Last weekend I was told I was so negative and always moaning. This was by someone I have met once or twice and exchanged a few conversations with on Twitter. Their view of me was based entirely on my tweets. This person is educated to PhD level, had a job and left supposedly on principle, lives in social housing in the town of their choice. This person is frequently rude to people and extremely judgmental, many people realise this and some lovely people spoke out in my defence at the time or checked that I was OK.
The overwhelming response was to ignore them, so why am I still thinking about this? I think its because, if I am ever given negative comments about myself I analyse them and wonder where I could improve. I don’t give a toss what this particular person thinks of me but it does matter to me how I come across to those people I care about.
I think, particularly as a blind person, there are struggles I face on a regular basis. Twitter is the place I vent and I often receive very good suggestions, even from complete strangers, which are very useful.
I leave the house at 7:15 am, catch two buses and arrive at my desk at around 8:30. I work in a customer service role and battle with partially or totally inaccessible software on a daily basis. I also have the problems with communication that many blind people will be familiar with in a large office environment. Those people who just sit quietly when you talk to them, those who flatten themselves against walls in corridors or on stairs and don’t reply when you say hello, so on and so on. At about 5 pm I make my return journey home on two buses, arriving at about 6. Just lately I’ve been going to bed at about 9:30, so have around three hours relaxation time at home with my husband. I know many people have a similar day or even a longer one, but I’m sure you’d agree that in a day like that there are ample opportunities for things to go wrong and be tweeted about. When I am facing sometimes blatant discrimination, or things are going wrong in our very dilapidated office building, sending a tweet about it really helps!
There are many times when I’d love to jack in my job but it just isn’t possible. Years ago I was laughed out of council and housing association offices when I tried to apply for housing and a string of private landlords refused me as I had a dog. So the only option left was to buy somewhere. So now, work is a must to pay for the mortgage and upkeep of a house. I have done this job for twenty years, the last five without a pay rise. I used to apply for jobs on a regular basis but in the last few years I have been so lacking in confidence that I have stopped applying. The prospects for blind people can be limited, even in the workplace. There are no prospects for promotion in my job, but the salary is good for what I do. So here I stay, week in, week out. Just at the moment I am so tired. I can’t see a way out and I dread the thought of being pushed around by the council for the next twenty years.
It’s not all bad though! I have enough money to go out to the theatre and for food and to visit friends and have them visit me. I’ve got the best husband in the world and am loved like I never imagined I could be loved. We go on wonderful holidays and very rarely go short of things we want.
I’m only human though and anyone who is blind will know that at times we have to struggle. I’m not Pollyanna so my Twitter timeline will reflect the bad and the good. I’m hoping this doesn’t make me an all round negative person. I don’t think it does.