2022 REFLECTIONS

The events of 2021 set in motion a domino-effect of transitions in my life, and transition is how I’ve come to define 2022.

Becoming a Mrs.

In October of 2021, the love of my life slipped an engagement ring onto my left hand. And six months later, I said “I do.” [So did he!] Before 30 of our close friends and family, we committed our lives together in a ceremony that was uniquely us, full of love and joyful giggles [on my part]. It wasn’t the wedding I’d dreamed about growing up. But it was the perfect wedding for who I have become and the people my husband and I are and hope to be in our marriage.

On The Move

But as wonderful as it was to begin the year becoming a wife in the beautiful, crisp, island sunshine, it also was just the beginning of what felt like constant change and unpredictability.

Six weeks after our wedding, my husband and I moved into our 2-bedroom condo that overlooks the creek. For me, this was the third official move in a year and a half. But it felt like just another one, since for the duration of my husband’s and my year-long relationship, I’d been commuting between our homes, an hour apart. I could feel in my body the unease and the anxiety of everything that comes with learning a new home, city, and routine–I had to learn the routes and teach them to my guide dog, I had to memorize a new layout and learn where we kept everything in the house [and teach my husband not to move everything on me!], and face the most daunting task of all–making friends.

It was a slow process. It took six months to even begin to feel at home here in our house. And I’m still in the midst of it. What used to come naturally takes an extraordinary amount of physical and mental energy. But I’m determined to keep moving forward, and reassuring my brain that this move is permanent, it won’t disappear, and we are safe here. But as with most things: easier said than done.

Alongside our move, my husband and I faced employment and financial challenges. I wrote a mini series on how the British Columbia government handles disability income after marriage, and how it’s designed not to lift people out of poverty, but actually keeps people in it. This weight is intensely heavy, and leaves both my husband and I feeling very devalued and like we are fighting a battle that we are destined to lose.

Just Keep Writing… Just Keep Writing

I celebrated my one-year blogging anniversary in May, and my passion for disability equality and accessibility is still going strong.

In July, I began the Authors with Disabilities Showcase, an online bookstore to highlight the talent of the disabled community. From memoirs to children’s books to stories about guide dogs, I’ve learned so much, not just about different disabilities, but about people. That’s why I began this bookstore–to learn and to grow in my understanding of others’ experiences and perspectives, and I’m excited to share it all with you.

In August, my husband, a former web designer, migrated my website to a new hosting platform. This was a major learning curve, but it also opened the door to many more opportunities to expand my online reach than I had previously. While the blog looks and feels much the same, behind the scenes is a different story, and one that I’m excited to keep exploring.

It was during this migration that I started toying with the idea of what would become the Writely Disabled Newsletter. While the newsletter only lasted four months [September-December], I’m grateful for the experience: While it taught me a bit about web design and marketing, it taught me to take what I perceive as failure and rebrand it. Though not easy, it is a life skill that I’m glad to be learning, and will undoubtedly, have to learn over and over again.

And all throughout, the idea for my memoir/non-fiction book had been building. This fall, I began a concerted effort to begin the journey. I have a long way to go, but I’m proud of how far I’ve come, and I have big dreams for this book and many others. I’m excited for where the events of 2022 will take me in 2023.

Back to Basics

But the most transitional moment of this year has been the re-embracing of my Christian faith. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour as a young child, and while it’s remained a defining feature of my life, it hasn’t always been my driving force.

In growing with my husband and deciding what kind of life we want to build together, I felt a profound, personal return to my faith and a desire to make it my center. I declared that I will not renounce the word Christian even when it makes others assume on my values and standards, but my faith is not about what others might think of me–it’s about God.

However, the decision to embrace my faith more deeply has caused friction in my relationships. I have been and continue to be accused of many things that I have not done and am not as a person, and it hurts. And I know I’ve hurt others, but in the spirit of the faith I’m trying to live out, I am trying to forgive, and hope that they can forgive me. I should have handled these conflicts with more grace and understanding. But I will not deny my faith or ignore its commands. And it’s my goal to continually learn how to stand firm in my faith and still be kind, but I know I’ve failed and will fail again. But I will never stop trying. That, I can promise.


2022 has been a year of transition. While many of these have been welcome and long prayed for changes, they haven’t come without conflict or inner struggle. I’ve cried out to God, felt lonely and lost, and believed I was worthless. The year feels less about marking events on the calendar as it does recalling the emotions and internal struggles I’ve endured. I’ve doubted myself and everything I’ve believed, and it has taken me into some dark places.

But the truth is that these are lies told to me by the Deceiver, and I’m hopeful, that with God’s help [and therapy], I can rid myself of them and start believing God’s truth about who I am.

And that’s my prayer for 2023, that I might not just believe, but truly become, a deeper, more faithful follower of God and embrace what He has for me in my life.

Happy 2023!

SIX LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM MY THERAPIST

Therapy is for everyone. No matter if you think you need it or not, we are all human and have things we need to work through. Therapy is a wonderful, and for me, lifesaving tool.

This month, I’m celebrating my sixth anniversary of beginning my counselling journey. As I reflect on who I was when I first began to who I am now, it is a world of difference. I have a long, long way to go and there’s always more to learn, but I’m just so grateful for the therapy that I’ve been able to access, the gift of growth, and of course, my therapist.

Starting with the Foundation: Three Lessons

I. Having Cancer was Traumatic

Having been diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma at the age of four, I grew up with the “C word” being commonplace. I learned, whether explicit or implicit, that because I was fortunate enough to survive and be healthy now, I wouldn’t be traumatized. I survived, I was healthy, and I had a bright future ahead of me despite the challenges of my blindness.

But this optimism, while well-intentioned and a means to cope on behalf of those closest to me, lead me to question my mental health and search for the root cause of my anxiety and depression. And what my therapist, who is both a Christian and a trauma-informed practitioner, explained to me was that my cancer experience was indeed traumatic, and many of the issues I face are due to that trauma. Knowing this has freed me and allowed me a way to understand and move forward in my life in a much healthier and more fulfilled manner.

II. Spiritual Bypassing

Out of my years of therapy, spiritual bypassing is a concept I’ve only learned about within the last few months. Yet, it is revolutionary for how it has opened doors for me to begin deconstructing particular patterns and relationships.

Spiritual bypassing is defined, according to John Welwood, the psychotherapist who coined the phrase, as a “tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks.” It is a fascinating concept which I am in the midst of delving into more deeply to gain a fuller understanding.

III. My Body Has Answers That I Don’t

I used to believe that I knew better than my body. It was just a collection of organs and physiological processes, right? But thanks to my therapist and the abundance of research available, I know that the body is much more than that. Our bodies and our minds are intimately connected, making our mental and physical health inseparable. The body remembers events and traumas that we’ve forgotten or buried. And if we learn to listen to its wisdom and signals, we will be closer to gaining an understanding of our pasts and how we can use that knowledge to shape a healthier future.

Building On the Foundation for a Healthier Future: Three More Lessons

IV. Let Go of a Toxic Self Image

Umm, let’s just say that my self image needs work! In my 26 years, I have become incredibly skilled at crafting an image of myself based solely on everything negative, shameful or uncomfortable that I have done, said or believed. While these are parts of me that I can’t erase from my past and will continue to work on, they are not what defines me and not [usually] how others view me. I hope to learn to forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made [and will make], and define myself by God’s standards rather than the world’s.

V. Deconstruct the Unhealthy Parts of My Faith

I have been a Christian since I was five and grew up in a conservative household. As I’ve matured into adulthood, I was able to begin disentangling what I’d been taught by the Church, the Bible and other Christians, and I want to continue this journey. This does not mean that I’m being selective in which parts of God’s teaching I believe. However, there are toxic teachings I have adopted which aren’t bringing me closer to God or showing His love to others. It’s these teachings and beliefs which I am hoping to shed as I continue to learn, grow and develop as a person and a follower of God.

VI. How to Talk to Others About My Journey

Talking comes naturally to me. Talking about deep, emotional and often traumatic experiences is another thing entirely. I’m hopeful that as I continue going to therapy, I will learn to balance my emotions with the knowledge that my mind and body hold, and engage in conversations that can help those around me understand and validate the journey I’m on.

Have you gone to therapy? Tell me about your experiences. What’s something you’ve learned there that you use in your life now?