‘I am here too’: Nora’s story

Nora Clement’s story began with a challenge, but as her mom Sarah has always insisted, it doesn’t define her.

Courageous, conscientious, kind, talented — those words are much better descriptors of this 14-year-old Michigan freshman whose brave spirit inspired the Believe flower.

We asked the aspiring writer to share more about herself and her story.

Please tell us a bit about you! What are your favorite activities?

I enjoy reading, writing, art and ballet. I like to write fiction stories where the characters go on adventures. I spend a lot of time developing the characters and plots. I hope to someday become a published writer. To say I’d like to be a famous writer seems farfetched, yet one never knows.

We have heard that you’re also a beautiful artist.

I am drawn to art because I enjoy things that allow me to be creative. I like to create because it helps convey feelings and emotions. I like to draw things that inspire me  — that is why I draw a lot of strong women : )

Can you please tell us about your sight?

I am completely blind in my right eye. In my left eye, things far away look a bit fuzzy/blurry. When I say far away, I mean I am sitting at the kitchen table with my mom and the stove clock is blurry. I don’t remember ever being fully sighted, so I don’t think about it in terms of how it is different.

In school, I use my sight but rely more on remembering things I hear. I feel I have a strong memory. I cannot distinguish facial features if people are more than six to eight feet away, but if I have met someone before and I know their personality and their body movements, I can more easily tell who they are.

What has your diagnosis and journey with your eyesight meant for you?

I have kind of just learned to adapt and overcome with the challenges that come with my sight. It’s been something I live with, not a limiting obstacle. I approach my doctor’s appointments with an open mind. When I go for my eye appointments, I try to stay positive. I do get nervous about possibly losing my eyesight but I try to not focus on it.

What role does your sight play in who you are as a person?

I think my sight makes me a little more of a cautious person and aware of my surroundings.

I am pretty open about who I am as a person, but something I think people might assume or misunderstand is that I am a very scared or timid person. I am more of a calm person but not to a point of being overly timid. Timid seems unsure of oneself, yet I feel sure of myself.

What three words best describe you?

I am creative, hard-working and a good listener. In terms of being a hard worker, I care about what I do.

When, where or how do you feel the most like yourself?

I feel the most like myself when I am performing. It feels so amazingly freeing. Or when I am just hanging out with close friends.

What does bravery mean to you? 

Bravery to me means still being scared but not letting the fear stop you from doing what you want to do. Courageous people don’t let fear stop them from achieving their dreams.

In what ways are you most brave?

I think I am brave because I let my fears speak but I don’t let them dictate how I live my life. I don’t let them control me. I acknowledge the fear but I don’t let it stop me from doing something I want to do. On my first day of high school this year, I was somewhat worried that a senior would say something negative but I thought to myself, I am here too. I have the right to be here.

How is your mom most brave?

My mom helps me be brave. She helps me overcome the challenges that come with life. She supports me yet holds me accountable. I think she is brave because she’s not afraid to face challenges when something gets hard. When she has a goal, she doesn’t just hide it away. She wants to finish that goal.

If you could change your sight, how would you — or wouldn’t you at all?

There is definitely some logistical things that having “better” vision would make easier, but overall I am pretty comfortable with my vision the way it is and it is not really something I feel overly insecure about.

What does it mean to you to have the turquoise flower inspired by you?

Truly, I think it’s really cool and pretty amazing that I could help young girls or women by sharing my story. It inspires me that people are inspired by me. It helps me believe in myself.

Who or what inspires you most?

Mainly the women in my life. Being surrounded by some pretty amazing women like my mom, stepmom and my closest friends is where I am inspired the most. I am inspired by their determination of going through every day and putting their best foot forward.

How are you a good sister to Lila?

To be a good sister, I try to be a good role model for her and to do that I think of who I look up to and try to apply those traits. I want to teach her kindness and patience and courage and that it is okay to mess up but to just keep trying. I try to be kind and patient and hope that she will learn from that.

What advice do you have for someone who doesn’t think she can be brave?

If you can rely on a good support system, you will have a team to help you rise and accomplish your challenges. Don’t face challenges by yourself — keep the people you care about and those who care about you in your heart. Draw your courage from them. The people who love and support you will help you build up your strength and courage.

– Katie Vaughn

Thank you, Nora, for sharing your story and insights with us! You are truly an inspiration.