The National Federation of the Blind
of Connecticut
Blind

By Suzanne Westhaver

Believe and
Live
Independently, because
Nothing
Determines your success more than you.


The word blind runs vertically down the page. I suppose the image and structure might have more impact on the sighted, but I can't see the words on the page; their image formed in my mind. These words impacted me so much that I couldn't sleep. Suffering insomnia, I tossed and turned while they played on my brain, until eventually, I got out of bed and wrote them down. Writing them down was my way of freeing them.

Believe. Believe in yourself. And Live Independently, because Nothing Determines your success more than you.

I hope you can envision the image in your mind. I read somewhere that success was once an idea until it was developed. Ultimately we hold the key to our success. We can hang around complaining how unfair life is and how if someone would just give us that break, we could be a success, but ultimately, we decide. We can blame our lack of success on the misconceptions and stereotypes the sighted have about the blind-- Sitting around, complaining about how unfair life is, will get you nowhere but sitting around. Envision your success. Take the steps to make it happen. No one will ever believe in someone who can't believe in herself. It begins with belief, but until you put that belief into action nothing can happen.

The day after I wrote those words down, I attended a seminar about a business opportunity. When I arrived, I got the "let's drag the blind girl around" routine. People wanted to help me get to my chair, and they wanted to get me coffee and treat me like I couldn't help myself. I was gracious and light-hearted. Instead of getting upset, I gave them my image. I was confident, unashamed of my cane or my blindness. While sighted participants took notes on paper, I used my personal note taker. During the lunch break I had the opportunity to chat with people. There were questions about my note taker and a few about my blindness--was I a total, how long had I been blind. I answered and moved the conversation on to the topic of the seminar, giving my thoughts and ideas. One of the speakers asked me if there was anything I couldn't learn. I thought about it for a moment then laughed. "I don't think I could learn to fly a plane, and I wouldn't apply for a job as a truck driver," I replied. By the end of the seminar, I was on equal ground. All I can say is:


Believe-- and
Live
Independently, because
Nothing
Determines your success more than you.

 

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Updated March 14, 2003