We've All Got Both Light And Dark Inside Us. What Matters Is The Part We Choose To Act On. That's Who We Really Are.
I apologize the title is so long, but I didn't want to cut it down, its so powerful I think its necessary to have the full quote. The title of this post is by Sirius Black from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, one of my favourite books of all time. I love this quote, I think it’s very true, everyone can relate to it.
There is little point in labelling ourselves as good or bad. It doesn’t work like that. Perhaps, a person who is usually very kind, timid and softly spoken can get angry and shout at those around them and vice versa. We all have good days and bad ones. But that doesn’t mean our moods have to be permeant does it? We get to choose how we act, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves.
I think it’s very important about how we treat ourselves.
For those who don’t know, I’m visually impaired. I’m not telling you in order to get sympathy or trick people into reading my work because they feel sorry for me. I have and would never do that, I don’t like using my disability for personal gain, I wasn’t brought up that way. I was brought up to accept it and get on with life, never let it stop me from doing what I want to do. And that’s what I’ve done all my life, got on with things. I’m telling you because I think you ought to know. This post is not going to be all “look, I’m disabled, come hear my tales of woe.” That’s just not going to happen so don’t worry. But I will be talking about how it limits and affects my writing and how I have found ways around it.
These last few days, I’ve been feeling my disability hindering me more than usual. Not so much getting around as I have Yashka for that and she’s doing a brilliant job. It’s been more things at university. For instance, yesterday in my Creative Practise lecture, we were taught the basics of using Photoshop. We have to use this as we are making a magazine as part of the assessment. However I was really struggling and had to give up half way though. I simply couldn’t see what I was doing. At home, I use a program called Zoomtext and have a modified keyboards I can see what I’m doing. At uni, I don’t have that so I couldn’t do the work properly. There will be ways around this as I’m the designer for the magazine so I’ll have to get to grips with it eventually.
But during the lecture, I felt extremely vulnerable. I hate not being to do things by myself, I rarely ask for help. I just get on and keep my mouth shut. If there is something I desperately need help, then I’ll ask for it. But if I know I can do it, then I may as well try. Which is what I did in yesterday’s lecture. I did try my best, but I simply couldn’t do it.
In a complete contrast to this, I loved my Writing for Radio lecture I had today. We did a bit about audio description (AD) on films, television shows and plays. I have used AD a few times, but tend not to use it much as I can still see what’s happening. Audio description is mainly used for those with a visual impairment, an audio describer tells the person what’s going on action wise. We got to listen to a brilliant short show that aired on BBC Radio 4 called the Audio Describers. They mentioned many films I’ve seen with AD so I felt I could really relate with what was being said. For once, I had knowledge on something that no one else in the lecture had, apart from the lecturer of course!
A career in AD is one I never thought to explore before. Because I myself am visually impaired, I feel that I can sort of relate to those who use it. I’m not saying I would do a better job or anything like that, but I know what it’s like to have sight problems. And you get to see shows and films before they are released to the general public. What’s not to love about that?
I feel that I will do fairly well in my Writing for Radio module. |It’s important to listen to the sounds around us and use them to form images in the listener's mind because we can’t use images. We were also doing a lot about Soundscapes, which I again really enjoyed. I have to rely on sound on a daily basis. I can use it to judge how far away someone is, how large a room is, how many people there are. I have to listen to people's voices in order to judge their mood, how they’re feeling because I can’t read facial expressions well.
For people who don’t have a visual impairment, any background noise is overlooked, it’s ignored or it doesn’t register. Things like traffic, clinks of china in a café, the beep of a traffic light or conversation around you as you head towards a destination. These everyday noises aren’t important so no attention is paid to them. We all have things to do, places to be and people to see. We simply don’t have the time for them.
But if you stop, take out your earphones and put down your mobile. If you just stop for a moment and listen, really listen, you can hear those things. The birds tweeting, creaking of wood, gurgling pipes, soft conversation that you can’t distinguish, the whirring of a computer. The list really is endless, regardless of whether you live in a big city or a small village in the country.
You may wonder how you never noticed them before. But then life taps us on the shoulder. And we forget about the little noises, they fade once more into the background.
She sniffs gently, wiping her nose on her coat sleeve as the rain pelts down on the roof of the bus stop. Anger and self-loathing boiled inside her and she shifted on the ice cold bench.
How long had she been here now? Half an hour or so?
Bella pulled her phone out of a pocket. She winced at the brightness, tilting the screen away as she fumbled typing in the password with numb fingers. A sigh of relief fled her lips as she turned the brightness right down. She glanced at the time. 11pm?!
Frowning, her phone beeped angrily, informing its owner of its 3% remaining battery. With a growl, Bella shoved it back into her pocket. She tucked her freezing hands up into the sleeves of her coat and huddled deeper into her scarf.
Fifty minutes she had been sat there, fifty minutes and the bus was nowhere to be seen. It should have been here twenty minutes ago.
She sniffed again, eyeing a couple who were walking down the street in her direction. They were huddled close together, heads bent and a whisper of conversation in the wind. Bella listened to their echoing footsteps as they drew closer, their conversation becoming a little louder.
The one time she needed her earphones and she didn’t have them. It served her right for waking up late and rushing to get to work on time. That’s the last time she goes to bed at two in the morning.
She scoffed quietly as the couple passes her and carried on down the street. Their footsteps bouncing off the shops and back into her ears. Bella stared down at her lap. A siren in the distance bleared. A car honked its horn abruptly at the end of the street. She craned her neck to look, but saw nothing but lights and reflections in the puddles on the pavement.
Straining her ears, Bella heard the rush of water from the river behind the shops. She heard the clicking footsteps on the pavement, the occasional splash of water. The noise of the busses and cars that past her, their engines rattling, doors opening and slamming shut.
There was nothing else to do but listen.
Bella smiled as she caught snippets of conversations. A couple arguing, people laughing and singing as they staggered from one pub to another. Someone crying, another comforting her friend. Shouts and cat calls bounced along to street and landed by her feet.
Maybe forgetting her earphones wasn’t such a massive problem after all.
She looked up and caught sight of the familiar orange bus as it rolled towards her. She jumped to her feet, splashing in the puddle as she stepped to the curb and stuck her arm out eagerly.
The doors of the bus creaked and moaned, the hydraulics sighing as the bus came to a halt. Her shoes clicked on the wood as she stepped on board.
“Alright, love?” the driver asked as she flashed her pass at him.
“Yeah,” she said. “Not bad actually.”
Take one moment out of your day and just listen. Forget everything else, forget that meeting you have tomorrow, forget the milk you need to pick up, forget that deadline that’s in a weeks’ time. It will all still be there.
Go and stand outside, no phones, no music, and nothing. Just go and stand and listen. What can you hear? Is there something you’ve never noticed before?
Take time to appreciate the things around you. Because in a blink of any eye, it could all be gone.
I’ll leave you with this quote,
“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.” –J.R.R Tolkien
Until the next time.