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.