I Was Unplanned…

Hello Everyone! Before getting into this blog post, I wanted to apologize for my recent absence from posting. Life just got away from me, and I didn’t have time to write up and thoughtfully think of a topic worth posting. So, I hope you guys can find it in your heart to forgive me for being terrible at keeping up with my schedule.

Also, I want to first add a disclaimer to this post. For some, this post may bring up difficult emotions or past experiences. I am not writing this to start any type of disagreements, in fact I am writing it for the opposite reason. Before starting, I also wanted to mention that in this post there will be details of the movie exposed, so if you are planning on seeing the film and don’t want it ruined, close your tab now.

The Story of Unplanned

As some of you might know, Unplanned, a movie about a woman’s journey from pro-choice to pro-life hit theatres this weekend. If you are unfamiliar with this film or what it is about, let me just start by giving you a little background.

Abby Johnson was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, Texas, a town outside of Houston. In college she was walking around a career fair when the bright pink signs and merchandise of Planned Parenthood caught her eye. She proceeded to walk over when the woman at the stand told her that “the goal of Planned Parenthood is to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies by providing women with sex education classes and affordable birth control.” Basically she said “we are helping women in crisis.” Somewhat naive, Abby thought that helping women in crisis was something she was interested in pursuing, so she started as a volunteer escort, assisting clients who arrived inside and take their minds off the protesters outside of the clinic. Next, she became the head counselor of PP, a position where she used her degree in psychology to reassure women that what they were doing was not wrong and the baby felt no pain. After a few more years, Abby was promoted to Director of her clinic where she would monitor and track everything from abortions, to birth control distribution.

One day, after being invited to hold the probe for an ultrasound guided abortion, she decided she would never go back…..ever. This movie is the story of a woman who at Planned Parenthood over the course of 8 years, counseled women to have more than 22,000 babies terminated. Throughout the rest of this post, I will merely be explaining how this story relates to my own.

My Story

A while back, when my mom was just a young adult trying to find what she wanted to do with her life, one little “plus” sign changed her life. She was pregnant. Later, she would find out it was a little girl and two months after this girl was born, she and my dad learned that their little girl was blind. This girl is me, and this is my story.

For a woman like my mother, she was not expecting to be pregnant before she had her life plan figured out. She was young, and in college, and (per her) had no idea how she was going to make it work. Some people suggested abortion. “You’re not financially stable”, “You’re too young”, “you can’t provide a decent life for a baby”.  These are just some reasons people say that abortion is the right answer. The truth is, my parents were financially unstable, they were too young, and they did not know at all if they could provide a decent life for a baby. Is anyone ever really financially stable enough to raise a baby? My parents said they were not.

My mother believed that I was a real human being inside her, even early in her pregnancy, so she found the courage to tell her parents about me, and decide what to do next with their support, whether to put me up for adoption or start a family earlier than she expected. While my mom never did consider abortion, she did consider adoption in order to give me the best possible chance at a awesome future. My mom does not believe that people should raise children they do not feel they can raise.

My mother (and dad) decided to keep me and 17 years later I can assure you she is not regretting her decision.

Don’t get me wrong, it was no easy road these past 17 years. We were never really “financially well off” and it was hard for her to be a mother to a disabled child, but I think my story proves to people that raising a baby that was unplanned when you are financially unstable and young is not impossible, even if it is a little (or very) difficult.

Although some have tried hard to hurt this movie’s chances by banning the Twitter page for the movie, refusing to air the trailers on their station, and possibly blacklisting most of the actors, Unplanned hit theatres on March 29, 2019 and so far it has brought in more than double its estimates. Opening weekend, Unplanned earned 6 million dollars making it the second highest box office Christian film to hit the theatres.

Do not think that this film is not controversial, it definitely is, but it is a film that I recommend everyone to see because it is one of the few that really takes a look into the reality of abortion and its effects on the mind and body. This woman, Abby Johnson has inspired thousands already and with the release of this film, there will be thousands more to come. All those children who did not get a chance to speak, a chance to laugh or a chance to play because it would be inconvenient for someone else are up there in heaven looking down on us, forever loving.

No matter who you are or what your circumstances are, you are an overcomer and there are so many other good options out there in the world and, while you do have the option to make the choice, I urge you to consider my story and make the right one. I’m so thankful my mother did.

It Has Been a Year.

One year ago, March 20th was probably the biggest day of my life. Before I get into the details, I want to start by saying that even though this is super emotional to talk about, it is worth me talking about it.

A year ago today, my eyes were opened. Well, I guess in my case you could say my eye, but same difference, right? Thinking back to dark Zoe is a hard thing. It is hard for me to think about and talk about, but the truth is, it needs to be talked about. Before starting this blog I went through a time that no one should go through and one day, I just decided to stop. Stop being the person that constantly looking down on themselves. Stop being the person that only felt bad for themselves and pitied themselves and start being the person that has a smile on their face and who encourages and inspires. Although I always tried to look happy, until March 20, 2018, I felt dead. Saying that is hard. It takes everything I have to say that.

But I am here to tell all of you that the Zoe that most people know now is who I love being. I am happy, and healthy. I couldn’t be happier about my life and it is all thanks to Jesus and prayer. Because of the encouragement from those in my life, I was able to pick myself up from the floor and rise above. Rise above my problems, my fears and my sadness. To say this was easy would be a complete and utter lie. It might have been the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but it was the most worth it thing I ever did. Yes, the truth is that I still have bad days. Days where I doubt myself, my abilities, my worth, and my life. But, for the most part I am 1,000 times happier than I was a year ago.

The darkness, the hate and ugliness have disappeared. I am now happier than I have ever been and even though vision disabilities suck, living your entire life being pissed at something you can’t control just isn’t worth it. That goes for every disability. Sometimes, even in the darkest hour, there is a tiny speck of light. This is not to say you shouldn’t struggle, in fact struggling is a part of life, but to always be sad about something that is temporary is not a way to live. Earth is temporary, pain is temporary and in heaven our sins, pain and hardships are gone. What seems so far in the future, is just a step away. Through God and those we love we are able to take that step.

I want to thank everyone who have helped me reach my full potential and those who encouraged me to write this blog. I am eternally grateful. Your life is precious, you are precious. Never, ever forget that. I went through 16 years of self-doubt, self-hate and pity and now I live freely. I am here to tell you it can be done. No matter your disability, you are so worth it and I am here to encourage you always!

Remember to laugh everyday!

Always Remember…

Recently, on a Saturday, I went to go see a movie as one does. A movie, that would eventually change the way I acted, thought and spoke. Maybe if I had known the impact this film would have on my life, I would have been more prepared. Five Feet Apart hit the theatre on Friday, March 15 2019. Something that not many people realize is that the movie was inspired by the life and actions of a young girl named Claire Wineland. From the time she was born, Claire struggled with a disease called Cystic Fibrosis. For those of you who may not know what that is, it is a lung disease that causes unusually thick mucus build-up in the lungs making it extremely hard for those who have it to breathe.

With both her actions and words, Claire inspired so many and although she faced death everyday, she always had a smile on her face. If I had the chance to meet Claire personally before her death, I would have.

Like many Hollywood films, Five Feet Apart was a love story. One between two people, both with life threatening illnesses but unlike most films with a mushy love story, this film displayed the harsh truth of CF and in a recent article, the director said he was hoping this move would stay “grounded”. Only having seen the trailer and readd a few plot lines online, I went to see the movie. From watching the trailers, I had assumed this movie would be a tearjerker, but little did I know that it would change my heart and mind forever.

I am not going to go into detail because I believe that everyone should go and see it for themselves, but I do want to explain why I am writing about this when it has not the slightest bit about vision… or so I thought.

Although this movie has nothing to do with literal vision and/or vision disabilities, it touched on our mental vision and the way at which we look at and interpret the world. Both the main actors proved that with the right outlook, one can make a bad situation seem like one with hope. That is how they incorporated Claire into their story, because Claire had such zest for life and such happiness in her actions.

So, it was not the movie itself that changed my life, it the was the concept and the message of the movie that impacted me so much as to write about it. When you have something that is life-threatening or life-limiting, it is hard to see the good in the situation, but just like Will and Stella in Five Feet Apart, making good out of a bad situation is possible through hard work. This movie showed the reality: good and bad about CF and that is what made it something worth watching. It wasn’t about mushy love, but instead about true, tangible love. Although Claire is no longer with us, this movie and all she did is a reminder that those with disability can do the impossible.

If you have not yet seen the movie, I totally recommend you see it. I am no movie guru or critic, but the connection between the actors was beyond inspiring and the message within brought something new to Hollywood. For a movie that is relatively similar to The Fault in Our Stars, it is much more realistic and grounded than that movie (I am sorry if you are a FIOS lover).

People Think They Know…

People in this world are judgemental. They like to compare their experiences to yours even though they are not even in the same ballpark. When people try and say how sorry they are or how they are praying for you, does that invoke some kind of anger? I know at least for me it does. When I have just told someone about my visual impairment and then they say something to the degree of “Oh my gosh, we are so sorry”, it lights a fire in my heart. These people have no idea what they are talking about.

Never say to someone that “I totally understand your pain”. Everyone struggles with some kind of pain. Whether that is emotional pain, physical pain or spiritual pain, it does not make a difference. Everyone in the world is struggling with something. Whether they feel comfortable to share it or not is the question. As for me, I feel totally comfortable telling the world about my disability, but many people do not feel that way.

When you say or someone says that they know your disability, unless they are struggling with the same one, that probably is not true. Every single life in this world is unique and no two are the same. Even if you and someone else are struggling with the same problem does not mean you are facing the same symptoms or the same emotional damage. Have compassion for everyone in this world because whether or not you think they need it, one kind word could change a bad day.

After being blind for 17 years now, I have gotten used to people saying that their sprained or broken ankle is the same as being blind. Although that is the opposite from the truth, I just end up rolling with the punches. It is better to be the person that can help console others than to be the person who is constantly telling people their disabilities mean noting.

Maybe someone’s problem is not as life threatening as yours. Maybe it’s not even as life-limiting, but to them it the biggest problem. Is it a real problem? Maybe not, but Jesus calls us to console those who are mourning and filled with sadness and to not bring them down. So, this lenten season I will be the light in people’s lives on the rainy days. Although someone’s problems might not be as physically life-limiting, they are a big deal to that person and therefore are a big deal to me.

Thank you guys so much for tuning into today’s blog post! I am so sorry that I have not been able to keep up with both the blog and the YouTube channel. The honest truth is that there is so much to do and not enough time to do it. I hope you guys can bear with me throughout these busy weeks and I probably won’t be able to upload on my regular schedule, but I will exert every effort to try.

Remember to laugh everyday!

My Life Will Officially Never Be The Same Ever Again…….

Hello Everyone! Today, I wanted to bring you a very exciting blog post! This might be the most exciting post I have ever uploaded. I don’t want to over hype it or anything, but I will just preface this post by saying I have had this title as a draft for months. I am finally allowed to give you guys an update on this and I could not be happier.

If this is your first time reading my blog, as with any of my other posts, I wanted to give a little back story to how this happened. Yesterday was Tuesday, February 26. Up until the drive home, it had been a pretty average day. I had gotten up at the same time I always did, gone to school, gone to the same classes I go to everyday and then hopped in the car with my friend for her to drive me home just like she does everyday. We had just pulled out of the school when I got an email. Thinking little of it, I decided to check it anyway because truth be told I am just that extra.

What I read next brought tears to my eyes. Yes, that is right, literal tears. The email read a little something like this:

“Hello Zoe, I’m pleased to inform you that your application for a guide Dog has been accepted. Please see the attached letter for details.”

This sentence was one I had been waiting to see for months. Ever since the day I submitted my online application in October, I knew that one day those words would make the entire process worth it. Have you ever wanted something so bad that is all you an think about? That is basically what happened to me!

I could not believe that something I had been praying for so long actually happened. Although I knew it was in the Lord’s hands this entire time, at some points I still had some doubts.

If for some reason you are not following what I am trying to say, I am getting a Guide Dog!!!! Many of you might be confused because I have mentioned here and there in the past, but that was because I had not actually been accepted to the program and could not give too much information away in case I did not get in.

Well, I have done it! I have gotten and you guys are some of the first people to know. This announcement might seem pretty lame to you, but to me it is one of the biggest things that has ever happened.

For any of you out there struggling with physical or mental disability and are possibly considering a service dog, let me be the first one to tell you that it is incredibly worth it, but things that are worth it usually require a lot of work! Service dogs are indeed a lot of work, but the work they can do for you is priceless.

Thank you guys so much for following me on this journey. This post has been a long time coming and applying for a service animal is anything but easy. But now I can say that I am at peace. Can’t wait to share more updates with you guys as the process moves along!

Until next time, remember to laugh everyday!

Pain Makes Us Stronger

Hello Everyone! I am currently sitting in my AP Comparative Government and Politics class writing this. Today, my teacher is absent and I am all caught up on work, so I figured, why not?

Well, in today’s post I have a bit of a touchy topic. Pain. Physical pain, mental pain, emotional pain. They all make it harder for us to function and hinder our everyday life.

I have always had back pain, but recently it has gotten to the point where I have to have ice on and be laying flat on my back at all times to even get some relief. No matter what pain reliever or anti-inflamatory medication I take, nothing seems to give me that relief. I am planning to go back to the orthopedic surgeon and get it checked out, but I just don’t think I can wait that long.

Although we all try to avoid painful situations, sometimes it just so happens that we are the ones stuck in the unlucky situation. Believe it or not, pain makes us stronger. Although we try our best not to believe that, we all know that because of painful situations in our life, we are a better person.

Because of this back pain, I have learned to love my life even more. I love the good times more than I ever have and I am eternally grateful for those times we I am pain free. Because of this pain, I respect those have similar situations everyday.

God does not give us pain to make us unhappy, but instead to help us realize that we are capable of situations we never imagined possible.

If it were not for this pain, I would not have the spirit and perseverance that I currently have. So, I would like to thank this pain. Thank you to the pain that has changed my life. Whether that is for good or bad, I am willing to accept the fact that some people struggle with pain and learning to be stronger whilst in the pain is what makes us conquerors.

Thank you guys so much for checking out today’s blog post. I will try my very best to post every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post as much as I enjoyed making it.

see you next time, Zoe.

Wait…. You’re Blind?!?

Hello Everyone! Welcome to today’s blog post! Before I start I wanted to apologize for not uploading on Wednesday. Things got crazy busy and it totally slipped my mind! Hope you guys can forgive me.

I have a question for all of you to think about. How do you know if someone is blind? Let me cut you short and give you the short answer, you don’t. But I can not make a blog post in 5 sentences so I guess I better go ahead with the long answer.

There are a few cues that lead you to believe that a person may be blind. Keep in mind that any cues I am giving you here do not by any means apply to all blind people. Each person is different, special and unique in their own way.

  1. They most likely have nystagmus. If you were not aware, nystagmus is a loosening of muscles in the eye that causes it to shake uncontrollably.
  2. They have a stick. Most people that are legally blind or above usually carry around a giant white stick. I feel like this probably should not need more explaining because the stick is incredibly long and noticeable.
  3. The may have a Guide Dog. First of all, there are many requirements to acquire a guide dog that I will get into in my next post, but for now lets just say that some blind people have guide dogs. One way you can detect a guide dog from a service dog is the harness. Guide dogs are required to wear a harness with a leader handle at the times they are working and service dogs usually wear only vests. Although, remember every dog is an exception.
  4. They may not look at you. Many blind people, because they are blind can not focus on a specific object so instead of looking at others they usually stare off into space. Take into account that I am not saying this is a bad thing, it is just usually what happens.
  5. Lastly, they will probably be using some form of equipment. Although some blind people choose to opt out of equipment and there are only specified times that they use it, you can often times catch someone that is visually impaired using equipment in class.

So, aside from that very long explanation on how you might be able to tell that someone is blind, let me just say that I myself am constantly stared at because people just can not believe that someone like myself who is so independent and “normal” could ever be blind.

I have a few comments with people who think only certain kinds of people have disabilities. Listen, I do almost everything other people do and in fact I do a few other things most people don’t. There is no restriction on who has what and people need to stop thinking that only old people have disabilities.

I have had full grown adults be amazed that someone as young as me could be blind. For example, once I was walking in target minding my own business and as usual a child was staring me down as I attempted to find the suave body wash. The mother who could obviously tell I was struggling pretended not to notice. Instead of helping or tuning into her child’s curiosity about the woman with the stick she proceeded to walk away.

I would not have mind if that child would have asked me about my stick or “What was wrong with me?” In fact, I like when people ask in a nice and constructive way. God put me on this earth to educate others about blindness, in fact that is why I made this whole blog.

The point of this blog post is that I want children and adults to know that there is no written rule book for what a disability looks like and who has it so just be compassionate for all people. When you see something that sparks your curiosity, ask your mom about it or you could even try and ask the disabled person about it if they don’t mind talking about it. All people struggling with any type of disability who are reading this, know that you are incredibly special. Each and every one of you were made for a purpose and you are enough!

If any of you ever see me out in public somewhere, please feel free to ask me what I have and any questions that you have always wanted to know about blindness.

I hope this blog post cleared a few things up and helped you guys realize that asking about disabilities is not a bad thing. It actually educates you and others around you about things you did not previously know.

I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post! Again, I am sorry for not posting yesterday, but as long as I post three times a week that is all that matters.

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