My "See"port System
I often say, “Behind every strong woman is a tribe of strong woman cheering her on.” This is definitely my reality. I 100% believe that 90% of my success is due to the phenomenal individuals I have in my corner cheering me on. I learned early on that in order to be successful that I would need support, or rather - “see"port.
Changing support systems
In each stage of my life, my "see"port has looked slightly different but the need is essentially the same.
While in school, my "see"port system would help me read the information that was on the board, take notes for me, or share their notes with me.
When I began working, "see"port looked like learning what types of accommodations worked to complete a specific task.
During my graduate school internship, my supervisor taught me how to zoom all of the content on a computer screen without having to download any software: press control and escape, click run, type, and magnify in the dialogue box and click ok.
This was life changing in so many ways. I literally could customize the font on any computer screen.
At my “grown-up" job "see"port looked like disclosing to the IT department about my visual impairment and them informing me that I have the ability to request equipment that will assist in completing my job.
Last but not least, at my "superhero job,” "see"port looks like hiring interns, volunteers, and outsourcing tasks to consultants that are difficult for me to complete with my visual impairment. Coming to this realization created so much autonomy for myself.
Asking for help
As stated in my previous articles, requesting support has been a series of evolving emotions and an uphill battle. In the beginning, I was ashamed and I thought that asking for help meant that I was inadequate. Then that feeling morphed into ambivalence because although I was no longer ashamed I didn’t want people to treat me differently. Now my visual impairment is one of the first things I mention while in conversation and even sometimes during the initial introduction.
Accepting vision loss
I am officially empowered. It is a part of me and my identity. I tell people often that I know what I am really good in, and I also know what I need support in. In many ways, it became easier to accept "see"port once I accepted who I was. At least that’s the way eye see it.
Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?