Interview With A Blind Woman

 

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski.

 

Blind people should not be avoided, shunned, or ignored.

This past year, I have encountered two blind people online.

You probably already know Maxwell Ivey, whom I interviewed and who is now a blogging coach and author of Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light (which I edited for him). If you have already visited Max’s blog or had any type of interaction with him, you know that he is a sweet man with a heart of gold. He’s also inspirational in many ways: he lost over two hundred pounds in two years, he owns two businesses (one which involves buying and selling carnival rides), he is a blogger, he’s on social media, and he’s now proud of the fact he’s blind and has accomplished so much in his life.

However, you might not yet know Kerry.

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski, by the water on one of her trips.

Kerry. Kerry. Who the Heck is Kerry?

Kerry Kijewski is a blind woman. But she is so much more than just that.

She’s a great writer, an insightful person, and a pleasure to talk to, both through emails and Skype. (Aah, I love technology!)

Kerry agreed to let me interview her, too. It seemed only fitting that I should have a post about an interview with a blind woman on my site, as I already have An Interview With a Blind Man on Wording Well.

Kerry is a blogger, a writer, and insightful traveller. Her writing site is a free blog called Her Headache, and her travel site is her new, hosted site called The Insightful Wanderer.

I first met Kerry through LinkedIn, after being told about her by Max, and then through a comment I left for her on her blog.

This is a screenshot of my intro comment to Kerry.

 

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski, by a castle, on one of her trips.

A Blind Woman Who Wants to Travel?

Kerry’s goals include pursuing a career in writing and travelling the world.

Before you jump to any conclusions about that last statement, know that I initially had a hard time believing it, too. But when you think about it, she has every right to do the same things sighted people do. Her experience, however, will be a bit different from yours or mine. She’ll utilize her other senses to enjoy the locations she visits.

In fact, before we get to the in-depth interview, here is a super-brief introduction to Kerry, using what Kerry has to say about herself and her desire to travel:

I just want to say that I’m no different from anyone else. I’m really not. I’m not scary. I like music, movies, books, autumn, chocolate, and pizza.

I love to laugh and have a wicked sense of humour, if I do say so myself.

I like symmetry.

I love to go to concerts, on day trips/road trips, and theme parks. Even blind girls wanna have fun!

I like to sing, but I am not great.

I love history, psychology, literature, and pop culture.

I love the scent immediately after a spring rain, the fragrance of freshly cut grass in summer,, the crispness of the fall air, or the fresh and still silent snowfall that I smell in the night.

Think what life would be like if you only stayed inside your own little bubble, if you didn’t get out and discovered the world around you. that’s all I want to do. I stand at a place like Niagara Falls and, although I am not taking in its majesty with my eyes, my remaining senses step in and take over. I feel the spray of the mist on my face, I grip the cold railing, smelling the cool windy air, listening to the roar and feeling its vibration through the stone at my feet.

That is what travel can be for me. Just because I can’t see it (which must be really hard for people to wrap their heads around), does that mean I deserve to experience such things for myself any less?

I get something out of going somewhere new and meeting the people who live there. I eat the food and listen to the accents and the differences in speech, but I still see the same humanity that I see everywhere.

We are all the same, despite our differences. That’s the lesson I get from travel and of which I want to impart, whether it’s people from another country, who speak a different language, observe a different religion, or whatever it may be. This translates to living with any difference or “disability” like blindness, that people can’t imagine for themselves, but we all need to try and put ourselves in one another’s shoes to truly find our common ground.

I miss looking at pictures every day. I still like to hear descriptions of something. I can imagine how a certain light hits something. I can imagine a look, but yet I can’t. I try. I don’t just retreat into my own experience of the world.

I have an imagination and I saw more at one time. I have the ability to envision my surroundings.

Travel is also, in huge part, who you are with. It’s the people you experience the world with that make the experience so special.

If the conditions are just right, if the light hits the face of my niece or nephew in just the right way, I catch a glimpse of sweetness in their faces.

Just because blind people can’t see doesn’t mean we don’t wonder what someone of the opposite sex might look like. The inability to see it doesn’t take away the instinct to want to know anyway.

As you can clearly see, Kerry is a woman of substance. Most people, however, can’t seem to look past her blindness, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to showcase her today and do an in-depth interview with her.

This is a photo of Kerry Kijewski, when she did a CN Tower Edge Walk, on one of her trips.

An Interview With A Blind Woman, Kerry Kijewski

Some of the questions have several parts, and some of Kerry’s answers are fairly long. However, I hope you read through each question and response carefully, as Kerry reveals certain things about herself that you don’t want to miss!

Without further ado, please get to know Kerry a bit! I’m sure you’ll come to like her as much as I do! At the very least, you’ll learn a bit about this blind woman and realize that not all blind folk should be clumped together in a stereotypical category, or be treated so differently that they are made to feel like freaks.

Enjoy the interview! Read More

My True Story About How I Nearly Died

THIS IS MY TRUE STORY OF HOW I NEARLY DIED.

I’ll never forget the weekend of August 24-26, 2012 as long as I live. It was the weekend that marked a major, life-changing event. I nearly died that weekend. The weird thing is – I’m actually grateful for this experience, because it led me to my son. 

Let me tell you about it.

This was taken last Halloween but it pertains to the story in this post, so I am using it here... I love colours (as you may know) and this love is evident in this picture! I line up my dabber lids following the colours of the rainbow! (Notice the Certs? I love Certs, too!)

This was taken last Halloween but it pertains to the story in this post, so I am using it here… I love colours (as you may know) and this love is evident in this picture! I line up my dabber lids following the colours of the rainbow! (Notice the Certs? I love Certs, too!)

What happened in my life and how I nearly died:

On Friday, August 24, 2012, I went to Bingo. I ordered and drank iced tea that evening, and began feeling a bit weird. I got a stomachache, and began feeling nauseous. I hadn’t eaten anything, so I knew I didn’t have food poisoning. I thought that maybe the iced tea was tainted. I don’t think I will ever know if it was, for sure. I just know that I felt fine beforehand. Read More

Living My Life

It is now January 13th, and we are almost two weeks into the new year. I set some goals for myself this year, and am diligently working on realizing them. I have never been more motivated, and it feels great!

First off, I just bought a laptop, and I named her mybaby. I have never owned a laptop before, although I have some experience with working with computers. I must tell you, I am NOT a technical person. Thank goodness that nowadays, I don’t need to be, as computers can do almost everything for me… I love mybaby, she’s great! I also am learning how to do all sorts of things on the internet, like building my own webpage, following people on Twitter, interacting with others on facebook, and basically just trying to build a platform… a buzzword known to some of you but something that is new to me.

Why am I doing all this, you ask? Simple. I am a writer, and I have a lot to say. I am also trying to “break in” to the literary community step by step, and achieve some personal goals. One of these goals is to publish a book that I wrote while attending university. Although it has been about 17 years since I wrote The Life and Love of Canadian Poetry: An Interpretative View, I have finally come to a point in my life where actions speak louder than words. I have something to prove to myself, and to my son as well.

I wrote The Life and Love of Canadian Poetry: An Interpretative View as part of the requirments for a course I took, “Studies In Canadian Poetry”, taught by Professor Cindy Soldan at Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 1996. I was given a choice on the first day of class: either plan to do a two-week take-home exam at the end of the course, or use the semester to do a bunch of research and write a book that I would submit at the end of the course to be used as my evaluation. I have always been a writer at heart, and I figured since I was spending thousands and thousands (and thousands and thousands) of dollars on a university education, I might as well LEARN something while doing it! Anyway, I can’t tell you how many hours, days, weeks and months I spent learning the content of this book, but I do know for sure that it was one semester long… and I enjoyed every minute of it! My hard work paid off, too, as I received the highest mark in the entire class, according to Professor Cindy, who also encouraged me to get it published, something that never even occurred to me when I was writing it!

The Life and Love of Canadian Poetry: An Interpretative View is a reference book that will likely be used by college and university students, and is therefore marketable to college and university libraries. I am trying to get it published now…

 

UPDATE: Since writing this, I have been doing many other things. This book is still sitting on my shelf. Ugh. 🙁