November 5th, 2006

Cut cuddle and be Cute

Smile! You're on Crossing Camera!

Wow! And to think that yesterday was supposed to be my quiet relaxing regroup and deal with the pain productively day. I went to Brewberry's as usual, and at around 10 got a call from a friend and fellow-board-member of a guide dog users organization that a station she'd contacted about the issue of hybrid vehicles and the danger they pose for blind pedestrians wanted to do a story. Throughout the morning, she made contacts and kept me updated. Things developed that I needed to be downtown by 3. I found a bus route that would get me there around 2:30.

I must have changed clothes about 5 million times, trying to find the outfit that made me look good, looked normal for a student to wear and would work well on camera. I kept having fears that several bad clothing issues would happen, such as a real wardrobe malfunction. I also have this huge fear of having colorful undergarments show through, or ending up giving a whole new meaning to the concept of "news FLASH". Bad pun, I know... Anyway, I was all nervous, and trying to look halfway decent. I finally stopped fussing and walked down near Brewberry's to catch the bus. This is where the frustration begins.

I don't know if the bus passed us, if I missed it (highly unlikely since I was 10 minutes early according to my clock), or if the buss was really late. So I missed my connecting bus. This meant I stood of about 45 minutes before the interview even started.

The bus I took downtown to the Nikolet Mall was interesting. The bus driver was very nice when I got on and we conversed a lot. He commented about Julio saying "your boyfriend needs a shave." It was a good laugh. When we got to the transit center that I got frighteningly lost at last year, a few people got on. One tried to take a cigarette on the bus, and the person sitting next to me smelled like he took a shower in alcohol. I am incredibly sensitive to that smell, and the driver seemed nervous. On the one hand, I don't want to judge, but on the other, I have to admit I was nervous. People were trying to bother Julio, but other passengers were watching out for me. I realize that my fears of that area are something I will need to deal with as a social work major.

I got off the bus, and got turned around. I needed to be at 11th street, and ended up at 7th. Crossing downtown is challenging for me. Note to self: NO Matter HOW LATE YOU ARE, DON'T RUN DOWN FOUR BLOCKS!

The interview went well. If it gets put up, I'll post here with a link. [Edit: I've got the link and it's at the end of this post.] I was pretty nervous, but appreciated the reporter and photographer's time and their kindness. I haven't done a lot of camera work for a while, though there is the infamous "Beanie Baby" tape from seventh grade. That previous camera work does, however, make me critical of myself. I haven't seen the news clip (I don't have access to a TV), so it's hard to comment. That said, it does make me nervous crossing streets on camera and trying to tell my story in sound clips. I am always nervous that stories will turn into an inspirational disability piece and take the focus off the issues we're discussing. I was as careful to keep the focus on the story and issues and less on me, but I'm not sure how that worked.

After the story, we went to a place (I think it's a bar?), and I had a Cherry Coke. My fellow board-member and I talked for a while about lots of things. I appreciated her encouragement, and have some new ideas about what I want to do about my interest in chronic pain and blindness. This interest, honestly, is why I'm even staying in the honors program. I want to work on a project to explore the implications of dealing with a disability and chronic pain. It was very helpful to debrief and rest, since my pain levels were getting high.

I took a cab home, since it was after dark, I'd had to take a Percocet and I was sore and tired. The driver was very nice and even turned off the meter when we got to the campus since he was unsure of where my dorm is. It felt good to go home.

I took several things away from yesterday. First, although I was stressed, I worked through the issues getting to the TV station relatively well. I did not fold up and cry, but instead just kept pushing through the pain, fatigue and frustration. It ended up working out fine. It is a testament to the prayers, support and lessons from last summer that I was able to bounce back quickly enough to be on camera.

It is so nice to have "I can't" float away into "I'll try my best". More importantly, I'm learning that my best is all I can do, and that my best may end up being good enough.

The experience also made me think of last week's post about hope and fear in advocacy. With stories like this, there is the hope that people will learn something new and that this story will contribute to change. There is also the fear of doing something wrong, or not having the point come across. I also experienced hope and fear just getting to the interview and back.

Finally, it is nice to be reminded that I am capable of putting these things together. I put together, praying, planning a route, problem-solving, asking for assistance, determining my spoons or energy level, using relaxation/imagery and debriefing/decompressing skills to make yesterday work. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm doing my best and learning in the process.

Here's the link to the story:
Quieter Cars Put Blind Pedestrians at Risk
Cut cuddle and be Cute


Before anyone jumps on me, let me say I am excited to vote accessibly. That said:

Ambrose Bierce

In our civilization, and under our republican form of government, intelligence is so highly honored that it is rewarded by exemption from the cares of office."