It is always exciting to get a poem published! In December of 2018, I self published a small chapbook through Amazon entitled Through My Good Eye: A Memoir in Verse. That book was a huge blessing in my life and it also helped us to raise some money for the ministries of my beloved church, Christ Community United Methodist Church. After the positive reception my small chapbook received, I finally felt brave enough to share my writing with the world.
An important milestone for any writer is their first acceptance to a literary magazine. This poem, “My White Cane Is a Magic Wand,” was originally published in The Drabble in February of 2018. It was my first acceptance to a literary magazine and will therefore always be a very special piece to me. Since then, I have had several more poems accepted in other small literary magazines, but this one will always hold a special place in my heart.
Raising Disability Awareness Through Poetry
Few people realize that the majority of disabilities are “invisible” disabilities. Many people in the world can understand the concept of “hard of hearing,” but in my experience, popular culture has trouble understanding the concept of “low vision.”
In reality, the majority of people who are considered “legally blind,” or “functionally blind,” have some form of usable eye sight. Many people who are functionally blind can see shapes, colors, or movement. Very few blind people are completely and totally blind.
Some people who are blind choose to use a white cane or a guide dog to travel safely. The white cane is an international symbol of blindness, and it can be helpful so that people know that a person is not able to see well.
I use a white cane when I travel because it helps me to travel safely; however, an added bonus is that it makes drivers and other pedestrians more alert to my prescence. This can be helpful because that way people know that I didn’t mean cut in front of them or bump into them. It can also be helpful when crossing a street because it makes drivers more aware of my presence.
Often, when I travel, people become confused by the fact that I am using a white cane. They see me looking at my phone screen (I use very large text on my phone as well as voice over software and the zoom feature) or they see me looking at my surroundings and they know that I am not completely blind. Sometimes, people can be very rude. I have had people shout at me on the street and accuse me of “faking,” my sight loss.
Despite the unique challenges that my visual impairment represents, I am grateful that I can get by without a white cane if necessary. I rarely use it if I am traveling with family or in my hometown. A big part of the reason I choose not to use my white cane more often is because of the stigma that is attached to disability. In the past, people have seen me using a white cane and assumed that I was incapable of doing my job. Everyone should do what is right for them, but as a woman in a profession dominated mostly by men, I have enough challenges to overcome. If I can “pass” as a sighted person, I prefer to do so.
In short, I can do an excellent magic trick. Who knew that white canes could be magic wands?
My White Cane Is a Magic Wand
Read the poem HERE to read it on The Drabble!
Join me in my mission to make the church and the world more accessible! Please Subscribe to my blog so that you never miss a post!