Well it’s the year of 2020 everyone!
It certainly has been a time of reflection for me, as a result I wanted to share my last decade in a blog that might provide hope for those living with progressive conditions such as mine. As hard as it can feel there is a future, it will be challenging but hard work and determination can see you through.
I have always hated New Years, I’m that emotional sobber in the corner as midnight strikes!
For me the concept of time is quite terrifying, to be frank I have always tried hard to not look too far forward nor back! However it’s this time of year where you’re forced to think about these things.
And then there’s the people talking about the past DECADE as we walk into the next.. well my mind has been having an inevitable real field day thinking about all those years...
10 years ago, I was 15, had been registered blind a year and it was not long before I was put on the waiting list for a Guidedog. I was at boarding school, where I was tormented for being different - I couldn’t sign British Sign Language, so therefore I was “a sad excuse of a deaf person,” I didn’t look blind so therefore I was “pretending,” I had both pupils and teachers grind me further into the ground daily. All I wanted was to be like everyone else, to have no worries besides my GCSEs - not the worry of not being able to actually see enough to read them let alone sit the exams and pass.
At 15 I was put on extremely strong medication to try and rectify a secondary eye condition (Cystoid Macular Oedema,) in the past decade I was on these twice for between 6-8 months. Both times I went from an average size 8/10 to a size 4/6. My mental distress was at the brink and I’d spend most nights crying in pain. The medication never worked. I even had injections and eye drops to try and save my failing central vision - none of which worked. All this while I was at a school who to be quite honest, didn’t want me there.
I had 5 degrees vision left. (Thankfully it’s been stable since.)
Fast forward a few years, I lost friends I gained friends I found the college who restored my faith in humanity... I found *Molly* again. I have Strode college in Egham Surrey to thank for that. I’ll always be eternally grateful for the teachers, the support and of course the life long friends I made there.
Leaving college I proved the little doubtful molly I had inside me that I WAS worthy of succeeding, I even got into university. Sadly university wasn’t to be even after my tireless battle with the authorities to gain the support I absolutely deserved.
At 20 I got a job at Apple where I worked as a specialist and these guys, I’ll always thank for seeing my true value. I found my niche - technology! The ever impactful tech that had gotten me that far and I hadn’t actively realised it until then.
My confidence built up and I built a field of contacts, I bought my first applewatch and wrote a blog that went viral and literally changed my life.
After the applewatch blog I made contact with GN Hearing who's smart hearing aid technology would go on to enhance my life. GN produced the first hearing aids completely compatible with applewatch and iphone meaning I had the a pretty enabling awesome accessibility toolkit. My confidence was high and as a reult I left apple to persue a self employed journey in accessibility, web and app design and usability.
My first dear Guidedog Unis who had come into my life when I was 16 years old was forced to retire early, saying goodbye was to date one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Thankfully her forever home is with a good family friend and she is now loving a happy retirement.
My second guidedog the beuatiful little Bella aka Welly trotted into my life and has been instrumental in my life since. Thanks to that poppet, I can earn a living and do so safely and with genuine happiness having my little best friend by my side at all times.
I have been able to work with massive companies like Apple (HQ,) LinkedIn, NHS Digital, Spotify, ASOS - the list goes on.
I started working with the amazing guys at Sigma - they too, have been amazing in contributing to my growth in independence, knowledge and confidence.
I have travelled the world, travelled europe delivering keynote presentations and meeting amazing people. Making memories ?
And here I am, I am the person I’ve grown into today and well, I'm pretty proud of myself.
Though things as always remain challenging, the past couple of years have been steady upward progress for me.
In 2019 I proved to myself that I could get even *better,* and with my Molly Watt Talks journey have done incredibly well - if I may say so myself! Also as a person, I’ve grown so so much.
I won’t finish saying it’s all been perfect - it’s been awfully hard at times, I still battle with my mental health and spend some days in bed crying at the thought of leaving my house.
That’s life though, and never be afraid to sit a day out here and there - it’s not easy being human, learn to give yourself a break and to not feel bad. One thing I learned just in the past year.
My wish list for this next year/decade is to grow, to advocate for others, to travel, to work and meet more awsome people, buy my own home and to see others living with my Usher Syndrome thrive.
So before I sign off I want to thank YOU all for still being here - I see you! Not literally obviously, I am blind (heh) you’re so very appreciated.
May we all continue to grow, and learn. Here’s to the next 10 years...
Do you have a year plan, a ten year plan or a wish list? If you do please consider sharing, write us a blog we can share and lets make these things happen.