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Guest Post: 30 Days With A Blind Artist

Intro

Suzanne is using a CCTV to paint a tiger.
A CCTV (closed circuit TV) provides magnification to allow Suzanne to paint

One of the things I like most about blogging aside from interacting with all of you is the opportunity I’ve been given to highlight the accomplishments of phenomenal blind women. So when Woman On The Move, Suzanne Gibson, told me about her plans to do a 30-day journal from the perspective of being a blind artist I was thrilled to share her journey with you. So without further ado, I present to you Suzanne’s intro and a link to who she is.

This March I will be keeping a journal each day talking about what it’s like to be a blind artist. Each Monday I will post my entries for the previous week. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live with a disability or have one and want to know that you’re not alone, follow me through this month in the ups and downs of life.

Each day this month I will keep a journal of my day’s ups and downs as a legally blind artist. I will record, my obstacles as a blind person and how I overcame them (or not). I don’t know what will happen each day and intend to be honest in my journaling. I will not sugar-coat my entries. Every Monday I will post my entries from the previous week. I hope, in doing this, I can help people understand visual disabilities a little better and help others suffering from them to know that they are not alone. Please join me on my journey and feel free to let me know what you think.

Who Is Suzanne?

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A Lil’ Inspiration #25

The Low Vision Awareness Warrior

Image is described within the body of the post.“Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions.  Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.” ~Libby Thaw, www.checkeredeye.com

My beautiful friend and dedicated advocate, Libby Thaw, has taken her awareness effort to yet another level with a tattoo. Demystifying and embracing our disabilities drives out feelings of shame and we emerge victoriously!

Image: A close-up photo of Libby waving to the camera with her right hand and wearing a black sleeveless top to display her newest tattoo. Her eye chart tattoo is on her left shoulder. The letters of the eye chart spell out S.T.A.R.G.A.R.D.T.S.E.Y.E.S.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

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Guest Post: Matt De Gruchy

Acceptance – is the only way forward

I love meeting people who are on the front lines of advocacy and it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to one of my newest fellow advocates, Matt De Gruchy. Steph

Closeup photo of Matt | Photo Credit: Ben Plunkett | Plunkett Media ben@plunkettmedia.com.au
Photo Credit: Ben Plunkett | Plunkett Media
ben@plunkettmedia.com.au

As someone who has lived with vision loss for the past 10 years, I have learnt over a very long time to accept my situation.

I still remember as a young boy having all my senses, being able to read clearly, sitting in the car – looking out the window at everything around. At school noticing my friends from the other side of the oval, being able to play sport, sitting at the back of the class, reading the black board, watching the tiny TV in our lounge room. The list really goes on!

It was my Mother that first noticed that I was different from my peers, she was constantly told she was an over protective parent. I had been tested for it all! Eventually it became clear it wasn’t going to be as easy as a simple pair of glasses to fix it. I still remember being at an optometrist, him being so frustrated that I couldn’t read the eye chart, that he left the room calling me “a retard”. At the age of 9, I was finally diagnosed with Stargardts Disease. After a year of appointment after appointment.. And then it was like a switch turning off, my vision started deteriorating rapidly! As a child it was quite a scary process.. Just wanting it to stabilise!! At school I just wanted to be treated as ‘normal’, I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening.. I wanted no special treatment, I just wanted to be no different to the rest of my friends.

Closeup photo of Matt and quote: Accepting - doesn't mean giving up hope. It means moving forward, and chasing it!
Photo Credit: Ben Plunkett | Plunkett Media ben@plunkettmedia.com.au

I refused to accept my vision throughout High School, suffering badly from anxiety.. My thoughts were filled with negativity and constantly doubting my abilities! One of the hardest things was when everyone started learning to drive. And there I was, making excuses to those who asked why I don’t drive. I felt embarrassed, so I would hide the fact that I was losing my sight. No one ever knew I was visually impaired besides a few close friends, and my family.

The past few years, I have learnt to accept my sight, and move forward. And it has been the most positive thing I have ever done! I am happy, healthy and motivated to take on any challenge.. And I can now say I am proud, no longer embarrassed, to be a legally blind man! And I think I deserve to be.. This is only a snippet of my story, but the message that I’m trying to say is this..

Accepting – doesn’t mean giving up hope. It means moving forward, and chasing it! And for anyone out there struggling with a disability, I urge you to think positively! It will change your life for the better.

Matt’s social media contact info:

Have a great weekend everyone!!