Nick, a.k.a Visionless Nicholas, may be the only blind person who knows where they are going. Yes, another kid thinks he can rap, fortunately for everyone he is actually good—really good. He is not your typical rapper for more reasons than the obvious one. He has, as the kids call it, “flow”. Pardon the jargon, but that is the only word to accurately describe the strictly pondered poetry that Nick used to write. It’s baffling to witness the ability with which he memorizes entire rap songs with no way of writing his rhymes. Though his talent was realized long before the accident, he believes that this has made him more able to focus on the way things sound together rather than how they group grammatically. “It’s like I can make better sense of the way words sound with music because I don’t have to read or see them. I used to close my eyes while I rapped and wrote…I guess it was kind of ironic,” Nick said. While I have agreed to not try to promote Nick any further than sharing his story, my main goal was to get him to go to an open mic session at virtually any place that has them. I did not succeed and I did not want to lose my story through pushing too much. Following the interview, I was successful in getting him to rap in front of a group of friends and for me to record it.
Despite having been around the kid for 2 years, I have never been allowed to do this—I have, but he has never allowed it. He doesn’t like how people can then see him, but he can’t see them. “I just don’t like the idea that people can have videos of me, I know it weird but some sort of audio is fine,” Nick said. While I usually respected this, I talked him into throwing on some sunglasses and answering a few questions about his motive.
Nick started rapping when he was in middle school at Euclid Public schools on the east side of Cleveland. It wasn’t until he had moved to Westlake and was ready to graduate that he was left disabled. In a traumatic accident he was rendered completely blind in one eye and basically able to see shadows with the other. He always keeps his eyes shut. In order to share what he went through he found it necessary to tell how it happened.
He was skating in a local warehouse when he decided to try to clear a hole in the ground of the third floor. The only issue was the hole was gap was above a thirty foot drop. Needless to say he did not make it and hit the ground below, landing on metal and cement. After his friends dragged him out and got him to the hospital, he immediately had to undergo emergency surgery. Sadly, due to damage done to his head and his eyes, the doctors were unable to save his vision. “At least I am alive,” Nick constantly reminds everyone. He is currently in the state of overcoming his physical disability and is hesitant to broadcast or promote himself. Though he is constantly pleaded with to promote himself to the world he says he is just not ready. “I am still not really used to this. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining but I spent a lot more of my life being able to see,” Nick said. The interview went smoothly and I helped in picking out his favorite outfit. “I know I can’t see how I look, but these people will.”
Considering his situation, he maintains a predominantly positive demeanor regarding life. He is still grateful for his health considering the tragedy that befell him. Also, it is important to note how Nick wanted this story to be a triumph story rather than a depressing one. After spending one day with the kid, one struggles to find a depressing thing to write about. He likes to listen to music too loud and to talk to anyone that wants to have a conversation. Nick prides himself on his listening skills, sarcastically I hope. “I can hear better than pretty much everyone,” He was joking.
Yet, you would have to see the slightly too big sunglasses to become aware of his blindness. For a person with no sense of vision, he sees the world in a pretty positive light.
I proceeded to ask Nick things regarding his future. Without missing a beat he replied, “I can’t see my hands and you’re asking me to look into the future? No, right now I just want to become okay with myself and then see what I can about the rest of my life. I know I’ll be alright but lI don’t know what is next.” His words hinted at the reasons he was hesitant to perform in front of a crowd of strangers. Though learning to deal with his blindness is his current focus, he knows he can use his talents in the near future in some way or another. Nick recognizes the small victories that each day brings along with its challenges. The overall triumph in his story is spread through each day of his life.
Following the closure of this story, I will obviously continue to pester Nick into showing his talents to the rest of the world. The following link is one of Nicks earliest recorded songs. He is somewhat embarrassed by it now, but he likes to listen to it to see how far he has come.
(In all recorded music on this page please pardon the language. It is part of the story as it plays a large role in the music industry.)