Respect During This Pandemic

Hey guys,

How’s your quarantine going? What have you guys been doing? I’ve been writing. I’ve watched a couple of movies, (yes blind people do that too) and I’ve been going on walks. Can we please talk about how awesome it is that artists are doing live stream concerts lately? If you need something good to check out, Kelsea Ballerini came out with a new album, Kelsea. It’s really good so you should give it a listen. Let me know what you’re doing these days and what you think of the album. While I personally believe it is good to be informed and stay on top of the news, I think we need to also find other things to do. I wanted to make a post about the importance of respecting one another during this crazy pandemic we’re all living in. Once this ends people are going to teach future kids about this part of history. Before I get into the main point of this post, let me say a couple of things. Guys, I get it. We all get it. The world we’re living in right now is scary. People are often comparing this pandemic to World War II and the Great Depression. Did any of you ever like the American Girl books? Addy was always my favorite, but lately I feel like I’m living out of Molly or Kit books. Molly lived during World War II and Kit during the great depression. This virus has caused lots of disappointment. I’ve had concerts canceled. I have to watch where I go as we all should be doing. My twin left early so we couldn’t hang out before she left. My other friend had to cancel an amazing trip because of this. I was telling this particular friend the night we talked how important it is for us to feel our feelings. It sounds silly I know, but it’s true. Once I learned it, I’ve been suggesting people do the same. As friends (insert other relationships here) whoever we are to people, I believe that we need to meet them where they are in moments. And they should learn how to do that for us, too. I had a few people do that for me, and trust me, it changed everything for me. I can bless it forward because of that small handful of kind students and professors who entered my life during college and took it upon themselves to meet me exactly where I was.

 

For those of us with disabilities or for older folks, this virus also feels scary because we’re putting others at risk when we have them go to the store on our behalf. For me personally, it’s mostly older people who help me anyhow, so I just have another thing to add to my prayer list.

 

Next, we need to talk about panic buying. Guys, stop hoarding. If everything is taken, that’s selfish and you’re doing more harm than good. Is that what we really want right now? Especially right now? What saddens me is how I keep seeing people online all talking about when they see empty stores, they think they should buy in a panic. What’s with everyone acting the same? I get it, we all go through it sometimes. In college so many people did it. They all had the same jackets, etc. I’ve gone through it too, thinking that being like certain people might get me treated differently if I got “in” with them. I just got to a point where it doesn’t matter if I’m “in” with them anymore. Let’s be our own people and think of others please.

 

Remember at the beginning of this post where I mentioned respect? Let’s talk about that now. Sadly, lately I’ve seen people talking about how mad they are that people are taking so many precautions and canceling events. It’s crazy, but it’s happening for a reason. Lets all do our part in slowing the spread of this crazy virus. Whether you follow the news or get your information through others, I’m sure by now you’ve heard everyone saying to flatten the curve. This is so important so we aren’t over whelming our hospitals. Please respect that my (or someone else’s) version of cautious might not look like your version of cautious. That’s fine, but please don’t automatically assume people are in a complete panic because they’re living out what their version of cautious looks like. Please wash your hands. Take this seriously. Try your absolute hardest to not touch your face. For me personally, when my eyes really hurt, (I know there’s blind people feeling me on that at one time or another) I just flashback to a funny memory when one of my best friends, Helene, was doing my make up saying, “Don’t touch your eyes! Really. Don’t touch them. Even when they hurt. Promise?” On behalf of those of us like myself who are at a higher risk for this virus, please, stay home. And tell others to do the same.

Stay healthy and think about your decisions please.

Miranda ❤

She’s…Blind and Thank You

Hi friends! Happy 29! I always find today so cool because I’ve always found leap years interesting. It’s true what people say, I really am an old soul and I find little things interesting. It is amazing what can happen in four years. Today back in 2016, I was journaling about the rough day I had surrounding some personal things happening in my life at the time, and about school challenges that aren’t typically understood unless you have a disability or are friends with someone who does. I also was thankful that things were going well with Phillips because at that time in life having a male reader made me a bit nervous. Funny how life works and he ended up being one of the best things to happen to me. God knows what he’s doing. Really. Now I am thanking God for many things including being published, graduation, reconnecting with some friends, those lessons we must learn for our own growth even if they’re tough ones, my list goes on. Whether you’re a believer or not, what are you thankful for today or for so far this year?

 

Today I wanted to talk about the importance of calling blindness for what it is. In fact, unless the person says otherwise, we should be calling disabilities for what they are. Recently I was at a party and while these young people are nice, I heard one whisper, “She’s…” and their friend whispers back, “Blind.” Right away, I called them on it. Not in a mean way, but I quickly told them they should just say it out loud. Yes, I’m blind. Yes, it can be awkward for people, but say it for what it is. Now I certainly have a few friends where we can finish one another’s sentences, but I believe that especially with young adults, we need to grab onto teachable moments and run with them. I made sure to let them know they didn’t make me mad, but I wanted them to know for next time.

 

Another time I walked into one of my nutrition classes at URI. I made my way into class and asked someone to help me find a place to sit. Any assistance I had at college often happened after classes. While I had directions to my classes recorded on my recorder and eventually planted them into my memory, URI is a huge campus and bigger classes were always harder for me to get myself to a seat. I walked in and one student whispered to another, “She can’t see,” and I was wicked tired that day so I just kept my conversation short and found someone to help me sit down for our lecture. If you have a disability then you particularly understand that some days, while advocacy and education are important, some days we have to pick our battles because everything we deal with in a day can sometimes get pretty exhausting. I laughed with friends later about it. I thought it was funny. I mean, in case anyone can’t tell, I can’t see. Surprise! =) No need to keep it a secret.

 

Now I’d like to hear from you. I think it’s so important that we help people understand it’s perfectly okay to talk out loud about our differences and disabilities. Go ahead and tell people. My best friend is blind. I worked for a blind person. I had a student in class who is blind and they made some great contributions to my course. My blind employee makes my company great. Whatever it is, tell someone about it. While everybody uses different language, (more on that in another post) you can speak about disability without being offensive if you learn how. What are your thoughts? Let’s connect! If I should be blogging about topics not discussed on my site, let me know. Find me on Facebook at Miranda Oakley, but if you connect with me on there, all I ask is that you please send me a message telling me who you are and how you found me. You can also find me on Twitter at mirandaloakley and you can leave me a comment on my website. =)

Enjoy today and have a great rest of your weekend.

My best to you,

Miranda ❤

Positive Experience Worth Sharing

Hi friends and a happy Thursday to you all. Happy 2020! =) I know, I know! It has been forever since I’ve posted. Thanks to those of you still viewing my site throughout my absence. Learning my new laptop has taken me much longer than I would have liked, but I’m at a much more comfortable place at this point.

 

I have always said and believed that we need to have a balance in what we are sharing. We absolutely should be sharing the negative stuff happening throughout the blindness community to bring about change. I also believe it is, and should be equally important to shed light on positive experiences because we can also bring about change that way. Recently I had a driver bring me to an appointment who knew to call my cane a cane. Most people who don’t know what it is often call it a walking stick. I thought this was great that he knew what to call it. He was trying to show me where the handle on his van was should I need to hold on to it. He asked, “Can I take your cane?” I said, “No,” and he said, “Okay,” and proceeded to show me how to find the handle he was telling me about. People often don’t respect choices of those with disabilities and often keep focusing on how the person is just trying to help and be nice. I was pleased that this person was respectful of personal space because the cane is an extension for people who cannot see. I thought people would appreciate this. If you are new to blindness, I hope you learned something.

 

Thanks for reading! Is there anything I should be blogging about? Let me know by leaving a comment here on my site or feel free to reach out to me on Facebook at Miranda Oakley. I just ask that you send me a message telling me who you are and how you found me. You can also find me on Twitter and send me a tweet at mirandaloakley

My best to you all,

Miranda ❤

My First Guest Post!

Hi!

I hope this finds you well and thank you for reading. A while back I wrote a guest piece for this amazing blogger I met through Twitter, Ami. We were asked to pick two letters from the word importance and write about how our mobility device (or devices) help us. I wrote about attitudes and acceptance surrounding people with disabilities and using a white cane as a woman who is blind. I would love to visit the UK sometime in my life. I share this guest spot with some other lovely, amazing ladies who also wrote really wonderful pieces for this post. A big thank you to Ami for including me in this great post! You can find a link to Ami’s website below. The post including me is her most recent one that went live today!

Let me know your thoughts. Leave me a comment on my website, find me on Facebook (if you connect with me on there just please send me a message telling me who you are and how you found me,) and find me on Twitter at mirandaloakley you can also find Ami on Twitter at

https://mobile.twitter.com/Ami_T1995?p=s

Go check her out and give her a follow.

My best to you,

Miranda ❤

https://undercoversuperhero2.home.blog/2019/10/09/the-importance-of-mobility-aids/

 

Helene’s Thank You Note

Hi Friends,

I wanted to post this sooner, but you have to love technology issues. Right? =) If you have followed my blog or other socials for a while then you know I was a volunteer on the Vincent for Boston campaign. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been part of such a great campaign. I enjoyed door knocking and talking with people face-to-face about Helene’s campaign and the causes she stands for. Phone banking had its challenges because I found the website was not easily accessible with Jaws, a popular screen reading program that many blind people use. I was happy to reach folks though to discuss the campaign. What a race it was. Helene put in so much hard work and I’m so grateful for the experiences I took away from everything during this year and a half. Helene did not win, but she wrote a really sweet thank you note that you can find below. How sweet to mention me. I hope and pray our friendship inspires people. I always do what I can to talk about my lifelong friendship with Helene in hopes that it will encourage people to become friends with someone different. Take that scary chance and become friends with that different person the way Helene took a chance on me years ago. Come on. Yes, you. Try it! You might make a lifelong friend out of it. =)

 

Helene’s note:
Thank you so much for the last incredible 18 months. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have your support.

As you may have heard, we came in 3rd place in a 5-way race. It’s not the result we hoped for, but we are incredibly proud to have come this far as a first-time campaign.

I’d like to take a moment to thank each of you who helped along the way. 

Each of you has shared your world, your wisdom, and your generosity in different ways.

Thank you to each neighborhood: Mission Hill, Audubon Circle, Fenway, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the West End for revealing your unique identities and beauty.

Thank you to our financial donors who believed in our shared values enough to invest in this project.

Thank you to my kitchen cabinet (strategy team) who met every three weeks to strategize over pizza and beer.

Thank you to our volunteers who made calls, knocked doors, worked events, provided words of encouragement, and threw yourselves wholeheartedly into this project.

Thank you to my wife Alice, who supported me every step of the way and put herself outside her comfort zone daily by making calls and knocking doors.

Thank you to my parents, my extraordinary mother-in-law Wen, and all my sisters for traveling to Boston for every major event and pitching in to help out at a moment’s notice whenever I was in a pinch.

Thank you to our incredible campaign team: Krista (the best campaign manager anyone could ever dream of), Jordan (our operations director for whom no job was too big or too small), Matt (a fearless field director who showed up for work even while battling the flu), David (our communications director extraordinaire who designed our print materials and prepped me for every single debate, appearance, or op-ed), Spencer (the finance director who taught me that fundraising could be fun!) and Kalen (my field consultant who designed our field strategy and provided endless pep talks).

Thank you to my lifelong friend Miranda, who is blind and who kicked off my activism journey in the 5th grade as we dreamed up a public school for the blind where students would actually get the resources they need for a full education. She shows me every day what it means to show up and not let anyone tell you something is impossible.

And, most importantly, thank you to every single person I met on the 13,758 doors I knocked this year who took the time to share their hopes, dreams, fears, and suggestions with me.

I’m honored to have earned your trust and I will work hard every day to create a more inclusive, affordable, and accessible Boston for all.

In gratitude,
Hélène

District 8 Primary Election Is Today! Have You Voted Yet?

Good Tuesday morning!

I have a handful of followers living in Massachusetts so please share this post with anyone you know who can get out and vote today. I want to remind everybody living in District 8 that your primary election is today! Have you voted yet? Polling locations are open until 8 p.m. Can Helene count on your vote? If anyone needs a ride to the polls, reach out and I will connect you with Krista, our campaign manager, who can help you with transportation.

 

Mission Hill, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway/Kenmore, Audubon Circle, and the West End are all part of District 8. Can Helene Vincent count on your vote today? Please spread the word! Helene and I have been lifelong friends and I would really appreciate it if someone snapped a photo of the ballot with Helene’s name on it and sent it to me. If anyone can do this for me please shoot me an email or if you know me personally send me a text please. Thank you.

Friendly Reminder To Vote Tuesday, September 24!

Hi friends!

Just a friendly reminder that if you live in District 8 in          Massachusetts, your primary election is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 24! Polling locations are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. What’s your plan for voting tomorrow? If you set aside time and make an actual plan to vote you are more likely to actually go to the polls! District 8 includes Mission Hill, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway/Kenmore, Audubon Circle, and the West End. Can Helene count on your vote this Tuesday? If someone you know in the district needs help with transportation, reach out to me and I will be more than happy to connect them with our campaign manager, Krista, who can provide more details. Tomorrow I will make another post, so please share with anyone you know who needs to see this in District 8!