Who Am I, And Where’s My Dog?

Who am I?

My name is Meagan. By day, I’m a communications advisor; by night, a freelance editor, a hobby musician, and devoted devourer of books.

I keep busy playing the piano (I’m not very good at it) and correcting other people’s grammar (which they actually pay me to do). I’m a mercurial introvert with a ton of excellent friends who love me anyway, and a wonderful husband who somehow manages to put up with my quirks.

I procrastinate like all good writers should. I love all creatures great and small, cute and fluffy. I really, really love chocolate, and I really, really hate bugs.

In other words, I’m a lot like you…

Oh yeah, and I’ve been blind from birth.

You might be thinking, “Wait, what’s that you said about being a lot like me?”

Unless you hang around with blind people a lot, you probably can’t help thinking that there’s a certain otherness that characterizes people with visible disabilities like blindness.  In some ways that’s true. We definitely stand out. We walk around with long white sticks (or maddeningly cute doggies you’re not allowed to pet), and we possess a lot of devices that talk. And blind people like me, who have other, less visible disabilities on board, deal with a lot of little-known issues we simply don’t discuss often enough.

That said, we’re just like you. We have the same fears, hopes, aspirations, and ambitions that “normal” people do. We go to college, and work, and have kids, and play sports, and keep house, and hang out with friends, and do all that “normal” stuff.

So, you may ask, and with good reason, “If you’re exactly the same as everyone else, why write a blog about disability?”

For too many years, I believed I had to play up the “normal” bits of myself to the point where I was practically in denial when it came to my disabilities. I believed that a “good disabled person” had to behave as though her disabilities didn’t exist. If they did exist, they were no inconvenience at all. No big deal, I can function just like everybody else, maybe better. I am capable disabled gal, hear me roar!

What I’ve learned since is that, while it is very healthy not to centre my life around blindness and my other disabilities, it’s equally healthy to acknowledge that they’re really damn annoying sometimes.

They’re inconvenient. They make life harder, mostly because of the way people react to them. They’re not divine gifts that make me a better person. They’re just parts of me, undeniable but not all-consuming. And I want you to know what it’s like to live with them.

I want you to know that I routinely deal with questions like “Where’s your dog? You should have a dog!” and “They let you work here?” and my personal favourite, “How can you possibly have a life? How can you be happy?”

I want you to know that I occasionally run into doorways and walls and cabinet doors with frightening force. If you see me with a black eye, it was an inanimate object, not my husband, promise. Sometimes I drop things and then crawl around for a dog’s age trying to find them. Sometimes I miss spots when I clean my house. Sometimes I accidentally throw whites in with my coloured laundry. These are the minor things.

I also want you to know that it’s really tough to get hired because so many believe I can’t work. Sometimes, people treat me like I’m invisible or inhuman, because they perceive me to be fundamentally different and, by extension, inferior. Sometimes, people talk about me like I’m not there. Sometimes, people complain because I’m “a drain on the system”. Sometimes, I feel desperately lonely and misunderstood. Sometimes, I really, really resent being disabled. This ain’t a picnic in the sun…sometimes.

Mostly, though, I want you to know I’m pretty “normal” and happy, like I said.

I’m writing this blog because if I can make one person understand what my life is like, then I’ve succeeded. If I can make one person realize that we’re not so different, inferior, invisible, then my time hasn’t been wasted. I don’t speak for all disabled people, but I do know that my story is very much like many others.

If you’re still with me, stick around. Who knows? You might learn something; and if you don’t learn anything, I might at least make you laugh.

But wait–where’s my dog?

I don’t have one, … and that’s okay.


16 thoughts on “Who Am I, And Where’s My Dog?

  1. This is a good starter article for this, your shiny new blog. What I think about my blindness depends on the day, the mood, and the situation. I’ve lived with this all my life though and I don’t think I’d have it any other way. Just a middle-aged nerdy blind guy wanting to live my life, make people smile, and otherwise stay fairly quiet, and I’m an introvert so I think about a lot of things, question a lot of things others swallow whole, etc.

  2. Your blog is wonderful. I have one of my own in where I describe every day things as a blind person but try and do it from my cane’s point of view. It’s supposed to be a more of a humorous blog but it’s also meant to educate. I want to show people that blind people are capable of doing and living a very healthy life but that the Blenis is still there. In other words, the same thing you’re trying to accomplish but in a slightly different style. If you want to check it out it is called Annie’sAdventures. My name is Kelly but I named the cane Annie. Annie is short for inanimate object. Good job with your blog.

    • Thank you so much for the compliment. I hope to keep you as a reader. I am intrigued by your blog’s premise. I’ll have a look and leave you some feedback.

    • You may indeed be missing it, but if you can’t figure it out, I will personally email you each time I publish something new. Let me know how it goes.

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  4. hi there megan, I’ve just subscribed to your blog as many of your posts I can relate to and identify with. what I really feel like doing is reblogging some of the posts I do identify with but I’ve just found the blog and think it would be nice to leave comments. it’s about personal preference as to cane or guide dog I myself prefer to use the cane as I’ve had people ask me about a guide dog and it might souond easy but it’s far from a walk in the park pardon the pun. I’ve also had people asking if I would consider getting the bionic eye but I wouldn’t have it any other way. with blindness I know no different and why miss something I don’t have?

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  6. Hi Meagan. My name is Linn and please disregard my previous comment since it got terribly messy. Anyway, I wanted to say that I really love Your blog. I started one of my own for the very same reason you started Yours. It’s refreshing to read someone who share so many of my viewpoints. Not that I mind People being different of course, but it’s good to know I’m not the only one having to defend why I use a cane and not a dog etc. And it’s also refreshing to know I’m not the only one who hate being blind at times though I too try to stay positive most of the time. Keep it up. I’ll definitely be subscribing. Hope this comment is less messy than my other one. Don’t know what happened there. I tried editing it but it didn’t work.

  7. Hey Maegan!
    A friend of mine has shared some of your posts and I’ve really enjoyed reading them–I’m looking forward to following you in your adventures! If you have any interest in connecting more directly, I blog at craftyblindchick.blogspot.com and am on Facebook both as Nicole Schultz-Kass and Chronicles of a Crafty Blind Chick. Would love to connect and get to know you better!
    All my best,

  8. I just sort of stumbled across your blog, but I couldn’t resist saying this: you’re wonderful. It seems like everything you write is well executed and a pleasure to read. Great composition skills and balanced, well thought-out points… And on top of that, your subject matter is one that is important without being dull.

    I don’t tend to hang around the blogging scene very much (in fact, yours is only the second blog I’ve ever found myself really admiring), but I feel like I’ve found something really special here. I’ll have to find out how to subscribe. I wish you the absolute best going forward, and thank you for putting effort into this.

  9. Thank you.for writing this blog. A friend of mine showed.it to me and it’s great.
    I was diagnosed as legally blind in February of this year and I’ve been having an awful time adjusting (it was very sudden) and I’ve been feeling very alone. I know this is probably.dumb but I really like knowing you’re out there and also blind . Like me.

    • Thank you so much for reading! I’m glad you reached out, and while I’m sorry to hear the adjustment has been challenging, I know there are many kind people in the blind community who know what you’re going through and will be happy to help. I experience gradual vision loss, and I never had a lot to begin with, so I don’t directly feel your pain, but if there is any way at all I can be of help to you, please don’t hesitate to tell me.

  10. Hi Meagan. I hope this voice from your past is a welcome one. I felt compelled to tell you that you are a very good writer; I love your conversational tone. I’m proud of your journey of self-discovery, your honesty, and your courage to put it out there. I’m old-school, and don’t subscribe to social media in any form. When I have a “where is she now?” moment, as I do for so many former students, my grown children can usually fill me in. Yesterday, though, one of them said, “Meagan has a blog”. So I read lots of your posts, into the wee hours. Please let me tell you about the Meagan I knew. When I first encountered the “blind girl who could sing”, you were five, and I was just returning to teaching after being at home with a gaggle of small children. I remember thinking, “That girl has a set of pipes!”. I came to understand that your community and school were guilty of the sin of pride: they were famous by association, and didn’t ask permission nearly enough to put you on display. You were on the periphery of my life as you progressed through school, until I had the privilege of being your teacher for part of your grade five year. That was when I knew a girl who was curious, perceptive, self-possessed, and smart, really smart. Evidently, you were also a very good actress. Very few people knew what was really on the inside, am I right? I do know that your educational assistant was your champion and advocate. I do know that you were going to do something wonderful. And you were loved. Even though I’m not originally from where you were raised, you have no idea how much I can relate to your small-town childhood of conforming and performing. And one of the best things that can happen to a small-town girl is to leave it, for a time, and find out what she’s made of. You have done that, in spades. Everyone’s journey includes discovery, heartache, joy, and sorrow. But we are learning, always learning, about ourselves, and each other. Keep it up!

    • Hi there, Mrs. Brochu! It’s wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for saying such kind things about the Meagan you knew. I don’t remember her quite as kindly (but then I wouldn’t, I suppose) but I appreciate that you and so many others saw so much in me, and helped me to see it, too. I’m blown away that you enjoyed the blog enough to read for so long. That means a lot to me.
      I have thought of you often, recalling how difficult our whole class was the year you taught us. I wasn’t my best self that year, missing deadlines, behaving eratically, sometimes totally engaged and on top of things and other times off my game and acting out. I was grappling with mental health struggles I wasn’t nearly old enough to articulate yet, let alone deal with, and I remain grateful for the endless patience you showed me at that time in my life.
      Thank you again for reaching out. Stay healthy and safe!

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