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Shauna-Kay Douglas: Focuses on her strengths

Published:Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:25 AMShanna Monteith - Gleaner Writer

There are two types of people. There are those who search for a dysfunction then wallow in self-pity, and, on the other hand, those, like Shauna-Kay Douglas, who, despite the acknowledgement of their imperfections, refuse to take a back seat on the journey called life.

The 28-year-old, who was born near-sighted, seeing only partially from one eye, told Family & Religion that though her visual impairment caused her various struggles in her earlier years, her self-esteem was enough to keep her going.


She shared, “Growing up, I had challenges to do certain tasks and to see the chalkboard at school. In basic school, for example, it took me one year before I could actually write. I believe that as I age, my sight improves, though it is still severe, but it was worse. I only see from one eye and had to wait until students finished writing from the chalkboard to write from their books. I have challenges going somewhere for the first time, but once I go, the image of the place stays in my head.

“Thankfully, I had self-confidence from the outset though I would have faced persons (especially in schools) who would laugh or tease. Life, for me, was ‘normal’ since I was born this way. I just quickly learnt different strategies to go around it. Moreover, God places understanding persons in my path. I was doing well academically, and I am blessed with talents, so I focused on those.”

Douglas revealed that among her many blessings are her abilities to write and perform dub poetry; public speaking – as she was named 4-H Public Speaker in 2010; and also her abilities to sing and act.

And there’s more.

According to the talented woman, “I also have a knack for languages. I’m a Spanish teacher by profession, and I taught myself basic greetings in French. I’m a lover of Hebrew and (I am) currently learning Greek.”

Knowing fully about the other group of people who remain unmotivated by their imperfections, Douglas said: “Believe in yourself.”

“At the end of the day, you will be more affected by your choice more than the external noise. Focus on your strengths and find ways to work on your weaknesses. Find the strategy that works for you and work with it. Your path is unique, seek to be a better version of you each day. God made you special, embrace that. Faith and perseverance are important tools to have as you navigate life.

“As for me, I had to count the steps on buildings so I (could) get around on my own. I had to memorise every material that I am expected to read in public and pretend like I am reading when it is actually done from memory. I preach sermons from memory, do speeches from memory, and travel from memory. This enabled me to be enrolled in teachers’ college, and now at Bible college. The gift that you have to give to the world is wrapped up in your strategy. Find it, and grace the world with your beautiful imperfections.”