This is a photo I took of my first reader - in Braille, that is.
As a friend said to me earlier, Ari and I will be on the same journey this year, both learning to read. Him, print, and me, braille.
I am excited - I do love a challenge.
At the same time, I have felt like I was choking on my own breath all morning. At first I put it down to nerves. When I first tried my hand at braille when I was 10, I just could not get the hang of it. I felt compelled to look at those raised dots all the time and try and read them by sight - which many people who work with the blind, do.
However, in my assessment meeting this morning - which was to check how sensitive my finger pads were and whether or not I could properly feel all the dots - I did very well. Apparently, I'm a natural. That's a good thing.
The feeling of choking didn't go away with that knowledge, though.
It wasn't until I was on the way home that it dawned on me why I was feeling the way I was.
I feel as if I'm letting go of something that I've been clinging to all my life. In a way, it feels like I'm giving something up.
That thing is the ability to see what is in front of me.
You see, after going through the first five letters of the braille alphabet, and reading words made up of combinations of those five letters, I was handed a form I need to send back to get my materials for the braille course and even though the form was printed in relatively large and dark print, I was very aware of how difficult it was for me to focus on the letters.
It was almost as if by letting myself start to learn braille, I was trading in a little more of my vision.
Of course, this isn't true. The truth is, my vision has been failing for a few months now, but I have been resisting that knowledge. I have been forcing myself to focus on squiggles on pages, and while I was reading the braille my poor eyes had a chance to relax for the first time in a long time, and so when they had to focus on print, they needed to warm up again.
I don't want to give up the ability to see, but it's not really my choice, I can continue to fight it, but in the end the darkness will win.
So, I have to embrace the darkness and learn new ways to live with new skills. Hey, it'll be like a superpower, I'll be able to read with the lights off!