Thursday, January 10, 2013
Serving Lemonade to Ann Taylor
Tomorrow I will walk back into the Ann Taylor where I was told to leave repeatedly because I entered with my guide dog. I will return to this company that even after communicating with them issued a false statement.. I had no idea how word would spread . I'm all about letting go and have been surprised how often this situation has been brought up in the past six months. Just recently I was asked about it and someone asked me so it was just the one sales associate, right? I explained no. If it was just a sales associate ... you educate and move forward with your shopping! This was a corporate issue. I am grateful that I will have the opportunity to visit and educate. So many of you were there for me supporting me. The example so many of you set in reminding me of the importance of advocating for myself and others was incredible. I continue to be inspired by your support and your actions. I cried when I received emails from others telling of their discriminatory experiences. I became committed to finding a way to make a difference in this chapter of my life and in others. I reflected back to when one of the first big life changers with RP happened. I could no longer drive. I committed to myself to not sit on the sidelines in life. I could lead a rich, full life with blindness. Indeed, I do which I am so very grateful. There may be some different challenges presented to me in my life. We each have different challenges in our life. We each can make a beautiful difference in the world. Sometimes it is simple quiet things -- other times it may stir up some attention. I prefer simple quiet things :). I have found myself reflecting on what making a difference looks like for me again the past six months. This experience couldn't just be ignored and at the end of the day I knew I needed to return to this company and educate. I wasn't just going away :). How do we educate civility, equality, compassion, kindness. I think we don't give up and remember that the majority have these beautiful qualities. I reflect on a quote from Brene Brown: Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. I matter. You matter. A simple welcome - how may I help you? as I entered that store would have helped them quickly learn that this was my guide dog as I asked for a little assistance -- instead of the barriers created. I reflect on the power of that question when we listen and share -- what it does for both. Inspite of blindness, I am a visual learner. I learned braille by visualizing in my head what the letters looked like prior to being able to learn how to feel it. I am thrilled that I have my notes for this presentation in braille. I reflect on the mentors that helped this be a reality. Thank you. A big thank you to Steve for helping repair one of my braille tools. There have been some significant lemons I have had to deal with from this experience. However, so much sweet lemonade along the journey. I enter with no expectations. I'm doing it so at the end of the day I can say I did what felt right to me, and I hope I make a difference. Thanks again for your support!