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I think a lot of people have negative emotions in response to blindness-related problems. I'm not sure what to call mine, but they're definitely there. A friend and I were talking yesterday about her anxiety attacks, and the thing that seems to keep coming up lately for her is that people call attention to the fact that she can't see and she has an anxiety attack. Maybe anxiety takes different forms sometimes... For her it manifests one way... My face gets all hot and flushed, and I stew about it for hours or days.



I'm thinking maybe it's the same with bitterness. I think most of us feel that pressure to make good impressions, so we don't act it out or talk about it, and one day it blows up. At least, that's the way it happens for me, and it always surprises me. I end up thinking, "I didn't know I had that in me." This is part of the reason I'm sitting home instead of getting out looking for jobs and stuff. I don't have a clue what's around or where jobs might be available unless someone happens to think to tell me--and hopefully they'll remember to save the paper when they come across an ad that looks like it might fit me. It's just easier to not try because I'm tired of beating my head up against a wall. Someday I'll get out of it and find my door, but I'm tired and a little bit angry right now. The braille on the McDonald's cups is nice, but how realistic is a fast-food job for someone like me anyway? I don't want to make a career out of managing a region or anything, and I don't think flipping burgers is a practical option for me. I would do it if I could, just to get some temporary money rolling in, but I don't think I can. Oh, and where I'm most angry is at the rehab agencies that are supposed to "help us" but don't do anything for someone like me who is considered employable, whether or not I would be happy doing what I'm qualified to do. All I want out of life is the right to pursue something that makes me happy; but having that right implies that the means to pursue it exist and provide some reasonable hope that I could find it. Nobody told the Revolutionaries, "Oh, you can pursue it, but it's going to be a futile search." That's what I feel like the job market says to me. I have more to say on the job market issue, but that's going to be later. I've worked myself up and need a nap.



I get angry when I go to choir practice and everyone has a piece of new music but me, so I have to sit there and try to learn from people who don't read music well. This is magnified by the fact that I'm a strong braille music reader and reality is that it's just too expensive and the director doesn't plan enough in advance to get the music done. Music has always been my way of expressing myself, but now it's something I struggle to participate minimally in; and I hate it. Only another blind person can understand that.



I haven't told anyone, but I am terrified of getting out and walking the streets. I am having huge issues trusting Dori, and it's not even Dori's fault. It's mine. I hid away in my house after I started losing vision in 1998, and I haven't braved the streets more than ten times since then. I want to, and that's why I'm glad we're moving into town where there are sidewalks. But the truth is I need to brush up on my O&M skills, and it's unbelievably hard to get anybody out here more than once a month. I need more than that if I'm going to overcome this fear thing. And I don't have a case open with VR now anyway, so who's going to pay for it?



Dori is another story. She's had this little bladder problem going on for six months now. She goes out every one to three hours--long way from the time when she was refusing to go. She leaks when she turns over or gets up from her sleep. I have taken her to the vet four times, tried different meds, etc., in the way of about $250 so far. Now they want to do an x-ray, another $100. I wanted to go back to school next spring at AU, and I was really going to do it this time. If I can't get this problem of Dori's treated successfully, I'm afraid I'm going to be looking at retirement--and I won't be able to keep her. That hurts. I want to think I'm overreacting like I was when Elli was young and had stress-induced health problems. But my mom even said this last night. I've been crying a lot since then. I don't want to retire Dori, and I certainly don't want someone else to have her! She's a good girl, and she loves to work, and she's so good around the babies... I need a dog like that.



One of the things I noticed the last time I lost my vision before the surgery was that I felt exposed, like no matter what other people were doing they were always watching me. It was to the point that even if I was in a supposedly private place like a bathroom stall or, to be honest, even my own apartment with the blinds closed, I felt like people could somehow see in. It was a terrifying feeling. Mom asked if it was because I couldn't look back. Maybe that was it, but it hasn't really gone away even though I can look back now.

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Sarah Blake LaRose
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