Self Care …. For Where You Are In Your Journey.

Hello Everyone,

As we move through our own journey in life no matter what that is, we can so easily get stuck comparing where we are at with those around us. Social media makes us compare our lives to what we see online. When the reality is that what we see online is not the reality.

I have had people come and tell me that they wish they were as confident and independent as I am in their blindness. The reality is that I have walked this journey in the good and the bad. I have those bad days, I have doubt, I have anxiety, I have break downs and there are sometimes tears and the feeling like I can’t keep going. We are all on our own journey and that journey will look very different for everyone.

The reality of those bad days are so important to share, and to be real about. Because those bad days make us so much more relatable and real. I never want anyone to think that it is sunshine and rainbows in my life. Because that is the farthest from the truth.

What I can tell you is how I am able to get through those hard days, the days that I just want things to be easier. I have days when I wish I could see and things would be easier. But then i take some time for me and I am reminded that my blindness makes me who I am good and bad.

My favourite things to do to bring me back to being in the moment and take the time to relax and just be are:

A hot bubble bath, I love having a good bubble bath. It is the time that I can just sit and relax and it is just for me and no one else. I even lock the bathroom door and turn on the fan to the highest setting so that I can’t hear what is going on outside the door and the kids can not come in and ask me if it is their turn on the xbox or tell me that someone touched them or who knows what other crisis will happen in that 30 minutes.

A good book, I love to read, this is a way that I can escape and take myself somewhere else. I am able to really just clear my head and enjoy the story unfolding. Depending on how I am feeling will depend on what I am reading, if I am trying to unwind and relax and just remove myself from my thoughts I will read something like fantasy, or contemporary. I also love to read non fiction but when I want to escape and take some time for myself I don’t like to read non fiction. That is saved for when I am in the mood to learn something new to conquer my goals.

A walk, a good walk can help to clear my head. I like to take my cane and take Danson just on leash. He loves getting out to just enjoy a non working walk. I try to go and walk on a path so that I don’t have to worry about traffic and other things.

A candle, I will lots of times light a candle and sit and just be in the quiet (this one has to wait until the house is empty). It can be nice to just be in the quiet and take the time to just slow down and be in the moment.

Taking the time to do things that make you feel better and help you to recharge can help you get through the rough times. Just talking about what you are experiencing and talk through the fears and frustrations with someone who can understand can be very helpful as well. I have a couple of friends who are walking through the journey of vision loss as well so they truly get it and there is nothing more comforting then to know you are not alone.

Blindfold Challenge Not Reality

Hello Everyone,

There has been a campaign online that gets people to blindfold friends and family members and have them do something that they would do on a regular basis as a blind person. For example going to the gym, cooking a meal, walking down the street.

I think the intentions were good with this campaign however it missed the mark for me. Here is why, it never gives a positive view of the disability. If you were to put on a blind fold and walk around you are not going to get a realistic view of my life, you are however going to pity me at the end. Since you do not have any of the skills to be a successful blind person you are going to think that it is horrible and you would never be able to do it all day every day. How is this helping to make people understand that our lives are full and amazing even with the lack of sight ? It doesn’t it is that simple !

The last thing that I want is pity, I live a full and amazing life. I am successful and independent and would not change a thing about my life. Please don’t put on a blind fold and think that you have any idea what my life is like because you do not have a clue.

Do not pity me but see me for a person who has many things to offer the world around me. I am a very capable person and that is what I want people to see, not think that everyday tasks are hard because they are not. I do them without vision which is simply different you are a visual person and are trying to things visually with a blind fold on, that will never end well !

If you are not convinced that I live an amazing life please subscribe and let me show you.

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

2 Year Guide Dog Anniversary

Hello Everyone, I hope you are all well.

September is International Guide Dog month, there is so many ways that Guide Dogs impact the lives of blind and partially sighted people all over the world.

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2 years ago today I was so grateful to be walking across the stage to graduate with my first guide dog. It was an emotional day I was so happy to have received him and what he was going to do for my life. But I was also sad, I was sad for Rick’s puppy raisers they loved him just as much as I did and they had to say good bye. I was very happy that they had made the trip to Portland, OR to meet me and be a part of Rick’s graduation. Rick’s puppy raiser gave me the best gift besides my children I will ever receive. Being able to raise a dog for a year and pour so much of your heart and soul into training and socializing the dogs and then have to say good bye. This has to be a very hard thing to do and I am beyond grateful for their huge hearts and incredible gift.

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Now that Rick and I have been a team for 2 years now we are a pretty well oiled machine. We have an amazing relationship and I could not ask for a better guide. He knows me very well and can usually predict where I am wanting to go, also his coffee finding skills are out of the park. He is happy to traipse all over the country side going to events and shopping and sitting through many hours of meetings and he is happy to cuddle and keep me company when I work from home.

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There are so many ways that Rick has changed my life he has helped me to embrace my disability and live my life my way. He has helped me to find my confidence that I have always wanted to have. Rick has also made the work of advocating and educating the public a little easier because people want to talk to you when you have an adorable yellow lab wagging his tail sitting next to you. It is like he makes people more comfortable to approach us and talk.

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So many of the things I have mentioned are not even guiding tasks, and that is what I want people to know, a Guide Dog does more than just show us the curbs and take us around obstacles. They enhance our lives so much.

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Thank you to everyone who makes it possible for people who are blind or partially sighted to have Guide Dogs in their lives you are amazing !

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

You are so lucky !!

Hello Everyone,

Today I want to talk about a misperception of people who are blind or partially sighted and dating or being married or in a relationship of any kind.

There is this misperception that people with disabilities are not bringing anything to the relationship and that the person who is in a relationship with them is doing them a huge favour by being in a relationship with that person. This is insane ! People with disabilities can bring just as much to a relationship as someone without a disability.

My husband and I have been together for 13 years and married for 11. When we started dating he knew that I had a vision impairment, that never was a factor in our relationship though because I have a personality. I am not just a blind person that is not all I have to offer. We did not start dating because he felt bad for me.

When I lost the remainder of my vision 3 years ago I have had many people say to me and my husband, “you are so amazing for sticking around”. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I have also had people say “you are so lucky your husband stuck around”. Why is it people think that we could not have any sort of “normal” relationship because I have a disability. The comments like “oh, you are married, I never would have guessed” are sickening.

Ignorance fuels these types of comments and misperceptions, if they had taken the time to get to know me or anyone with a disability they would see that I have just as much to offer a relationship and the world as the next person.

I have asked my husband if he feels like I am a burden to him and like he wishes I wasn’t blind. His response is always “no, your blindness does not define our relationship and you are just as capable as anyone else. You are stubborn and drive me nuts sometimes but that is not because you are blind that is because you are Ashley.”

So the next time you think someone is lucky to have a partner just because they have a disability, try looking beyond the disability and to the fact that they are a person who has so much to offer.

Thanks for reading !
Until Next Time !
Ashley and Rick

Living with Albinism

I get many questions about what causes my blindness and the easy answer is Albinism. Albinism is a lack of pigment in your eyes, skin and hair. Living with Albinism has had it’s challenges but it also makes me who I am and I love that.

Some of the challenges with living with Albinism are that well the sun and I do not get along. I will burn in what feels like seconds, and I mean burn not like a little pink, but like it hurts to lay on your back burn. I also never ever tan I get red and burn and then it goes away and I burn again there is no “oh my burn makes a good base tan”. When it is hot out and you want to go swimming in the pool and your hair turns a lovely shade of green from the chlorine in the pool ! This is never a good look !

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photo of me on the deck wear a pink shirt and sunglasses 

The sun and my eyes hate each other more than my skin and the sun. I can not stand the sun in my eyes there are no sunglasses dark enough to keep the sun from hurting my eyes. It is so uncomfortable for my eyes that even though all I can see is a little bit of light I wish I could not. I have to keep the blinds in my house down durning the day it is like a dungeon in here. When I hear people say “in my home I want lots of natural light” I am over here wishing my house had less windows !

My eyes have a nystagmus which is something that goes along with having albinism. Nystagmus is the involuntary movement of your eyes or dancing eyes. I have a rotary nystagmus so my eyes move in a circle all the time this always made it really hard to focus when I had vision. Now that I only see small amounts of light it makes that light bounce around when it is really bright which can drive me nuts.

Living with Albinism makes us unique and it is a part of us. There are many people who live with albinism and are shunned because of where they were born and it is truly a nightmare that this happens today. I think that we are all beautiful amazing people no matter what. Albinism is just a part of us that makes us who we are but we are not magical, we do not have red eyes, we don’t all look identical because like every person there is a wide spectrum of albinism and an even wider range of people and personalities that have albinism.

Today June 13th is International Albinism Awareness Day, I am proud of my albinism and the person it has made me today and I hope that every person living with Albinism can feel the same way !

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick

All content is copy written to Ashley Nemeth no use of any materials published are to be used without permission.