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Welcome All!

We are happy to bring you Albinism Up Close as a small group project. It is a collaborative work-in-progress.

Thank you guys for checking us out!

Follow us here, and follow each of our writers. Their information can be found on their separate About pages. Feel free to share any topics, pictures, links, or opinions you may have for us, but please be considerate of this site’s creators and readers. We appreciate your interest.

If you have Albinism or are a parent or family member to someone who has it and you would like to contribute to our project, please email us at: albinismupclose@gmail.com

Danielle M

 

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Encouragement · Everyday Life · Student Life

Fighting to Work in a World Not Made for Me

Everyone has issues, right? Everyone has some things that they must fight through, and sometimes the fight is exceedingly harder than you think it should be. It’s worth the fight in the end though, right? That’s what everyone says. That’s what I tell myself. While you’re in the middle of that fight, though, it is disheartening, and I know that I’ve thought about giving up on more than one occasion. Now, I have no idea what I would do if I ever did give up, but I certainly considered doing just that once or twice.

Each of us has a unique situation that involves our own vision and physical limitations, abilities, location, family and support, feelings of independence and self-doubt, and our ultimate goals. What I’m going to describe is my own personal situation and how I see it. My vision is very poor, 20/400 corrected. That means that what a person with normal vision sees at 400 feet, I must be as close as 20 feet to see with my glasses on. These tests are done with indoor lighting and optimal conditions, so I imagine that in outdoor situations that number gets much worse. Photophobia (light sensitivity) can have a huge impact on my vision personally, and I’ve heard similar comments from many others with Albinism. On some bright sunny days, my visual field is reduced and/or I experience eye pain, headaches, and a general inability to look at anything higher than the ground in front of me. Most days are not that bad, but since I have no control over the sun’s brightness from day to day, this issue is worth noting.

Since my vision is so poor and photophobia affects me so strongly, I cannot drive. I don’t believe that I ever will be able to drive. I’d like to say that I’ve come to terms with that, but it seems to still frustrate me on a weekly basis. The inability to drive is one of my most trying obstacles in finding a job, but that is due mostly to the location in which I live. I live in a rural area outside of a town of about 50,000. The town is very spread out with almost non-existent public transportation. We have one cab company and paratransit, neither of which is a viable option for daily travel. So, my job search is limited to the type of schedule for which I can reliably find a ride. That eliminates any sporadic retail type jobs or restaurant work, and it also eliminates several jobs that I could get with a Bachelor’s in Psychology that involve odd shifts, nights, weekends, etc.

The other big issue that I face is self-doubt. Because I haven’t been able to try my skills at even the most basic types of jobs, I have some doubts about whether I could perform some of these jobs, and consequently, I doubt my abilities on skilled jobs that I may actually be qualified to perform. I feel that the main reason for my self-doubt involves my inability to see and read facial expressions and some smaller aspects of body language. Over the years, I have gotten very skilled at reading tone of voice and larger aspects of body language, but because of my vision, I cannot make eye contact or see where someone is looking, I cannot see small facial features unless I’m very close to a person, and I cannot see small hand gestures. The importance of these types of perceptions has really become apparent to me in the past few years as I’m working toward becoming a counselor. I have learned that my alternative strengths can make up for some of these weaknesses though, and I try to remind myself of that. A person can fake eye contact so some extent, and a person’s overall body language and tone of voice can provide some insight into their mood, attitude, and potential actions.

Because of these two main issues, I alternate between applying for jobs that fit my criteria and doubting whether I’ll ever be able to work like a normal person. I want to get a job and work like any other person, and some days I feel like that wish is only a distant dream. Another “dream” I have is to move to a city which will allow me to get around independently. I feel like a normal person can look at his or her options, pick a city, and just go. When it comes to my own life and my own hopes for moving though, I only see obstacles, and maybe this is a poor mindset that I need to keep working to change. I certainly consider myself a work in progress. I’m not afraid to grow and change, but I feel that I need some more encouragement in that area. I’ve been told by a few people that I could do absolutely anything I put my mind to, but my mind seems to get in my own way quite often.

Now, I have worked in the counseling field as an intern at an addiction treatment facility, and I learned so much about others and myself there. I would not trade that kind of experience for anything, and I am so thankful to have had that experience. I feel like it shouldn’t be so hard to find other opportunities like that though.

So, what am I doing about these struggles other than venting on my own personal blog? I’m in graduate school. I feel as though the more options for solid and skilled employment that I provide for myself, the less self-doubt will exist as an issue in my mind. I hope that with more job options, I will also feel more comfortable and confident with the idea of finally moving somewhere that will be more supportive to my independence.

I haven’t finished my fight. I’m still right in the middle of it, as a matter of fact, but I don’t plan to give up. I hope my fight can encourage you guys to keep fighting, because half the experience is in the journey, and our fight is our journey.

For you parents of children with Albinism, it’s okay if your child struggles. You can’t fight this fight for him or her. You can encourage your child, you can give him or her the tools to fight, and you can even try to lay out some sort of metaphorical road map, but it is still important to keep in mind that he or she will have his or her own fights. This is the kind of fight that a person must win for his- or herself; otherwise, how will a person feel accomplished when the battle is over? How will he or she even know when the battle is over?

As always, stay curious. Feel free to leave me some feedback and/or suggestions for future blog posts.

Danielle M.

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Everyday Life · Low Vision Products · Student Life · Technology

What is a Digital Magnifier: My Review of the Eschenbach SmartLux

So I’ve been using the Eschenbach SmartLux Digital Handheld Video Magnifier with Stand and 5-in. LCD for about a month now, and I figured I could safely recommend it to all of you. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the world of digital magnifiers, but I find them to be very useful for reading books that I cannot find in a digital format. So, what exactly IS a digital magnifier? The electronic or digital magnifier that I refer to is a handheld device with a screen mounted on one side. On the other will be a camera and light or lights. Most seem to have a stand of some form. Some may have a handle that folds underneath the device between the camera and the object to be magnified. Others have more compact stand pieces, and still others have small, fixed nubs underneath the device that provide the height necessary. They come in a variety of price ranges, styles, colors, screen sizes, etc. I’ve seen some on Amazon for as low at $130USD right up to the one I’m reviewing today that is closer to $600USD. Here, I have to state the importance of seeking out resources that may be able to help you purchase these items. If you have children in elementary, middle, or secondary school you may contact your local school for the blind, Lighthouse for the Blind near you, university medical center with low vision specialists, and vocational rehabilitation. I am currently a college student, and my state’s Vocational Rehabilitation has provided this item to me to use for school. They have helped me more than I could even share with you guys. For you International readers, you may check the NOAH Facebook group, the Albinism Community Facebook group and the many others where people from all over the world share this type of information.

The magnifier that I previously owned was the first generation of the Ruby made by Freedom Scientific (Freedom Scientific Ruby Handheld Magnifier 1st generation). It was amazing for short periods of time, but in my experience the battery life was disappointing, and because it charged with one of those round DC chargers rather than something like micro or even mini USB, I found it inconvenient to carry a charger with me all the time. You can find the Ruby for under $300USD now though, so it certainly could be worth checking out if you need something in that price range.

So onto my review. What’s in the box? The Smartlux itself, a hard shell but fairly compact case, a lanyard strap (that is not easy to attach to the SmartLux), the charger cord with various international attachments, the instruction manual, and a small microfiber cloth.

 The Smartlux has several features that may be useful for you guys. It has four magnification options: 5x, 7x, 9x, and 12x. I found myself using the 9x most, because I would often sit on a couch here at school and read with the book in my lap. 9x seemed to fit that circumstance and distance well for me. While reading with the book on a table in front of me, I would use the 7x. I believe the 5x would be excellent for hold the magnifier in one hand and reading an object with fine print in the other hand. For example, prescription bottles, nutrition information, cooking directions, user guides and manuals, etc. I did not find myself using the 12x magnification very often, though I did try it out. I found that while using 12x with a normal book, too little was displayed on the screen at one time and that forced me to glide my hand over the page more than I would have liked.

The Smartlux has five color modes: normal, black on white, white on black, black on yellow, and yellow on black. These high contrast modes could be useful for reducing eye strain (as with the white on black or yellow on black modes), and they seemed to work well with my textbook with black text on a white background.

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Another feature that may be useful is the LED lights that can be turned on and off. The LEDs will be necessary for reading most items or books especially if you require one of the high-contrast modes. But in cases where you may use the Smartlux with a screen on a tablet, phone, or other large electronic screen, the LEDs will have to be turned off to prevent glare. Though most tablets and phones do have their own accessibility features that may be used to enlarge text on-screen, some cases do require magnification. In the example I will share, I was looking at my tablet while it was placed on a table. I opened my browser to a news website with fairly small print and thumbnails that aren’t always the easiest to see. If you’ve used a tablet or a phone much for web browsing, you will have seen that some sites will not allow you to pinch to zoom and do not seem to resize to the font size you have chosen in your device accessibility settings or internet browser. In these cases, it may be useful to use the SmartLux.

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Another useful feature involves the versatility of the stand on the bottom of the SmartLux. This stand has three levels of adjustment: folded up for handheld use; folded out once for use with writing; and folded out all the way for use as a stand on top of a flat surface. The closed position was the one that I found myself using most often because it makes the most sense when reading a textbook or any longer amount of text.  The writing mode could be very useful for a child learning to write or for anyone filling out or signing documents or forms that can often be printed painfully small.

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There is a feature that allows you to save photos to the SmartLux device. I experimented with this feature a bit, and it could be useful for captureing information such as a nutrition label while in the grocery store or cooking direction on an item you cook regularly or snapping a shot of a business card while out. I find that I can and do all of these things with my smartphone, but in the event that your smartphone battery is dead or you don’t use a smartphone, you can use the SmartLux for these and many similar tasks in your day to day life.

My absolute favorite feature of the SmartLux? Its excellent battery life. I have been using this thing since I first received it and fully charged it. I’ve read through close to four total textbook chapters and taken all of these review photos and still have battery to spare. I am honestly ten times more excited about using this tool now that I know I will not have to have the charger cord with me every day. As I mentioned with the Ruby magnifier, the charger cord is the same round DC style cord, so it’s not the type of cord I would tyically carry with me.

Would I recommend this magnifier? Absolutely, but I do have to point out that it is certainly not cheap. You can buy a pretty nice new smartphone for around the same $600USD price tag, and I find that a bit disappointing.  The SmartLux does have quite a few features and feels very well built. Eschenbach is also one of those companies that, to me, connotes higher quality items, and that may contribute to the price of this device as well. Overall, I am very pleased with this device though, and if you’re in the martket for this type of device, I have no other hesitations about recommending that this be at or near the top of your list.

Let me know if you guys find other items you’d like me to review, and let me know which magnifiers you guys use and how you feel about them. Until next time, thanks for reading and stay curious.

Danielle M.

Product Links:
SmartLux Digital Handheld Video Magnifier with Stand and 5-in. LCD

Freedom Scientific Ruby Handheld Magnifier 1st generation

Everyday Life · Low Vision Products · Student Life · Technology

Paper, BoldWriter Pens, and Bump Dots

Hi, everyone. I just wanted to share this quick post with some items I received from Vocational Rehabilitation. I’m not personally big into using these types of things, because for me they are a bit impractical and I can get by without them. Many of you or your children may find them useful, especially for younger children who are just learning to write.

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This first item is called Bump Dots. These are raised 3-dimensional stickers that you can stick to settings on your microwave or washer and dryer or remotes or even items that you need to identify quickly. They are not braille, but instead they come in several shapes and colors and sizes. The clear ones could be placed on items that you share with others or just on things you want to keep inconspicuous. The bright orange and black can be placed on various colors to provide a contrasting marker. You could be as creative with the use of these Bump Dots as you’d like. Stick a square one on a notebook for one class and a bubble one on a notebook for one class and then the flat round one on a notebook for a third class.

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The above items are all for writing. The Low Vision Notebook is made by a company called Giant Print Company. The legal pad style paper is made by MaxiAids, and this paper is made by several other companies as well. And the pens are called BoldWriter Pens and they are made by Reizen. These pens are somewhere between a fine- and regular-tipped Sharpie. They don’t smell as strongly, which is a plus since using something like this assumes that your face may be fairly close to the writing surface. They write fairly quietly and don’t seem to bleed through paper like a Sharpie would.

All of these items came from MaxiAids, and that site has a bit of everything from electronics to talking watches and scales to these pens and papers. They also have various aids for other disabilities as well including household items, canes and crutches, computer accessories, and pretty much anything you can think of. Of course, when shopping I would always suggest some price comparison. I’ll post some Amazon links to these products mentioned and similar products as well.

Stay curious and let me know if you guys have any questions or requests for posts.

Danielle M.

PS: These Amazon links (the photos) will be my personal affiliate links, and that means that I may receive a small percentage of the profits from these items at no extra cost to you guys. If you use these links and make a purchase, thanks in advance.

Bump Dots:

Low Vision Notebook:

Bold Writer Pens:

Everyday Life · Student Life · Technology

Personal Advocacy in School: How and What I Tell Professors

This post will fit right in with my previous post on being legally blind while in graduate school. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here. Letting a professor/teacher know what you need is probably one of the most important things you can do while in school, and it can be one of the hardest as well. While I was in high school my teachers were very accommodating, but I did not allow them to help me very much. I didn’t grow up with many accommodations, but I did not ask for many either. I was embarassed, and I was hard-headed when it came to admitting that I needed more than any other kid my age. Admitting you’re different is not always easy. I didn’t even know what Albinism or being legally blind was until I was in high school where I discovered the NOAH website and forum (NOAH is the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation and you can find it here.). This site explained to me all of the things about myself that I never even knew to ask, and I met some wonderful people my age that I could share my issues with and share and receive advice. I frequented that forum for sure!

Children with Albinism today have a lot more information. When I was a teenager, there was no Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, so I had that forum. Thanks to that forum, I even began talking to my friends in high school about Albinism and my eyesite. I have to say that my friends were always very helpful and understanding, even when it took time from what they were doing. Now we have Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram handles, and YouTube channels made by people with Albinism. These are all excellent resources, but I think your best resource is your own knowledge. Know what works best for you and how to ask for those things.

How did I learn what I needed? Through trial and error. I have tried the giant print textbooks that take up way too much space (before e-books); I have tried many different magnifiers (standard and electric); I have tried several different monoculars; I have tried different pens and pencils and paper and notebooks; I have sat in different parts of a classroom; I have tried private testing with extended time; and I have done without all of these special accommodations. Some are worth the extra effort to me, and some are not. Take private testing accommodations and extended time for instance. I personally do not find that I need any more time than most students when taking a normal test in a classroom. I don’t struggle with minute distractions as someone with ADHD might, and I do not like to take my own extra time to take these tests in another setting when that is an acccommodation that I do not deem necessary. Try things out, experiment, and figure out what works for you. This is a process that may take some time, and you may begin this process long before I did. Accommodations are different for every person.

Personally, I don’t ask for many accommodations, but now it isn’t due to stubbornness. I know that I can take tests in a normal time frame (faster than many people with regular vision in my case); I can use my monocular to read the board; and I can handle my textbook situation well on my own.

When I tell a professor that I am legally blind and which accommodations I may need, I like to catch them after the very first class. By then I know what to expect during their classes: how they present notes, what their tests will be like, how the assignments will be handled, and a bit about their personality as a professor. I like to speak to them in person, because I generally do not feel the need to have this type of communication in writing. I feel that I can utilize this informal method of communication, because I do not require many accommodations, and in most cases I can approach them throughout the semester if any of my requests change. This approach should also make the professor feel comfortable enough to ask any questions that he/she may have. You may have a different situation and may want to present them with a formal letter or e-mail, especially if you have a long or very specific set of accommodations.

What I tell a professor is fairly simple, but what you tell a teacher/professor may be more complex depending on what you need and want. I tell them that I’m legally blind; that I do not use scantrons (bubble fill-in answer sheets); and that if they use small fonts (12 point or less) on notes or tests, I would like them a bit bigger (about 14 point font is plenty for me personally). I have had only pleasant experiences working with professors. I don’t need much, but that is based on my own personal needs and abilities.

You should never be afraid to ask for what you need though, even if it seems like you have a list a mile long. I’ve seen students who ask for ten different accommodations. You are entitled to those accommodations if you need them, so don’t feel hesitant to ask. I have been lucky in the past to have kind professors, but that is not always the case. Some teachers/professors may be reluctant or even critical, and that is when you need to go through your school’s Special Populations office or whatever your school chooses to call that office. I spent two years in community college and had the pleasure of working with and for my Special Populations office there. I loved working in that office. It taught me many things, and one is that teachers/professors are not always accommodating or even friendly. Utilizing the Special Populations office as a resource can be very helpful, and I hope you find the help you need there.

Do remember that each of these people you encounter is human and nothing more. We each have our own experiences, opinions, and expectations, and these may not always line up with your own experiences, opinions, and expectations. Be your own advocate but do remember to be as respectful as you can about that advocacy. There is a fine line between advocacy and berating.

DISCLAIMER: What I share in this post is based on my personal experience attending university in the United States. I am not very familiar with other countries’ policies and laws regarding students with disabilities or special accommodations. Your university should have a student handbook that outlines their personal policies and the laws they must abide by. I’d suggest checking that, asking other students from your country, and speaking to the staff on your campus. If you need any help with any of this, feel free to send me an email, comment, or contact me on social media. I’ll do whatever I can to point you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading. Stay Curious.

Danielle M

Everyday Life · Student Life · Technology

Legally Blind in Graduate School

I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2014, and I started graduate school in January of this year (eight months ago). I’m in a  Counselor’s Education program earning a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling so that I can become a Licensed Professional Counselor.  I was one of the lucky students who never had much trouble with school work. I love to read; I love learning new things; and I also very much enjoy being in school. My biggest issue in any class is usually reading the textbook. I generally try to get them all in e-book form because I can read them in that format much more quickly and easily.  On occassion, the e-book format isn’t quite so easy to get my hands on, and I’m required to use another tool. My two tools of choice for this task are either a handheld electronic magnifier (I recently got a new one and will be reviewing it on this blog as well) or a scanner app for my phone. The scanner app that I’ve used multiple times now is the CamScanner-Phone PDF Creater (You can find it in the Google Play Store here). I’ve scanned an entire textbook for personal use on this app, and it really saved me during that semester. Before I use it for one of this semester’s courses, I’ll be testing out my new handheld electronic magnifier, the Eschenback Smartlux. I receive this through my local Vocational Rehabilitation, but you can find it on Amazon here and MaxiAids here.

The next tool that I use regularly in college is a good monocular. I got a new one a few years ago from Amazon, and I love it! It is the Vortex Solo 10x36mm Monocular (It can be found on Amazon here: Vortex Solo 10×36 mm Monocular, but I believe it was closer to $60-70 when I got it a couple years ago). I have used this in small classrooms from the back of the classroom and the front of the classroom, stadium seats at a concert, and on the street to read signs and see lights. It worked well for me in all of those situations. Having a 10x rather than an 8x gives you a much wider viewing ring, and that can be apprecieted in a wide variety of situations. I also love the adjustable eyecup that allows me to use this monocular with and without glasses comfortably.  It is by no means a compact monocular for those of you in the market for compact, but it is rubber coated, waterproof, and feels very well made.

Here is a more affordable option: Vortex Optics Solo 10×25 Waterproof Monocular

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The other necessities I carry around for school include my phone (Nexus 6p), Tablet (Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4″), a cheap laptop (Asus X502C), Bluetooth Headset (LG HBS900), and some other odds and ends. I can also do a “What’s in my bag?” type post in the future.

I’m a huge tech nut, but I don’t have the funds to update my own tech as of now. I’m hoping to upgrade my laptop in the near future with either the Lenovo Yoga 720 or this years HP Spectre x360. I have a few other similar options on that list, but those are the front runners. I’ll share some insights into why I chose these in another post as well. Whatever laptop I do get in the future, I have plans to post a review.

For now, stay curious, and feel free to share any feedback with me by email (albinismupclose@gmail.com) or comment. I may create a facebook page, twitter, account, and/or instagram if anyone is interested in any of these options.

Danielle M.

Everyday Life · Student Life

Writing Again

So, I’ve both been busy with getting into school and school work and been lazy. I think It’s time I come back and commit to this blog, because I reallly do love the idea of sharing what I have to say. My committment will be no less than one post each month, and I have a few ideas so far.  If anyone has a paerticular topic that they would like me to write about, feel free to contact me.

Future topics will include:

  • Using my new low vision tools
  • Graduate school while legally blind
  • Living in a town with no public transportation
  • Being an aspiring counselor
  • Attempting to get an internship/job with the Veteran’s Affairs as a counselor

I hope you guys will stick around and pass the word on if you like what I have to say in the future. Thank you to everyone reading this.

Stay curious.

Danielle

Encouragement · Everyday Life · Student Life

The Beginning of Self-Reflection

So, I’ve been having a great deal of trouble dealing with what must happen in the future in order for me to be successful in the field of psychology. While I was in school for my Bachelor’s degree, I was certain what would happen next. I was sure things would work out for me in the end, and in the way that I had envisioned it. After graduating, though, things changed. I graduated last December, and it is now August. Two attempts at internships fell through, though out of my control, three or four jobs including two interviews ended up going nowhere, and two graduate school applications also disintegrated as I watched helplessly. I pretty much felt as though I was some stolid observer to this life as each and every one of the possible plans I had made fell through. It was fairly disheartening, though I didn’t want to admit that to anyone. Now, as I wait for another internship that also may not pan out, I am left to do some serious thinking on my future. Could I settle for some obscure job or even with a Master’s degree and some lower level counseling job? At first, I gave the latter idea some though, but the idea never really felt right. I began reading a book on forensic psychology as the beginning in what I hoped would be a fair collection of books that I would read as I did some soul searching. While reading this first book, I was also searching for some more graduate schools near me to apply to in a month or two when applications open. The book had me interested, as forensics and murder and violence and the reasons behind them often draw out the curiosity in all of us. I stumbled upon a Joseph Stalin quote within the book, “One death is a tragedy; 20 million deaths is a statistic.” That probably sounds insensitive to many, but the point made in the book was that we may be able to empathize with why one person is driven to murder or torture; we are inherently incapable of incurring the empathy and emotion of millions of those people who were murdered, tortured, and otherwise harmed during genocides and wars of the past. It is simply impossible. That idea lead me on a trail of thoughts toward my future. I though, if I were to teach a psychology 101 class one day, this quote would make a stunning introduction. Psychology is about empathy yes, but it is more about an understanding or logical interpretation of why someone does a thing rather than an empathetic and emotional understanding. We are not necessarily to place ourselves in the shoes of the murderers and criminals of this world, we are to use our education and understanding to understand the psychology behind what a person chooses to do and why they choose to do it. We are not meant to become emotionally wrapped up in what the psychiatrically ill or those lacking in empathy do. We are only meant to understand it. With that understanding we can go in many directions of course, but first and foremost, the understanding is step numero uno. Consequently, thinking about how I would introduce the topic of psychology in a classroom of undergraduates made me see the obvious: I would like to be present in such a situation. So, today I have been faced with the obvious realization that I am still headed in the same direction, and I do want to head in that direction.

This all sounds silly to me now, but I have worried myself in excess about what I’ll end up doing with myself in the future. I’ve felt guilty for lying around, playing video games, and reading non-education related books in my time off. That is just ridiculous honestly. I shouldn’t feel guilt after I’ve accomplished so much and still have so much left to accomplish. I graduated at the top of my class with a 4.0 GPA, and I did it while dealing with my own unique set of small challenges. I’m legally blind, sometimes severely light-sensitive, and have even been diagnosed with gastroparesis in the last few years. The latter isn’t nearly as serious as I first believed it might be. I’m very thankful to have a less severe case than many of those I read about when first diagnosed. That aside, the vision issues are sometimes challenging to work around, but I know I’m not alone there. I’m just saying that I have earned a small intermission in my mission-driven life. It’s okay to relax for a bit. I’m not sure why I always feel so guilty about doing that. Type A personality maybe? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m sure of the course my life will inevitably take, though I’m not sure when and how, or even where. I can be alright with that unknown though. I will just have to keep reminding myself so. Tonight I’ll go photograph some children at my local church as sort of a before-school celebration. I’ll keep reminding myself to enjoy the break that I’ve been given, because once grad school begins, there will be little time for simple pleasures.

Stay curious and never stop searching for yourself.

Danielle

Uncategorized

Beautiful Subtleties

There is something incredibly beautiful about the subtleties of acoustic instruments: piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo, everything. The mistakes, echos, creative moments, and all of these things we don’t often give thought to are beyond incredible. How great it is to hear. Just to hear. I imagine deafness to be quite lonesome. I believe I would feel beyond lonely without my hearing. 

During Biological Psychology, we recently discussed the miracle of hearing. No matter your definition of “miracle” the mind is one mystery we may never fully understand. It’s incredible how each of the small ear structures combine with fluids, hairs, tiny reverberations, and electrical signals to make noise in all of its beautiful mystery. It truly is a mystery in my mind, though I am no auditory expert of course. Sound is waves. That is all that it is, though it has many complex physics-related properties that I would not dare claim to understand. What happens in our minds is incredible and complex, but these events are what we “hear.” And what we hear relates to our own perspectives right? Surely that is true; it is true for vision and thought. 

Possibly, it is those subtle perception differences that make the difference in our musical preferences. One person may hear a jumble of sounds and some lyrics where another hears a beautiful journey through someone’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  Not that either, or anyone in between, would be wrong or right. Everything in this world is a matter of perception. If you truly give that a thought, you can learn to see things so very differently. Your entire world may even shift. I have always considered myself perceptive and empathetic, but the deeper I delve into areas like perception and individual experience, my world grows immensely. I’m not sure one person can truly hold all of these perceptions in one mind. I will continue to test that idea as my life progresses.

Give something new a chance, and give the next person you meet a perceptive thought. Let yourself wrap that amazing mind around all of the things a person can experience and feel.

Stay curious and thanks for reading, as always.

Danielle M