“Fade To Black: Diary Of A BlindMan”
by Guego Schmitz
“Clarity” Part One
This past April, was in many ways my biggest moment of clarity in life to date. Although many moments and lessons both good and trying took place prior to this past year, it is my belief that they were all just pieces and life lessons that paved the way for what was to come.
But let me back up a bit and give you all a little insight on those pieces as without them this story is not complete…
I was born into this world with a disability that has influenced my way of life from the day I was born and it will continue to do so, until the day the good Lord decides that my time on this earth is up. Born into this world with one of the rarest forms of congenital glaucoma (approximately 10% of all glaucoma patients have it), I new very early in life that life would be a struggle for both my family and I for many years to come. My first surgery took place when I was only two weeks old at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami and now 26 surgeries later it truly is a miracle that my eye has withstood all of the trauma that it has endured throughout the years.
I remember as a kid being mocked at, made fun of and even bullied because of my impairment. Who knew kids could be so cruel? But, I thank God for blessing me with a family driven by faith, as without that foundation, I am certain I wouldn’t be half the man that I am today.
Growing up as an inner-city kid in the Washington DC area, I am certain that much of my makeup and grittiness is also attributed to my experiences on the streets of Alexandria. Adaptation to one’s environment and knowing your surroundings were both a very literal and spiritual lesson that I had to learn very early on in life. That same lesson that till this day I practice on a daily has definitely been one of the biggest components in my life that has afforded me the strength to overcome the many trials and obstacles that have come my way, but at the end of the day I have both my family and God to thank for my drive and will to push on…
Although I always knew that I was a unique kid with this disability, my family did not raise me as a victim of circumstance because of my impairment. I was never treated differently or giving any slack because of my circumstance. No, actually the exact opposite was expected of me as they saw something within me that at the time I was to young to realize and/or understand.
So, as I scratched and clawed my way through life, I was accustomed to facing fear and adversity in the face and because of the faith that was instilled in me, I was able to overcome them one day at a time.