To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is an experience riddled with variety, blessed by it. No two stories are exactly the same, yet hearing about the lives of others can excite, resonate, inspire and change others. That is the focus of this space: giving voice to every facet of life, colored by the perspective of one of its many different patrons.
Winter had fully coated Moscow in frozen snow when I was united with the people who would be my parents from across the sea. Since then, in the United States, my heart and mind have belonged to the wider world and to the power of the written word to be heard without shouting…and I do have such a difficult time with projection.
None of that mattered with my head stuck in a book or huddled over a blossoming story of my own. The painfully quiet, uncertain blind girl could let the words talk for her. Likewise, with the right font size or a good recording, I could experience the works of others – engage in, interact with, analyze, enjoy, relive, and more. And this ability would mean all the world and more.
I am an adoptee from a closed adoption. I am visually impaired, living in a world without depth that demands being looked at closely through a strong lens. Where others needed to write in pencil, I was always the public exemption, allowed to write in pen. When someone’s exam took 30 minutes, I was granted an hour. The world was designed for those with sight, so I adjusted myself and the environment around me to see.
My nature is fiercely competitive, and so prone to that poisoned honey of comparing myself to others – a stimulant of success or a tool of sabotage, depending. That will be discussed more later, as it is actually quite important.
But my aspirations have always been driven by a desire to go just a bit more. When instructed to swim as far as possible underwater during swim lessons, I swam far enough for instructors and parents alike to panic. When I was little, a day could be ruined if I lost at a board game or card game. (Chess was always a difficult one.)
And I wanted to set records. I wanted to be published and displayed on the same shelf as the Harry Potter series, as the youngest author ever. Those are easy promises at the age of 8, before the complexities of what that involves are important factors to consider.
Then things changed. My focus shifted across quite a few areas. My roots reach deep in New Jersey, in Rhode Island, spanning oceans and continents back into Moscow and to where it all started in Uzbekistan. I wanted to embrace it all, as different, contradictory and complex as they were. College granted a chance to do this, and I embraced it.
But my roots are not just places. It is the scarring in my right eye. Accessibility had become something deeply personal to me, and so I found myself quietly tearing up reading about the Capitol Crawl to get people like me and others accessible sidewalks and second floors.
So, that is what shall be explored here. Life from this particular background, which will be expanded on more, and all these different parts of our quilted patchwork of a world. Lessons will be learned, experiences will be explored, and questions will be answered. I thank you for your time, and hope you enjoy your stay so we can all learn from each other.