Welcome back to the blog!
Today is an important day. Today marks the 5th year anniversary of The Invisible Vision Project! That’s right, five years ago today, which was on March 20, 2016, The Invisible Vision Project came to life. This happened about 6 months after I came out as disabled; and I came to terms with being visually impaired; and I was also on another journey to find more answers for my (then new) health issues and concerns.
Today, in celebrating this milestone. I want to take all of you back with me, to how it all started, how it’s going, and what’s the future for The Invisible Vision project. Even though 5 years may not be a very long time, but it’s not a short time, either. Since the big launch 5 years ago, I worked tirelessly on being educative, informative, and even on being creative at times. And all of it, being managed and its content created, by this one single human being, who is visually impaired and chronically ill.
Just a recap, around late Summer/early Fall of 2015, I discovered that what I had known nearly all my life about what I called my “vision problems” were more than just “vision problems.” I was in fact, classified as in borderline between having low vision and being legally blind. Although, the diagnosis I got from the eye specialist I went to see, I knew at least most of the eye conditions I had already, because I lived with many of these conditions for years, and even decades. But, what I didn’t know was: one, that my vision loss could not and likely will never (at least with the current medical advances), be corrected or cured to normal. And two, (which was the more important one), that even though my eye sight would likely never be restored to normal, I could use other tools, such as assistive technologies, mobility devices (such as a white cane), and I can lead a fairly ‘normal’ life living with vision loss.
So, it was because of what I found out about my vision loss, and at the same time, I was introduced to using assistive technologies, and using a white cane, and got involved in organizations that support people with vision loss, (like the CNIB), I came to terms with the fact that I’m visually impaired and not just having some “vision problems.”
At the same time, all of it came really quickly, too. I went from never even having heard of adaptive technologies and white canes into using these tools in a matter of weeks. Some people around me, were even afraid of the speed in which I adapted to using these things. And if I’m being honest, I was afraid, too. But, one thing for sure was, if I didn’t adapt quickly, I’d be hesitant, I’d question. And I’d probably not want to accept the truth, and not getting the help I desperately needed.
But, you’re probably wondering- WHY am I telling you all this? Well, it’s because, my acceptance of my vision loess WAS the VERY first step to start sharing my story publicly, with the people around me, and online. And ultimately, it’s the start of The Invisible Vision Project, and the first time, working and calling myself an activist.
As I said earlier, I launched The Invisible Vision Project 6 months after I’ve fully accepted myself as a visually impaired person, and started using a white cane full time. Initially, blogging was not a part of the plan. At the start, The Invisible Vision Project was just a Page on Facebook, where I used this platform to share my vision loss acceptance journey, and to share some other resources on vision loss, and occasionally, to put some inspirational quotes out there (because let’s be real, we all need that!). Shortly after that, The Invisible Vision Project featured a Blind Girl Problems Series (which later, I turned it into a collage to put it on the blog). Then, nearly after a month of its initial launch, The Invisible Vision Project had a blog. At first, I was really relunctant, because, writing hasn’t been my strength, and English isn’t my first language. Looking back, I definitely made a lot of mistakes in my writing (and likely, I’ll continue to make mistakes, despite my best effort each time. But I’m learning as I go, and I think, I got better, not perfect, but better). More on blogging specifically will be celebrated on the blog anniversary next month!
At the start of the launch, I just wanted to share about my life with vision loss, because I felt a need to share something that I’ve lived with for such a long time, and was so much hidden from others around me. Because of the stereotypes about blindness, and because I don’t fit into these stereotypes, often, I’m being perceived as “not blind enough.” And I thought so myself for many years, too. But, since I started sharing my story, and meeting many other visually impaired people (in similar circumstances and experiences, they made feel less alone in the situation). As you can probably tell, the title, The Invisible Vision Project, is one that sounds like I’m talking about my vision, which was the point (at first), and more about the meaning behind the name choice in this blog if you’re interested in reading about it.
Over the years, there’ve been many developments on The Invisible Vision Project. These developments include but not limited to, having had more platforms other than just the Facebook Page and the blog, which there’s now a Twitter Page and an Instagram Page; having had guest bloggers, or in frequent communication building with other bloggers and activists; shared about my life other than vision loss, such as my interests and hobbies (like cooking); and of course, sharing about my life with chronic illness (because vision loss is not the only challenge I have).
Currently, I’ve been more vocal about my journey with chronic illness than about vision loss, it’s not because vison loss isn’t relevant to me any more, it still is. But, some of you may already know this, my chronic illness journey was and still is a much harder journey (at least the getting diagnosed, and the being heard by medical professionals parts), so I’ve been putting a lot more efforts on advocating and writing on that a lot more, and will continue to do so. As for my vision loss, it’s been relatively stable, which is a good thing, and one less thing to worry about.
Then, the question becomes, where am I taking The Invisible Vision Project? Well, I’m definitely taking it with me, and not leaving it behind, that you don’t have to worry about! I’m taking it with me, wherever my journey of life takes me. I’ll continue to share my story, whether the story will stay the same, or in how ever way it may change. Also, the current and the future of The Invisible Vision Project will not only just be storytelling. As an activist, I’ve also been doing many behind the scenes work on creating actual changes for the broader disabled community in our society. And of course, I’m not doing that work alone. And when appropriate, I’ll share that with all of you.
Reflecting on all of the above today, from the start, to the current, to the future of The Invisible Vision Project. I want to express my sincere gratitude, to the people that have joined me on this journey. Whether you’ve been a part of this journey since the very beginning, or you’ve joined in the recent weeks or months, or even if this is the very first blog that you read today- welcome, and thank you for stopping by, and be a part of the family! The Invisible Vision Project has come a long way, but it still got a long way to go. And your continuous support will always be very much appreciated!
By: The Invisible Vision Project