Here we go again. Is it unreasonable to ask for some peace and quiet just for one day?It is bad enough that the two legged less hairy race that others call humans must walk around my home acting like they own the place. They may pay the bills and do work around the home, but they all know deep down that this was a far less important place before I got here. Before the Munch reign, they just had themselves to talk amongst and Angus the cat to communicate with. Now they have been introduced to what life with a real star is like as I took over the reign here from day one.Undeterred by Angus’s hostile swipe that greeted me as I first walked through the door, I knew that he would soon back down and be putty in my paws. With every surface that I bless with my hair with around the place (which to be fair is most surfaces), I am claiming the whole estate as my own. The indents on pillows from my sleepy head means that I, King Munch, allow the staff members to know that their spaces are all mine too.This makes my regal labradoodle heart sing out with joy as I know that my staff here love me as one of their own. I don’t like to remind them that they are lowly staff members and I am above them in importance as that would just be too harsh. What I do like to remind them of however is that Angus and Faith the tortoise are not always welcome in the same room as I as they only try and compete for attention which clearly, they are not entitled too.Admittedly Angus was here first but when it comes to cats versus dogs, we should always be respected.I for one have never killed another small bird or animals like Angus has done and brought it home for the maid. How dull is he? Does he really think that a dead mouse or bird on the floor is really a gift for squeamish vegan? I think not. I am sure she has not truly forgiven him for when the maid left an Imprint of her heel on the body of a dead rat he had brought into the house a couple of years ago. At least us guide dogs know never to leave objects in the way of a blind person. My toys are a different matter as she will soon her them squeak if she stands on them.As for Faith, she really does think that she is the new kid on the block. As not every household has a tortoise, but most have a cat or a dog, she loves all the attention that she gets from others. Playing the “I am slow and innocent” really doesn’t fool me as she is soon fast enough to clamber over my tail as I innocently sit at my maid’s feet patiently waiting for my share of the food on the maid’s plate. A tortoise can be more diva like than you think and there is not room for two of us diva’s in this family.On reflection though, I suppose being surrounded by the two legged less hairy race, Angus and Faith does mean that I will never be alone as that would break my heart. We all need others around us and although I know that I, King Munch, will always rule this place I cannot imagine life without them. Being part of a loving network of odd people and animals is better than being alone. Whoever and however you connect with others, keep making sure you do connect. Your funny tribe of souls that you find yourself surrounded by are really just perfect as they are.
I forget people can see me rolling my eyes. To be honest, I forget people can see.
When you have never seen a face clearly before as everyone is just a blur, you kind of forget that the sighted world sees everything. They especially see the things that you really don’t want them to see, such as eye rolling that I am rather partial too. Ooooops.
With a face that just cannot lie, I let my eyes roll upwards and to the side to try and search for a polite answer to the snappy sounding store assistant that stood before me. I am usually far more patient, but I had just experienced this London Bus Syndrome senario where for the third time in less than twenty minutes those dreaded four words were directed at me. To others, the words “you don’t look blind” may seem like a compliment and it is in a way but when it is said in an accusing tone, it really isn’t a compliment. It was this third London Bus that day that had come along after a drought of these well-meaning buses that had triggered the lively eyes rolling in my head.
Maybe my reaction was slightly more emphasised after she had said that she had “seen a lot of blind people in this shop and you don’t look like them”. A spluttered giggle remained inside of me. A colourful phrase stayed inside my head and did not escape my lips. What was more surprising was, I even managed to not bite back to her curt accusing tone with a crocodile snap of my own. The other two previous people who had stopped to cheery chat and said I didn’t look blind meant it in a positive light but this lady was different. She was like many we had come across in the past, which were the worst kind. The Sceptic.
Walking around with a physical disability feels like you sometimes need to carry medical evidence around with you to thrust in somebody’s face to validate yourself and prove their ignorance wrong. I understand that the primary source of information that many in the sighted world use to make decisions is their vision, but I sometimes wish it wasn’t as looks can be so deceiving. Having a unusual looking striking guide dog does not help with the stereotyping of what a blind person or a guide dog should look like either which she also picked up on. This apparent expert on not only what “blind people look like” but also an expert in the field of guide dogs as her next door neighbours aunt had one, thought that a Labradoodle like Munch was not a guide dog. The ignorance of others can really make your mind boggle. It does make me thankful that I do not use my eyes alone to make judgements on people that I know nothing about. Now that would be living with true blindness.
I really hope that my parting words to her would help her to broaden her narrow outlook on life, but I somehow doubt it. Cheerily uttering the words “we don’t all look the same” filled the silence between us with no reply from her as we bid her goodbye. Whether or not this planted seed will grow a more open way for her to see the world or not, I feel like I did my bit. I am still working on my poker face whilst persuading my overtly rolling eyes to calm down whilst in such situations, so maybe I will get there someday. Until then I will continue to clench my teeth and smile sweetly in my non blind looking way.
Judging will always say more about the person judging than the one being judged.
I am lucky enough to have my birthday the same day as World Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd April. I say lucky as to me, this day helps spread awareness of something that has been part of my life for the last 17 years. Jaidan, my awesome son with Autism has taught me to see the world in a different light and he has been one of my most inspirational teachers I have met. His self-awareness surpasses any expectations that a text book would say is possible. His empathy is core to all his actions and is not absent as experts would lead us to believe. Jaidan communicates in deeper ways that research tells us autistic people do. In Jaidan’s life, social interactions are based on a compassionate drive to accept others as they are. His imagination and flexibility of thought are processed in different ways and are just more concrete than fluid. He could not be more perfect if he tried. If I had a Birthday Wish, it would be for others to understand Autism in the way we have learnt to understand it. I wish others would know that
– Autism is only a part of the person and does not define who they truly are.
– Autism affects everyone differently. Once you have met someone on the spectrum you have not met everyone on the spectrum.
– There is no true stereotype of Autism, just as there is no true stereotype of the Neurotypicals among us.
– Autism doesn’t need to be cured, it needs to be accepted.
– Not everyone with Autism lacks empathy, in fact some research says that people with autism are more empathetic than neurotypicals.
– Processing of information is not faulty, it is just different.
– There are far more similarities between people with Autism and Neurotypicals than there are differences.
– Autism does not stunt dreams. it is the restricted thinking of others that does.
As Jaidan prepares for his next step in life in the summer University programme that he has been accepted for, I am eagerly awaiting what else he will teach me. Awareness of anything in life is best learnt from an original source. I hope that each birthday that I celebrate will be filled with increased awareness of Autism and how it makes a person the true perfection that they are.
The following post relates to the above picture that was shared numerous times on social media which questioned if the lady was indeed visually impaired
What you see when you can’t see?
You see a blurred picture apparently showing a woman walking with a white cane in one hand and a phone in another. You see blurry squiggles on the laptop screen that the narrator reads out to you. You see the images from the spoken word forming in your mind and creating the picture that everyone is talking about. You see the innocence of the woman walking along carrying on with her life unaware that she is being watched. You see the courage that she has taken to learn the new skill of walking with a cane through mobility training that she now must use to carry on living independently. You see that now she uses a white cane; her disability is on display for others to judge.
You see that that the person who posted this did not do so out of kindness but out of ignorance. You see the person who did this has enough functional vision to be able to judge in appearance without a care about the persons feelings. You see that the person who posted this image on social media to entice others to join in the judgement does not understand the impact of doing such things has on people. You see the negative comments that people make is just an insensitive epidemic that could do with some educating in certain areas.
You see people’s emotions getting hurt when they talk about things that they know very little about. You see people hating on the haters instead of helping them think in different ways. You see people who once judged on appearance now listen to knowledge that they did not know and change from judgement to acceptance. You see sighted people understand what it is like to live with sight loss and that they too can use technology designed for people who aren’t blessed with perfect vision.
You see people from both the sighted and insightful communities coming together to talk about what sight loss is and what it isn’t.
You see separation change to oneness when people whether sighted or with sight loss learn to see each other as more than the labels that they carry around with them. You see that people begin to feel more open talking about the world that they know little about. You see that when knowledge becomes power then ignorance becomes obsolete. You see that the picture that was taken said everything about the misunderstanding of what sight loss is and nothing about the courageous woman pictured who could teach many a thing or two about living life successfully.
Sometimes it is easier to see the true beauty in life when you use more than your eyes to see.
I love to watch you go through life doing what you do best. Spreading your infectious joy with those that cross your path, nobody is immune to the sparks of delight that emit from you each day. As you laugh your way through life, life has no choice but to bring you more content for your personal show of happiness that you are always starring in.
When you stop in your tracks when you come across negativity, I know that your presence will diffuse even the most hostile of energies. You have that energy about you that all peace makers possess, and peace destroyers are envious of. You transcend pointless drama is an almost other worldly way, yet remain as grounded as can be.
Even when you are hurt, I know that you know that this is just a temporary state and normality will soon be resumed in your beautiful world. The tears of disappointment only happen because you see the best in life and are sad that the best is absent at that moment in time. Finding the way back to your contented zone will happen as your compassion compass will always guide you there.
Experiencing new things in life keeps you moving forward and will help you learn about things in the world that many people will ignore. As you celebrate the things that have long been forgotten by many, I can see why your soul now feels complete. You have a view on the world that should be taught to all to help them remember the true meaning of life.
Your beauty is a thing that cannot be classified by any language as the words do not exists to explain it. Your head turning beauty is just a bonus to the internal beauty that you have always had and will never leave you. As you choose to do beautiful things in the world, your beauty grows to match your surroundings. Life is what you have made it.
As you make the lives of those around you more enriched by your authenticity, we are all thankful that you came into our lives at exactly the right time. You are the common point of interest in everyone’s diverse lives and for that everyone is thankful. Being your true self rubs off on all those arounds you and brings them closer to their true self.
Being able to see you through imperfect eyes is such an amazing thing to experience. I may not be able to see your physical form, but I can see who you really are. Feeling is believing and as I feel who you really are, I believe that you are nothing but perfect. Seeing when you can’t see is the best thing ever to bypass illusion to see the truth. Keep being you.