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I Will Never Stop Speaking Up for Oppression

Updated: Sep 24, 2019

Third child to arrive, my parents were not expecting their second daughter to be born blind. They rose to the challenge and my journey toward accepting myself began, even before I knew it.

When the little vision that remained grew worse and worse, I lost the colours I loved so much, and found solace in the written word.

All these years, as a writer, I’ve tried to separate my blindness from the rest of me, exploring all that through writing. I’ve had to not use it as a crutch to hold me back or make excuses for why I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. My perceptions of everything around me, I explored, with curiosity, through words. It’s a constant work-in-progress to find peace and acceptance within myself, to find my strength as a woman living with disability in my community, in Canada and in the wider world.

I have been given many second chances to make something of myself, learning at a young age to value the precious life I have been given, after a kidney transplant from my father when I was thirteen gave me my health back and cleared my head of so much fog.

Since that day, the fog still rolls in at times, and I enjoy the weather for what it is, as best I can. Along the way, I’ve been given the greatest gift, that of paving the way for my younger brother, born with the same blindness and kidney disease. I take care of him and vice versa. It’s a bond I share with no one else on earth.

Travel and music and family keep me grounded and loving life, all while the common trials and tribulations offer perspective I’ve recently taken to mean I must advocate, to find my voice and never hide from the realities that still exist.

I will never stop speaking up for oppression and long lasting stigmas so many face. Feeling intensely the pain of the world, along with physical, chronic pain, I must manage the stress of that and learn better strategies for coping with the things I can’t control.

I am a woman, (proud daughter, sister, aunt, and friend), but I am a person who is blind in a mostly sighted world. It’s my world as much as it is that of the sighted and I am not going anywhere. Within my position with the Canadian Federation of the Blind and with my radio show Outlook on Radio Western, I share my story and my experiences, in order to help other people find a way through the fog that rolls in and out.

The journey continues.

Author: Kerry Kijewski

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