Post 6 comes from Glen. I actually found Glen on Twitter when reaching out for people to partake in this project — I guess it’s working!! Despite not being a blogger, Glen is very active on Twitter, and I felt that his story, told in the below post, is very apt for this project.
*NOTE* After scheduling this post, I realised that Glen does in fact have a blog, which I have taken some time to read and enjoy. For whatever reason, I didn’t amend this article to reflect this; the post was updated on 21st July to include his blog link.
My name is Glen, I’m 34 years old, and I live in London, having moved here a year and a half ago.
I am visually impaired as a result of 2 conditions. Aniridia means I have no iris, the coloured part of my eye, and so I’m unable to control the amount of light entering my eye. This causes me to be overly sensitive to glare and find it harder to adjust in the dark. Nystagmus, meanwhile, causes my eyes to move or wobble involuntarily all the time. I don’t see the world shaking, because my brain compensates, but it does mean I can’t focus on things unless they’re close to me or very large.
None of that stops me living my life though. For the past 13 years I’ve been working as a printing supervisor, with a particular focus on variable data and personalisation – e.g. billing, mailshots, surveys, that kind of thing – as well as more regular documents from business cards and reports to posters and billboards. I basically prepare documents to print and then pass them on for physical production, and the variety of work keeps it interesting and engaging. And following my recent move to London, the company have kept me on as a homeworker, which is great.
I have always had a good social life and enjoy getting out and about, but moving to London has increased that significantly. There are so many people to meet and so much to explore, so I’ve been making the most of it. I’ve been developing a healthy new social circle by joining various social groups, with a mixture of disabled and non-disabled people, through which I have been able to start making individual friends. I’ve also been making new acquaintances as a result of my blogging and social media activity, including meeting people in person that I have connected with online.
With my new friends, and also by myself, I have been enjoying much that the city has to offer. I regularly go to the theatre, particularly to see musicals and comedies, and many of those shows have been enhanced through touch tours and audio description. I also explore museums regularly, again taking advantage of audio description and handling tours sometimes. I enjoy game and quiz nights, they’re always great fun and a good laugh. I like to go out for walks, sometimes on guided tours and sometimes just for a random stroll. I enjoy general socialising, including going out for meals and drinks. And so on. I’m still exploring and learning and trying new things all the time, which I love. There’s always something going on somewhere.
I also work to support and promote disability awareness, particularly visual impairments. Through my own blog and Youtube channel I often post about my experiences as a partially sighted person, and the many things I enjoy. This has led to good friendships with many other bloggers, guest contributions to other sites, and even my first public speaking engagements. So far I’ve done one talk for a group of adults and another for a group of primary school children. They were both the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve done to date, as it was a completely new experience for me. I’m also a volunteer for the Aniridia Network, working on their communications and social media output, and assisting with the organisation and promotion of the annual Aniridia Day.
Going forward my aims are to continue growing my social network, find a partner and settle down, continue exploring London and other travel destinations further afield, advance my career in the city, and continue to support disability awareness through my blog, Youtube, public speaking and voluntary work. And ultimately I just want to keep enjoying myself. I’m very happy where I am in life at the moment, and the future looks very positive.