During a text conversation yesterday, I gently teased a close friend about how he openly admitted he was terrible at expressing his feelings. Just one of the many things we had in common, it made me smile because I know exactly how that feels. Continue reading “My Anxiety Brain Is Driving this Struggle Bus”

Day 17 of the #UltimateBlogChallenge and I STILL don’t quite know what day of the week it is! Welcome back to the blog! I’ve been off in my own little world, reading, thinking about podcast related stuff, and working with some incredible people to get my little idea off the ground. Continue reading “#UltimateBlogChallenge Days 17 and 18: The Little Engine That Could”

Hey! We’ve made it to the double digits of the #UltimateBlogChallenge! I am so happy that, despite my reservations, I am doing this and truly enjoying just writing and giving you all my thoughts. It has FINALLY stopped raining and the sun is sort of peeking through the clouds. There’s a small breeze, the dog is happy, and while my body is feeling a bit under the weather, I have Novo Amor playing, I’m having good happy conversation, and I’m just loving this moment. I wish I could capture it in a small snow globe and keep it on my dresser, a scene of peace and contentment.
Today I bring to you a topic that some people may find controversial. While I have no qualms with being blind, some find it difficult to talk about what they’d wish to see if they could have one more chance. Mine aren’t so unique, but they are things that I have either thought about a lot or have made me feel wistful over the years.
To start my list, I will have to go back to 2017 when I first lost my sight. As some may recall, I don’t have any recollection of the exact moment that I did lose my vision, but I do know it was after my nephew Elijah was born and right before I got to meet him. He’s grown so much over the years, as has his vocabulary and his personality, so much like my brother’s. I remember when I first held him, I laughed because he reminded me of little Tweety Bird. Small body, big head, big feet. He was a good kiddo that often napped beside me while I did work or tore across the house in his walker. My mom even witnessed him walking with his eyes closed in perfect imitation of me, toddling his way through the house. It was in one of those moments of just pure joy where I felt my stomach twist because I wished so much that I could see my nephew. A lot of people at school swore he was mine, we looked so similar. But to be completely honest, I have no idea what he looks like. I only know that he has very curly hair and a loud, explosive personality with a touch of sweet caring big brother to his little sister, another addition to the family that I never got the chance to see.
Another one of these experiences was when I met Dodson, (this should be a given.) So many people fell in love with him for multiple reasons, his coloring being one of them. Some have described him to me as butterscotch yellow, while others have said he’s nearly white blond. His paperwork, however, classifies him as a “medium gold”, which I have no idea what that could even mean! The only thing about him that any of us have ever been able to agree on is that his eyes are dark brown, he sheds A LOT, and he is well loved and such a great boy. (I think we’re biased.) There’s almost a disconnect for me when people complain about being able to see his fur on everything, because I can never tell if they’re exaggerating or my dog is a walking snowfall. His fur ends up on my clothes, inevitably, but I also spend most of my time with him, so I can’t judge how much fur is everywhere. All I know is that Rhemy, my Roomba named by my friend Meka, is cleaning up after him twice or three times a day.
We all know those scenes in movies or books where a character is speeding down the freeway or the desert, windows down on a hot summer’s day, music blasting, hair blowing. Usually, they involve trucks or Jeeps. For me, I’d love to be able to drive a Jeep in the desert. I know plenty of people who don’t enjoy driving, but as someone who does enjoy wearing her headphones and just sitting in the passenger seat, I do wish I was able to have the experience of being behind the wheel. People take being able to yell at other drivers and honking at big trucks for granted; I’d love to roll down my window and call someone some made up silly name that literally means nothing. I want to be able to have that feeling of barely making the red light and accidentally cutting off some poor unsuspecting driver while trying to merge on the 405. This dream isn’t something I constantly think of, but I do reflect sometimes how my life would be different if I had some sight back.
This last one might be a little odd, but I wished I for sure knew what I looked like. Not in the sense of my body, but my hair, eye, and skin color are something no one seems to be able to agree on. Whenever I ask family what color my hair is, they tell me it’s like my mom’s hair. When I could see, my mom’s hair was a pretty brown that I couldn’t place a name on it then, and to this day, I still can’t place a name to it. My eye color has consistently been bright blue, sky blue, or blue gray, which again, can be really confusing to me if I’m just trying to fill out paperwork for my state ID. By default, I always say blue gray, because it’s just the safest bet since the color is due to my eye condition. And lastly, my skin color. Holy crap this is a hard one! Surprisingly, people have not been able to decide whether I’m light, dark, or in the middle! It drives me crazy! I KNOW I’m not white, but I’m also not as dark as my brother, so again I have always begged the question…. What color am I? It sounds kind of ridiculous in hindsight, but when people spend time telling you that you look pale or you’re turning white, if you’re like me, you start wondering just what the actual hell you are. Some may consider this vain, but I don’t think the sighted world understands that many of their descriptive words have literally no meaning to blind individuals like myself. I prefer descriptive words that I can reference to in dictionaries or books. Telling someone they’re light or have dark hair… isn’t descriptive. For all you know, there’s some poor soul out there who thinks they look like Edward Cullen. Descriptive, is, key.
Now that you’ve endured hearing about my top 4 “if I could see again, what would it be” list, tell me what your top anything is! If I were given one wish, I can tell you, I wouldn’t be asking to see again. While these are wistful thoughts, I’m perfectly happy being myself. As a general disclaimer, do not begrudge the blind people in the world who do wish they could see again. In the grand scheme of things, being blind is rough for a lot of people; we must give them the room to grieve that they won’t be able to see. Some may succumb to bitterness, some may not. Regardless, just hug them and tell them it’s alright. As for me, I need to go chase down my medium gold/blond/white/butterscotch yellow dog, so until tomorrow!

“Traveling through the graveyard with a suitcase full of sparks, honey I’m just trying to make my way to you.”
This song has been a near constant presence in my life for a year now, introduced to me by a close friend. It says so much, and yet is so ambiguous in my life, that it just… fits. It holds a special place in my heart, but to most people, they just hear the backing track on car commercials. It’s so much more, and it’s delightful to see how everyone interprets music.
For me, traveling has been a dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to visit places that only existed in books; Italy, Ireland, Scotland, London, just to name a few. When I think of traveling, I think of getting to see the mundane everyday things that people in those parts of the world find mundane. Seeing tourist attractions is nice, but has any of you just thought of standing near a canal and watching the water pass? I always think of wanting to do the things that everyone is bored by. Lay under the stars that look like home but aren’t home. Drink coffee from a foreign café and eat all the delicious foreign chocolates. My soul desires to wander and explore, but I know I can’t do it alone.
Whenever I dream of traveling far away, I think of doing it with someone I love. I thrive over the shared experience of new places. While I most likely could travel alone, it’s not something I prefer. I yearn to hold someone’s hand and pull them down a street in Denmark or Fifth Avenue in New York, singing Hamilton songs and being my cringy nerdy self. I dream of standing on the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, just existing and watching everything around me. Of laughing and splashing in sandy beaches and warm water, appreciating that the ocean is much different from home. I don’t need fancy hotels or big attractions; I desire quiet inns and secret spots in foreign countries where all I must worry about is how much coffee is too much. Falling asleep on the sand at night, feeling alive just to be somewhere new. These are experiences I could do alone, but things I don’t want to do alone, for fear that my anxiety will turn these great experiences into nightmares. I’d rather be lost in France with someone close by my side and my dog, than just myself and Dodson. It lends a new layer of love for those memories that I will forever cling to.
My big dreams have been in part what has led me to feel like I don’t quite belong anywhere. When I think of where I’d like to live, the city is not one of them. I thrive on quiet and peace. I am mostly me when I am in nature, on a mountain or by the sea. I love the noises I hear being nature and myself and the people around me, not trains, buses, cars, and planes. California is not a wonderful place to be all the time, but it is my home, even if it doesn’t feel like home. Trust me, it doesn’t feel like home most times. But moving across the country by myself… does not hold the same joy as I would like it to be.
The song that I quoted earlier captures that notion for me; that I am simply traveling with a suitcase full of sparks to the place where I truly belong. Wherever that is, I only ask for my person to be there, because Lord do I have a lot of hugs to make up for. I am more reflective in this post and you must forgive me, but I am simply the blue-eyed dreamer that I’ve always been. I’ve just never had the chance to let most see where my mind goes to. I do hope that I haven’t completely frightened you all by my big dreams and my inner reflection for a post today. I think I am just writing what my heart is saying and letting time speak for itself. We’ll see. Remember this blog, future me. Also remember that you love kites ridiculously and snow. And water in general. Okay, time to go! 😊

CW: slight mentions of suicidal ideation, anxiety, death and depression
Good evening! Happy first day of April, and the official beginning of the #UltimateBlogChallenge! Today it seems we’re diving right into some personal stuff, but I have my cup of coffee, my dog, and my hair in a bun. (flaunting that suburban mom life, minus the trophy husband and I guess the kids, but hey.)
Growing up, I’ve always had an issue with communication. It was always difficult to explain what I wanted to say and what I meant without it not quite landing right. I struggled to fit in because I was nerdy, quiet, shy and even before I knew it, anxious. Oh, and I guess being blind has something to do with it, too. When confronted with difficulties, I shut down, unable to articulate what exactly I wanted people to understand. So, it’s funny to me years later, when people tell me I’m good with words. I strongly believe that I am not. Instead, I just say what I desperately want people to understand and hope it just lands right.
As I grew older, I turned to music, joining multiple choirs, doing theater, and using other people’s words to pretend those were the words I wanted to tell people. In my teen years, I especially struggled with my identity, becoming aware of how people viewed me and that magnified my anxiety. Knowing what I do now, it’s safe to say I suffered from suicidal ideation, depression, and severe anxiety. (Sorry parentals, but I had to find this truth first.) I eventually grew tired of finding music that was at once my own and not my own because they weren’t my words. So, I turned to songwriting.
I’ll admit, I was terrible at writing music. I dabbled in guitar, I could sing, but the words… just didn’t fit. I hated everything I wrote and repeatedly wrote and rewrote the same lyrics, hoping for that golden moment when things made sense. If you’re one of the few lucky ones, I may let you see my terrible writing. Another truth: I wrote while in Algebra II and Precalculus class. Sorry again, mom.
For years after my foray into songwriting, I wrote blog posts off and on, going so far as to create a Tumblr and several different WordPress accounts in which to try to express myself. It became a constant uphill battle of being consistently overwhelmed and not understanding that my feelings were not for my own dumb brain, (which I often did think it was), but because I could only retain so much information before my anxiety brain was ablaze with too many words; a mix of my own that wanted to get out and the words that wanted to force themselves in. This is how, in 2019, I began planning, writing, advertising, and recording a website/podcast with a group of talented individuals.
We wrote scripts, brainstormed kickstarter ideas, recorded podcasts that never got published. Unfortunately, I was simultaneously bombarded with quite literally the worst personal year of my life. My anxiety peaked, I didn’t pass classes, and it seemed a lot of people I cared about were either dying or facing some adversity I couldn’t help them. So, while trying to juggle this project, my life, and the fact I was barely sleeping for much of the second half of the year, I was on a downhill slope that only got worse before it started eventually got better.
When I eventually returned to my side projects, I was frustrated and yet again overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work I had to do. So… I broke it down. I tore things apart to slowly piece them back together like a 1000-piece puzzle. And that’s how we got here. This site isn’t perfect, but I did most of this rebuild by myself… but that’s still not why I write.
Now that I’m 13 posts into this blog, I’m slowly starting to realize that I write not just for myself, but I write because I’m finally not afraid of my own words. I reserve a lot of my words and my silent but sometimes obvious struggles to express how I feel only to the people closest to me because I will admit, I am kind of blunt, and that doesn’t hit home very well. I’ve slowly started turning my writing that I save for explaining my feelings and my thoughts into words that the public will eventually read. Whether they will understand it is completely up to them, but it’s here. I’m here and I write because I still fail to communicate effectively 100 percent of the time, (even as a communications major), and furthermore, because it just feels like it’s something I should be doing.
The other day, my aunt and I exchanged this text conversation in which she told me to write a book. Here it is:
Me: I wouldn’t know where to start.
Aunty Margie: From the beginning, duh!!!
Aunty Margie: Or from a certain point in your life if it’s hard to start from the beginning.
Aunty M: Why do I know that you are brilliant, but you don’t KNOW you are brilliant?
Me: Uh…. Because insecurities, anxiety, depression, and maybe blindness being the thing people ALWAYS see me for instead of who I am.
Aunty Margie: Not me. I see amazing strength, an academic achiever, an overcomer, and an overall stellar person.
Me: …..
That brief, but impactful text conversation is ultimately why I write. I wish I could say I believe every word of my sweet Aunt’s message has been something repeated to me over the years, and every time I reject it. Every time I hear any of these things, or that I should write a book, I remember everything that it took to get me here and I end up feeling like an exhausted, wrung out sponge that would really just like a nap. But I write so maybe one day I can hear these words and accept them as truth, because right now, I don’t. At the writing of this post, I hope the people close to me who repeatedly are exasperated with me for not believing their words will keep being exasperated a little longer. These affirmations are things I so desperately need because this constant uphill battle makes me feel like my words are worthless.
But who knows? Maybe one day I’ll actually write that book. However, I don’t know if now is the right time. There’s still so much that people won’t know or understand about me until I’ve fully flushed them out, and for now, those who truly care will just have to be patient. I’m ever growing and ever changing. Please give me the grace to do so and forgive me my mistakes in doing so, but ultimately… it’s why I write.