by Maribel Steel
How would you answer this question – what have been the most important resources for you in adapting to vision loss? Maribel shares her thoughts…
Life is about developing our skills in whatever career or hobby we choose to master. The only difference with losing sight is that we didn’t choose this ‘vocation’. Obviously, as the organ of sight weakens, we are forced to rely on our other senses. Apart from these sensitivities, three qualities that have proven to be powerful resources in my life are attitude, intuition and memory. I have found trusting my intuition to guide me when sight cannot, and improving my ability to remember the smallest of details, to be the two best friends of attitude.
My firm belief is that as sight fades, we can become the artisan of our new life’s direction by seeing our role as an apprenticeship: learning new skills to buff and polish until we can craft the life we want to live.
“The first draft reveals the art, revision reveals the artist.” Michael Lee
A few years ago, I had a strong yearning to jot down my autobiography as a legacy for my children so they would know about my life’s journey toward going blind. Then after I wrote my two hundred page manuscript, I found a writer mentor. She commented, “It’s OK, for a first draft.”
First draft? I thought I had finished it. That was the beginning of my writing career.
On good writing days, inspiration can flow and often situations that occur as I travel or the funny things people say end up being my published stories. But on those very difficult days, I can feel like I’m stuck in a sand bunker slogging out words that won’t lift out of the sandpit of this writer’s despair.
I have learned, as in life in general, to let it go, take a break and come back later. The reward is being able to craft anew and see the potential of my initial story begin to emerge. “
Every single person has a challenge in their lives and they will be confronted to face it at some point. It may be a health issue, the diagnosis of pending blindness, a mental illness, a relationship incompatibility, a financial concern, a family crisis – we have been enrolled in the school of life, and when we find others in our similar situation, it is like opening a window to a heart-warming realisation: we are not alone.
So how have you learned to craft anew in the school of life? We’d love to hear your story…
Maribel Steel is an author, mentor and inspirational speaker living in Melbourne, Australia. She has been legally blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) since the age of seventeen. She writes articles and networks like a ninja to share stories on “The ART of Being Blind” (www.maribelsteel.com). Maribel is delighted to have recently been accepted as a peer advisor for VisionAware (AFB).
The excerpt above comes from a recent online interview with editor of Exceptions Journal – the art and literary magazine for students with a disability. You can read the whole article at: http://www.exceptionsjournal.com/2014/05/09/interview-with-maribel-steel/