Please enjoy this post from my old 2011 blog. Call it Throw Back Thursday, if you will. Next week, when I am not busy with other things, I promise a shiny new blog post. Well, at any rate, new. Shiny is subjective.

If I had a dollar for the number of times someone has told me that I am “brave”,
then my ongoing unemployment would hardly matter, at least monitarily speaking. To
hear others talk, I’ve been brave my whole freaking life. I was brave for crossing
the monkey bars when I was five, for dancing high on the risers in show choir, for moving
out of my parents’ house after graduation, for getting my bearings and traveling
independently in Spain, for teaching high school students “by myself”, for trusting
people every day. Hell, at this point I should be brave just for breathing, right?
But I’m going to tell you something that many people with disabilities don’t want their able-bodied peers to know. That is, I’m
one of the scaredest people ever. I’m scared to try, scared to fail, scared of the
dark, of grasshoppers, of being alone. Sometimes I’m scared of my blindness and the
vulnerability it can create in my day-to-day life. Sometimes, the only thing that
goes through my head when I’m doing something new is, “I’m afraid, I’m afraid, I’m
afraid.”
The truth is, I think it’s the fear that is partly responsible for my ability to,
if not conquer challenges, then at least look them in the face. Part of my fear is
of having regrets, and that I will use my blindness as a crutch to explain why I
didn’t try. Blindness is something to be embraced, but not something to lean on.
Most likely, that fear turns into the encouragement that drives me to walk out of
my house every day.
In full disclosure, I have had a period of my life in which I didn’t leave the safety
of my home unless I absolutely had to. The anxiety of something happening beyond
my control, either in a social situation or one in which I was helpless and alone
and outside my comfort zone, paralyzed me with anxiety. I second-guessed and doubted
myself. It was probably one of the hardest times of my life, but now that I’m on
the other side of it, my determination to live fully and joyfully has been further
cemented.
Maybe bravery comes with the admission of fear, and maybe we are all brave in our
own way. Or, maybe I’m just trying miserably to explain something about myself that
is so contradictory and temperamental that it’s hard to put into words. In any case,
I may as well use this space and this overly serious post to say thank you to everyone
who has bravely and unabashedly supported me and all of my fearfulness. You know
who you are.

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