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It’s easy to allow the fears of others to tarnish our reality, especially when filled with negative and limiting concepts as a child. But as Nicole discovered, learning to believe in ourselves can set us free, and when we are free to believe anything is possible, it is!
Here Nicole from Detroit tells her journey from restriction to inspiration…
Grab your favorite snack, a box of tissues, and make yourself comfortable, because you’re about to go on an adventure! The adventure of the life of Nicole Kada. Are you ready? Here it goes in 3, 2, 1!
My name is Nicole and I am currently 24 years old. I am a young lady from Detroit Michigan in the United States. I have 3 siblings all younger than me, I’m Middle Eastern, have a bachelors degree, am a YouTuber, love to travel, and best of all, I am legally blind!
I was born with Lebers Congenital Amaurosis, or LCA for short. This is an eye disorder that affects the retina, which is the part of the eye that allows for sight. It’s typically a degenerative disorder, so I had a great deal of eyesight as a kid, but it has worsened as I’ve gotten older. Now, I am only able to see light, dark, shapes, shadows, and outlines.
My parents are Iraqi, along with the majority of the rest of my family members. However, I was born in America. The Middle Eastern background played a significant role in shaping me to be the person that I am today. It has caused me the most pain and brought me the greatest successes simultaneously.
My family raised me Catholic. My grandparents on my dads side along with some of my dads sisters and nieces lived with us for many years of my early childhood. Because of being Catholic and living with many foreigners, I faced many challenges. In the Middle Eastern culture, those with disabilities are looked down on and treated like they’re incapable of taking care of themselves and won’t amount to anything. Sometimes, I felt like I was treated as if I were helpless. Because my grandma was so religious and had an old mindset from back home, I felt less human because of her friend group and the elderly family members that would come over. I constantly had to hear how they were sorry for me, but that I’m such a bright kid. I had to hear how they hoped for a cure for me. I had to hear things like how would I get married and have children of my own in the future? Because of all the pity and making me feel helpless, I accepted the pity and let myself be that “poor blind helpless person”.
In school, I struggled to make and keep friends. I was placed in a classroom for the blind for the majority of elementary school, until the program got shut down and then I was placed in regular classes in my hometown. From kindergarten to my senior year of high school, I attended 7 schools. Every time I would make a friend, I would leave that school. Also, I struggled to make friends, because my parents told me to keep my friends at school. The only time I had friends over was if they were also middle eastern. Not only that, but they kept me from attending certain field trips and going camping out of fear that something terrible would happen to me. I completely understand the fear now, but as a kid, that destroyed me. My peers were having sleep-overs and doing cool things together, while I was spending my time outside of school alone, unless I was with siblings, or another Middle Eastern person.
At school, I was bullied. At home, I thought about how I would never be anything in the future. Nobody would want to be with me. By 8th grade, I was miserable no matter where I was at. I had so many journal entries written about hating my life and how I’d be better off dead. These entries continued until I was 17, which is the time when I broke out of my depression and started finding my happiness.
I finally went to a summer camp for the blind and met others like myself. I was away from my parents long enough to realize that I didn’t need them to do everything for me in order for me to survive. I was away long enough to know that blind people are capable of being independent. For so long, I craved independence and now I had it. I had it and I never let go of it after I had a hold of it!
The next year, I started college. I attended 3 different colleges. This was for two reasons. The first being the lack of services provided at the first two colleges and the second reason being that I majored in things that I didn’t have a passion for, because I allowed others to discourage me from following my dreams. Eventually, I stopped listening to others and I became a science major. Science was my passion and I didn’t care how visual it was, I was going to do it and I did! I received my bachelors in Nutrition and Food Science. I took and aced visual classes like math, biology, and even organic chemistry. I met with tutors/scribes, went to professors office hours, and required extra time on exams/assignments, but all that matters is that I did it! I got my bachelors and now I’m going to continue my education to become a Registered Dietitian, something that will be difficult as a blind person, but I will make it happen.
I’ve only been happy for about 7 years now, but one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is loving and accepting myself. After that camp in 2013, I have found my happiness. Instead of looking for pity, I make blind jokes constantly. Instead of letting others tell me what I can or can’t do, I show them what I will do. Even if it takes me a longer time to accomplish something compared to my sighted peers, if it means making my dreams come true, I will do it. However, it takes loving yourself to reach that positive and determined mindset. Because when you love yourself, no level of negativity will discourage you. When you love yourself, your confidence speaks so loudly that you attract the things you want, sometimes even without having to seek them. For example, one of my goals is to inspire others and without looking for an opportunity to inspire, I was presented with the opportunity to write this.
When you are confident, you attract the things you want and the negative things quietly start disappearing. You begin to surround yourself with like-minded people, experience life-changing events, and do things you never thought you could. For example, I started doing some traveling and also became a YouTuber, both things I was afraid to do, but because of my level of confidence, I have been able to step out of my comfort zone and do anything I put my mind to. To the outside, my blindness is a disability, but to me, it is my ability. I know many sighted people who place limits on themselves, and to me, that is a disability. Remove limits, and you are automatically able!
Follow Nicole’s flourishing career on social media at;
Facebook: Blind Boss Entertainment