Celebrating One Year of Blind Intuition
Welcome back to Blind Intuition. 2016 has come to an end, and we are well into a hot and summery January if you are living in Australia. Today is also the 21st of January which means that Blind Intuition has been live for one year.
Since launching my blog in January 2016, I have alot to celebrate. The blog for me is a personal record of my progress towards independence after becoming legally blind from a benign tumour on my optic nerve when my son Archer was born. I have been enjoying looking back on old posts because they are living proof of how I have become more confident in myself, how my thoughts have changed over time as I have moved through the stages of grief, loss and acceptance. It has bought me right out of my comfort zone by sharing my story with others in hope to make a difference in their lives in some way. It has been my way of making a contribution to society and giving me a sense of purpose. So let us recap on 2016 and share what is in store for 2017!
In The Beginning
In the beginning, it was incredibly daunting exposing the rollercoaster of ups, downs, success and flaws with the online world. Very soon after Archer was born and brain surgery was on the cards, I knew Cam and I had a story to tell. I wanted to make a difference to other people’s lives, even if it was just one person by sharing our experience with trauma, grief, loss and muddling our way through as first time parents. I felt like I had a point to prove. That I am still me, I am not just Sarah the blind chick or blind mum. I am much more than that and capable of so much and can still contribute my piece to society. The blog was a vehicle to ponder my thoughts, tell my story and find out what people wanted to read and see. It was daunting, yet liberating to blurt it all out. Reception from followers has mostly been positive and supportive.
I enjoy reminiscing on old posts. I see a change in my confidence, mental state, the change in how things in the beginning were so difficult and created much anxiety – like reading to Archer. I am much more relaxed about many things. For example:
- What other people think and their opinion on whether I am a capable mother.
- The fact that I can only do my best, that I am allowed to have a shit day and feel sorry for myself at times.
- That the only person I need to please is myself.
Exposure to the wider community
When I first launched Blind Intuition, I didn’t realise the impact my story would have on the wider community. In the beginning, the local paper ‘The Bendigo Advertiser’ and ABC Central Victoria, shared my story in conjunction with Vision Australia and raising their profile. I then went on Channel 9 National news for Mother’s day, got a couple of blog posts published on Mamamia Women’s Network, and shared my story with Award winnning journalist Ginger Gorman where it was published nationally on news.com.au. My story was published in Bendigo Magazine and was used for Vision Australia’s Spring Fundraising Campaign.
At Christmas time 2016, Archer and I featured in The Herald Sun promoting Vision Australia’s Carols By Candlelight with the goal of raising one million dollars in one Christmas to go towards children who are blind or have low vision. This target was well and truly achieved. My story was also published in the night’s program. I got invited to share my story through public speaking at the Vision Australia Bendigo Centre’s Open Day and at the Vision Australia Carols By Candlelight Launch Night in front of their major sponsors.
One year on, Blind Intuition’s following is growing with the largest presence being on Facebook with just over 1200 followers, Instagram tipping 500 followers and Twitter tipping over 350 followers. I never imagined it to get as big as it has.
Personal Goals Smashed
My goal in the beginning was to just become independent so that I didn’t have to rely on others so much. This was a much bigger goal and affected every aspect of my life: socially, physically, mentally and emotionally. In some cases I had to fight to be heard. I have to practise routes, identify landmarks so I don’t get lost. It will get easier, but it takes time. However in a year, I have caught the bus into town from home independently so I can go shopping, catch up with a friend for a coffee and take Archer to the library. I have caught the train to Melbourne a couple of times to meet people at the other end and have travelled independently home to Tasmania half a dozen times with Archer making use of the mobility services available such as Salvation Army at the Airport and Travellers Aid at Southern Cross Railway Station.
I have achieved my goal of running a half marathon thanks to the encouragement of my fabulous long time friend Maddy who ran with me as my guide. That was an emotional day.
I learnt braille, thinking it would be useful to have to read to Archer. I have enjoyed learning Braille and hope to become more fluent in it. Reading to Archer is easier than what I thought it would be. I am restricted by the size of the print, however there are many I can read. Many books are repetitive so are easy to remember. Cameron and I try to read to Archer together and Cameron will chime in when I am struggling. Eventually I remember the book off by heart anyway, so Archer doesn’t miss out.
I function in the home normally. A few extra gadgets and everything being in its place and organised, helps. Read my post here on how I organise the home to function.
As a family we travelled to Europe for three weeks. We went to Italy, France and Scotland. The trip really made me appreciate what I do have in life and gave me a chance to experience something new and become excited again. I now have a travel bug. Read my posts below about our trip overseas:
- 11 Surface Things to See on a Quick Trip to Paris
- Top 10 Gelato Flavours to Try in Italy
- Rome in 3.5 days with a Toddler
- So how did a long haul flight really go with a toddler?
- 10 things to do in Venice in just one day
- Preparing for a long haul flight with a toddler!
What’s happening in 2017?
As far as the blog goes, I would like to increase the content and write more about what I am interested in and how I do it. There will be a new section on my blog soon called ‘Cooking for Critters’. I am passionate about cooking healthy food for Archer that is quick, easy and stress free. Watch this space.
We have just bought our own place and have sold our house in Melbourne so I am excited to style it and make it our own. I will be sharing that along the way. I used to be quite crafty and creative before I lost my vision so I think styling our home will bring a sense of that side back. Although I will still share my challenges and obstacles, I want the blog to evolve over time to a parenting/lifestyle/healthy living blog. I believe I will still raise awareness for people who are blind or have low vision because it demonstrates that life goes on as normal and that it should be lived, blind or not.
I am hoping to create more video content through social media to raise awareness of the resources available to people who are blind or have low vision and how I use them in my everyday life. As with last year, I have no idea where another year of blogging will take me. I will take it in my stride and go with the flow and do what feels right.
Thank you for supporting me over the year and welcome to new readers. I hope you all have a great 2017!