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So much has transpired in the last 5 years of blogging together.  Our perspectives have shifted dramatically.  If you look at one of our very first posts, “To Tell or Not to Tell”, about whether to disclose our vision loss in public, to more recent posts about guide dogs and canes, the shift is obvious.  But it didn’t happen overnight.  And it didn’t happen without a lot of input and support from friends we met in the online community.

2011-2012:  We’re not alone.  Between our readers, Facebook groups and fellow bloggers’ posts, we discovered a whole new “blogosphere” of people with Retinitis Pigmentosa and other conditions.  It was this connection that pushed us to keep writing, keep exploring, and keep discovering new things about ourselves and the unique world of vision loss.

2012-2013:  There’s a lot more to life than going blind.  If you look at our archives, you’ll notice this is the year we took a little hiatus.  Jenelle had her second baby, Joy started working on other writing projects, and life got busy.  We took a little break from both writing and reading vision-related blogs for awhile, realizing that there are so many more aspects to our lives than vision.  But when we picked back up and started writing consistently again, we were once again greeted with enthusiasm and encouragement.

2013-2014: The blind community is as diverse as the general population. Blindness is something that crosses all cultures, age groups, genders, and socioeconomic levels.  Consequently, the personalities, likes, dislikes, hobbies, views, etc. are extremely diverse.  This was the year we really began discovering the wide array of people in the blind blogosphere.  We have had the privilege of connecting with a multitude of interesting, yet often very different friends in the online blind community, including blind active mama friends, crafty comrades  adventurous, witty intellectualsartsy, clever New Yorkers, blind Canadian advocates, bold blind fashionistas, and let us not forget our guy-friend blogger and his amazing TEDtalk. And this just scratches the surfaces of interests, personalities and geographic locations.  IMG_3646

Even among assistive devices, people have their things; some like dogs, others canes, still others echolocation, some nothing, some braille, some hardware, some software. Under the umbrella of “blindness”, there are a select few who are in complete darkness (10 percent, like our friend and Youtube talent Joy Ross), others who have light perception, some shapes, some puzzle pieces, some just in daylight, some just at night, some large print, and even some who “drive blind“.

2014-2015:  The blind community has a strong, growing voice.  There is a growing voice in the blind community that is influencing culture.  This is the year we really started noticing an explosion of public awareness in the media: bloggers started popping up left and right (blind mamas, blind papas, blind professionals, you name it!).  These people have always existed, but it seems they have been growing in their public presence and confidence.  A major magazine, Real Simple, feature spread on blind moms with guide dogs, and reality tv producers have been seeking out blind talent.

Most of these efforts are positive and have the intention of educating the public, though this rise in media attention has created some controversy over whether people are overdoing it in regard to “inspiration”.  We in the blind community are, after all, just living our lives, and humans have a way of adapting to most anything.  It can be confusing when simple daily tasks are hailed as “amazing”.  On the other hand, there are unique challenges when it comes to sight loss, and the human capacity to overcome and move forward is, in itself, inspiring.  From our perspective, if it can help inspire others to do the same in their own lives, whatever their unique challenge happens to be, then it is noteworthy.

IMG_36472015-2016:  Shame is a common theme.  We used to think that we were the only ones who tried to hide our vision loss.  We have since discovered that this is actually a common phenomenon among people losing their eyesight.  Fortunately, amazing organizations such as the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind, are recognizing that this is an issue and have training, counseling and other programs available to help people get past the stigma.  “For those with changing vision, the daunting part is not usually the fear of darkness, but.the fear of admitting that you’re different.” – San Francisco Lighthouse For the Blind & Visually Impaired

 

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10 thoughts on “5 Things the Online Community Taught Us About Blindness (Happy 5th Anniversary Doublevisionblog!)

  1. Neat retrospective, lots of interesting things/people over the years. I went back and read the first Double Vision post–I think oh, maybe just a few more people have been reached outside your family and friends, ladies!! Well done. Happy 5th blog anniversary. Thanks for sharing your amazing voices throughout your journeys.

  2. We hope so! Thanks Susan! You, of course, are one of the amazing bloggers who we’ve connected with, and your writing makes such an impact in the visually impaired community! So glad we got to meet in person! Looking forward to more to come!!!

  3. Happy 5th Anniversary ladies!! I feel so fortunate to have met you and so many other interesting people who happen to be blind and finding we share so much in common. It’s exciting to be part of this explosion of having our voices heard and bringing about positive change in the mainstream where blindness is concerned. Thank you for all you do and for the shout out!

    • Thank you, Steph! You are such a faithful comrade and we’re so inspired by all that you are doing to bring awareness to the general population. We are certainly all connected in this world, and we’re so glad our paths have crossed so closely with yours.

      Jenelle

  4. What a wonderful and inspiring post. I think support groups are so crucial to dealing with the difficulties and challenges that life brings in some shape or form. Knowing others are going through the same thing and hearing how they cope and sharing that insight is a fantastic form of support.

    Thank you for this enlightening post.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, Peta. Glad that you have also found the online community to be a great support network.

      Jenelle

  5. Was just introduced to you from another blog site. I am a school nurse in a small town middle school, and many of my children over the past 20 years in this capacity have had amazing hurdles to overcome and adapt to. “From our perspective, if it can help inspire others to do the same in their own lives, whatever their unique challenge happens to be, then it is noteworthy.” This is what I receive from them also. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • It sounds like you have made an impact as a school nurse just by allowing these children to inspire you. Thank you for reading our blog and for your kind words.

      Jenelle

  6. Congratulations on your 5th anniversary. I grew up with RP & know all about that shame stuff, so kudos to you for speaking out about it. I found you through Steph.

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