Being Deaf-Blind During COVID-19

By: CaspHer
April 17, 2020

There are going to be challenges for the DeafBlind when it comes to touching objects and people during this pandemic which will feed into additional isolation. Most DeafBlind people experience variations of deafness and blindness. For those who rely completely on touch of persons or things, it would be highly recommended that they keep their hands cleaned and protected at all times as well as their faces. If that is not possible, they would have to avoid people at all costs. When it comes to handling objects; it’s going to be another process of making sure they are able to avoid cross-contamination. I do not believe we would be able to take the new limits of isolation very well. It’s bad enough that we are already isolated within our own DeafBlindness even in large crowds. Some folks are already used to being completely alone while others would have no choice but to adjust.

In my experience as a 30yr old Deaf-Blind woman living in Boston, MA, I would not be severely impacted by the new limits of not being able to touch people or objects. I have some vision and hearing remaining and I am used to being forced to navigate around barriers in life. I’ve been fortunate with the ability to find ways around complications as best as possible. If I cannot touch someone for the use of ASL, I would be able to use “close vision signing” in good lighting. If I cannot touch an object, I would protect my hands with disposable gloves. The coronavirus only forces me to tap into my creative ways for avoiding problems in the long-run. I use various sources of assistive technology for distanced communication. When I want to track my stops on the buses before the outbreak, I would use my braille display with a stop tracking app. The app tracks all stops and routes in real time as we move. I am able to keep the braille on hand and follow as everything moves. Technology for distanced communication is certainly going to replace touching people and objects for the remainder of this virus and beyond.

If a DeafBlind person caught COVID 19 and needed to seek medical attention, there is a high chance that there would be a massive communication barrier. All medical staff would have their faces covered by masks and most DeafBlind people read lips if hearing voices are difficult. If someone still has hearing and uses amplification devices, it would be best for medical staff to speak louder and clearly if an interpreter is not going to be available. Medical treatment would be critically slower for all parties.

As far as programs to assist the DeafBlind, there is a nationwide equipment distribution program known as “ICC” which stands for “ICanConnect” for the DeafBlind. ICC is covered by the FCC which allows anyone living with blindness and deafness to receive distanced communication electronics such as phones and computers and the such to communicate with anyone they wish.
If a deafblind individual needed to visit the hospital for any reason and communication is severely limited, there may be a few work arounds. There are a few apps that are accessible to those who use braille devices. The first app is called, “Ava” and it is a transcription app that translates spoken English into a written format which can be used with a braille display. Ava can be used on both iOS and Android devices. The second app is called, “BuzzCards” from Sorenson VRS for iOS and Android. BuzzCards is basically a communication app that can be used to request or communicate. I use all of the above for different situations.

I am an assistive technology trainer for the blind and visually impaired in Boston and this pandemic has side-swiped my ability to teach anyone face to face. I currently have to train my students remotely and that is a longer process for both me and my students. I communicate with a variation of methods. I use American Sign Language as well as voice. I read braille and blindness related technologies. I use a Bluetooth hearing aid that is able to connect to my iPhone for streaming media if needed. I used to be able to use SSPs and ASL interpreters for organized events but I cannot do that anymore because of COVID-19. I now have to strategize around the complete lack of help, completing outdoor tasks take much longer. If I cannot find what I am looking for, I end up going home without it. I leave because I am afraid of someone coming near and possibly spreading the Coronavirus to me without knowing.

My main concern for the DeafBlind people who end up needing medical attention would be the ability to communicate properly with the medical staff. I fear that the medical staff would not know the best practices for helping DeafBlind. Their faces are covered in masks and they are not able to touch the patient or their electronics to relay any communication back and forth.
It’s hard enough helping someone who is either deaf or blind. If you are Deaf, there may not be an interpreter available or the CART services may not work properly. If it is a blind person who ends up in the hospital, most staff are strangely uncomfortable with the thought of helping a blind person. The biggest challenge is helping someone who has a combination of blindness and deafness. Honestly, I hope I would not have to visit the hospital because of COVID 19 or during the pandemic. I sincerely hope no Deaf Blind person would have to be in the medical facility during this disaster at all.

 

Photo Description:
CaspHer standing in front of an Avenue Plus-Size modeling billboard wearing black leather pants, aviators and a crisp white shirt. She is facing the right and striking a pose with her own electric guitar for photo props.

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Tinnitus

TINNITUS:

Never a moment of true silence

June 7, 2019

By: CaspHer

Since as early as 6 years old, I remembered asking if people could hear that buzzing or ringing noise that never seems to go away. I sat beside my mother one day and asked her if she could hear the noise too. She said no. I was a child at the time so, I stood up on the chair near my mother and rested my head on her ear to see if she could hear it.

“Can you hear it now? My head is next to your ear,” she still couldn’t hear the ringing or buzzing. We were at the ear doctor’s office. I asked if the doctor could see the bug in my ear that was making that noise and wouldn’t stop it. No one else heard it but me and only me. After a while I thought it was normal to hear the constant ringing. The noises were at different frequencies from time to time. The buzzing and ringing never stopped but it certainly changed levels. To accompany this seemly unusual situation, I had already been born with moderate hearing loss, this internal noise never left. It was with me wherever I went and through every waking moment of life.

The sounds changed and got higher whenever I was getting sick. Once I got sick from a common cold, the tinnitus went back to it’s normal never-ending frequency.

Never a moment of silence in my world.

Fast forward to more than twenty years later in life, I’m standing in the middle of Minneapolis College of Art and Design music studio. MCAD was said to be the most-quietest studio ever. It was not silent at all to me. In fact, that space brought the tinnitus much closer along with a steady heartbeat through my hearing aid.

A microphone with a pop-cover stands in front of me and with each breath, the tinnitus sings through my head skewering the bells and chimes with buzzing. I start singing, “Late In the

Afternoon” and belt the lyrics out from the bottom of my belly, shouting the tinnitus away. The cast shadow forms across my face from my black fedora hat only leaving the rest of me in light. My arms hang down casually as if everything is okay and I’m just singing away. No. Everything is not okay. My auditory nerve is dying and I’ve been plagued by Tinnitus from as early as 6 years old.

Tinnitus visits me at every close to silent moment there is in life. When the background singers finished harmonizing with me, tinnitus shot it’s unwanted chords in my brain’s ear.

The history of Tinnitus:

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 15 to 20 percent of people. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself — it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.

Although extremely bothersome, tinnitus usually isn’t a sign of something serious. Although it can worsen with age, for many people, tinnitus can improve with treatment. Treating an identified underlying cause sometimes helps. Other treatments reduce or mask the noise, making tinnitus less noticeable.

Symptoms of Tinnitus:

Tinnitus involves the sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms may include these types of phantom noises in your ears:

• Ringing

• Buzzing

• Roaring

• Clicking

• Hissing

• Humming

The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear external sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.

There are two kinds of tinnitus.

• Subjective tinnitus is tinnitus only you can hear. This is the most common type of tinnitus. It can be caused by ear problems in your outer, middle or inner ear. It can also be caused by problems with the hearing (auditory) nerves or the part of your brain that interprets nerve signals as sound (auditory pathways).

• Objective tinnitus is tinnitus your doctor can hear when he or she does an examination. This rare type of tinnitus may be caused by a blood vessel problem, a middle ear bone condition or muscle contractions.

Unfortunately, I grew up with subjective tinnitus which is the kind that I can only hear. This was due to being born with two damaged cochlea and eventually getting worse as an adult. Not only did I have the hearing loss, but I was also born with blindness. Two of the most important senses compromised from birth.

As someone living with tinnitus, it is indeed possible to have a filter added to your hearing aid to help ease the presence of this annoying symptom. I’ve had a tinnitus filter sound added to my hearing aid no more than three weeks ago and I’ve allowed my brain a few days to adjust.

Not long ago, the tinnitus decided to get extremely high in my ear making it literally impossible to hear with or without my hearing aid. I had to rush to the emergency room to get it looked at. This cost me a few days of training and daily living tasks. During this hearing scare, I was very unhappy and was also on my way to visit a friend in another state. By the time I got to the other state and the filter was added for relief, I was able to hear somewhat better. I still struggled with the residual split sound but it was better than not hearing anything at all due to Tinnitus.

With this filter being added to my hearing aid, I am very much at ease for now. Any time it gets very quiet, the filter quickly covers the tinnitus before it begins to mask external sound.

While I was unable to hear anything during that time, I was able to utilize my other communication skills to the fullest. I learned ASL and have access to video relay services for the deaf and HOH (hard of hearing) at home. I’ve made my phone calls through my VP or text my friends if I could not get in front of a VP right away. When I text my friends, I used my Braille display to navigate through my devices efficiently. Still, none of my communication skills were interrupted by the hearing loss scare. I just had to readjust the way I communicated until things either cleared up or I learned that my hearing was going to remain that way.

For those of you who may be reading this blog and story, please treat your ears nicely when being exposed to loud noises that may cause issues later on. An additional piece of information about Tinnitus is that exposure to loud noises can also trigger the beginning of Tinnitus. Playing loud music through earbuds and concerts without earplugs can certainly begin the onset. So many other situations can provoke tinnitus in anyone. Everyone is not invincible from Tinnitus.

Thank you for reading!

Four Year Old Confessions

Four Year Old Confessions:

“You’ll Wish You Never Asked”

By: CaspHer

Feb 22nd,2019

It was around this time of year four years ago, I was about to embark on a life altering experience in another state out of Massachusetts.

I was entering an intense training center for the blind out of Minnesota. A place known for extremely cold temps and very friendly people.

I grew up in Boston Massachusetts and didn’t know a single thing about nice people or much about Minnesota except that I may never experience summer again. I was uncertain about whoever I would run into in Minnesota. I was leaving home for a very long time and secretly anticipated that long haul from historical Boston. I figured it was time for some new air and new experiences aside from the useless anxiety that haunted my happy thoughts.

After three months of adjusting to life in Minnesota and liking things about my new surroundings, I found my new best friend and it tasted really good! My new best friend gets brewed and served in a nice hot cup. My best friend is drinkable and it’s called Caribou Coffee! That was the first thing I started enjoying about Minnesota; the coffee and their cheese curds which also came with an awesome sauce out of Ray Jay’s. I would greedily order the curds first and the drunken wings afterward. I started learning my way around the city of Minneapolis and making friends here and there outside of the training center. I met a nice and new hair dresser who took pride in making sure my long and healthy dreadlocks were maintained weekly. I had to always keep my appearance up for self motivation because of the intense training I endured.

That training experience not only worked in the way it was designed but it also permanently stressed their students beyond repair. I had more than one disability with me and that was part of the extreme stress but I managed with walk in therapy sessions on Chicago avenue bi-weekly.

Part of my therapy was shopping for nice and new clothes in Macys on Nicolette Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis and constantly going to the hair salon just because I felt like it. List shopping sessions were so intense, I would have to take the shared rights service home from the mall. As long as I got all of the Polo/Ralph Lauren products I wanted, I was totally fine.

If therapy sessions weren’t enough to placate how I was feeling, I went to Gay90s on Hennepin Ave and danced the stress away with or without friends. Anytime I went to Gay90s, I always came out happy and content and ready to deal with the insane stress. I danced until my legs felt like sheets of lead and I was okay with that. As long as I got to dance all night into the morning.

Four years later, life after training and enjoying Minnesota for the amount of time I was there, people back in Boston were telling me about all of the weird stuff that happened.

Did I want to know?

Was it worth knowing?

Were they serious?

I am now an assistive tech trainer for the blind and visually impaired after rubbing elbows with the politicians in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and passing legislations.

Somehow me and my niece landed on the subject of creepy things happening while I was away at training.

Gladly whatever happened in Massachusetts didn’t happen to me while I was in Minnesota.

She was fascinated with the creepy dolls videos on YouTube and me and my mother both told her to cut that shit out. We already live in creepy Massachusetts and the last thing a child needs is to not be able to sleep in her room alone because of a lousy video online.

My mother went on to explain some crazy stuff that happened to her while she used to live in Florida and then my niece told me what happened while I was gone.

She begins, “So…a few years ago when you went away to Minnesota for training, we were hanging out near your room and the door was wide open. Everything was fine and dandy until we started hearing your Perkins Braille writer typing on it’s own. I know it doesn’t work with electricity and we thought it did at first.”

I asked, “Who else saw the braille writer typing alone?”

She continues, “All of us. We were by your room and we heard and saw it typing alone. We all ran away because it was so weird and your room looked very crazy inside with the writer going on alone,” I thought they were joking when they confessed that to me a while back.

I knew it was real when my mother joined our conversation of confessions of weirdness going on while I traveled for certain amounts of time. It’s like Boston gets sick when CaspHer is gone for too long and is in better behavior when I return. When I left Minnesota, I left friends behind crying. Literally.

I explained the way the braille writer works, “Okay…I believe you all but there’s one thing I need to explain….this machine does not need power to operate. What happened was extremely strange,” I let my mother explain her experience.

Mother begins, “One night I was asleep and I suddenly heard heavy and hard typing from what sounded like a typewriter coming from your room. I popped my head up and listened harder, it still kept going on very fast and heavy. For a second I thought you were back in Boston. That didn’t make sense at all. You were in training and no one was in your space. I got out of bed and went down the hall to your room, opened the door and saw nothing there. Your braille writer was simply typing very fast alone. I watched the keys going up and down. I slammed the door shut and went back to bed. After doing that, the noise stopped,” I sat there dumbfounded. I could not believe my ears.

I literally thought they were kidding when they finally confessed all of the weirdness that happens when I am out of Massachusetts.

My niece jumps in, “Looks like you have a blind ghost in the house. We have not heard anything else going on since then.”

I added, “Not only was that weird and crazy, but why would I be typing on the brailler at that hour of the night? That seems a bit rude while others are asleep.”

They nodded in agreement.

This is what I get when I let people tell me about what happens when I am gone for a very long time. I should have never asked. I was paranoid about that space and braille writer for a while. I eventually got over it and agreed that if I did notice anything like that, I would be throwing it out of the house.

The end

Photo description:

A sheet of braille paper with light on it and a stylus. A stylus which is used to produce braille manually.

“I Know You Are”

Part 2

By: CaspHer

November 29, 2018

After telling Cory about her experience with living in a haunted three-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis, he continuously questioned why that happened to her.

She was always a cool and warm person to be around and she was the last person they’d expect something like that to happen to.

Cory asked, “Why you? Why did this happen to you? There’s nothing about you that brings out anything negative at all.”

“I would like to know why that happened to me as well,” they sit on a leather couch with the sun beaming downward on them from the sunroof.

She did not want to draw any more attention to herself by explaining about her suseptability to such energies around her. She wanted to feel and appear as “normal” as possible. Too bad, she would never get to feel normal for as long as she lived.

She only confided in her friend who spent the night at her apartment to keep her company. He was a religious man and she respected that while being a down to earth spiritual person.

Cory continues to try understanding what happened, “Well…you’re a cute chick…I could see why that ghost guy talked when you were trying to sleep,” he breaks into a teasing laugh.

“Well, that shit isn’t funny, Cory,” she gets up from her seat and picks her fedora hat off the coffee table. She is dressed casually and ready to hang out at Gay90s for a while. She then drapes her military scarf around her shoulders after moving her arms-length dreadlocks out of the way.

“You give off an artsy vibe, nothing bad or weird about it and you have a light that comes off of you,” he continues musing and trying to make sense of it all.

“I would expect that to happen to your obnoxious neighbor Barron. He’s a jack-off he talks too damn much,” he continues as she sprays some Prada products on her neck.

She goes over to her cane collection and asks her friend which style of cane should go with her tonight.

He spins around in his seat and says, “I don’t think you would want to go to a gay club with a straight white cane,” they both laugh together. Now, that was hilarious. She decides to use her folding NFB cane while he sits back with his cane down and folded at his feet.

On the front steps of her apartment, she orders an Uber while he stands beside her wearing his fedora hat as well.

A victorious red car pulls up in front of them as the driver offers to help. They politely decline her assistance and get into the car. A very friendly driver begins their adventure to Gay90s. The sun is beginning to set as the sky becomes a deep blue-ish yellow. Cory sits up front and she sits in the back of the spacious car.

“You always get the sexy cars when you order Uber and Lyft,” he says.

“Well, I don’t choose the cars. They come to me,” CaspHer says as they all laugh in unison.

The driver asks, “What are you cool folks up to tonight?”

Cory answers, “Me and my cool friend here are going to Gay90s for some fun and drinks”

Linda says enthusiastically, “Oh…my…gosh. I love that place. I used to go there during my party days as a student at the University of Minnesota! Y’all will have a blast.”

Linda says to Cory, “I hear a Southern accent, where are you from?”

Cory says, “Oh, I’m from Atlanta Georgia. Born in the Peach State and raised there too.”

“And you back there lookin all cool. Where are you from? I don’t hear an accent,” she turns on Hennepin avenue yet is still a ways away from their destination while getting caught in traffic.

“I’m from Miami Florida but I grew up in Boston Massachusetts.”

“Oh my…that’s a huge jump. What are y’all doing in Minnesota with all of this cold weather?”

Cory answers, “Well, sometimes it’s nice for a change of scenery and that’s what we both wanted. I didn’t meet her until I came to Minneapolis,” they’ve reached their destination parked in front of Gay90s.

As they bid their friendly driver a good rest of her evening, they hopped out of the car and headed for the entrance to Gay90s. As CaspHer and Cory walk in, she felt the whole energy shift from tense to relaxed and calm with a hint of party time on the rise! She made no mention of what she felt to Cory as they both found a seat at the restaurant side of the establishment.

“One thing I will say is that I love how folks here in Minnesota are so damn friendly. So much so that it feels weird. I’m from Boston and I’m used to rude folks,” she adjusts her fedora hat while Cory searches through the menu with his Optilec pocket magnifier.

“I would have to agree. You seemed pretty shocked to have someone being nice to you in that car,” Cory says with his face down in the menu with his magnifier still scanning the page.

CaspHer nudges Cory, “Hey, never mind the eye strain. Just get that delicious fried chicken burger with pepper jack cheese and fries. With that, I would recommend a nice long island iced tea. Something about the drinks here will push the need to dance into you pretty fast,” He looks away from the menu, “Oh hell yeah…anything you suggest is bound to be amazing,” he pockets the hand-held magnifier quickly and puts the menu down.

The waitress comes over to their table and introduces herself, “Hi, I’m Candy and I will be working with you today. Is there anything I could get you both?”

CaspHer says, “Oh yes. Nice to meet you. I would like to start off with the fried chicken burger with pepper jack cheese and fries,” she writes down CaspHer’s order.

“And you, sir?”

Cory replies, “Ah yes…I’ll have what my friend is having…it sounds really good and nice to meet you, Candy,” Candy removes the menu from their table.

Before she walks away, she gets their drink orders down, “As for drinks, what do y’all have in mind?”

Both replied, “Long island iced tea”

“Alright, I’ll have your meals ready in no time. Kick back and relax while waiting,” she fades away into the distance while the pair sit at a round table chatting away.

They finish up their meals and sit there with full bellies basking in the glass full of long island iced teas in front of them.

“Well, Cory. This is where I come to de-stress and dance the stress off,” she sips her drink and places it back down on the table.

“Oh shit, I cannot wait to get up there on the dancefloor and dance the night away,” he whirls his wrists in the air.

After paying the bill for their meals and tipping the waitress, they make their way over to the party section of the night club. Cory is behind CaspHer to her right and she has her cane in a pencil grip to carefully and gracefully navigate without tripping anyone.

There are lounge chairs one small step above the dancefloors with small drink tables in front. The purple and blue strobe lights flutter softly as they sit there with the view of hundreds of bodies swaying and swirling to heavy dance music.

“Hey Cory, I usually sit here for a few minutes to check out the vibes of the dance floor and then I blend in shortly after,” he was already chatting away with a girl who had a blue mohawk and music notes tattooed on each side of her head.

CaspHer folds her cane and stows it under the couch with Cory’s and ventures onto the floor of dancing bodies. As she makes her way down, Cory grabs her hand and dances around her in circles while the music pulsates through every part of their bodies. She literally pulsating through her feet and chest and it feels damn good. It feels like fun and happiness!

The pair calls it, “Thumpa thumpa”

CaspHer stands in the abyss of dancing bodies swaying to the heavy thump of music and someone comes up from behind and rests their head on her shoulder, “Hey, you look really cool in that hat, where’s your dancing partner?”

“Oh? Who are you?” she spins around to face the mysterious person. It was her friend in drag that came up to surprise CaspHer.

“Ah…yes…Pickles, it is great to see you again!” they both hug one another. CaspHer introduces Cory to Pickles.

CaspHer is dancing with Pickles and Cory on the dancefloor and they all have their drinks in their hands enjoying the night. Everything is going smoothly, and people are pretty cool as usual and that’s a normal thing.

“Well dear, I have a show upstairs and I’m performing as Beyoncé and we have some others performing too. You’re more than welcome to come watch and dance with us,” Pickles says to CaspHer and Cory.

“Hey, Cas do you want to go see the dancing upstairs?”

CaspHer agrees to go watch the show upstairs after their third long island iced tea.

Up they go to the second level of Gay90s where the stages are lit, and the audience waits with anticipation. CaspHer and Cory have front row seats by the run-way.

CaspHer excuses herself from the event to use the restroom. She unfolds her fiberglass white cane and navigates through the chairs in rows successfully to the restroom. On her way, someone clasps onto her shirt sleeve just to tell her she looks sexy in that hat and her hair is gorgeous. More and more women flock to CaspHer after four of them surround and the numbers grow.

“Don’t act like you don’t know you’re sexy!” someone randomly shouts at her. One more person shouted, “Yes, you with the white cane and fedora hat!”

She politely unhooks their arms from hers and finishes her route to the rest room to freshen up and return to her show.

Cory said, “If I were your girlfriend, I would totally be snatching wigs off. All them chicks randomly flocking to you like that? I wouldn’t even let you go here by yourself,” CaspHer sits down beside Cory and the show begins. Incredibly phenomenal dancers come out in there drag attire and take the show away.

One of the dancers come down from the stage toward CaspHer and does a seated dance in her lap with the spotlight on them. The dancer who performs as Beyoncé gives Cory a slight hug and peck on cheek. She dances her way back up to the stage and the audience cheers them on.

Cory asks, “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Awww…don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about”

“No…what are you talking about?”

“Damn…Cas…you get people flying to you like that. You need a bodyguard or something,” Cory explains.

“I’m painfully oblivious to flirting. As my friend, you should know that Cory,” both laughing at the very obvious fact.

“They weren’t flirting. They were literally throwing themselves at you, Cas,” Cory explains.

He continues, “The girls by the bar and back of the room literally swooped over to you and you’re all coy about it,” he laughs.

The show is halfway done and CaspHer lets Cory know that she’s going downstairs to the dancefloor section to be a part of both levels of fun. She reassures him that she would be fine and that he could stay up there and enjoy the show. She checks her phone for the time and it’s only 10:45pm and they’ve been in there since 7:30pm. Not bad. All of that time was spent having fun.

CaspHer is in the middle of the dancefloor and surrounded by many dancers swaying back and forth to the deep pounding music coursing through every limb on her body. Her cane is stowed away and out of reach from anyone. She is under the feathered fedora hat enjoying herself while the purple and blue strobe lights go at a faster tempo, following the rhythm of the music. Tiny white lazar lights zip around the audience also following the music’s thumping rhythm. She’s loving every bit of the heavy music pounding, surrounding her entire being. There’s no other place like a room full of heavy pounding music that she’d rather be at this moment. Stress levels lowered, and happiness fills her body by the minute!

A few steps away, there is a woman watching CaspHer from the top of her glasses, scanning her very closely. CaspHer is totally unaware and unbothered and is in total bliss with the music. She scoots through the bodies and makes her way over to the perfectly content CaspHer.

“Hey, I like your hair and hat,” she says over the loud thumpa-thumpa in the room to CaspHer.

“Uh…yeah…thank you,” CaspHer responds without stopping to pay much attention, still holding a new drink in her hand and dancing.

“Are you here alone?” the woman asks through the music.

“Nah…I’m with my buddy. He’s up watching the drag show while I’m here releasing stress on the dance floor,” still unbothered, CaspHer continues dancing and sipping. She keeps her hand over the cup to prevent anything from getting slipped in or anything spilling out.

“I like your swag…I mean your style. It’s very unique and anyone can spot you through the crowd,” she continues to try carrying out a conversation with CaspHer.

“Wow…that’s nice…thank you,” CaspHer is now finished with her drink and put the cup down on a nearby table and gets swallowed into the dance crew of hundreds of swaying bodies again.

“Honestly, it’s literally your long hair and butt that makes it obvious,” this woman blatantly confesses to CaspHer.

“Well then…I guess it wouldn’t be hard to locate anyone with really long hair?” CaspHer asks. She was pretty certain that this person wanted her attention, but she preferred to enjoy the music.

“Yup, you might think this is rude but I’m going to be straight up with you and ask you for your phone number,” CaspHer literally stops and moves further into the crowd away from this woman.

CaspHer retrieves her folded NFB cane from the hiding spot and navigates through the increased crowd of bodies in the night club. There were more people in there that night. The majority of folks moved out of her way without hesitation and allowed her up the steps to the show. CaspHer stops by the bar for something refreshing and Cory approaches.

“So…did you get any numbers?”

Cory sips his water through the straw, “Nope. There were a bunch of old men who could only be sugar daddies and none more,” CaspHer laughs.

He asked CaspHer, “Did you get any numbers?”

“Nope. I just wanted to feel the music pounding through me with a few strong drinks. Some lady told me I had a big booty and she wanted my number. I wanted to laugh but I decided to just walk away,” CaspHer was also drinking a tall cup of iced cold water.

There was a piece of paper stuck to CaspHer’s blazer, but she hadn’t noticed it. Cory takes it off and notices a phone number attached. With his hand-held magnifier, he begins reading the name and number attached.

“Well, CaspHer, it looks like you didn’t have to give anyone your number because they slipped you theirs instead,” he shows her the paper and puts it in her hand.

CaspHer takes it and leaves it behind on the table, “Well…it’s nearly two in the morning. We may as well go ahead and go home. I’m kind of tired or should I say…needing to save some energy for tomorrow at the Saloon.”

Corry says, “Ready when you are. I’ll call an Uber to your apartment and we’ll go together,” he walks over to the exit door of Gay90s and starts a request for Uber on his iPhone 6+. Both of them are Voice Over users and have their speech rates pretty fast for comfort due to experience.

Their car arrives and CaspHer takes the back seat and Cory takes the front seat. The ride to her apartment was rather quick as the driver treated this Uber session like a Nasar race.

Both get out of the car and bid the driver a good rest of his morning/night.

Cory enters after CaspHer and she puts her fedora hat on the empty coat rack by the door as Cory does the same.

“Damn…I am so tired…like not physically exhausted but tired. I just want to sleep fully clothed. I danced most of the night and had few drinks,” She stood in the mirror over the sink removing her right prosthetic eye. She wore an acrylic prosthesis with a music note in place of her pupil because she loved music that much. CaspHer was born with a rare eye condition that caused her to be born without an eye or socket. That condition is called “Anophthalmias” (an-uff-thal-mos).

Cory applied his eye drops for his Glaucoma in each eye, keeping his head tilted back on the arm of the couch until all of the liquids ran through his eyes.

“Well, CaspHer you looked like you had a fun time. I certainly had a blast watching the ladies onstage and that meal you suggested was fabulous. Call me over any time you want to hang out,” Cory clasped the bottle of eye drops closed and zipped them back into his overnight bag.

Next, she unhooks her hearing aid from her left ear and places it inside the box on her nightstand near her bed. As she pulls it out, it makes a whiny noise before she pops the battery door open for the night to prevent battery drainage.

Cory is now in the guest room and CaspHer is out of the shower and prepared for sleep in her queen size bed. She pulls the covers over her body and begins to doze off into sleep land. CaspHer feels like she’s spinning in circles while trying to sleep after a long night of partying, but she manages to fall asleep either way.

Meanwhile, Cory is in the large guest room in the queen size bed alone, slowly drifting into a light sleep. He too felt like he was spinning in circles after all of that dancing and partying.

Just as he goes into a light sleep, he hears a snapping sound. He tries to move and is unable to move any part of his body at all! He can only make a grunting noise but not take deep breaths at all, is only limited to half deep breaths. He begins to feel the end of his bed dip as if a 500-pound person had sat down near the foot of his bed. A sudden wave of fear takes over his body as he still tries to move in his sleep and yell for help. Cory can only see through his central vision and tries to look around. He spots something dark looming over him directly in his limited view. He feels his energy draining from his body and feels helpless at the same time. Cory instantly begins to pray the fearful sensation away. During the start of his praying, everything stops, and he regains control over his body again and can take big deep breaths again. His heart racing, he sits up in his bed and looks around. Everything is still in place and nothing seemed out of order.

He climbs out of bed and goes over to CaspHer’s room and sees the door slightly open. He peeks in and sees her sound asleep in the middle of her bed.

Cory goes back to his room and sleeps with the lights open and his bedroom door wide open in case he has another episode again. Sleep finds him and he’s off to a dreamless sleep at last.

It’s 12:30 in the afternoon and CaspHer finished making a late breakfast meal for her and Cory. This breakfast lunch consisted of turkey bacon omelets with blueberry beagles and orange juice.

Both of them seated at the table eating and still feeling tired but well rested at the same time.

“Cas…I had a weird incident happen to me earlier this morning,” he bites into his bagel.

“What happened?”

“Oh…I was trying to fall asleep and I suddenly felt like I could not move at all. It was like I was paralyzed and felt like something was on my chest,” he explains with left hand over chest.

“Cory, you had an episode of sleep paralysis. That’s what it was. It can be triggered by extreme fatigue and or stress levels along with anxiety being really high,” CaspHer explains and reassures him that everything is okay and that nothing bad was after him. To make him feel comfortable during his visit, she sage her apartment and his room that he slept in. Perhaps it was time to clear some energies off anyway at her house.

Hours later after their late breakfast and lunch combo, they milled around the space and got prepared for the day’s upcoming adventure.

During and after the saging process, Cory expressed how comforted he felt at her house even before he had that episode. Still, he remained sprawled out across the large leather couch in the living room. CaspHer sat in her recliner listening to a quick email from work; some clients sending her electronic thank you cards for helping them adjust to blindness.

“Cas…that was an epic cleansing…it made me want to stay home and enjoy the peacefulness,” he goes through his phone listening to Facebook statuses for a brief moment.

CaspHer pulls out a pair of victorious maroon pants and casual shoes, “Well…I’m glad you like this process. It’s something my family has done for many years. I keep the tradition going in my house too.”

“I like your style, girl, the people at the Saloon are going to love you tonight,” he pats her on the shoulder lightly while picking out his outfit for the night as well.

It’s 8:45pm and they’re slowly revving up their party energy for tonight as well.

“Oh, Cory, there’s the restaurant in the Saloon too and they serve wonderful food there too. I want you to try them out as well,” CaspHer brushes her pant legs straight while they’re on the hanger.

“Anything you suggest, I can trust you. I like your selection.”

Both of them got ready and CaspHer is spraying her entire body once again with Prada Candy perfume for women and Cory takes a few sprays of her perfume too, “I don’t care if it’s women’s perfume or not. If it smells good, I will put it on, especially if it’s your stuff.”

“Cool by me”

They collect their folding canes and head out to the front door to call an Uber for their night out. It hasn’t even been an entire twenty-four hours and they’re back out again.

Their driver pulls up in a big maroon jeep with blue LED lights under the car. The interior design is black leather seats and tinted windows. Her Uber account was connected to her Pandora and as they get into the car and drive off into Hennepin, her favorite song “Nobody” by Kem is playing in the background. She has no selection of what plays in the car. Anything that is playing in Pandora is whatever she listens to whether in the Uber or her mobile device.

“Oh, my goodness…you with the nice cars and music,” Cory jokes.

“Yeah, I have been getting pretty good luck with nice Ubers since being in Minnesota so far,” they enter the Saloon and make their way to the back of the building until they get into the restaurant side. They find a seat by the window and the partying sounds disappear.

The waitress brings over two glasses of water before returning to take their orders.

“So, what’s this meal you want me to try out tonight?” Cory asks with his hands on the table.

“So…there’s this really good burger they have and it’s all ground turkey with pineapple slices on top with whatever you want in it. I would suggest that,” CaspHer prepares to make her order when the waitress returns.

They get their burgers and tequila sunrises in both grape and mango flavor in two separate cups each. It was the weekend and those drinks were a dollar for a few hours, so they ordered a tray full of tequila sunrise.

The Saloon didn’t close until 2am but Cory and CaspHer didn’t want to stay until that very time with it only being 11pm that night and things were getting steamy on that dancefloor. They walked past a bathing contest where they watched a guy taking a shower in front of hundreds. That booth onstage was surrounded by older men with beer bellies, the younger energetic folks were off dancing their souls off and that’s where they decided to go. Neither of them was interested in watching someone take a shower for some money. Neither of them was walking around with the luxury of 20/20 vision.

Red and purple strobe lights zipping back and forth with the music pumping through the soles of CaspHer’s feet, making its way up to her heart, she was enjoying the vibes. Cory was at the bar getting some more drinks to warm up for dancing. CaspHer was surrounded by two model-like women and got sandwiched between the two.

The one in front said to CaspHer, “Hey, we think you’re cool. Come to our private party in the other area of the club if you want,” CaspHer felt her hat get taken off as the woman behind her puts it on her own head.

“Come with us and watch the show,” Woman 1 says.

“I’m going to have to get my friend to see if he wants to join,” CaspHer removes herself from between them.

Minutes later, Cory and CaspHer are in the Retro Room of the Saloon and there’s a strip show going on. CaspHer is in the seat that’s in the middle of the room while Cory has her folded cane with his in the audience. Everyone is cheering the dancers on who flip around back and forth undulating up and down CaspHer’s left leg and in her face.

Photo Description:

CaspHer wearing a pant suit. Standing in the house of representative’s library rooms. She smiles and the direction of the camera. Her pants suit is black and button down shirt is sky blue. The tables behind her are brown mahogany with green pattern carpet.

“I Know You Are”

By: CaspHer

November 20, 2018

So, she thought someone was in her apartment after she heard someone say, “I know you are” while she frantically packed an overnight tote bag. She had intensions of sleeping at her friend’s apartment to calm down to make sense of what had just happened. She was just down to her boxers and bra when she heard that male voice responds after she yawned. Like anyone else after a night of socializing with friends, she was clearly tired, yawned and said, “I’m tired” and heard something or someone say, “I know you are.” In the blink of an eye, she was fully clothed and ready to leave her shadow behind after grabbing a cane, phone and keys.

No, she was not hearing things despite her slow yet progressive hearing loss alongside her blindness. What she heard was pretty loud and clear. She had not ever had anything like this happen before. She grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and understood that Massachusetts is one of the most popular states for haunted visits. People pay to get scared while this woman only had to be alone in her apartment in south east Minneapolis for natural scares.

Little did whoever it was knew, she carried a weapon in her leg strap beneath her jeans. It was a long and pointed metallic device she had anticipated using on anyone who deserved it. She took mixed martial arts class was taught to never go easy on her attacker. She was trained to defend herself by her brother who served in the Army and her best friend from the U.S Marines. Both men told her to only use her strength when needed, never just for fun. This was a time where she was going to utilize what she’d learned on whoever snuck in with intensions to hurt her. Her fists and any body part were clearly an unregistered weapon to anyone seeking trouble. She preferred not to use her physical weapons at all in most cases. A shove of detest by the throat was a clear warning to leave her alone. It was the attacker’s choice if they chose to continue.

Unfortunately, this was not a person! It was a spirit that followed her home from St. Paul at a karaoke join in downtown St. Paul! She could not choke this to death single handedly. She needed something stronger than her body. She got in contact with Father John at a church nearby in south east Minneapolis after noticing more weirder things happening. In her three-bedroom apartment, she noticed dark spots in parts of the house, dark spots meaning “cold” spots. After explaining something and hoping she wasn’t going to be called crazy, Father John agreed with her that something very malicious had indeed come home with her. Father John told her that she was gifted with the ability to discern things like that wherever she traveled. Her ability to read energies in spaces was something many people studied many years to acquire. He blessed every corner of the house along with her and told her that her ability to “see” will be with her forever.

She’s a strong woman with many things against her since the day she was born in Florida and is still not afraid to travel anywhere in the world. She feels protected by something unknown. She is a very smart and informative person while dealing with many odd happenings. She doesn’t deal with these incidents on a regular but as they arrive, she is startled.

Her mother told her and her siblings as they grew up about going out and returning home at certain hours. The lesson was that if someone went out and returned home, never come back at midnight as the midnight hour was not for “humans” and that it was ideal to wait if they could. This saying may not make sense to many but for those of you who’ve heard it, you’ll understand. If you do come back within the hour od midnight, you’ll bring something home with you without realizing and begin to experience odd happenings at home or wherever you went. In order to remove whatever bad vibes that were brought in, you needed to sage/ cleanse that space. Her mother always said that no matter how cold or hot, it was best to leave a window cracked. If you leave a window cracked, whatever came in with you MUST get the hell out of your house. That is your space and you pay to be in there, not the bad vibes. Ultimately, whatever came in with her refused to leave until Father John and she prayed it out. She did not want to do anything because She was not sure what type of energy, she accidently took home. All she knew is that it was malicious and no good and that it needed to leave HER space immediately!

Her mother said that anytime she or any of her sons and daughters got their own house or apartment, they needed to cleanse every corner of the space as they’re unaware of what energy awaits them once they’re all settled. Or in this women’s case, get someone like Father John to bless each and every corner (closets included) of that space. Her mother was particularly concerned for the daughter living with deafness and blindness whenever she traveled more than her other sighted and hearing sons and daughters who barely traveled independently. These practices are not for anything malicious. They’re designed to clear out dusty ass auras from people with bad intensions pretending to be good people while they suck at life. If you sage your house more often, you’ll keep the dusty vibes out! If you pay bills and rent, you deserve to feel comfortable in the space you rest your head at, there should not be any questions about that. You should feel comfortable sitting on your toilet even if you aren’t doing a number 2. You’re in any part of your house because it’s yours and you pay to be in there.

Before Father John visited, she smelled cigar in her second bathroom and she was not a smoker, and neither were her friends who rarely visited during the week. Her pals visited for dinner a few times and noticed her second bathroom was cold even without windows and smelled like cigar. They brought it to her attention and she noticed it long before and was confused as to why the smell got stronger at times. Deep down, she knew what was going on and did not want to alert anyone. She dealt with the situation undercover. It took a while to resolve but it was handled.

She was honest about her feelings and she admitted that she was afraid for her safety and her pal’s safety. She stopped having people over until the situation got fixed. If she were a malicious person, she would let them keep coming over. In this case, she cared enough for everyone else and decided to host dinners at her friend’s house and they were more than happy to allow it. As an end result, they always got the rest of the cookies and food for the next day, that was a jackpot.

Though she had one friend who questioned her story and decided to sleep over at her house. Needless to say, neither of them slept because they were all sleeping in the living room. She never slept comfortably, and he was practically awake during the night waiting for weirdness. He was a thrill-seeker, but she needed him to respect her wishes and not provoke anything, let Father John come help her out and have this nightmare be over and done with.

Even after Father John reassured her that the bad spirit was cleaned out, she still felt scared that something was still lurking. She tried to get herself to believe that everything was okay, the residual feelings were from the fear she had experienced for that amount of time. It was well into November in Minneapolis and the apartment got a bit chilly, she turned the heat up for a few hours. She got nestled under a blanket and read a book under the recliner with her friends on the other couch. Her friends were scattered around the space while listening to Pandora and having baked goods. People felt comfortable despite some of the bad arguments people had with one another prior to entering her space. She preferred they leave the anger outside of her house, only come in bearing clear vibes. That was a primary house rule. No dusty auras allowed.

Her friend asked to sleep over again, and she warned him firmly that she was not responsible for anything that happened to him in that apartment. He became super cocky and said, “I believe you, but I need to see this for myself,” and she felt as though he had called her a liar. She warned again, “Dude, we are both two blind people who really could do without the ghostly dramatics, lets drop this instantly,” he insisted. He said, “I am a Christian and I believe in God and that he will protect us all in this building. I want to rebuke whatever is in here,” he started praying. She obviously did not interrupt him from praying but she knew something else was in there. She felt it in her spine and it did not feel good at all. Perhaps it was her residual discomfort, but she did not want to discredit herself as that can be a regretful habit she has since the age of 13. It was a dark, lonely and isolating feeling that kept looming over her whenever she went into that house. If she were anywhere else, she felt better. The energy outside of that space was lighter and more inviting.

Each day as she walked toward her apartment, she felt the dark, heavy energy pulling down on her as she got into the building and into her space. This was not a healthy environment for someone who was born susceptible to these things.

Surely enough as he came back to her house with his overnight stuff and she went to take her nightly shower, she came back and found him standing and facing the couch. He had a petrified tone as he spoke and was instantly relieved when she came out.

“What’s wrong?” she asked but she got the gist of what really happened.

He responded, “Oh-uh…nothing…I was just standing up…”

He began to rock back and forth nervously and poking into his right eye with his right hand’s knuckle. The eye poking and rocking is a “blindism” that some folks who are born visually impaired or totally blind may have. In this case, both of these adults were born blind. She did not have any “blindisms” that were as obvious as his. Her perk was with the mixed hearing loss and blindness where she tends to unknowingly turn or tilt her head to either side when trying to hear.

“Are you sure you want to sleep over despite all of the warnings I gave you?” she asked while prepping her recliner for maximized comfort.

He stands upright, still poking lightly at his eye, “Yes. I will still stay over. I am not scared at all.”

“Okay. I’m just trying to make sure we’re on the same page because I would rather be at your house instead of in here with what seems like something wicked lurking around even after a blessing,” she pulls the blanket over herself after setting up the speaker for music overnight.

The lights were left on in all of the rooms in the apartment and that included the bathrooms. She would deal with the high electric bill over finding something eerie and crazy looming over her.

It was around 4:15am and it was guaranteed that none of them would sleep well. During her very poor quality of sleep, she was awakened by a brisk cold breeze that brushed the backside of her left and right hands. The ice-cold breeze then made its way up her arms and caused her to feel a deep frost all over her body. She began shifting around in her spot and noticed her friend was awake as well and wrapped in his blankets on the couch.

“Dude, did you even sleep at all?”

He pops his head up from the pillow, “Nope. I couldn’t get half a snore of sleep. Feels like something is cold and looming over me,” he began to slowly sit up on the couch where he lay.

Both noticing that the music randomly stops, and the coldness gets intense.

She checks the windows and they’re both tightly closed which leaves no room for breezes to enter the room.

“Hmmm.that’s odd…the windows are tightly closed, and the heater is on but we’re both experiencing chills from out of nowhere,” she explains as she finds her way back to the stretched-out recliner.

He comes to his senses after all with his thick Southern accent, “Well my friend, I’d hate to tell you this, but I think your house is…. haunted by something pretty bad,” he tucks a pillow under his bearded chin.

She glares at him and pauses for a few seconds, “ya think? This is what I’ve been trying to have you avoid but you insisted on being here,” she tosses the thick wool blanket over her shoulders.

He unwraps himself from the blanket and sits upright on the wide couch, “I’m fixin to use the restroom. Be right back,” he shuffles over to the restroom and quickly shuts the door behind him. Minutes later, she hears the door to the same bathroom rattling violently and screaming, “Hey! Help me get out of here! The door won’t open!”

She shoots up from her spot and rushes over to the bathroom he somehow got trapped in. She pulls and pushes on the door. It seemed like something heavy was leaning against the door to keep her out and him trapped inside. While they fought with the door, they both heard what sounded like eerie hissing from inside the bathroom where he was. He screamed louder, and she told him to back away from the door. She was going to kick the door in to let him out. She braced herself for the breakthrough and said again, “Get…back…from the door!” He screams back, “Okay okay…I’m as far away as I can get, just help me get out!”

She kicks the door open so hard, it flew off the hinges with her leg still stuck in it! He of course didn’t move far enough and ends up get swatted by the cheap wooden door. No one got injured except for the door.

His thick Southern accent gets harder to understand, “What the heck was that?”

Her Boston accent makes a heavy appearance, “I have no idea what that was! It was wicked weird!”

She asked if he was okay and he was even though he’d been swatted by the door pretty hard. It seems like the adrenaline blocked off that painful hit by the door and its metal knob.

“You really need to get a new apartment my friend…this is not safe for you at all,” he fixes himself up and returns to the couch where he was laying at.

Before she could sit, he asked if her leg was okay from kicking the hallow wooden door open.

“Yeah, my leg is fine. I don’t mind kicking in more doors, “they both laugh together. By that time, it was already 5:45am and they needed to start getting ready for work. Both of them were going to work at the same place, they would catch the bus together to be on time. Neither of them slept very well at all. Both of them were terrified and took showers with the door open.

This was not the time to be insecure about whether someone heard you singing in the shower as they just wanted to be ready and on time. Both friends wanted to forget about this horrible experience and move along with their lives. They ate breakfast together and left that haunted apartment as the same time.

Later that day, she got a call from her mother on the phone doing her daily wellbeing check-up and they spoke. Her mother could hear that something was wrong, and she broke down and told. Her mother simply said, “You know what to do” and that was all she needed to hear. Yes, she got someone from the church to help her do things the way she believed was okay, but it didn’t seem to fix. Her anxiety was running at a million miles an hour. The best thing to do was leave that building entirely and never go back there again. It was the young lady’s decision to leave and not her mother’s idea.

She still resided in the Minneapolis area, but the South Minneapolis area and it gave her direct access to the buses and such.

It had been nearly a year later since that happened, and she was finally at peace where nothing weird ever occurred again. She got a call from someone else who still lived there and was told that many people were experiencing what she had. At first, they thought she was going crazy and talked about her behind her back for a long time. Before she moved out, everything seemed like it was just her that it happened to. Immediately after she moved out, others were waking up to a sensation of being strangled and physically assaulted out of their sleep and so much worse.

Shortly after hearing from others who once thought horrible things about her, everyone that lived there was suddenly asked to vacate and find another place to live. Some folks left Minnesota while others wound up back with their families in other parts of the state until further notice. It turns out that building had been haunted and the apartment she lived in had a death. Someone died in that apartment she occupied and in that exact bedroom she slept in which explains the cigar smell and the voice she heard when she came home from karaoke. That apartment number was 112 and an old guy died in there and he was an intense cigar smoker. Quickly after his death, they repaired some parts of the space and moved her there within two weeks. She did not get a chance to sage the space which left her with his residual energy which was pretty wicked.

The first few weeks of living there seemed very cool and nice. She felt pretty comfortable there, it was a little before the karaoke party things began to darken very quickly. She was able to spend hours in the three-bedroom apartment alone without any worries. She cooked dinner and invited friends over and everyone seemed okay. No one complained about anything odd. With the exception of the cigar smell that seemed very light at first. After a while, the smell of smoking and cigars intensified as if someone were in the house smoking. Everyone knew she was not a smoker. The smoking scent became the first problem and from then on, everything got dark and distant fairly quickly. She immediately began to hate that house and was no longer happy at all. Her misery showed in her appearance. There was never a day she hadn’t thought about the time she would pack up and leave that now horrible place.

She found other things to do besides going home after work after being released at 4:30pm. From 5pm to 9pm, she was hanging out on Hennipen Avenue in the library reading and writing. After all, if she got hungry, she could just go to Gay90s and grab a bite and some music. If she did not want that, she could have gone to RayJs and they were very close to that apartment.

After her grand departure from misery in a sunny apartment after hours, she has moved on to much better opportunities and had relocated to Massachusetts. She is now a disability advocate and a well-respected photography instructor for the blind and visually impaired. She has found better and positive friends who she is allowed to have better encounters with. She travels more than she has ever done. Though she is still connected to friends in Minnesota, she may never live in South East Minneapolis ever again. The Minnesota Vikings are her favorite and she absolutely loves Caribou Coffee and orders some to Massachusetts very often.

Photo description:

CaspHer is wearing a black fedora hat with the red feather and a military scarf navy blue with the black T-shirt and deep maroon colored pants with vintage shoes. And her background is two acrylic paintings from and Art Gallery in Detroit. The artwork consists of vibrant bright colors.

Being Stingy With Your Time & Friendship:

“Where some people belong”

May 25, 2018

By: CaspHer

This blog or story is not about bashing or degrading anyone but it is simply about letting everyone know that you’re aware of the “Emotional Vampires” that find us. It would have made for a good podcast

CaspHer standing in her

but I figured people would get tired of hearing m accent-less voice. The folks who take advantage of your genuine generosity are now known as “bedbugs” for sure. These “bedbugs” that latch on deliberately d

Casandra

rain you of all of your good energy; if you refuse to let them latch and drain, you are the terrible person to each and every person who lends them an ear to vent.

Before going any further, I would like to say thank you to whoever reads this blog and that it is not going to be a long post at all. Secondly; in my own right, I am a disability advocate and an assistive technology trainer for the blind and visually impaired out of Massachusetts. Over the last few years, I have had to work very hard to get rid of emotional leeches and vampires, I have done a great job of discerning them better of the years. I have always been a very guarded person but in very rare moments, a leech slithers in and latches onto me. I have learned how to become stingy with my time and friendship with people these days.

If you met me five years ago, you’d think many people would be able to take advantage of me and abuse me because I was such friendly person but not so much anymore. Maybe five years ago, I was too friendly with people and could have an entire school being friends with me. Were they really friends? Did I have something that made them latch onto me? Maybe I did have many things that attracted the energy vampires. I was and still am a very conservative dresser in my appearance which means I did not walk around with 1% clothing on. In fact, I enjoy layering up with multiple pieces of clothing. In most cases, I am always seen in preppy attire or a pant suit. This is not about what CaspHer looks like so, I’ll redirect the storyline.

Not everyone deserves your friendship or anything that ends in, “ship” for that matter and you also need to let some folks know where they belong in your life.

In my line of work, I am dealing with multiple temperaments with either some clients or constituents and these things vary. As much as I enjoy helping people and seeing them do well, I have to uphold a firm and high barrier in the meantime. Sometimes, you’ll have that constituent or client that would over reach and bypass your boundaries that were set from start. Some get that impression that because you’re such a “sweet” person, they can just pop up and invade your space or overcrowd your phone with calls and messages left and right. Put aside the fact that they have disabilities and look at the personalities and vibes that come around your aura. In some cases, you’ll have that person who calls themselves your “friend” who does this constantly; the latching on like an energy vampire, the constantly needing something as well as getting upset with you for having other friends.

In the social part of my life, I have certainly become incredibly stingy with my friendship and my time, this means I am not for everyone that wants to be my friend for their own reasons. I literally have a small collection of people I call friends and these people are true friends. The folks I call friends have also witnessed some of what I’ve endured over the years, have been my buddies that I would spend time with during good and bad times. I would like to spend time with my friends for the good things more than the bad. Whenever my real friends are in need of an ear to vent to, I was always around or whenever they needed support for an idea, I was certainly there.

When it comes to social media; I am extremely selective about those I’ve allowed into my social media activity. There are some folks whom you’ve had disagreements with over the years and parted ways but they’ll find themselves in your friends request list, I’m not very keen on random people on my friends list. I have acquired a large number of friends through the years of having social media accounts and being involved in a lot of advocacy events. There’s also that strange corner of social media where people request your friendship just to “wall watch” and that’s all. A wall watcher is someone who comes into your social media just to report what you do, not only report what you do to others you no longer associate with but to utilize your material. I have shut that mischievous and desperate behavior down.

I’ve decided to ignore all of the requests that have been sent to me from random people and only accept those I’ve actually met in person or communicated with directly from now. I’ve decided to only be available to those who are deserving of my time and friendship. Often times, people are only wanting to waste your time and waste space in your life, which is no longer happening.

In general, there are people who just have to be thrown out of your life entirely without a warning. You as a good person do not like to make people feel bad but after multiple attempts to reason with them, you’ve got to slam the door on their talons forever. From this point on, you shall learn that you are no longer giving out second or a hundred more chances, they know you’re a good person and will accept the abuse and disrespect which means you’ve acquired a leech until you throw them away as if you’ve never known them.

Sometimes, things get that way and if you’ve ever felt a sudden surge of happiness after removing the bedbug from your life which meant you’ve been suffering deeply because of them.

I’ve gotten rid of a few leeches and vampires and to be honest, I’ve enjoyed the lightness and increase of my internal glow of natural happiness. Since becoming stingy with my time and friendship, I’ve felt happier and free inside and out, when I laugh about something humorous, I’ve finally gotten the chance to truly be happy.

Make sure you are friends with people who are deserving and worthy of your friendship and time because you’re not for everyone!

Where Do You Fit In?

By: CaspHer

Feb 22, 2018

Question:

Where do you fit in, exactly?

Lately, I have been on a few radio/broadcasting shows and have been talking about all of the projects that I’ve been involved with. I am booked to talk to a much younger group of people who are blind and visually impaired about confidence and fitting in with groups.

In actuality, anyone who knows me a bit better than most people already know that I do not and have not ever sought to fit into any group or crowd. I have enjoyed being on the outskirts of everything from early on in life. In fact, I am comfortable with not “belonging” to any group or crowd at all. There are some or millions of people who drive themselves crazy trying to fit into someplace that wants nothing to do with them, the only way they’d realize they aren’t wanted is by being rejected harshly.

Originally from Miami Florida and raised in Boston, Massachusetts identifying as deaf blind and never having contact with anyone who lived with sensory challenges from birth until I was 24. I am 28 years old now and have learned a lot about my peers within the blind and deaf community. In respects to the adaptation to the blindness training and sign language, those parts of my life have developed as they should, I have adjusted to access to information around me.

Someone asked me if I feel like I fit into any group or community of people with disabilities and my answer was that I did not. I do not feel as though I belong to the blind or deaf and hard of hearing community. I can learn to communicate effectively but I will never have ownership of that sense of “belonging” because I was without that exposure for most of my life. I sometimes feel like I am intruding on all communities of people with or without disabilities. I am far too comfortable not being included and realize that it requires too much effort to prove if I am worthy of being part of a community of some kind.

I know my worth and would not need to seek validation from anyone about whether or not I should be able to feel confident about myself and my skills in certain things.

The Culture:

One day, someone asked me if I spoke any other languages other than English and I said that I did. In fact, I speak two other languages besides English and those other languages are ASL and Haitian Creole. Both of my parents are from Haiti and moved to Miami FL and that is where I get to say that I am from Miami. I learned to speak Creole from my mother and uncle always speaking in the language they feel comfortable with. I learned to use ASL for one reason and that reason is because I was born H.O.H (hard of hearing) and currently losing hearing in the remaining ear. I have an awesome mixture in the meantime. I wear Bluetooth hearing aids out in public and at home almost until bedtime. I usually disconnect from the world an hour before crashing so that I can enjoy practical silence without my device.

One day, I was at my office in the Massachusetts state house and I had run into former constituents who spoke my parent’s native language, one of them had been given a run around and was frustrated. In the midst of his frustration, he made a comment about my Haitian Creole skills and how “American” it sounded and that I needed lots of work on it. I left him with the last remark, “Well, if you understood what I said back there in the office, then it’s all good,” he was there behind still pissed and I carried off with the rest of my day. When someone who is straight from Haiti says something about another person’s Creole sounding too American and not Haitian enough, you are being criticized even after helping them get where they needed to be. If I were them, I wouldn’t worry about how “Haitian” I sounded, I would be more worried about getting the help I came for. I would appreciate the help I was getting from someone who at least made an effort.

In the eyes of most people who comes directly from another country speaking multiple languages, anyone who knows their language that isn’t from their country isn’t enough of that particular culture.

The disabilities:

Blindness

I am aware that a lot of people are not born blind or with low vision but I was born with blindness and deafness and I know no other way. There are organizations for the blind around the world and some are older than others. Some of these organizations have a very rigid and outdated philosophy while others are laid back. I have not been involved with each and every group but I have been involved with one for a short period of time. I quickly realized that I also did not fit in with any organization for the blind as well shortly into my training experience a few years ago. I kept noticing the treatment that was given between those who were totally blind or had low vision. It seemed like there was more favoritism towards those who were the classic totally blind individuals as opposed to those who had anything so much as light perception left, they treated with less respect. If you were someone like myself who had another disability outside of blindness, you certainly weren’t getting past the gates of being treated respectfully, the discrimination for not being a typical blind person is profound within the blind community.

I instantly identified as deaf blind and made sure those from the organization remembered to address me as a deaf blind student. I did not accept the title as just a casual blind person when being spoken to, only responded when the correct title was used. The same way they were strict about their rules, I had to be equally as strict about my personal rules as well. In the long run, they were forced to acknowledge that blindness was not the only disability in the world.

I graduated feeling relieved and greatly disappointed but glad I’d never waste my time with anything like this ever again. I felt that I certainly had no business calling an organization like that my family at all. Once again, bumped back to the outskirts of groups and crowds but feeling grateful of that reminder, a reminder that let me know again that I am a powerful person. I needed no group or person to tell me I was good enough for anything, I know that I am.

The Deaf deaf/blind and HOH (hard of hearing):

The first year of submerging into the deaf and hard of hearing community was easy going and smooth. I thought I would feel far out of place seeing how I was clearly the blind person walking around a deaf organization but all was well. I was welcomed into the deaf, hard of hearing community as the deafblind. Within the first few months of becoming a part of the deaf community, I acquired my sign name from a sign language instructor at Perkins, which was cool. I started taking sign language right after I graduated from the training center for the blind in 2015 going to 2016. It took a while to get used to “no voice” in classes but now that I have more experience, I could go a few hours longer with using strictly ASL. I have gotten to the point where I can use ASL interpreters and the sort with my skills. I am still improving and I would like to become a lot better in the future. More and more of my deaf and hard of hearing peers understand me clearly when I sign and that’s the best part.

During the summer of my first year with the deaf community, I learned a lot about how to address someone who uses an interpreter from events and gatherings. Although blindness is my leading disability, I am able to acknowledge other disabilities outside of my own at least. During that summer, I had more hearing than I do now but was still classified as deaf-blind.

A few years later, I am much more developed in my use of American Sign Language and still losing hearing in the remaining ear. Many people take classes just to learn the wonderful language or for work while very few actually use it for themselves. I am using it for myself and others I may come in contact with in the future. I have no problems learning new communication techniques as I find that experience to be very helpful.

I have met some folks who would try to decide for me if I belong in the deaf or hard of hearing community based on where I attended school and whether or not if I used sign language. At the time, my skills were nowhere near usable, I used an interpreter to interpret for me at the events. No, I have not ever been to a school for the deaf or blind and yes, I am oral. In the deaf community, “oral” means you speak with your voice before using sign language. I am an oral deaf blind woman. In my earlier years, I had speech therapy for speech impairment and that was where the mistake was made; there should have been someone around to teach sign language. I use amplification devices to hear in my remaining ear but would rather use an interpreter now that I have the skills and comfort. As the years go by and there are new comers, I will not make them feel uncomfortable at all. I would hope they feel as if they fit in or belong when they arrive whether to a training center for the blind or an American Sign Language class.

As far as fitting in, i do not necessarily fit into one box but I get along with both sides relatively fine.

I’ll ask again; where do you fit in with any list of communities you are involved with?