As much as I love music, I've never been able to stick with playing an instrument myself for any length of time. When I was a kid, I played the piano, and I would go to recitals, but I would always be the worst performer there. Maybe some of that is simply perception, and being too close to the situation, but, objectively, I can look back and remember that there were some genuine prodigies who played, too. It wasn't so much that I wanted to be the best, but I didn't want to be the worst...So I quit after awhile. But what made it really traumatic was that my mom made me call my piano teacher and say I no longer wanted to take lessons anymore. I was 13 at the time, and, yes, I suppose I should have known what tact is and all, but I wasn't the one who was paying for them, and it was just a really, really awkward situation.
I also played drums in the school band for a couple of years, and, while that wasn't a terrible experience, I also knew I wasn't any good at that, either.
Several years later, I got it in my head that I wanted to try playing the guitar. So I began taking lessons, but, well, that kind of fizzled out and didn't go anywhere. I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not musically talented, which is kind of depressing since I enjoy listening to music so much. And, I was in my high school's choir for the duration of my time there, and I got solos, so I couldn't have been atrocious.
But, back to the topic, I think I'm going to try and segue back into not having any passion in life. I never thought that I was good at anything. Some people know they have talents, or at least, have been told so many times by people with extreme powers of persuasion that they do, that they flourish and carry those talents into their adult lives. The few times I was ever told that I was amazing and so on, it was because I was performing the typical tasks that any person performs in a day, but, just because I'm blind, and I can dress myself and speak for myself, I'm an inspiration. Perhaps a person who is less introverted would take those comments and use them to inflate their ego, but that's not me. They just made me cynical. Not only that, but I legitimately don't feel like I'm good at anything.
I think I've said this elsewhere on the forum, but I'm a vinyl record collector. It is one of the few passions I do have. Therefore, the only job I could envision myself having would be to work at an independent record store. There's even a fairly well-known one not too far away from me, actually, and another that's in Philadelphia, where my boyfriend lives, and where I hope to return to eventually myself. But the thing is, retail jobs are impossible for blind people to perform. It's not just that I would love to be surrounded by volumes of obscure, dusty music all day; that's a bonus. But when it comes to retail jobs, anyone can do them. Why do you think it is that high school kids work the cash registers at fast food establishments? Because any idiot can do that. But not a blind person. Even if a person has no special talents, they can earn a steady, if stunted, income in those types of jobs. But blind people have to be perfect. They have to be astronauts or engineers or brilliant computer programmers to even be considered for a job. Alternatively, they could work in a sheltered workshop. What kind of message does that send for an average person like me? Surely I'm not the only average blind person in the world?
I come from a middle class background. My mom and sister have both worked retail jobs; my mom still does, and my sister only quit the job she had because she recently had her daughter. My dad is a maintenence man in a titanium plant, keeping up with the machinery and making sure that it's working properly. In other words, I didn't grow up in a family of doctors or anything like that. But the expectation was always there that I would go to college and be the best in the family. It was acceptable for them to meet the status quo, though, to live comfortably, to work hard and come home again, but not for me. But, honestly, that's all I ever wanted, too. I just wanted to be nondescript, to fade into the background. Even if that's not physically possible because of my blindness, I naively thought, for a long time, that there could be some way to make it all work out for me.
Well, just two days ago, I got a call from my BVS counselor. He told me that my local association for the blind was putting in some kind of new call center that would deal with other blind people's technology questions. He asked if I was interested. I told him that I don't have any formal qualifications, like Microsoft certifications, nor do I know how to assemble a computer. But he assured me that on-the-job training would be offered, and he said that I have good typing and interpersonal skills, so he would recommend me.
I swore that I would never take a call center job, but I'm sure not getting any younger, and, if it makes money, maybe my family will finally respect me. If it's one thing they tried hard to drill into me at an early age, it was a strong work ethic: never miss a day of work, don't socialize after work, just come home and be with your family, that's all you need. Not only that, but I'm willing to take almost anything in my current situation. I live in a rural area, and jobs certainly aren't easy to come by, nor does anyone around here have a particularly sound image of blindness and what blind people can do. Just yesterday, my sister told me that she didn't want me to come to the store with her because people would stare.
So, I'm going to see where this job offer will take me. I think I'll probably be relieved whether I get it or not. Perhaps I'm even subconsciously, deliberately sabotaging my chances of getting it by writing about it here. After all, they say that potential employers scrape the bottom of the barrel to get every morsel of information about a person that they can before hiring them.
The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.