My Eyesight

I was born with 1 third normal vision (I could say “OCA Type 1B with associated Nystagmus” but that would mean nothing to you, and even google can struggle with it) so I think its fair to say that after 21 years I’ve got used to it. The first time I was really aware that I was “different” was at primary school when I couldn’t see the blackboard/whiteboard and my P1 teacher actually yelled at me and sent me to the back of the classroom where she proceeded to read what was on the board so I could write it down (through my tears!). That was really the only negative experience I had a primary school. Everyone accepted me for who I was, and the teachers were more than helpful doing their best to ensure that I could keep up with all the notes. The kids were cool about it too- I was one of them, I just had binoculars which were fun to play with! I couldn’t do the 11+ test like everyone else and had to do different tests to see whether I was clever enough for grammar school (I passed- yay!). But other than that never really felt “different”.
Secondary school was a little bit different. We had to change classrooms for each lesson so myself (and my twin sister) got a classroom assistant. We only knew each other because everyone else from primary school went to different schools. We got a classroom assistant who followed us around to make sure we didn’t’ walk into anything… Yeah, blind but not THAT blind. It’s fair to say that my sister and I were TERRIBLE to her! (SORRY!) We got to the end of a corridor or the top of a flight of stair and split off into different directions and walking around to a pre-arranged location. It took the teachers a while to get the balance right between, letting us do our own thing and giving us ALL THE HANDOUTS. It was quite irritating to have to balance books and A3 pages on the desk… The kids at secondary school were less accepting of our eyesight than at primary school. We were stared at. A lot. I guess it didn’t help that we were twins… We got bullied a bit, which sucked. I was a very shy kid and didn’t like to make a fuss about things… Eventually I made some great friends who accepted my weirdness (not just my eyesight) and helped me out a lot! By lower sixth I had decided that I was pretty happy with who I was and if other people weren’t or thought I was weird, then that was their problem. I was more confident than before and with the teachers I was able to tell them “No I do not need enlarged papers. This is fine I can deal with it” or actually something similar to “Don’t do anything unless I ask”. Those final two years of school were the best because I was more open about everything. People asked me questions about my eyesight (which is SO MUCH BETTER than just staring at me!) and they seemed to understand it better!
Duke of Ed was quite fun. I have a good sense of direction- hey, I have to! I can’t rely on road signs like everyone else. I have to describe the area like “Is that the place past the big yellow house with the white front door with the six fields of sheep beside the stable?”! Even though I had to look at the map quite close and finding bearings on the compass was pretty much to the nearest 5 degrees or so, I usually just went in roughly the right direction keeping an eye out for trees and hills that should hopefully be in the right places!
… and then I left and went to university. I was already pretty happy with who I was BUT I had to go through the whole explanation of “yeah I can’t see things so well so I have to use binoculars” and “no glasses don’t help” and “no I can’t get laser eye surgery because that won’t help either”. I had to say those sentences so often I was tempted to get it on a t-shirt… Student support were good and tried to help explain to lecturers but eventually it came down to me (and my twin, she’s still there) to approach every lecturer and say “hey we can’t see can we please get a print out or can you email us the tuff in advance” and MOST lecturers were great and by our second year field trip everyone pretty much understood, and those who didn’t came and asked us questions “can you see that?” (“no”). I was able to join rugby and rowing. I got hit in the face at rugby. A lot. But I loved (and love) it still! (I’m not even sure I ever told them about my eyesight). Final year was great, apart from one time when twin and I got lost in Barcelona because we couldn’t see the street numbers and everyone around us spoke Spanish… I honestly loved uni, it was one of the greatest experiences of my life and I’ve made some great friends there!
Graduated uni, with a few struggles but who doesn’t have tough times? And started looking for work. I feel obliged to put on my CV and job applications. I haven’t got very far in most job applications… Some companies have stated that I would not be suitable for the job because I have a visual impairment (even though I am qualified!?) which is annoying to say the least, but some (very few though) are more open to the idea, allowing me to attend an interview… yet they never ask about my eyesight. Personally I think they should enquire more about it rather than just accept it and move on, but maybe that’s just me.
That’s pretty much it so far…

Some random points before the end:
– I don’t always feel comfortable telling people about my eyesight because I feel like, a lot of the time, it makes them think of me differently. Usually I get to know the person first and let them find out OR wait a while and then tell them about it… Sometimes I’ve started straight off with “Hi I’m Judith, I can’t see very well, let me explain…”
– Leading on from that- when I tell people about my eyesight I much prefer it when I can use an example, so, if I’m standing near a sign I would point at t and make them stand where they feel comfortable reading it and then show where I can read it from (or use a piece of paper with writing on it)
– It’s awkward at times, trying to read signs in cafes or the number on the bus- I hate asking people for help, I’m very independent!
– Because I can’t drive it frustrates me a lot, like, I don’t have the same freedom as everyone else (and I know that not everyone drives a car but at least they have the chance?!) Seriously if I had a car I would never be at home… Or if I didn’t have to walk a few miles to get a bus I would probably not be at home much either!

F.A.Q: If science improves and there is a way to fix your eyes, would you get surgery that would correct your vision?
Honestly, no. It’s been 21 years and I’ve learned how to adapt to the world around me. It would be really strange to suddenly see everything up close and in huge detail. Although maybe it would be interesting to see “how the other half lives” so that I can see what most other people can see, maybe it would help me to explain my eyesight to you! But no, I can’t imagine my life with full vision. I know that sometimes I’ll go off on one and rant about how unfair it is, but I also love making blind jokes and sarcastic comments when someone says “Oh look over there isn’t that so cool?!” like “um yeah I’m sure it’s great”! But honestly I love my life the way it is- I’ve adapted and I’m determined…Please, someone hire me?


Hope. That small voice that says “keep going” and “one more try”. That small fire blazing inside us that keeps us going. That gives us something to live for. But what happens if that fire goes out? 
Well firstly, where is your hope found? 

In that dream job? In all that money you’ve been saving? Your family or friends? 

Or something else…? 
If your hope is based on something meaningless it’ll hurt when you lose that. Your hope will flicker and you’ll fall down a deep, dark hole. 
I’ve been there and it sucks. 
It felt like everything had been stripped from me. My friends. My securities. Everything I knew had changed and suddenly I knew nothing and no one. Everything was going wrong and suddenly I felt so alone and cut off from everything. 

But there was something there. Something that wouldn’t let my fire die. Faith. 

I don’t intend to turn this all churchy and preachy. All I’m saying is that my hope is in God. And when I felt so lost and broken and beaten down, I turned to him. When it felt like I had no hope I turned to THE hope. 

It wasn’t some big miraculous turn around with blazing lights and hallelujahs. It was simply being refreshed every day. Being given the strength to get through one day at a time, one minute at a time. Baby steps. 

My hope was still burning and I had strength to go on. 

I didn’t realise it at the time but my hope had firm foundations in something (someONE) who could help me and who DID help me. 
When I first went to university it was like jumping out of a plane before a sky dive. Suddenly there was nothing beneath my feet, I was alone and I was free and I was terrified. My “parachute” failed and I panicked and felt lost and alone. Everything seemed to be going wrong.

Until I remembered my back up. My lifeline. 

My hope.  
So if you feel down, talk to someone (I’m not saying pray to god but talk to someone). Chances are, people are worried about you. People, surprisingly enough, care about you (yes, even YOU!). 

When you feel down and alone, when nothing is going right and everything is falling to pieces. When you feel hopeless, remember, 
“… There is you know, surprisingly, always hope” 
We just have to find it, grab it, and never let it go… 


Part I: Am I enough 
Comparing ourselves to others never ends well. We end up being hard on ourselves, “why can’t I look more like them?” , “why can’t I act more like that?”, “why can’t I be as good at that as they are?”

It’s a vicious and destructive place to be, putting ourselves next to others and playing “spot the difference” 

The truth is, you COULD be as good as that person. You COULD have that skill that they have, with hard work and determination. Maybe. 

But maybe that’s not what you’re meant to look like or be good at. Maybe that’s not where your talent lies. And that’s fine- frustrating at times, but ultimately fine. 
You are your own person, as cliche as that sounds, it’s true. You are unique and you are beautiful. 

Yes you can change your appearance by wearing make up, maybe working out or whatever, but being happy with who you are is more than just outward appearance. 

The way you act and the way you treat others has a strong impact on who you are. 
Are you enough? 
Enough what? 

Kind enough? 

Smart enough? 

Honest enough? 

Trustworthy enough? 

These are things you can change by your actions- BE kinder, treat people right. Study hard and focus- get help if you need it. Tell the truth and be open about things. 
Are you enough? 

Pretty enough? 

Thin enough? 

Popular enough? 

Rich enough? 
These things are more complicated. But the thing about beauty is that it’s only skin deep. Fashion trends change- in times gone by, it was considered ugly to be skinny and the height of beauty to be “fat”. “Fat” shouldn’t be a label and it shouldn’t be an insult, just as “skinny” shouldn’t be a label OR a compliment. 

Riches, well consider this, would you rather have all the money in the world and no friends? Or all the friends in the world but no money? Chances are if you had lots of money, hundreds of people would want to be your friend for the perks but when the going gets tough, would they be there? But if you had little money but true friends, I’m sure you would never be stuck if you needed to borrow a few pounds! 
My point here is that even if you think you’re not “enough” it’s not true. The worlds view on you is not final and your view on you is not final either. Finding true happiness and contentment is being happy with who you are… And once you do that, you’ll find that you are “enough”. 


Happiness is hard in this world that is filled with feelings of: Confusion 








etc, etc… 
So if you’ve read my recent blogs you’ll know that I’m pretty confused about the future. And very conflicted about where my passions and dreams lie- what I want as a job vs what would be deemed “suitable” for a job. 

But one thing that remains clear for me is that, I want to be happy. Whatever job I choose and whatever job I get- I want to enjoy it and I want to be happy. 

But happiness is found in places other than job / financial security. 

Happiness is found in the simple things in life. But I feel that there are two major drains on “happiness”… 
One: Lack of self esteem 

And by “self esteem” I mean, self belief, self confidence, security and confidence in your looks and actions, being able to love and respect yourself as well as having a positive view of yourself and your abilities (that sounds repetitive). If you can’t love yourself for who you are, what you look like, it has a huge affect on your happiness. You can’t truly be happy in life unless you are happy with yourself. I could say something cliche here like “you’re beautiful just the way you are” (which is true but really hard to take in). Truth is, if you see something wrong in your life, change it. Make it happen. Be the person you want to be- stop complaining about it and get out and get busy! 

“The only person you have to be better than, is the person you were yesterday” 

Believe in yourself. 

You can achieve anything you set your mind to- if you’re determined enough, you will succeed, just don’t give up. This is a daily struggle for many; “I’ve been rejected / put down/ I’ve failed so many times. I should just give up” 

“When the world shouts “give up”, hope whispers “one more try””

“Never never never never never give up. Never give up”- winston Churchill 

Never stop trying.

Back to self esteem… 

You are you. Obvious, but hear me out. There is no one else out there like you. You shouldn’t compare yourself to other people. ESPECIALLY people’s instagrams/ twitter/ Facebook. Because social media is a chance to show off. 

Don’t compare your bad days to someone else’s good days. Don’t compare your downfall to someone else’s stroke of luck. 

Be happy with the little things in life. The chance to see the sunrise, spending time with family, getting lost in a good book or movie… 
Drain on happiness number two: Lack of “peace” 

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9.6 
That’s all I’m going to say about that. For now. 

**my advice is not perfect or scientific. It is mere opinion** 

Guilt Trip 

Hold on tight, this is a Christiany one… 
We are free, we are forgiven. So why do we always make ourselves feel bad by going over and over our mistakes? 
It’s something I think everyone is guilty of (is that a pun? Seems ironic at least!). 
It’s important to remember though that we are all imperfect. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has bad days. We all say stupid things and we all embarrass ourselves somewhere along the line. 
As a Christian, I know that God has forgiven me 
“I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions and remembers them no more” (Isaiah 44.22)

“I have blotted out their sins and will remember them no more” (Isaiah 1.18)

“You are… Washed as white as snow” (Isaiah 43.25)
Are just some biblical quotes that talk of his forgiveness. Which is incredible, not just because it’s endless but because it’s LIMITLESS. It doesn’t matter how far we stray, what we do wrong, if we are truly sorry and truly ask for forgiveness, believing that he will provide it, honestly intending to try better- we will be forgiven for our sins, no matter how big or how small as many times as we mess up. 
You know what else astounds me? 

He still loves us. There’s never a period of him needing to calm down after we confess our sins. 
Like, if a friend hurts us and then says sorry and means it- no matter how good a friend you are, it’s going to take a while to get over that sting. 

Straight away you are accepts back into his open arms. Because he loves you so much When you stray, he’s right there waiting for you to come back. Calling you, waiting with open arms. Arms outstretched to welcome you back. 
I think I got sidetracked. 
Nobody is perfect, we have all done things we regret and ultimately, we will continue to do so, because we are all human and it’s human nature to make mistakes- mistakes are a part of life, a learning curve. They let us grow as people, shape our character, improve us and teach us lessons! 

Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes. Let them shape your future, learn from them. 
Please like, share and comment. Thanks. 

Bright dogs? (Bright sides and Underdogs)

I got some advice from an old teacher, 

“Just keep going, enjoy the journey and have fun” 

This teacher was one of the kindest, most encouraging men I’ve ever met (and a great teacher!). A total legend and I’ve had the privilege, not just to be taught by him, but to work alongside him! 

His sarcastic wit is second to none, but his gentle encouragement has been the one thing that gave me the self confidence to go on to study the subject that I love (which is geography, in case you haven’t read my other posts!)

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in situations. Life is hard and throws challenges at us every chance it gets. But it’s how we deal with these difficulties that makes us grow as people and develop into who we are. 
A quick side note: Everyone loves an underdog when they win. It’s exciting- it’s a plot twist! 

In many ways I think of myself as an underdog. Despite all talk of “equality” people cannot help but judge. I’m partially sighted, I’m pretty small, I’m a girl and I’m young. BUT have I ever let this stop me doing what I love? NO! 

If anything, the fact that people feel the need to offer help- however sincere the offer may be- has made me fiercely independent. In many ways, I could look at this as a “bright side”. Without being offered help (sometimes “babied”) I wouldn’t have had the determination to show them that I can handle myself. I wouldn’t have had the drive to make myself independent! 

The underdog is often seen as someone or a group of someone’s who have no chance. People who are out of their depth. But you know what I say to that? 

Strive in it 

Let that experience change you 

Let that experience make you stronger, smarter, better. USE it to drive you forwards!

Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. 

Do not let anyone think less of you because of your looks or gender 

Never let anyone’s judgement of you depict your opinion of you 

Whether you are an “underdog” or not- never let anyone think less of you because of your past, your appearance, anything. Be yourself. Fight your corner. Stay strong. Stand up for what you believe in.   

Even when you get knocked down because people think you’re not good enough, you can look on the bright side because you KNOW what you’re capable of. You can use their criticisms as a drive for what you want to do- PROVE THEM WRONG! 

No matter what happens- and some terrible things CAN, WILL and DO happen in this world, try to find the positives. 

Whether it’s using someone’s criticisms to power through a tough situation just to prove them wrong, whether it’s learning to cope with life without someone, their suffering has ended, they are at peace. It’s hard, I know, but our loved ones would hate to see us wasting our lives pining for them instead of making the most of the life we have been left with. 

Whether you’re suffering from illness or injury, at least there’s a chance, at least you have time, at least you know that your are loved and taken care of. 
SEGWAY- “Brexit”

As you’ve already heard (unless you’ve been living under a rock in the back end of nowhere with no wifi) Britain are leaving Europe. Without going into too much detail, several areas voted to stay and were very disappointed! But trying to find the bright side… Well, I guess we won’t be embarrassed by watching our entries at Eurovision, maybe trade will improve, maybe we’ll get the British empire back? Not sure… BUT I know that what’s done is done and we all need to accept it, pray for those in charge- that they would have wisdom to make the right decisions for EVERYONE and that we would all get through this ok- and just keep going, smiling, loving, making the best of everything we have, because, really, what else can we do?! 
There are so many situations and I can’t cover all of them. And I know that in some cases the situation will seem utterly hopeless. But, try (really TRY) to think of one good thing. ONE good thing EVERY DAY! 

Whether it’s your favourite song played on the radio, getting a question right on a TV quiz show or even seeing a cute dog when you’re out and about! Always look for the small things that make you smile. Always look on the bright side. 

I’m going to try and post some highlights of my days on Twitter (maybe even some pictures of cute dogs I get to meet!). So give me a follow on Twitter @WeeJudiee (I also tweet some pretty amusing stories and jokes so…) 
God bless x 

Passions and goals

I’ve been thinking lately about careers, dreams and talents. And so I started to think about what I want from my life, what is my goal, what is my passion- what do I want to be remembered for? 
It’s difficult sometimes to work out where your heart truly lies- what the main focus of your life is, because life is so busy and so full of loads of different things happening. I’ve thought about this a lot- what am I passionate about? What do I love doing? And it’s harder than you might think- trying to work out what exactly it is you want from your life! 

But anyway, this is what I came up with: 

I want to help people feel good about themselves. 

I want to make people smile. 

I want to make people laugh. 

I want to make people feel involve, a part of something- so they don’t feel alone.

I want people to feel loved and to love themselves. 

I want to make the world a better place. 
I know that’s a big ask. But, I have big dreams. I want people to feel loved and accepted… 

If that means I have to start a charity or organisation to include every kind of person and show them love, then so be it. 

If that means I have to join an existing organisation, awesome. 

If it means I can get into writing or acting or presenting, so that people can feel the same love and connection I get when I watch TV or listen to the radio, then sweet. 

Whatever it means, however I can do it, I intend to do it. 

I know nothing in life is easy, nothing comes without dedication and hard work. But this is something I believe in and something I am passionate about- I’m willing to work, I’m willing to start at the bottom and work my way up. No matter how long it takes, I won’t give up. 
I know that God has a plan for my life. And I just hope that this is along the right lines of what he has in mind…