the task at hand seems wildly unattainable. Those days where the fear of failure holds us back from even the glimmer of belief that we could actually be successful. For example, it would have been easy for me to say I could not go to college because neither one of my parents did. It would have been even easier for me to say I could not go to college because of my visual impairment. However, I pushed the fear of failure to the sideline and tried. Yes, it was difficult but with the proper accommodations, I was able to earn not only one, but two degrees! In my opinion, the society we live in often puts labels on us and assumes that if we hold certain identities the trajectory of our lives will look a certain way.
Transparency: Because I am an African American single mom, from the inner city, with a visual impairment some people are surprised when I disclose that I have a Master of Social Work degree, am a founder of a non-profit organization, work full time as a case management coordinator and am a homeowner. Traditionally, people that look like me and hold the identities listed above are the ones accessing the services I offer.
A frustrating interactiond
Storytime: I remember when I went to see a retinal specialist and he said to me, “The good news is that your vision hasn't regressed; the bad news is that there is currently no cure, but there are government subsidies and programs for people like you.” What he was referring to was Social Security, Disability Income, and subsidized housing. I was extremely frustrated with this interaction; I could not help but wonder if he said that because of my disability or because of my race. Either way, it was extremely off-putting and it took everything in me not to read him my resume of accomplishments.
Accepting help when I need it
The experience listed above, coupled with several other life-changing events, cultivated the stance I have today which is: I can do anything I set my mind to, with the proper accommodations. One of my mantras is “She believed she could...so she did.” I often tell people that I rock at slaying goals because while I have learned to push past the fear of failure and breakthrough society's rigid boxes, I still know when to ask and accept help… at least that’s the way eye see it.
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