If you want to run forever, some times you can not run today – I will not be running in the 2014 marathon
Life is funny. Hardly anything seems to go as predicted or hoped for. On the other hand, if it has, then perhaps you have not taken too many risks. Me, I love risks and adventure. This journey of marathon has certainly been an adventure filled with risks. As I have learned in 2012 and 2013, you can plan for what you believe will happen but will then be faced with elements you had never imagined. The brutal heat of 2012 struck me down and then the terrible bombing of 2013 redefined what I take for granted in life. Well, the 2014 year has introduced me to an element of challenge that I would have never predicted would stand in the way of me and finally cross the finish line at the Boston marathon. That element is myself. Continue reading
For as long as I can remember, I have narrowly escaped numerous situations where I should have suffered grave injuries. For some reason, I have not been as hurt as one would have expected. On one hand, many of these situations have possibly been due to my constant need to adapt to the loss of vision and not meeting these new demands as well as I should. On the other hand, I believe I am also simply a goof. Regardless, the combination of these two qualities makes for some dicey, yet interesting experiences. Continue reading
Like I have stated before, I would have stopped doing this a long time ago if I was only doing it for myself. Marathon training is demanding and exhausting on a physical and mental level. Many people have asked me what I believe is the most challenging part about doing all of this. Many things are challenging, but I would say that the tole all of this takes on my body is one of the most exhausting pieces to this journey.
Until I lose enough fat off my thighs, I typically develop a rash from engaging in long runs. When I start focusing on a marathon, some of the first few long runs result in a raw rash on my thighs. Continue reading
I have been reflecting on what has been posted on this blog. There is much about perspective, successes in culture and challenges in culture towards disability as well. I have written about the feelings I experience when I run and what this has meant for others. Many powerful and important topics have been covered on this blog and in my outreach. On the other hand, I have neglected to write about something that is not only important, but inevitable to experience in my life and others who are in a similar situation as myself. That experience is the feeling of realizing when your vision has further dwindled… the feeling of knowing that something just happened that never would have happened in the past. The feeling of telling yourself it was just a random accident and that you were spacing out. Continue reading
I have a wonderful job at Berklee College of Music and every October, my office brings a group of students into the woods of New Hampshire to discuss and explore identity, privilege, oppression and social change. It is an incredible experience for both the students and the facilitators. We utilize a space called the Sargent Center, which is actually owned and operated by Boston University. It is located on a dirt road in the small town of Hancock. It is much like where I grew up, in Barnstead, New Hampshire.
A new colleague, friend and fellow running enthusiast came on the trip as a facilitator. She had mentioned that she was training for her first 5k. I told her that it would be great to run together around the grounds, as there is an extensive dirt road around the center of the facility that I believe stretches just over 1 mile. Fortunately, she liked the idea and we both brought our running gear. Continue reading
Shortly after I was diagnosed with Choroideremia (at age 14), my parents began reaching out to the state to identify what services and resources may be available for me to utilize. I was also diagnosed as being legally blind, which meant I had vision that was 20/200 or worse. This status allowed for me to qualify for state services, as well as federal. In the months following my diagnosis, I was connected with Vocational Rehabilitation for the blind and was assigned to a wonderful case manager named Scot.
Scot then connected my family and I with another gentleman who worked as an O.M. Instructor, otherwise known as an orientation and mobility instructor. These folks work with those who have mobility impairments to learn how mobility devices are used. They also offer guidance in navigating various environments which present their own unique challenges. From what I can recall, I hated this. I hated it with all of my heart and was silent. Those first few months and that first year were extremely challenging. To be honest, I think I have suppressed much of my memory from those days. However, I can certainly recall some of my first uses and impressions of having a cane. Continue reading
Dear idiot who can see,
You are in this world, left and right. Wheather or not I like it, we cross pathes every day. You anger me, you disapoint me and you speak volumes through your frustrating actions. They only last for a moment, but I feel them for days.
I walk up and down the streets of Boston and the surrounding areas. I try my hardest to walk in straight lines and stay to the far right or left of any path. I treat these traveling ways like a street; there are lanes and important guidelines. However, some of you who can see choose to stand in the middle of these pathways. I can hear you in still clusters, talking away. The vast majority of the time, at least one of you is facing me, as I can hear the direction of your voice so clearly. I hope that you will ask your conversation partner to move out of my way. As I approach, I can gather that you are not moving. I then tap my cane upon the pavement with force that is not required, hoping that the loud sound will alarm all of you to move, or take notice of me. Still, there is nothing. I am forced to then walk around you and navigate the narrow spaces to your left and right, as you have chosen to stand in the middle of this path to focus on your own needs and concerns. I either make contact with another person or bump into a wall or large mailbox. As I walk by, I can still hear you talking and can hear you turn and look to me, as your voice follows my movement. Surely, you notice me then and finally realize the situation you have created. YOu do not apologize.
In other instances, you are alone but are focused on your own concerns and are expecting the world to revolve around you. Well, this is a bold statement, isn’t it? You’re the one walking down the middle of a side walk or cross walk, with your head down and hands held at the center of stomach, as you engage your phone. You must think this is alright to do and that people will see you, the world will see you and how busy you are attending your own needs and will move around you. Surely, people will simply walk around your left and right as you are focused on yourself, with no care or thought about the displacement or needs of others. Not only will people bend and move around you, the world will bend and move around you as you set forth on your own self-driven excursion.
Then, you and I colide. Your assumption that all others will revolve around you has failed. You lift your head out of anger, as you think to yourself who could have done this to me? Has someone not seen that I am busy? THat I need the world to revolve around me? No, I did not see this. No one should have to see this.
Because of your assumption, my cane is bent. It is now slightly crooked and I must buy a new one. Your selfishness has hurt me. Why can you not simply step to the side and address your own needs? Why do you have to stand or travel down the middle with expectations that the world will revolve around you?
Every day, I, the visually impaired man, must look out for others in the streets of Boston. I only have so much vision left and I can not keep this up forever. I’m growing tired and it is stressful. Be mindful, be aware of yourself and others. Stop being an idiot. Stop parking in cross walks so you can pick up a quick snack. You immediately block wheel chair access and make it difficult for anyone using a mobility device with wheels to travel. From here on out, I am walking straight on and am tackling thorugh people. If your car is parked in a cross walk, I’m scratching it up with my cane as I directly walk into it. Stop being a selfish idiot who can see and takes so much for granted. It’s a real privilige to think that you can do all of these things. Did you know that?No. You probably do not even know what privilige is.
I should not have to shout ot for you to move out of the middle of a path. I should not have to shout out and ask for mercy. The blind man should not have to be the one putting in all of the effort to navigate the world safely. This should be mutual. My life, because of being visually impaired, should and should not be many things.