By Charlotte Mellor
This subject has been fiercely debated online, I have seen many parents clash with young visually impaired people about the rights and wrongs of this subject and I have read some really strong and valid points on both sides of the fence. I have tended to stay away from discussing this on the Through Scarlett’s Eyes forum as it can be quite a sensitive area for both parties involved.
I think now has come a time for me to talk about me, what benefit I get from doing it, personally, not Scarlett, as I can not truly speak for her. Perhaps one day myself and my daughter will be able to have a frank discussion about how my posting about her and her life has made her feel… perhaps Scarlett’s level of comprehension will never reach a point for that discussion to take place. So for the purpose of this post the thoughts shared are not going to be based on assumptions about my daughter because no matter how well I think I know her, her opinions of this will be that of her own, not ones forced upon her to be accepted as her own as I hold independent thought in a ridiculous high level of regard.
I am also not going to talk about how I feel sharing mine and Scarlett’s experiences online benefit others, I have a plethora of examples that I could use to pad out the contents of this post which could further reinforce why what I do and why I do it benefits others, but for the purpose of this article I am going to talk solely about me.
Okay, so where to start! I would also consider myself a creative person, deep thinking and emotional. In bad and good ways, these three things have shaped my life somewhat, being like this didn’t occur once Scarlett arrived, I was like that before she came into my life. I often find myself overwhelmed with emotions and have struggled somewhat to process them in a effective manor. Over time I have worked hard to build up my emotional intelligence, suppose hitting ‘rock bottom’ on a number of occasions has given me the little push I have needed to put me in a position to be able to deal with my emotions in a much better way. I have read lots around this subject, I am literally fascinated by it all. And in the same way I went out on a path of discovery about my daughter and her disability I did similar with myself.
There is a big fat portion of my life that I am not particularly proud of. For one reason or another I have made some very stupid decisions. Hell bent on following a path of self destruction, I could never understand why I didn’t function the same as the functional members of society. I was and to some extent still am an escapism artist. Anything that I could do to enter a different reality of my own that meant I didn’t have to feel certain things I was all over. There was and still is a massively significant impact on my life, my daughters disability. I am very sure than many parents can identify with the level of impact that diagnosis can make to every aspect of your life. I had never in my life been so overwhelmed with emotions as I was on the day that I found out Scarlett was blind, and not just on that day, but for everyday after that.
Everyone I suppose has their own way of dealing with things, or not, in my case as history has dictated.
So Through Scarlett’s Eyes was born, a small idea in a kitchen facilitated and supported by Tracie Tappenden and the team at VICTA Children to this day…
Writing to me goes way beyond the engagement of creative intellect. It became a rewarding way for me to release an over bubbling emotional cauldron of thoughts, stress, anger, upset, to name but a few! To me it feels like you harvest these emotional impulses which start to take control over your thoughts and behaviours and writing about what I was feeling was a great way to override those impulses. I became able to take much better control over what I was feeling by being able to write it. I suppose its like when you have something on your mind and you have a really heart felt conversation with a great old friend and after you’ve spoken the words you just feel better. Even when your words are responded with by a nod over a coffee cup, no advice or guidance, just saying it makes it feel like the pressure cooker has stopped for that one day. That is what writing feels like to me.
People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience, and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.
The more vivid and honestly I write, the better I seem to feel. Even though I have made myself considerably vulnerable with all my keyboard tip tapping, to me it feels good. Now don’t get me wrong, I have published a lot of thoughts on a variety of subjects. But after I have written something that has been particularly brutally honest when I do meet people face to face through my job and the post is mentioned in conversation I do feel slightly like I am stood there talking to them in the nude!
As I have been writing now for quite a long time, I do on occasion visit my old posts. It really is a helpful way of reminding myself that I have overcome a hiccup previously. Through Scarlett’s Eyes to me is like a journal documenting my gradual strengthening of mind. I know it is working too! I am happier, my emotional intelligence and my coping skills are much better. I do feel in a great position to advise and help other people who are feeling somewhat lost in a whirlwind of emotions.
The majority if the times I have written about Scarlett, it has been positive, physically putting pen to paper to take stock of all the things I am grateful for. Its like a fundamental part of my gratitude practice. That may not apply to everyone, might just be me. But the physical presence of the text on screen mentioning all the wonderful things about my daughter reinforces the positive things about our life together. Like a big long list of things to be thankful for.
I get to be creative! When I write I feel like I am stimulating the creative parts of my brain a cognitive resonance between the conscious and subconscious mind. I take photographs and make films too, and I get the same kind of joy when I do that too. I also consume a lot of creativity, music and art.
Through Scarlett’s Eyes is my job! I have the wonderful pleasure of taking an income from this, and no its not about the money. Its about me getting to spend my time doing something that I deem worthwhile, being part of a charitable organisation that helps children and young people who have a visual impairment. Its the having a purpose beyond being a mummy, I love being a mummy, its my most important role, but I am a person within my own right and to get to do a job, one that I love, is massively helpful to my own emotional well being.
So there it is, why I write, how it helps me, and I will continue to do so in a conscientious and considered fashion until I run off and live in a hippy commune with no wifi signal and/or Scarlett tells me I’m embarrassing and to get off Facebook!