Get to Know Me – ‘The VIP Tag’

Hi All!

This time, I thought I’d write my thoughts on the ‘VIP Tag’. I know doing ‘tags’ is a very bloggy thing to do, but hey let’s have some fun! 🙂 So here we go!

1. What medical condition caused you to be blind or visually impaired?

It wasn’t necessarily a condition, when I was born I was born 4 weeks premature so as a result I was born totally blind and had no vision what so ever! I then had some eye surgery in order to give me some vision. It worked on my left eye, but not on my right. So for my whole life, I have a condition called ‘Retinopathy Of Prematurity’. From what I understand, this occurs when blood vessels grow and spread throughout the retina. But can be different for each person and each individual case. So what I experience can be completely different from someone else.

2. In three words describe your Visually Impairment.

Brightening, blurry, can be painful.

3. What is the hardest thing to do being blind or visually impaired?

As simple as the task is for most people, the hardest thing for me about being visually impaired, is matching up socks! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m lucky enough to have enough vision where I am able to tell if I’m wearing odd socks. The hardest thing is match socks of the same colour! So I try and get around this, by wearing mostly black socks that way no one can tell at a glance!

4. What is the best part about being blind or visually impaired?

Honestly, I think the best part about having a visual impairment, is probably the fact I have one because if I didn’t I would not have been able to do some of the things I’ve been able to do! Before my sight got gradually worse, I was a football referee for my county where I live, and I did that for 4 years, I won various refereeing awards, I won a ‘Ward & Partners’ award for being the first visually impaired referee. I also got the chance to go to The Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford and I met some amazing people, who I still talk to today, whilst there I got to go to Stuggart, Germany twice and got to have a look round various places, including the Mercedes Benz Museum!

But most importantly, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog post right now! During the time I have been writing theatre reviews, I have to got to go and see and experience some truly amazing shows, as well as getting to meet numerous cast members, who are always intrigued by what I think, because until they meet me at the press parties, certain aspects of their shows they would not even have thought of otherwise! Sometimes I get feedback from shows saying that if it wasn’t for them hearing my opinions, they wouldn’t have thought to make their shows even more accessible than they already are.

5. What question do you get asked most about or because of your vision?

There are three actually that I get asked all the time, the first one being: “Have you thought about having laser eye surgery?” The second because I have a Guide Dog is: “Are you training her?” and the third one mainly asked by children when I’m out and about which always makes me laugh is: “Is your eye made of glass?” Sometimes, I say “Yes!” and the look of wonder on their faces, with the parents grinning behind them, is always funny to watch.

6. Do you have a cane, a guide dog or neither?

I have a Guide Dog called Blossom (who if your interested to hear more about, you should check out ‘My Guide Dog Experience‘ post) who comes with me everywhere I go, but on the very rare occasions where she doesn’t come with me, I use my white cane and did for years before Blossom came into my life!

7. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is losing, going to lose or has lost their sight?

The one piece of advice I would give is, sure it may seem scary and daunting to have sight loss, but your life isn’t over! There is so much more out there that you can do, as well as Numerous support agencies and organisations who will help you to have a full and happy life!

8. What piece of advice would you give to a sighted person about interacting with someone who is blind or visually impaired?

Throw all judgments and stereotypes of what other people have told you about visually impairment people out the window! We’re all different, don’t be afraid to come up and ask if you need to give us help and support, we’ll happily tell if we need it or not. 🙂

9. Why did you join Youtube/blogging?

As if you can’t already tell I’m a HUGE fan of theatre and have been since I can remember! I can remember my mum taking me, my brother and sister to the local theatre to watch shows, and then every Christmas we go to the local theatre to watch the Christmas Pantomime every year (thanks Mum!) These days I’m lucky enough I get to see it twice, once for you guys, and the other time with my family which is always a lovely occasion. 

But as I got older and wanted to venture more and more out on my own, I was looking for someone who reviewed theatre shows from a visual impaired perspective, but after researching it there wasn’t anyone I could find. Then one day, someone said to me “Is there anyone out there who reviews shows for the visually impaired?” “No, sadly not,” I said. “Well, why don’t you?” To be honest, I had never thought about it before, though I would struggle to get theatres to let me review for them, as probably they had more popular reviewers, publications, and websites already reviewing for them. Fast forward 3 years, and here I am reviewing shows month after month and I love it!! Theatre has always been one of my passions! Do I get paid to do it? no. Do I care? absolutely not! Maybe one day I might be lucky enough to do so, but right now I couldn’t be happier!

10. Name three people to do this tag next.

At this moment in time, I hardly know anybody in the ‘VI’ blogging community, which I would love to change, and calibrate with some other people and try different things! But for now, if your a blogger who is also visually impaired, and want to give this a go, then why not! What’s stopping you!! 🙂

The Inspiration for this post came from a fellow Visually Impaired blogger Glen from welleyenever.com

Until Next Time,

The VI Critic!

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