Parts of Speech

I’m a writer.  I employ words.  I construct sentences.  I’m like the joyful artist who, when asked how he came to be a painter, said, “I liked the smell of the paint.”

Prepositions are among my favorite words.  In, out, with, without, over, under, around, through.  Prepositions establish the relationship between subject and object: He’s in love and she’s out of this world.

When I agreed to speak on the topic of “Beyond Vision Loss,” I got hung up on the preposition “beyond.” was I truly beyond vision loss?  Had I left it behind?  Was it once part of me but now it’s not?  Beyond implied separateness: me on one hand, my vision loss on the other. Beyond reinforced mind versus body, thought versus deed, us versus them.  Beyond implied a mighty struggle that I wasn’t too sure I’d won.

Now I realize I need to get beyond the literal, to see that I am beyond vision loss because blindness is no longer my sole preoccupation in life.  My obsession, if you will.  Blindness is more integrated in my identity.  I accept it more than I used to.  It’s within me.  Sometimes it’s not pretty, but it’s me.

Listen to the book title, Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness.  Hear the power of the preposition?  It’s adjusting with Blindness, not adjusting to Blindness.  To me, the difference is huge.  I adjust to an external event, like the Blizzard of 2011.  I adjust with an internal condition, like blindness.

I’ve been adjusting with blindness for twenty-seven years.  Blindness began out there.  The enemy.  Now I’ve embraced it.  It’s mine.  Sometimes I hate it.  I strive for progress, not perfection. I’ve let it in.  In, in, in.  More than mere semantics, these parts of speech are my parts of life.

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4 Responses to Parts of Speech

  1. I just HAD to make a comment on this post, because I’m always amazed at how many blind and sighted people alike use the word overcome, instead of a better sounding word. Isn’t blindness, not something to overcome but something that we have to adapt to? Just my thoughts.

  2. Heather Morrison says:

    Jeff,
    Thank you for your blog. It really enriches my life.
    Heather (I have early RP, still 12 degrees of central vision)

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thank you, Robert and Heather, for your comments. Overcome is a loaded word. Maybe my next grammar blog will be on verbs. Or nouns — does “independence” raise your hackles a bit too, Robert? And Heather, enrich is the ultimate reward for these parts of speech. Thank you for taking the time to express this.

      • bethfinke says:

        I’ve always had trouble with that word “overcome” when it comes to a disability. The way I see, ahem,it is the only way I can overcome blindness is to see again. Jeff, I’llhave to give that word “independence” some thought now, too. Keep writing!

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