Hi there and welcome to V I In The City. This is a new series within my blog. I wanted to share with you my experiences of being a blind woman in the city. I thought what better way than to create its own space.
This series is going to be about me and my city life. I believe I am a true city chick born and bread in this fabulous city we call Manchester or as I like to call it the true north 🙂 I want to take you on the journey with me in my new life as a blind woman living in the city. The challenges I may come across, the solutions that may be shared or created, the people I may meet, the places I will eat and of course drink. I want to share the things I come up against and the reactions I get from others. I want this to be my city diary and hopefully it may help others.
I want to start my Diary by telling you a little about how and where I have lived in this wonderful city. I was born in St Mary’s hospital, the old building! I was born 23 April on St Georges day and I am honoured to share my birthday with our countries patron saint. The atmosphere especially when I became legal drinking age was always that of fun and solidarity. I was brought up in Withington in South Manchester on a council estate. My amazing mother kept me and my three sisters healthy, happy and supported all of us on our decisions. She is an inspiration to me, she has always been and always will be one of the most important people in my life and a true city chick. Growing up in a fabulous city was so great as teenagers we had so much on our doorstep. Although I had my visual impairment I didn’t want that to stop me. I still managed to do the normal teenage things. I had friends through high school (that were all fully sighted, after primary school I lost contact with my V I friends) I went to the cinema, bowling and hanging out at friends houses. Now having my own son I realise how hard this must of been for my mum. She had the normal teenage worries but my sight problem on top so she was amazing to allow me to have my independence and in such a big city.
After high school I went to collage in Hulme. I studied Art and design and was loving every minute of it. It was around this time with studying I started to look at the city differently. I started to notice how vibrant it was, the different cultures, colours, shapes and diversity all within one place. This was such an inspiring place to be. I must admit I wish I had took it a little more seriously and done something with what I was seeing back then. I graduated there and went to Stockport collage, studying visual communication. This then lead onto my degree at Manchester Metropolitan university. This was an amazing time in my life, to be a city chick born and bread I could show people my town. I made many friends at university who some have come to call Manchester their city. All of my friends were fully sighted I again had no friends who were visually impaired. I think this was because there was just no facility or way of creating connections as easy as there is now. I do feel like I missed out on a big piece of my life without peer support with Someone I could relate to and understood what I was going through. Even though this was an exciting time it was also very challenging with regards to my visual impairment. I was studying such a visual subject, I knew there were going to be challenges ahead but I wanted to express myself and prove my sight was not going to define me. If only I had something like the many wonderful blogs and social support groups out there that there is today. I found myself fading into the background and not accepting and asking for the help I needed to get the most from my studies and my wonderful city. I passed my degree but on the skin of my teeth and knowing now what I do I wish I had just spoke up and asked for help!!
I have found that you can be in the most amazing place , be surrounded by all the facilities you may need it won’t make a blind bit of difference if you can’t access them. I am so happy and proud of the charities for moving forward in this area. I only wish I had it through out my teens and twenties. This is why I want to create this space for people to reference and hopefully get the help, advise and comfort they need. I don’t regret not being a louder voice back then because there is no point in looking back and using up vital energy in doing so. I have learnt from my mistakes and hope to change and use my voice to help create more awareness and support for those going through sight loss.
I will look at the times I have faced adversity in the places I have visited around Manchester through my journey. I will look back with the first few blogs in this series then I will take you with me going forward.
Sending you love and creativity Nina xx