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Stories From the Edge of Blindness

In 2002, Retinitis Pigmentosa changed my life. This is my story of a slow approach to darkness.

Month

May 2018

Hiking Blind

A friend recently asked me how I manage hiking with limited vision.  I have actually been thinking about writing a post about this since I started hiking again. I thought it might be something other people wondered about as well.  How the hell can a blind woman go hiking?  You have to remember, I am blind but I can see.  It is probably less confusing if I refer to myself as VI (visually impaired), but I am legally blind.
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How Do I Get Out Of Here

I didn’t start this month thinking I would be writing about mental illness, but I have been so encouraged by the bravery of other writers sharing their experiences, I feel the need to share my own, with the hope that it may help someone, somehow.  My experiences are not unique, but that is the point; there are so many of us out there who suffer from depression and anxiety, and we should not feel ashamed.
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The Choice to Climb

I am feeling compelled to continue writing about living with depression and all the layers that come with it.  I think it can be confusing, but needs to be talked about so the stigma of it gets eradicated and it can be treated just like any other illness that a person is saddled with.
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Let’s Talk About the D Word

I recently read two blog posts about depression, from Wil Wheaton and HLFHM.  Both are brave and honest accounts of what it is like to live with depression, and both are written openly and without shame, in the hope to help others understand and feel that depression is nothing to be ashamed of.  These posts made me want to make an attempt at throwing my dilapidated hat into the downward spiral. Hopefully, the more of us who talk and write openly about living with mental illness, the more it will come out from underneath its blanket of shame.
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I Belonged to You

My contribution to the May Visual Verse challenge.

I Belonged to You

You called me a waif, admonishing me for running
the streets in bare feet, soles blackened by soot.
With tender hands and a smile that edged away
the undertow of frustration, you washed the blood
from my stubbed toes and bandaged the
wounds of a stalwart and reckless childhood.
Your rage burned out of control for the other kids,
but I was the child of your new skin, the heart
that learned its rhythm from the pulse of the sea.
I had his face, but I belonged to you.
It was you who taught me the comforts of sadness,
my tiny hands covered in the despair of your tears.
You strapped me to your chest and climbed
out of a life steeped in secrecy, into a decade of
feminist rallies, and learning how to roar,
but the weight of your sorrow had stained us both.
You hit me once, when I was six years old and I hit back.
We sat at the bottom of the steps together and cried.

By Your Side

I have been in a bleak place lately.  It is a familiar place, a place of introspection where I can try to figure out what is bringing on the sadness.  I thought it was because of the shit storm of rejections I have been getting, but they were just the cap on feelings that were already dragging me under.  I have been feeling overwhelmed for so long.

After coming to the conclusion that it isn’t the rejections that are pulling me into the clutches of sorrow, I had to stop and breathe and look behind my eyes to see what has been troubling me.  This can, at times, be a herculean task, as I seem to be troubled far too often, and it is never just one thing. But, I have become good at peeling away the layers, seeing what lurks beneath.
Continue reading “By Your Side”

Tangled up in Despair

When the darkness approaches, I turn to face it.  I allow it to seep into my skin, to fill my mouth and steal the breath from my tongue.  It is the only way out.

I am in it now.  I thought I was creeping out, back into the center of something more solid, but I got slammed back down and all I want is to lie here and not have to be me anymore.  I long to disintegrate into ashes and rise again with new eyes and less weight on my heart.  In reverie, I was born to be a phoenix, but under the spikes of the day, I am a freak who burrows into the minutia of emptiness and tries to escape her skin. I am tangled in familiar threads of despair.  For the moment, it is safe here.

Ekphrastic

Although I had resigned myself to walking away from Rattle for a while, as it has become clear that the editor isn’t crazy about my poetry, I can’t deny that the image for this month’s Ekphrastic Challenge is lovely and, I think, will be incredibly inspiring for a lot of people.  Check it out and see if you get inspired.  You have the month to write a poem in response.  Happy writing!!!!!

It’s Visual Verse Time

The image for May is up on Visual Verse, and ready to inspire.  1 hour, 1 piece of writing up to 500 words (doesn’t have to be poetry).  I just submitted mine.  Now, go write yours!!!!!!

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