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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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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.
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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.

Walking in the Rain

I had a walk in the rain (more a drizzle really) and cleared my head a bit.  With the rain and some support and encouragement and laughter (and a bit of trout), I am climbing out from under the pile of rejections.

I say, Fuck Them.  Fuck those faceless editors who don’t appreciate my writing.  Fuck you, rejections.

The only one who can stop me writing is me, but I choose to keep writing.  I choose to do it because I love it and because the good that comes from it so far outweighs the sadness that comes from rejections.

I am reinvigorating my mantra, telling myself what I tell others.  Rejections happen.  It is all subjective, and where there is one editor who doesn’t get what you are trying to do, another one will totally get it.  And, at the end of the day, even though getting published feels good, it isn’t about the publication credits, it is about the writing.

Thank you for helping me get my perspective back….you know you who are!!!!!!!

Stepping Back

April was a month full of the celebration of poetry, which was enlightening and exhilarating, but for me as a poet, it was a month weighed down by rejections.  March was the same.  I haven’t had anything accepted for publication since February and the constant rejections are beginning to pluck at my barely opaque confidence.

I am not sure why the rejections are hitting me so hard right now.  It could be the sheer volume of them or perhaps the nagging fear that all writers experience, of being a fraud or no good. I wish I could say that being published doesn’t matter, but it has become something that I look to in order to gauge the quality and relevance of my writing.  Right or wrong, it feels inevitable to me.

There have been some incredibly good things that have happened in the past month, with regard to my poetry specifically, but the rejections are tarnishing those good things, or I am allowing them to.  I can’t seem to get out from under the weight of defeat.  I don’t feel motivated to write.  All the words feel wrong, trite or inconsequential.  It feels pointless and it is making me feel sad.

I am not looking for validation.  I know that the validation can only truly come from within me.  I need to step back and try to gain some perspective.  Perhaps I need to step back from writing altogether for a while, or maybe just step back from submitting my work and try to focus solely on the writing.  I don’t know.  All I know is that it feels bad.  Every day I have to pick myself up from feelings of defeat and it is getting harder and harder to do.

Maybe I need to get out of the house, go hiking.  Maybe I need a juice cleanse or a therapist.  Maybe I need to take up mahjong.  What I do know is that I need to get some distance and try to look at all of this with different eyes.  The eyes I have just aren’t working.  I suppose they never really have.

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