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The Deaf Stoner

Hey dudes! ✌ Today we get to interview a very unique human being. So, without further ado ... Introduce yourself, friend!

Gary-Tyler: Hey my name is Gary-Tyler Reyes haha I have two first names it’s super weird but you guys can call me whatever you please! I am 27 years of age and I am a dog walker and cat sitter among the many other jobs I do.

**Image description: Gary-Tyler has black, curly, medium length hair, held back with a RAW papers headband. He is sitting leisurely, fully clad in RAW papers merch from head to toe (headband, shirt, ring, and socks).

A&A: That is so cool! Hands (Amanda) is also a pet walker/sitter when she can.

A&A: Do you mind telling us what your disability is?

GT: So I was born hard of hearing but I classify as deaf. Up till recently I just found out I’m losing my vision.

So I’m deaf/blind as well. I’ve been diagnosed with an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa (RP). I can say with confidence that I’ve had this my entire life doctors just never caught it until now cause certain traits of the disease just started showing.

**Image description: GIF of an eyeball, disected, and light passing through it. The background is yellow, the eye is blue and white.

My hearing affects me daily from not being able to hear certain conversations to having to read lips all day because I can’t hear. I always have to wear my hearing aids otherwise I just accept that nobody will speak loud enough for me to hear. I've gotten used to just not having conversations because I can’t hear or keep it going. 

My blindness is something I am currently struggling with. I have to learn to adapt to living with my current vision I can’t see at night nor can I see far. I have almost no peripheral vision so it’s hard. But I do have a central vision so I can see in front of me at least. I have to use the street light signals that beeps to let me know to cross the street just because I can’t see the street light due to the sun glare in my eyes. Simple day to day things I took for granted while I had more of my vision.

**Image description: A close up of a cross-walk button. It is the type that vibrates, and makes noise. It has a "Free the People" sticker above the button.

A&A: We don't think that would be easy for anyone to deal with. Hands, ironically, has lost a lot of function in her hands, and as an artist, it's something they took for granted. When did you first discover cannabis?

GT: Oh man summer after I graduated high school! My entire life I always smelled cannabis in the streets and it smells sooo intoxicating for me it must’ve been my inner stoner breaking out. That summer after I graduated I went to a party with friends and I personally hate alcohol we just don’t get along ever so I decided why not spend my last $20 bucks on some cannabis. Asked my buddy how much a thing cost of whatever weed they’re buying enough to roll up.. gave him the cash they came back with the cannabis and I hit joints bongs and pipes that night as if I was making up for years missed out haha! Loved it ever since; changed my life!

**Image Description: GIF of anime character, in a yellow hat, raising a cannabis joint up.

A&A: We definitely understand the love. How does it help with your disabilities?

GT: Cannabis helps me maintain my anxiety and depression. I’ve dealt with this my whole life and was forced to take prescriptions which really affected me in a negative way that I don’t ever wanna relive that again. Now with cannabis I can do day to day activities and not be affected by the little things that would’ve kept me inside for days back then. I can’t say it helps my vision cause I haven’t noticed any changes but it allows me to maintain certain things about my RP. Like the little light flashes i get in my eyes from the change of light when I walk into a room or even if I’m sitting and the room light changes. So cannabis has definitely helped me out for the better.

**Image Description: GIF of a blue woman, with black scribbles moving around in her head.

A&A: We are so glad cannabis has had a positive impact on your life. How are you handling the pandemic?

GT: This pandemic isn’t really affecting me much besides not being able to visit certain places I appreciate or getting certain services needed for myself but otherwise it’s been ok. I’ve ended up getting back in touch with my gamer side cause it’s been over 7 years since I’ve owned a system and appreciated the games. Most of the time I just use a buddy’s and keep it pushing.

**Image Description: GIF of a man in a white hat, black shirt, and khaki pants, playing on a moving gaming system.

I’m not big on material things. But I gotta say day to day just enjoy cannabis medicating and spending as much time enjoying the days. I’m currently learning how to adapt to living with my eye disease and trying to adjust to certain techniques that would improve my day to day living.

A&A: Hands is a big gamer, too. But, we have been trying to enjoy the little things more since the pandemic. What would you want say to someone who shares similar disabilities?

GT: For anyone else out there who’s deaf/blind just know it’s not easy accepting what’s been handed to you but there is a community of support out there! In the time knowing my diagnosis and going to the centers needed, I’ve meet a few people total strangers that have become a support system during my times. So i can’t say easier it’s gonna get cause it’s hard, but never feel alone there’s support out there for a wide variety of things and I’m also here to speak to if anyone ever wants to chat.

**Image Description: GIF of Patrick Star from Spongebob Squarpants, waving a green flag and yellow foam finger. GIF states "I'm Rooting for You".

So, I would also like to add that if people reading this would just do one thing today is to go, either look up a sign and learn a sign from American Sign Language. Or find a piece of information to better inform yourself about people living with RP! I appreciate you all much love and positivity 🤟🏾!

Later dudes! 🤟🏼

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