My first day at Saavi, before I started my “blind education”, I went for a support group. This little old lady was talking to me in the lobby and she said, “You’re not blind, you’re visually impaired.”
I was thinking no, I’m blind. But I didn’t say it.
this thought plagued me for awhile and I thought ok, maybe this is one of those politically correct things. Is the word “blind” taboo? Should I not say “blind”? But I’m blind.
So I asked the question to Anna in my Stars class. She works at saavi and has been blind since she was a child. I asked her if blind was taboo, because I know she’s total blind, but she says “visually impaired” a lot.
She said its a preference, it really doesn’t matter. She asked me if I considered myself to be blind. I was like, well duh, I can’t see. Anything. So she said I can call myself blind.
I still think about that though. I think “visually impaired” confuses people, and I’ve talked to sighties about that. They are confused. They say to them, “visually impaired” means people can see a little. Yeah, this is how I see it too.
So this is how I look at blind, visually impaired and low vision. When I hear the word impaired, I think of drunks. I know a lot about drunks, because I’m a recovering drunk.
So. “Impaired driver”. This driver can still drive, though he shouldn’t. But he still can. So, visually impaired to me means, he can still see a little. I did a lot of things while impaired. I drove, I played pool, I cooked, I applied make-up. All these things improved dramitically when I sobered up. I was no longer impaired. So to me, visually impaired means “still a little functionality”.
Low vision is kinda like visually impaired, but maybe a tad better? So maybe its like 6 beers instead of 12? Though for a non-alcoholic drinker, 6 beers might be more like impaired than low vision, but I digress.
So now to blind. Blind is being passed out drunk. Not in a black out, because even in a black out, I was functioning, just not aware of it. When passed out, I was not functioning, so thats like blind.
Am I sick for thinking this way? I don’t know. I just know I am not visually impaired, because my eyes aren’t impaired, they’re passed out.
Sometimes, every so often, I’ll catch what could be called a shadow. But only if its moving or if I’m moving. Like a T-Rex. If something is stationary, I don’t catch any hint of it. Every so often if its really bright, if there’s a black cup on a white counter, I might know something is there. In the mornings, if I wave my hand between my face and the window and barely catch movement, I know its light out. At 3am there’s nothing. Someone asked me if its like looking through wax paper, but I never looked through wax paper before, so I don’t know. Probably?
But, since these “shadows” are not useable vision, I am not visually impaired.
Like ok. What do they call those things that hang in windows, vertical or venetian? They call them blinds. Because they block all vision. When they are cracked a tiny bit, they could be called “impaires”.
This is just how I see it. And I’ll be honest. When someone who has some vision calls themselves “blind” sometimes I get offended. Because no, you can still see that leaf if you get real close. Its only on bad days that this offends me, and I’m not mad at the person. It is my own lingering resentment at those who still have vision, no matter how much or how little. This resentment has faded, but its still there.
Now, someone without even my “shadows” or sometimes my light perception, like, someone who has no eyes, might be offended that I call myself blind. And I wouldn’t blame them. We always want a little more right? So like, I wouldn’t necessarily mind that little ten degree vision like looking through a straw, because its more than I have. And the person with prosthetic eyes, might want my shadows.
So like in my last post where I finally decided to write about this, I’ll say it again. I do not mean to offend. I’m just talking about how I see it. I’ve read in other blogs that blogging is cathartic. I don’t know what that means, but by context I’m gathering it means theraputic. So I’m getting this off my mind here because it helps me make sense of what I’m feeling.
So yeah, comments?