Blessed by Blindness

Good Tuesday,

I hope your Advent season is going well. Can you believe Christmas is nearly a week away? With the lovely temps we’ve been experiencing, it seems impossible that Christmas or even a new year is about to appear.

Yesterday I read a

wonderful article

about a family who adopted two girls who happen to be totally blind. I’m not sure if the story partially resonated with me because I also am totally blind and have prosthetic eyes, but it made me think about the blessings of blindness. Just from reading the Mom’s account of her journey through the blessings of her children, it reminded me of all the wonderful interactions I have been afforded because of being blind.

I often rail and rant against the many injustices we in the blindness community experience such as discrimination, lack of employment opportunities due to misconceptions and so on; however, I also believe while these issues are important, it is also helpful to present the positive and at times silly side of having a visible disability.

I’m certain if it weren’t for being blind, I would not have meant so many dear friends who are both sighted and blind. If you are reading this, you have enriched my life beyond words, whether for a season or reason. For my sighted friends, thank you for doing your best to understand blindness. Thank you for seeing me for who I am—a person who happens to accomplish tasks with alternative techniques. Thank you for taking the time to ask your questions because this is the best way of learning and combatting the misconceptions society unknowingly feeds you about disabilities.

Thank you for taking the time to patiently describe the world beyond my ears and fingers and not laugh at what I may not know or understand.

One of my favorite questions is “how much can you see?” Usually the topic of my prosthetics makes its way into the conversation which opens the door to share the funny things I’ve done with my eyes.

So, after the above vulnerability, here are some humorous perks of being totally blind.

Although it’s not socially sanctioned, I often forget to turn lights on and off when I’m by myself. Hey, I’m frugal; I’m trying to save on electricity!!

While your eyes are glued to your iPhone’s, I can listen to a smooth talker named Samantha or a guy named Alex who breathes while he reads to me without losing much battery power since my screen is usually turned off. Or, I can read with my Braille display what is on the screen.

I’m sure you remember hurricane Sandy. When she came roaring through Shippensburg, everyone on my floor freaked out since the power went out. For me, it was like any other day. While everyone scrambled for flashlights, I went about my business with my fully powered laptop by reading and writing papers with the help of JAWS (Job Access with Speech) which is the screen reader on my computer.

As a child, I was introduced to the world of reading Braille which was and still is an invaluable gift. As my sister attempted to go to sleep, I tried to be sneaky and silently read under the covers. The giveaway was always being either the sound of pages turning or the soft sound of my fingertips moving across the pages. Whether it’s a hard-copy Braille book or my iPhone connected to my Braille display, I can read anywhere day or night.

So, that’s about all I’ve got for today. I hope this more light-hearted post is proof that blindness isn’t a tragedy or something to be feared or pitied. If you ever want to know something about living as a blind person, please ask me. I’d rather you ask the question that might sound silly than go on believing something which may be false or completely inaccurate.

Happy blessed Advent!!

Until next time,

Anjelina

 

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