These writings will chronicle  my personal journey from the sighted world to one of blindness.   But, first I feel that I will need to preface the following:  this is not a journal of despair, hopelessness, or tragedy.  But rather a stern examination of self.    Such an introspective requires at least a modicum of balance and honesty.   So, that is to say, there will be some trying times and strife as well as triumphs and exultation.

As written above, moving from the sighted world to a world of blindness is done with apprehension and reluctance.

After much mental anguish, struggles of self-worth, and a multitude of strained relationships, I have come to the realization that the reluctance and apprehension must give themselves over to embracing the unknown.  After all, battling with sight loss did not help my situation, why not try a new course of action.     Why be continually miserable in a fight with an adversary that may not actually be an enemy?   How could I truly know without at least the benefit of inquiry.  So inquire I did.  I joined the National Federation of the Blind.  The NFB for me is more than a group organized for the proliferation of the rights of the blind and visually impaired.   More than just a wealth of information on obtaining services.  They are….we are… family.   Family with only the minor inconvenience of not being able to see.

As anyone would, I appled for services a tthe Tennessee Department of Humam Services, Division of Vocatonal Rehabilitation.   A naming conventions that eludes me to this day.   My assigned VR counselor, a most unique individual.  A less than optimistic woman named, well I should refrain from names at this time.  However, you know of her arrival as she is preceded by the flying monkeys.   I digress.   Getting information from this state agency is a soul-crushing process.   I would rather lick the floor on a bus than meet with that bureaucratic ineptitude.  I was told Tennessee had a great training facility for persons with disabilities.  There I could be instructed in Braille, computer skills, and other life skills like making a sandwich and sweeping the floor, by sighted instructors.   No thanks, I want to learn more than just enough to get by.  I wanted true independence.   I wanted to be around those like me.   Again, with help from the NFB, I learned I have choices.  I used the federal program known simply as “Informed Choice”   The Fed has provided money to the State earmarked for choosing a more appropriate training facility even if it is outside Tennessee.   The NFB has two such facilities.  One in Colorado and one in Louisiana.  I will be going to Ruston, LA for six to nine months for thorough learning.  I will get my normalcy back.   I will be able to live a real life on my terms.

So  January 16, 2009 begins my journey.  At the completion of my program, I will ring that Freedom Bell and return home.  No longer a man encumbered by a sense of inadequacy, but rather a man without eyesight AND  also with clear vision.


3 Responses to “Prologue”

  1. gary wooten Says:

    I am so proud of the man that has become someone that i can look up to and learn from his wisdom, rely on him for strength to face adversity, and admire his passion to become a better person. that said, i am most proud to call him my Son.

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