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John Grimes | November 2022 Men In Motion

a still image of John podcasting. He’s talking into a microphone with headphones on while sitting in front of dark blue drapes. John is wearing a blue plaid shirt and he has brown hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and a mustache.

John Grimes | November 2022 Men In Motion

Contents:

“Challenging Beliefs and Revealing Abilities that Make People Extraordinary”

~John Grimes | Ambiguously Blind

Editor’s Note:

I had the pleasure of meeting November’s Man In Motion, John Grimes, when he invited me on his podcast Ambiguously Blind. During our pre-interview discussion I learned that John lost his sight prior to becoming a husband and girl-dad to three beautiful daughters.

John’s sight loss story is unique because it actually happened overnight while he was a sophomore in college. He’s very fortunate to have survived his encounter with menginitis however he continues to live with the afteraffects of the disease. Even so, John who works full time also works diligently on his side gig Ambiguously Blind to “Challenge Beliefs and Reveal Abilities that Make People Extraordinary.

John also is the first person who provided us with his very own video script below. While we typically transcribe all the videos we receive for this one the captions within the video of YouTubes automated captions.

We hope you enjoy John’s story as much as we do. If you’d like to leave a comment about it please drop by our Facebook Group. We’d love to hear from you! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

A still image of John podcasting. He's talking into a microphone with headphones on while sitting in front of dark blue drapes. John is wearing a blue plaid shirt and he has brown hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and a mustache. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight November 2022 | Men In Motion | John Grimes.”

YouTube Video

Introducing John Grimes

John, his wife and three daughters sitting outside on a lawn for a family portrait.

Thanks to Steph and Bold Blind Beauty for the work that you are doing to demystify blindness and share the message that you don’t have to have sight to have vision. I am truly honored and humbled to be considered a Man In Motion and included in the Bold Blind Beauty movement and given the opportunity to share my unique sight loss story.

Knocked Down By Meningitis

It was a day like any other in the Spring semester of my sophomore year in college. While driving back from an intermural basketball game I felt the start of what I thought was a cold. I stopped at a drug store to get some over the counter medication, then returned to my apartment. After making a quick dinner and visiting with my roommates, I wasn’t feeling any better. I hoped the medicine and a good night’s sleep would help.

As a typical teenager, I thought I was 10 feet tall and bullet proof. I had never heard of bacterial meningitis but overnight, it changed my life forever. But, I’m one of the lucky ones because meningitis can take the life of an otherwise healthy teenager in as little as 24 hours. Although we may not be able to control everything that happens to us, we do make our own destiny.

Awakening From Unconsciousness

Over the next seven days I was in a coma, and a myriad of miraculous events allowed me to survive meningitis. Coming out of a coma was not like I’d seen in movies. I was in and out of consciousness for the better part of a day. I remember being confused, exhausted and irritated. There were tubes coming out of every opening in my body, beeping and pulsing machines, and a constant stream of doctors, nurses and therapists, coming and going, poking and prodding.

Most of all, I remember being disoriented by darkness. It was as though someone had turned off the lights and I couldn’t find the switch to turn them back on. I was comforted by the voices of my parents, who were at my side and played a critical role on my long road to recovery. Some simple things like getting out of bed, walking, talking, swallowing and independent living would return in time with therapy. But neurological dysfunction and vision loss are permanent reminders of my meningitis experience.

My body endured considerable change. Most of which was not suitable for my previous care-free college lifestyle. I had to quickly wrap my head around the paradoxical shifts that needed to be made. To make matters more challenging all of my new found disabilities were mostly invisible to others but front and center to me. I think I remember from a psychology class that there are seven sages to grieving. Never much a reader, I was more interested in the Cliff Notes version which cut that down to three stages. So, I faked it and gladly played the clumsy fool. It didn’t take long to realize just how silly and exhausting that is. And then, one day it hit me. I must face the world as I am, not as I was.

Ambiguously Blind

Professional outdoor waist shot of John smiling for the camera in a suit jacket and white shirt.

I refer to myself as, Ambiguously Blind. My vision has been stable since it changed almost 25 years ago. I have zero vision in my right eye and about 20/300 in my left eye which is just enough to be dangerous. But most people don’t understand what 20/300 means. Actually, the same visual acuity can result in a totally different experience. So, it’s Ambiguous. My vision loss journey has taught me invaluable lessons. Many of them through trial and error. Don’t be afraid to put all of your cards on the table, even the ones you can’t win with. Because you don’t know how one card helps another one win.

In life change is mandatory but personal development is optional. We are all given the opportunity to rise above. It didn’t take long for me to understand that the world is not going to wait for me. I will not succeed until my desire to do so is greater than my disabilities. Now is always the time to take the next step.

Leaning Into Change

Outdoor waistshot of John wearing an Aille Design black braille beaded t-shirt design  with a light colored jacket. He's standing in front of a red brick building.

Ambiguously Blind started as a blog and developed into a podcast. Believe it or not, I’m a much better talker and connector than I am a writer. We Challenge Beliefs and Reveal Abilities that Make People Extraordinary. The world is full of extraordinary stories that are just waiting to be shared. And my mission is to find a share as many as I can. I’ve been so inspired by the connections I’ve made through the podcast. My hope is that the listeners are also inspired by the stories we share.

I’m planning for much more change, growth and success ahead for me. Now is the time to keep stretching, reaching for and creating the opportunities that I desire. There will be people to help along the way but no one is going to do it for me. Being honest with myself about my limitations will lead me into a life that is limitless. Only then will I hone the abilities I do have. I’m getting after it. My new motto is, “Don’t wait!” And I don’t think you should wait either. Come on, let’s go get it together!

John’s Bio:  

Professional 3/4 waist shot of John in a dark jacket on a white background.

John Grimes is a well-established insurance professional dedicated to providing a world-class experience and expertly advising clients on coverage to safeguard their families from devastating financial loss and make their future more predictable by providing a transparent experience that ultimately gives them the peace of mind that they deserve.

One of the lucky ones, John miraculously survived meningococcal disease (meningitis) as a sophomore in college.  John’s body endured considerable trauma that was mostly healed with physical therapy.  But, neurological dysfunction and blindness are permanent reminders of his battle with meningitis. To spread awareness John is an active advocate with meningitis organizations and shares his unique survival story and journey with sight loss on his podcast, Ambiguously Blind, with a mission to challenge beliefs and reveal abilities that make people extraordinary. 

Connecting With John

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Image Descriptions:

  • Header, Beyond Sight Magazine Cover and YouTube Thumbnail are identical and is a still image of John podcasting. He’s talking into a microphone with headphones on while sitting in front of dark blue drapes. John is wearing a blue plaid shirt and he has brown hair, a neatly trimmed beard, and a mustache. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight November 2022 | Men In Motion | John Grimes.”
  • Video description: A clean-shaven John is talking directly to the camera and he’s wearing a blue shirt while standing in front of the dark blue drapes.
  • John, his wife and three daughters sitting outside on a lawn for a family portrait.
  • Professional outdoor waist shot of John smiling for the camera in a suit jacket and white shirt.
  • Outdoor waistshot of John wearing an Aille Design black braille beaded t-shirt design with a light colored jacket. He’s standing in front of a red brick building.
  • Professional 3/4 waist shot of John in a dark jacket on a white background.
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