This I Believe

Rita - Seattle, Washington
Entered on November 28, 2007

For this I believe.

I believe there is powerfulness in maximizing my abilities.

I am a woman who happens to be totally blind. Ever since childhood, my father taught me that if I worked hard and set positive goals for myself, I could have as fulfilling a life as anyone else. I do not like the term disability because this term tends to emphasize what a person cannot do rather than what they can do.

By profession, I am a mental health therapist, and I have held several supervisory-level positions. I have to work hard to acquire solid professional positions, and I have learned that being blind means I have to bring more to the table. What I mean by this is I have to thoroughly explain my skills, my previous experience and my knowledge of resources, and be able to demonstrate that my blindness does not interfere in productive work. Employers have to become comfortable with the process and what my coming onboard would mean for their organization. I like the challenge of this endeavor as long as I am treated fairly. Professionally, it is my responsibility to maximize my abilities in the areas of concentrating hard, engaging others, and helping people sort out complicated and difficult areas.

Personally, I try to maximize my abilities in the areas of being a giver and a receiver in my close interpersonal relationships, and participating in the same activities and interests everyone else does. I love to break out, take long walks and go for hikes. Living in the Northwest, the outdoors has become a way of life for me. I am a swimmer, and I attend movies and baseball games regularly. I love travel, and I am always working on what my next travel adventure should be.

Blindness is a dimension of my life, but really a very minor part of the total picture. I like working to eliminate some of the negative perceptions and assumptions which society generally has related to differences. I believe that our diversity does make us stronger.

Overall, I reap so many rewards when given the chance to maximize my abilities professionally and personally as a woman who just happens to be blind.