Natasha’s story – connecting reflections

Hi there,

 

I have never blogged before; for a number of reasons really, being dyslexic probably hasn’t helped, and being so indecisive that I agonise over every word I put down on paper isn’t ideal either.

So bear with me!

 

I guess I should start by telling you a little about myself. I’m 25 and live in Leeds. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have any hobbies unless you count going to the gym, the definition of hobbies is “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure” and I am definitely not at the working out for pleasure stage yet.

 

I have been registered blind since birth with leber’s congenital amaurosis. Although I rely on assistive technology in day to day life, I am really grateful I am left with some useful sight.

 

Growing up I attended mainstream school and was the only blind person there. I spent the majority of my time attempting to fit in to a sighted world and “not look blind”, whatever that even means. However, this was probably detrimental to my education in the end as I was so desperate to look sighted and fit in no-one recognised I was struggling.

 

I made the decision to leave mainstream education after GCSE’s and move to Hereford to attend a specialist school. I know it’s not everyone’s choice so don’t judge me too strongly for it but I think people gain different things from the experience, and they aren’t always necessarily academic ones.

 

One of the most valuable things I personally gained was a network of blind and partially sighted peers who knew things that I didn’t, for example what phone I could get that was easy to use, how to use Spotify or which apps were good for someone with sight loss.

 

It has been a long time since I had interacted with people with a sight condition so for me, this network made a vast difference to my life. Knowing people had gone through the same struggles and were facing the same life hurdles was a comfort.

 

After leaving college I set up my own business as a massage therapist, I did this for 3 and a half years and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I am someone who always craves change however, whether that’s a new lamp, new house or new job, so the time came for me to try my hand at something new.

 

Exploring the job pages is always a testing time in my experience, reading job advertisements full of self doubt; “No they won’t let me do that job I’m blind”, “No I don’t have the qualifications for that one”. None of these are constructive thoughts though and there comes a time in life when you have to just swallow your pride and take a shot.

 

I ended up stumbling across a job with RNIB, working for RNIB Connect. The job really resonated with me as the sole focus was to essentially help people create their own local peer support networks, something that had benefited me so much earlier on in life. I was fortunate enough to get the job and now I am working towards finding the people to be a part of these networks which is harder than expected, however I won’t be deterred.

 

Also, if you would like me to keep on blogging please let me know 🙂

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

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