1. What is the worst stereotype that you would like to diminish?
Answer: The unconscious comparison of blind individuals, or people with disabilities in general, to children. Most people don’t know they do it, but they do. Most able-bodied individuals cannot even imagine, or don’t want to imagine, what it is like to have a disability. They think that there is no way we could fend for ourselves, that we must be taken care of, much like children. Children cannot, and should not have to care for themselves; children are innocent and have no sexuality; children are cute and fragile; children are to be cherished, therefore people with disabilities must be the same, it is infuriating, and I think one of, if not the biggest barrier individuals with disabilities face. We are not taken seriously, we are not seen as equals, because of this damaging stereotype.
2. What is something you would tell someone who is just starting their blindness journey-who is newly blind?
Answer: Don’t stop doing things that you love. Figure out a way to keep doing them, and find new things to love. Stay active! And if you can, try to meet other blind individuals. I didn’t meet a blind person until I had been blind for a year, and after meeting them, things got easier for me. I got to see how they were adapted to their blindness, and realize that I wasn’t alone in being blind. I could still live my life to the fullest.
3. what question do you get asked that really upsets you?
I can only think of one right now, though I’m sure I’ll think of loads of good ones later. It is kind of annoying to me when people ask how I find my way home, or around my house. Especially if it is a route that I walk everyday. And I mean, how do they find their way around the house in the dark? I know they do it. I know sighted people don’t understand what it is like to be blind, but it would be nice if they just took the time to think about it … Think about how they would do it, and how it’s not that different without sight. I could just as easily ask them, “how do you remember your way home from work everyday?”
4. How do you go about shopping for clothes?
Answer: I usually go with a trusted friend or family member. I say trusted because they have to know what sort of things I like, and be familiar with my style. I could have someone at the store help me, but they don’t know my style, and they would undoubtedly have a different sense of style themselves. I don’t want to end up with anything “old lady-ish” or “teenie bopper-ish” because the store helper has a different sense of style than me.
I tell whoever I’m with what I’m looking for. They will usually direct me to a wrack, such as the dress wrack, and before I go through colors/designs, I look at textures-which texture do I like the best? Usually I touch all of the clothes on the wrack, and if there is a texture I love, I pull it out and ask what it looks like. I am all about the texture-I have found a bunch of really good dresses this way!
Then there is fitting, which is probably the same for most people. Do I like the fit? Is it comfortable? This is a big one, as my personal sense of style revolves around comfort. Am I equally comfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor as in a chair? And so on.
5. When it comes to make-up do you have any tips or tricks?
Answer: Not really. I don’t really wear make up. If I do wear any, it is usually just lipstick, eye shadow, or very rarely mascara. With mascara, I can tell you that it is helpful to practice with a dry mascara brush before you try the real thing. I suppose you could practice with a dry eye shadow brush, or a clear chapstick before hand as well.
6. rumor has it, all your other senses are enhanced, can you explain this?
Answer: I don’t necessarily think that the senses are heightened, especially not to super human standards, as many believe, rather we become more aware of our other senses. I know for a fact that I do not have super sonic hearing, on the contrary, I cannot hear higher frequencies. I pay more attention to my hearing because I have to. I may hear something from across the room that a sighted individual doesn’t, but that is because hearing is my primary sense.
7. who is one of your role models? Has their been anyone who really inspired you-that gave you that “I can do it” mentality?
Answer: I don’t really have a role model, that may sound bad, but it’s true.
When I first went blind, I was extremely angry, and felt like my life was over before it had really begun. So when I met another blind person for the first time, it was very eye-opening for me. I noticed how easily she joked about her blindness. This really struck me. She had gone blind later in life, and she was able to joke and be light-hearted about it. She had her vision for much longer in her life than I had, and she seemed to be adapting just fine. I realized that I didn’t have to be so angry. That I could make light of my situation, and maybe things would start to feel more positive. This experience was really my first step in the direction of a “can do” attitude.
8. Do you limit yourself?
Answer: As hard as I try not to, I think that yes, I do limit myself. Ultimately I think that everyone limits themselves in some way. The way I limit myself happens to be in the technology department. I have never really been super interested in technology, even before I went blind. I always say, “I’m not good with technology,” which I then tend to use as a crutch and excuse not to learn more about it. Being blind in today’s world, this is a huge limitation. Though, now that I realize I have been using my lack of knowledge and interest as a crutch, I’m working a bit harder at learning more about what technology is out there, and everything it can do. I have joined an assistive technology facebook group, and I have recently upgraded to an iPhone 8 from my 5S. Baby steps!
9. Do you do any volunteer work?
Answer: Yes, but not as much as I would like. I have volunteered with child care, at the food bank and homeless shelters, with office work, and at an animal shelter for a time. I’m sure there are some things that I am forgetting, but I like volunteering, it is just hard to do on a consistent basis.
10. you live in a winter community, how do you find the time to get outside and exercise, and enjoy the outdoors.
Answer: I shovel!!!
Aside from that, I play outside with my son, and I am a part of a couple of different nature/exercised based groups that have set times, and like being out in nature no matter the weather.
11: how do you feel about travel?
Answer: I still get very anxious when I travel or think about traveling. Part of it is that I am just an anxious person, but the other part is definitely the blindness factor. What if I get lost? What if people are judging me? What if I can’t find my turn, or I forget how many streets I’ve crossed? And so on.
Admittedly, I am much less anxious about traveling than I was before my training at an orientation center. Before I was trained I had this debilitating fear to even walk out of the house by myself. My anxiety level has certainly dropped immensely, I am not afraid to step foot outside, but it is still there niggling at the back of my mind. I am able to jump that barrier though because I am extremely talented at what I call: “getting un-lost.” So now, even if I have that anxiety, I am able to push through it, because I know that no matter how lost I may get, I know how to get un-lost!
This is me! Hope you enjoyed the read. I love questions, so if you
have any, or just a comment, feel free to email them to