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When Praying Away My Disability as a Teen Didn't Work

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As a kid, I grew up the Catholic way. I went to doctrine classes every Wednesday and made my sacramental milestones, from my First Reconciliation, my Holy Communion and then finally my Confirmation. My grandmother is a devoted Catholic whose nightly ritual was based on prayer cards and rosary beads. I even had great aunts that were nuns.

During my studies, I read many stories about Jesus healing the blind and the “crippled and lame,” and at one point, I was totally convinced that one day, I could pray my rare form of albinism away.

I spent many nights praying; rosary beads and prayer cards became a cluttered mess on my end table. I watched shows like Benny Hinn’s in the morning, hoping he could beam some of that magical energy my way and I’d be cured. I prayed every night I would have friends, that nobody would ever hurt me again, that I would be happy.

At age 12, my doubts became real. My nose stuck in a Bible during class wasn’t because I chose to. It was because I needed to make my family happy. Plus, my Game Boy on mute kept me from too much boredom.

I eventually gave up believing because at one point, there seemed to be nothing to believe in. I had a hard journey going through my teen years, trying to find out who I was and whether or not life would get better for me.

Little did I know that God wasn’t the only thing I had to believe in. Turned out I needed to make that change for myself. Wishing on a crucifix was not my only option. Turned out I could heal myself through hard work and determination. And eventually, things did get better.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t “healed” the way the Bible says, meaning I still am legally blind, I feel as though my life has come full circle. Those dreams of my preteen self have finally come true. I finally have friends and a meaningful life.

I still question my faith every now and again, and I’m not as religious as I used to be, but I do believe someone, somewhere, has pushed me in the right direction. It may not be the God that raised me, and I can’t take all the credit. But somehow here, I am thriving and surviving and overcoming adversity every day.

To whatever guiding force is up there, thank you for helping me see things as they are.

Follow this journey on Legally Blind Bagged.

Originally published: April 24, 2016
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