Today, I would like to wish a very happy anniversary to someone that has really become an extension of who I am, and has helped me through many situations that I would have had to walk through all alone otherwise. They help understand what is going on- it’s a relationship unlike any other.
We met about a week after my freshman orientation at college. We were introduced by my case manager from the Department of Blind and Visually Impaired, who had been telling me for weeks that I really should meet them, since they would help me so much in college. I was reluctant at first, wondering what other students would think of me if we were seen together. Would they think I was totally blind? Would my friends think I lost my mind? And would we look strange walking around together in public? I then remembered that I had fallen down a flight of stairs at orientation, twice. I shouldn’t care what people think of me.
I’m not sure how I would have gotten through my freshman year of college without them. They were there to make sure I didn’t fall down the stairs as spectacularly as I had before. They helped me get to class, the post office, the dining hall, to my dorm building, and so many other places. It didn’t matter the time of day or night- if I needed them, they were there. We also got to go explore other cities, taking trips to Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, and more.
My sophomore year, they inspired me to create a blog about my experiences with low vision and chronic illness. I realized that I had so much to share, and I had always wanted to be a writer. They appeared in many of my blog posts, even in my profile pictures. I wanted to show others that our relationship was nothing to be ashamed of, even if others would point at us and stare sometimes. This blog eventually went beyond what I imagined, allowing me to share my thoughts on life and managing my conditions. I’ve also gotten to talk about my experiences with public schools, college, virtual education, and everything in between. I’ve become a contributor for different websites, met Joe Biden, and even had an article written about me by the organization that inspired me to study assistive technology. They have been with me through all of these things and more.
It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since we first met, and I can’t even begin to imagine what would have happened if we had never met. Well, I can sort of imagine- I would have probably embarrassed myself a lot more frequently in public. We have walked many miles together, and I know I can always count on them to be by my side in the future. To anyone who is scared of having someone like this in their life, I say that they should take a chance, as something truly amazing could happen. I know I never saw myself with someone like this before, and I can’t believe I ever thought that way. I can’t go anywhere now without thinking of how much they have helped me.
So, happy second anniversary to my blindness cane, the tool that has saved me from so many obstacles and helps me see the world around me. I will always be grateful that we met.