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Life update and return to blogging.

Hi everyone I firstly want to apologise for being a lazy bum and not posting in about a million years. I want to blame it on writers block but then I would be turning into a big fat liar. One of the main reasons is simply pure laziness. I get distracted by the most inane of things at times and before I know it 10 thousand hours have passed and I get into the mindset of 'I'll do it later' and when later comes around I can't be bothered. However, I have had a few exciting things happen for me recently.

So what has been happening in my life recently?

Well firstly I had my grading for my yellow belt in Taekwando. This must have been a month or so ago back when we had all that really swelteringly hot weather and it felt properly like summer, not like the horrible overcast limbo that we're trapped in now where the weather can't make up it's mind. It was such a relief to get it over and done with and not make a fool out of myself by passing out especially since there was a gruelling fitness test at the end. However, I surpassed any of my own expectations because not only did I manage to get my yellow belt I managed to achieve an A. Now for me that really is something as I was never very good at or interested in sports at school. My lack of hand eye coordination, nothing to do with my abysmal eyesight I sear, and my general lack of overwhelming talent or natural ability for anything sporty meant that I was never a big name in the school sporting world. So you can imagine my surprise and jumping for joy state at being praised so highly for something sport related.

The second big change in my life was the decision to start job hunting. I did have a job as a part time TA in an SEN school but due to the catch 22 situation I was in I was never able to progress, despite my numerous attempts at trying to get a full time job I was told I didn't have enough experience and I lacked initiative and the ability to sufficiently meet the needs of the children's learning targets. However, I was never in one class long enough to completely understand their particular way of learning and the very best way to help them and get the best out of them. How was I suppose to help the children whilst improving my own practice if I wasn't in the same class everyday for the academic year and I wasn't even in for a full school day most of the time? They never properly helped me help myself. I got so run down with the situation I was in I decided that it was best for me to start looking at moving on. I needed an environment that would give me full time hours and more consistency which would, in the long run allow me to get to know the environment, the kids and the team I was working with well enough to improve upon the things that I need to, to become a better practitioner.

Hence the hunt for a new environment. I was lucky enough to land an interview at a day care and nursery that is literally a 5 – 10 minute walk from my house. I would be the biggest liar in the world if I said I wasn't nervous. I was wandering if I was good enough, if I had the right qualities to work with mainstream kids between the ages of 0 – 5 years. Would I have the skill set or potential to be able to show that I could improve upon what knowledge and ability I already had? Would I be able to fit into a new environment? I'm one of these people that can find big changes rather terrifying and looking for a new job and all that it entails is enough to give anyone nightmares. New people, new challenges, different ways of working are nerve wrecking things.

So, on the day of the interview I walked down the hill to the nursery with the feeling that I was going to loose the contents of my stomach. However, to my surprise as soon as I walked in a quiet confidence flooded over me. It was such a strange experience. Before every other interview I've had I've literally wanted to puke the whole way through, I've stumbled over my own tongue, I've used to many 'ums' and 'ers'. I'd always come out of an interview feeling like I could have said more and like I didn't do myself justice.

However, this time round I felt a lot more confident in who I was, what I know I needed to improve upon, what I wanted out of my job and I was able to admit that there would be times that I would need help and advice. I felt a lot morre calm around the people who were interviewing me because I didn't have any preconceived ideas about who they were. They immediately put me at ease and that helped me dramatically. I felt I could be honest with myself and them and I felt that I was able to present the best possible version of me considering that I still had some butterflies going on.

There were two distinct sections to the interview process. Firstly I had to read a story to a preselected group of children then I had a formal sit down interview with the head and manager of the nursery. Overall I had a good feeling throughout. I gave it my all and did myself proud. And guess what? It paid off. I was offered a job. I had a smile so big I felt like my face was going to be split in half. I was finally given the chance to prove to others and myself what I can become if given the chance. I know it's going to be a challenge but it'll be well worth the wait. To be taken seriously, to have people want to employ me full time gives me a real sense of empowerment and self pride. It shows me that I'm worth someone's time. I am appreciated enough for someone to take a chance on me who will support me in my endeavours. Needless to say I am now fully enjoying my six weeks summer holidays before the whirlwind of a new job starts.

The second thing that has been taking up a lot of my time recently were rehearsals for a performance that I was part of. I was part of a choir that sung pop, gospel and Motown covers. Normally I would only go to one rehearsal a week but recently there have been extra rehearsals because we had a performance at the cathedral of my home town last night. We sung a selection of songs including, Defying gravity, True, Somebody to love, Shut up and dance, Uptown girl, Ain't no mountain and Halo. It was such an amazing experience. The St Albans Cathedral is such a lovely space and to have all those people cheer for us is just an amazing feeling. Also being able to sing with a live band instead of a backing track is an experience everyone who loves singing should get to experience it's just such a thrill. However, it's nice to know that it's over and once again I can relax and take a break and have some time to myself.

I also had to finish off and hand in all the work for the course that I was studying. I have probably mentioned that I was doing an NVQ level 2 in in Supporting Teaching and Learning in schools. I had to make sure that the work I was doing was to my usual high standards and that I was able to complete all the work in an appropriate time frame. I finally handed everything in for the last time on Monday. It's such a weight off my mind to know that that is one stress off my mind. I don't have to go to sleep worrying that I haven't completed a piece of work. It's a massive achievement, knowing that I've been able to get everything done and dusted and that I've never had any real issues with my work and that it's been a smooth and relatively easy process. It's just another educational achievement that I can put onto my CV that will improve my chances of future employment and peaks my interest in the world of education and child development. Knowledge is power and there is always something new to learn. Whoever says the learning process stops when you leave school or uni or college would be lying. There are always opportunities to improve yourself by furthering your knowledge in any area of study. You are never to old or young to return to study.

I must admit that it may sound like I haven't been up to a whole lot but doing these things whilst still working all week can be quite time consuming. Whenever I wasn't doing something I would let myself get lost in catching up with Game of thrones or The Walking Dead. Sorting out all the admin side of things for a new job and learning words to songs as well as all the moves and techniques for a grading can be quite time consuming. However, now things have quietened down I will hopefully be writing more and finding new inspirations for posts. Having the time to explore the things that interest me.

So for now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you. I know this has been a short post but I just wanted a quick post to update y'all on what's been going on with me recently and to let you know that I will have much more time on my hands to explore the blogging side of my life again.

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I’ll decide what it means to be a woman

Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a good weekend so far and enjoying the lovely weather. Let’s just hope this weather keeps its steam up and lasts us until September.

Today I want to talk to you about how I feel about being a woman in today’s society. I won’t be writing from any particular political or feminist movement viewpoint per say. I only want to write down my feelings and thoughts on my personal experiences and views.

I want to start off by saying that I’ve not always been a girly girl nor will I ever be, needless to say, that I’m not the definition of a tomboy or a butch lesbian either. I am in a very comfortable middle ground. And you know what? I’m perfectly happy with that. I don’t feel the need to always conform to societies view of what a woman should or shouldn’t be.

I may not always be happy in my skin. I sometimes wish I was taller I stand at a mere 5′, and that can be rather difficult when trying to reach things on higher shelves. I wish my boobs could be a more rounded shape as I feel they are rather cone shaped at times. Other than that I’m pretty much happy with the way I look. I don’t feel the need to change my appearance with a shit tonne of plastic surgery or liposuction, makeup or clothing just to please someone else’s ideals of beauty.

I’ll wear clothes that make me feel comfortable, leave my hair as an unruly mess, or straighten it if I want to. I’ll only wear makeup if my skin is nasty or if I can ever be bothered to do it, which is hardly ever and I’ll only shave if I’m going swimming. See I don’t feel the need to wear the latest fashions have my eyebrows constantly on point, have a full face of makeup every day or be completely hairless just because it’s considered acceptable and appropriate for women to do so.

Living under the thumb of social norms and pressure is a constant nightmare and doesn’t do anyone any good. We have all become so used to judging others by the way they dress, act and present themselves. The constant bombardment of women’s magazines, celebrity elevation and the media, in general, has brainwashed us all, me included. None of us can pretend that even on the most subconscious level we don’t want to constantly try and present the best sides of ourselves.

The explosion of social media sites such as Instagram, snapchat and Pinterest and the many filters that come along with them have created a generation of people who feel the urge to post their whole lives to the world. The emulation of peers and celebrities is such an attractive draw for so many that we forget to be who we are at times

Yes, I’ll admit that I have been a victim of this overshare drive. I have ranted on Facebook or posted a bazillion holiday snaps and even done a terrible job and trying to improve selfies. I’ll admit that I’m one of many who wants to prove to others that I’ve having a fabulous life and I’m looking good while doing it.

In fact, I’m just a regular person. I binge watch shows I listen to the music that I’m into I read, just a little bit you understand; I spend most of my time at work or home and occasionally meeting up with my closest friends. And that is the boring truth of it. But you know what? I’m content with it as of this moment in time. So it may not be the most adventure filled life, but it’s the one that suits me best and I shouldn’t have to go round changing anything about it to please others. If I do so, it’ll be for my development, growth and fulfilment.

My life shouldn’t be dictated to by others based upon my gender. Why should I be seen as any less than what I am because I have breasts instead of a penis? Sure there are obvious physical differences that can lead to differences in physical strength and women are far more likely to be empathetic and nurturing than men. However, that’s not to say that these ‘rules’ or stereotypes apply across the board in 100% of the male or female population.

For example, there are many women in athletics who are bodybuilders, weight lifters, martial artists and so on and so forth. On the other end there are plenty of men who work in the care sector, work with children, are nurses, or provide valid and crucial emotional support to those around them. Not all women love shopping, I know I get tired and frustrated if I can’t find what I want within two seconds flat. I can only sustain shopping if I’m plied with chocolate and fizzy drinks or better yet alcohol. Not all men are sporty, and women can and do love sex just as much as men. Men can and are sensitive, and some females may be emotionally ‘stunted’ or strong.

It is simply that both women and men will use their unique physicality and emotional state of being to be able to apply particular physical or emotional strengths and capabilities that are unique to them but may be perseverance as uniquely male or female rather than individual. The thing is we seem to teach and ingrain these traits that boys don’t cry and girls can’t love sports or maths and science from a very early age in life. This is a very damaging and intellectually stunting trait we have as a whole.

I wrote an entire post about the fact that I do taekwondo. I have also mentioned on numerous occasions that I’m not the tallest person in the world. However, this advantage of short stature is surprisingly beneficial for me to maximise my power if ever I needed to defend myself. I may not be the most physically powerful person in the world, but I can use everything that I have and am to maximise every chance I can take. I can utilise what I know works best for me to achieve the power I know I’m capable of.

Life’s about accepting that, yes there are certain benefits and disadvantages to both genders but accepting and fully realising who you are as an individual and not simply falling into gender stereotypes because it’s ‘easier’. Learning who you are, how you react and grow is a life long lesson and if we ever think we’ve stopped learning then we become stale, emotionally, socially, intellectually out of date individuals.

I’m not the same person that I was when I was 16 or even 18. Nor would I want to be. I mean the essentials of my personality are the same, but I’ve grown up, matured, changed for the better. I know that I’ve got a whole lifetime to explore and expand my horizons, broaden my mind and expand and feel more comfortable in the person that I’ll morph into.

I know that I’m a socialist and I love working with children. That’s a part of my personality that has grown and become more developed. With that knowledge, I can focus my energy and time on the tings that are important to me and that I want to improve upon by looking at different avenues in which to develop my knowledge and skills.

Playing to my strengths sets me aside from both gender stenotypes and others. I’m not an identical match of some other random woman or man that I’ve never met before. My reactions, beliefs, emotional and intellectual outlooks and general state of being is purely me. Yes, I can be influenced by others and different information and how I’m feeling mentally and emotionally, but that’s part and parcel of being … wait, get this? … HUMAN. Not merely FEMALE but HUMAN. We all view the world differently and will have our unique outlook regarding a different state of affairs.

I should never be made to feel like a second class citizen in any situation just because I’m female. I’m a human being who deserves exactly equal rights as every other person in the world. I should be allowed to feel that I can do and be whatever I want regardless of my gender. If girls want and can be the next Neil Armstrong then why shouldn’t they be? If a boy wants to be the next Beyoncé why can’t he?

Pink isn’t my favourite colour, I don’t and can’t always do my makeup to perfection, I don’t keep up with the Kardashians. I’ve never even bothered with the latest diet fads or been obsessed with what a celebrity is wearing or who they’re dating. I never had a Barbie when I was younger preferring to climb trees instead.

Don’t even get me started on commercials, especially those relating to house cleaning products or perfumes. Why is it that any house cleaning product is always advertised with women using it? So what we’re supposed to be the stay at home housewife and mum raising the kids? Like fuck off mate, men are perfectly capable of doing some hard graft in the kitchen or bathroom. And why is it that perfume adds always show a man and a woman always being all sexy with each other? First of all, mate that seems to me that it says that if you don’t have a good perfume, you can’t be sexually attractive which is just a dumb and illogical idea. Secondly, why is it always a man and a woman? How about representing more lesbian, transgender and gay relationships in commercials? And finally why are men and women portrayed as merely sexual beings anyway in those adverts? WHY? For all that is holy WHY?

This divide we still have between genders is astonishing. Although It is hidden and shrouded in ‘advancements’ we, even in the western world have a long way to go before gender equality is neutralised. Even down to names women still get hollered at them from some idiot who will think he’s being all emasculated by shouting ‘baby’, ‘gorgeous’, no I think you’ll find my name is Ellie and unless I’m in a long-term committed relationship with someone I won’t answer to anything else.

So before I carry on too much more and bore you completely to death with my massive ramble, I shall love you and leave you until next time my lovelies. :).

Stereotypical/frustrating things I’ve heard as an individual with a Visual impairment

Hi everyone I hope you’ve had a good week and weekend so far. I’m thinking from now on I’ll probably just post every Sunday rather than Friday. At least that way I’ll have a bit more energy and motivation to write. I just want to apologise for not uploading sooner. I did have a bit of writer’s block/lack of inspiration before this lovely little idea popped into my head after reading some other blogs about the subject. This week I will be giving some examples of just a few of the things that piss me off the most when people find out that I’m visually impaired.

1. Won’t glasses help?
No, do you think that I wouldn’t be wearing glasses every day if they had a significant impact on my vision? My vision is due to the undergrowth of my retina’s. Thus not enough light is let into my visual cortex. Unfortunately, glasses can’t magically make the retina’s bigger.

2. But you don’t look blind?
No? Really? I never really thought I seemed blind either thank you very much. The mere fact that I managed to put my clothes on the right way round with a set of matching socks is beyond me. Dude, just because I have a visual impairment doesn’t mean I have to start rocking back and forth, walk like a zombie, wave my hands like a manic duck and try and take my eyes out by sticking my fingers in them.

3. I’ll pray for you.
Wait, hold up. I’m not religious or even slightly spiritual so you praying to your version of God is lost on me. Anyway, why would God decide to take away my apparent ‘suffering’ when he has bigger fish to fry like trying to cure cancer or righting the wrongs of child molesters? Your view of suffering is entirely messed up if you think I need your prayers to be healed.

4. How many fingers am I holding up?
Man, this is one of the oldest questions in the book. If I’m standing close enough, I can perfectly well tell you how many fingers I’m holding up and give you one or two well-chosen fingers of my own, thanks.

5. Are things blurry?
Again, another old question. No simple enough. My vision is not blurry it’s just not as sharp and defined as yours.

6. Do you want to feel my face?
Ew, piss off you weirdo. That’s one fetish better left to you and the misses in the bedroom thanks very much.

7. Do you know sign language?
Really? If you have asked a blind/visually impaired person this, then you are rather stupid. Seeing as sign language is a visual set of hand movements it really rather goes against the whole concept that anyone with a VI would be able to use it. Sign Language is for those who are hard of hearing/deaf and rely on their eyesight over their hearing.

8. You’re such an inspiration.
Great thanks, but you have very little insight into what is inspirational then. Malala Yousafzai, Mahat Magandi, Martin Luther King, they are examples of inspirational individuals because they have helped change the world in a positive way. All I’m doing is living my life and coping with any of the unique challenges it throws at me. You’ll have your challenges that I wouldn’t be able to deal with, so I’m by no means inspirational.

9. So can you/do you work?
Yes, I’m not completely incapable of earning my money thank you very much. I know it’s such a shocker that they let me out of my cage even long enough to do anything useful with my life. Oh and by the way? NO I DON’T WORK WITH COMPUTERS. I work in a school as an MSA and TA would you believe it or not?

10. Can you/do you live independently?
Well, I went to uni for three years, and I still have all my body parts, didn’t burn the house down, just about managed to feed and clothe myself, managed to pay bills and attend lectures and even make a few friends I would say that was a success, don’t you? Just because the government has buggered all us young people up by rising the housing marking prices so no-one could reasonably afford to live on their own for two seconds without going bankrupt and dying, doesn’t mean I couldn’t.

So yes those are just 10 things that can be quite common to hear and are frustrating as hell, hense my rather ranty and sarcastic way of writting. However I hope you enjoyed this post and managed to learn something whilst having a little giggle along the way.

Until next week my lovlies, have a good week :).

The enlightenment of a lesbian

Hi Everyone I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. Today marks the end of the Easter term. Working in a school sets you up to fall into a weird state of mind where you start counting down the days until the next holiday right from the first day of term. That’s not to say I don’t love my job because I do beyond belief but if you ask anyone who works in a school and they don’t openly admit to counting the days off on their calendars, then you can safely assume they do it in private.

However, that is not what I’m going to be talking about today. I will be talking about my experience of coming out as a lesbian. I’m now 26 and the process, for me, started when I was around 13 – 14 years old. It’s strange to think that I’ve known that I like girls/women for a longer period than I didn’t.

I feel the need to start off by saying that I feel very thankful that I am one of the very lucky ones. Many people in the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community have faced a lot of stigma, fear, persecution, hate and have been the victims of crime even among their families. I can only speak for myself and my own, rather sheltered story.

I have been lucky enough to have a supportive group of friends and family members around me my entire life who have, with very little comment, accepted who I am.

So my journey began when I was around 13 years old nearing the end of Year 9 of secondary school. It was at this time in my life when I started to become aware of the fact that I found women good looking. At that age, I didn’t realise what that meant. I guess you could say that I just thought that was a regular thing that every girl did. I’d had crushes on boys in my year. However, being able to look back now I can see that there was a clear distinction starting to form between the way I was starting to view other girls in my year to the way I was looking at boys.

This spark began to grow and develop until I was 14 and half way through year 10. It was at this stage in my life that I had my first proper crush on a friend of mine. I couldn’t get over how cool she was, she was confident, amazing at art, had that gothic independent streak in her. I either wanted to be her or be with her. I couldn’t quite make up my mind but either way, I knew I liked being around her.

One evening I picked up the courage to message her on myspace, god that takes me back; unfortunately, the feelings weren’t mutual luckily she was cool with it, and we remained friends. She was kind enough to give me some soothing words of advice. For the life of me, I can’t remember her exact words, but I remember the gist.

Only you know your mind, feelings and emotions. You’re the only one who knows what’s right for you. If you like girls that’s fine, if you like boys that’s fine, if you like both that’s fine as well. Only you can know that and no-one can make that call for you. That same sentiment applies to anyone in the LGBT community. Each will identify differently.

If someone is transgender (someone born into one gender, male or female but feels strongly that they were born into the wrong body i.e. they are the opposite gender to their body and will likely suffer from body dysmorphia) then who are we to tell them they can’t be who they truly are?

If someone identifies as non-binary – genderfluid, agender, bigender (an individual born in the body of one gender but feels like their personality and mentality can vary between male or female) then we cannot constrict them from presenting in a way that makes them happy and comfortable in who they are.

Somebody who might identify as Bisexual – emotionally and physically attracted to both men and women, may be seen as unable to make up their mind. I was on the receiving end of comments like this when I was around 16 – 17 years old and however light-hearted the comment may be it can still be hurtful by the way). They are not constrained to a gender. Rather, they like the personality of the individual. Another word often used in this situation is pansexual.

Of course, there are many labels for people who lie along the spectrum of straight or lesbian/gay and male/female and many people may have more than one label. However, it can be very confusing and very constricting at times to be labelled, and some individuals do not like to label themselves but just live each day as it comes.

Anywho getting back to my story, it was not long after that incident that I was able to find the courage to come out as bisexual to my group of friends at school. Luckily I was not the only person in that particular group who identified as Bi, so I felt fairly at ease to do so.

My parents, on the other hand? Well, that was the terrifying part. You never quite know how they’ll react, whether it’ll bother them if they’ll feel disappointed and betrayed. Not having that control over reactions and the fear of the consequences of your feelings can be a frightening thing.

You don’t want to be shut out because of who you are and how you express yourself. You don’t want to be belittled or undermined because you are a certain way or your sexuality doesn’t conform to the outdated social construct of what is considered normal.

I can’t remember the finner details of when I told my mum that I thought I was Bi. I believe it was because I wasn’t initially planning on saying anything at that particular time. It was a relaxed Saturday evening, and I think The X Factor was on and my mum had asked my brothers what they thought of Cheryl Cole and then she asked me and it just came out that I figured I was bi.

I also think I was lucky in the fact that it wasn’t made a big deal of. It was almost like nothing had been said, not in a negative, ‘we’re gonna ignore this’ type situation, it was more of an, ‘ok that’s fine we’re comfortable with this, and you can talk to me whenever you feel you want to’, kind of situation.

So from the age of around 14, I was officially Bi, and I started to accept that it was ok for me to like both men and women. I learnt that this ‘shift’ in one aspect of my life didn’t mean the end of the world, more it was just part of me growing up and getting to know more about myself.

For the next 3 – 4 years, if anyone ever asked me about my sexuality I would say that I was Bi.

When I was 16, I went to a specialist boarding school for people with Visual Impairments. It was my first time away from home and a time that I learnt a lot about myself. Being away from home at this age can be a rather peculiar feeling. You have the licence to explore who you are without the confinement of your parents being on your back the entire time.

It was during this three year period that I went through a huge mental and emotional journey regarding my sexuality. To say that I was confused would be the understatement of the year.

I had gone from being straight one minute 2 years beforehand to being Bi. Then during another three year period, I went from being Bi to Lesbian and back and forth for a little while. It’s such a weird state of limbo that you find yourself being in. You never know quite where you stand with yourself.

At that age I was someone who just wanted to know one way or the other. I wanted to be able to label myself. Not quite being able to was a real struggle. It was a strange state of affaires because I had, what you could call, minor crushes, on a couple of the boys in my year at this point in time. However, it was their personality that was more of the attraction rather than their physical being.

I had no idea of what my head or my emotions were doing to me and I think that the worry and the concern did get in the way of letting things just blossom more naturally. I didn’t quite want to be into girls but I knew I wasn’t into boys the same way that all my friends were.

It didn’t help that non of my close friends were experiancing the same thing as me so I didn’t really have anyone to talk to who could truely understand what I was going through and help me in any way. Having real people who you can trust and talk to who have experience of what your situation is can be a life saver at times.

However, since the age of eighteen I have self identified as lesbian. Not that I particularly like that word. I prefer the word gay. As strange as that may seem for a woman. It’s my own personal preference. Some women prefer the word lesbian, some such as myself prefer the word gay and some don’t like to be called anything. It litterally does depend on the individual.

Since 18 I have had a few periods of personal crises where I do wander, ‘am I really, fully gay?’ The simplest answer that would be yes. I would much rather be with another woman than a man. That’s not to say that if I fell for a man I wouldn’t date him and be with him for the rest of my life. No, I think it just depends on the personality of the person. Nonethelss, I know that I am much more physically attracted to women and emotionally, I feel I would be much more relaxed and open with a woman.

However, it is said that sexuality is fluid. I have now come to embrace that saying. It really does depend on the personality of the person, how they make you feel and how you interact. It’s not as black and white as some people make it out to be. It’s all about your own personal beliefs and feelings.

Your love life and sexuality is sometime that only you can be certain of. No one can tell you who you should and shouldn’t be. Yes, the likelyhood is that you will face times in your life when you question who you are and you know what? It’s ok to do so as long as you come to the conclusion and answer the questions by your own valision. There is nothing wrong with not knowing everything all the time but coming to terms with who you are and accepting who you love for them and not their gender/gender identity or sexuality. As long as you have a loving, caring relationship based on trust, friendship, respect and honesty things will wind up working out exactly as they should do.

For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you until next time. Have a great weekend :).

Daily life with albinism

Hi everyone I hope you’ve all had an enjoyable week.

In my last post, I gave you guys a brief overview of the more technical side of my visual impairment, Occularcutanious Albinism type 2 (OCA2). This week I want to give a brief insight into how this condition has and still affects me in my life so far. I won’t be going into any details about my experiences in both mainstream and SEN education or my experiences with discrimination in this post as I would want to go into further detail about that at a later date. So without any further ado, let’s get this party started.

So I was diagnosed at approximately two months old when my parents began to have concerns about me not looking directly at people and not reacting as a normal child would when people entered a room. After tests had been run, it was concluded in me having this particular condition.

From a young age, I was under the care of Professor Moor M.D at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. I had to have yearly checkups. This would involve, primarily a lot of waiting around, before undergoing different tests, which would include having eyedrops to dilate my eyes. I would then have to place my head into one of those headpieces and look into a bright light, so the professional could see into the back of my eye to evaluate the structure of my eye and the development of my rods and cones which are two structures that make up the retina.

I would also have to do multiple eye chart tests to determine my level of acuity and long distance ability. I also had to read the different sized text in books, to see how small print could be before I started to squint and move forward to see it.

Luckily I only had to go through this long, arduous process once a yea until I was 18. My condition is stable, meaning it won’t get any worse and as I turned 18, the age at which you are legally considered an adult in the UK, I was informed that I didn’t need annual appointments anymore. Thus I would only need to go if I felt it necessary.

Luckily I have never needed to go back to Moorfields to this date, and hopefully, I won’t need to for a long time coming.

Yes so this is all good and well Ellie, but you haven’t told us how you deal with everyday life yet. Well hang on I’m going to get to that now you, my lovelies.

I want to start off by saying it’s very hard to try and explain what I can and can’t see as I have nothing to compare my vision too. However, I will try my best.

A lot of the time people will ask me if my vision is blurry. The simple answer to that is no. My visual acuity is pretty decent. It’s not as sharp as my peers without a visual impairment, though. The way I try and explain it to people is by comparing non-HD tvs to the new super sharp screen tvs.

I struggle a lot with long distance i.e. my long distance vision is just like ‘nope I’m not gonna allow you to see clearly what’s a long way away’. This can be a real issue when trying to read things like overhead train or bus stop timetables or overhead menus in restaurants and cafes, don’t even get me started on trying to figure out what drinks they have behind the bar at clubs. Trying to recognise people at a distance can make me feel like an awkward turtle as I won’t recognise them half the time unless I’m right next to them or I’ve passed them. I’m not rude at all, that’s not the sort of person that I am by any means. I haven’t really got a mean bone in my body. However, just knowing that I can appear rude because of my sight is one of the big pet peeves I have about having a VI. If ever you were to ask me if I would have normal sight if I could most of the time I would say no but this issue is one of the two main reasons that I would say ‘yes please’ to normal sight, that and the ability to drive.

When trying to read labels or descriptions on the back of products? Well, lets just say I have no idea how I ever existed before I had my iPhone and it’s assistive technology to help me with that one. I remember the first ever phone I had. Well, sort of It was an updated version of those classic Nokia phones back in the day. Looking back now, I can safely say the screen was an absolute B***H. The screen size was terrible, the picture quality was awful and played havoc with my eyes, and the lack of assistive technology was crazy insane.

When I first got an iPhone, I started off with the 4S, my mind was blown, and I’ve never looked back since. The picture is fantastic, the inbuilt assistive technology, zoom and voice over on every Apple product, works seamlessly and the screen size of the 6S plus that I have at the moment is incredible for me. I also have a very useful app that turns the phone into a magnifier. This app/technology is far superior to any manual hand held magnifier I’ve had in the past. It means I can finally read books, labels, letters, bus and train timetables, etc. with ease and I don’t need to spend an extra £600 on a separate, electronic magnifier because the picture is so smooth, seamless, sharp and clear.

I am in love with apple products, the only thing I don’t have is the laptop. As I mentioned above,  the inbuilt assistive technology is amazing across the bored, there’s no need for any additional costs for things such as JAWS or Supernova, which are screen enlargment/reading systems that you have to pay for and manually install on the computer/laptop. These external systems can be quite expensive and can sometimes be prone to crashing and taking up space on the computer’s internal storage.

When travelling around and about, I’m ok I don’t have any particularly significant issues. The main concerns for me come in the form of stairways, as I have minimal depth perception trying to figure out how deep a step is can be a real nightmare at times. Another issue that I have troubles with is when the colour of the ground changes, e.g. when they have patterns in on flat surfaces in the town centres, because it can sometimes look like there is a step there when there isn’t.

Sometimes people with a VI prefer to walk on a particular side of someone else i.e. the individual prefers to walk on the right or left hand side of the people they are with depending on various factors. I myself tend to walk on people’s left side (the person is on my right hand side) because my left eye is stronger. Therefore, I am able to gain more information about the world around me and react to it quicker because my field of vision isn’t so dominated by the person. It’s a strange sense of relaxed comfort that many, including myself can’t explain to our sighted friends but it’s just a normal day to day way of life for us.

Another issue that likes to creep up on me is my ability or lack thereof to judge how far away moving objects can be, correctly. This is especially tricky in the case of bicycle users as they are not very visible in the first place.

Sometimes, if my eyes are tired, dry or just generally having an off day, I can find it harder to navigate as it’ll take me longer to process the information that I’m receiving because my eyes simply can’t take it in all at once. This is also the case when it’s dazzling outside, and I’m blonde enough to have forgotten my sunglasses.

So this has been quite a long, brief, overview, of how my sight affects my daily life. It can be tough to explain to people sometimes, because, if like me, you were born with a stable condition and you’ve never known any different, you make small allowances without even realising it. That’s just the reality of life for many people with a disability, it’s normal for us, and you know what? That’s ok that’s what we’re used to we know no different and we just carry on with our lives in our unique way.

For now my lovelies I shall love you and leave you until next time. HJave a great weekend :).