Hope you are all keeping well? If you are up north my love goes out to you. I am in Manchester so we are in tier three now fingers crossed we can get through it! We Northerners are made of tough stuff. I just wanted to check in first.
Today I want to share with you a campaign that was started on YouTubes channel Jubilee by blind YouTubers. Which is still hard for me to say, a YouTuber! Dylan keeps telling me that’s what he wants to do when he is older. Which is fine but he keeps seeing these kids that have made millions and thinks it is normal. I don’t want to discourage so we are looking into it! Back to the campaign it is called #doallblindpeoplethinkthesame This is where blind YouTubers are creating videos and answering 9 questions, that are regularly asked. Then sharing the videos and including the hash tag and seeing what the outcome is from other visually impaired and blind people. So I am not on YouTube so I thought I would answer the questions in a blog post instead. Here goes;
1 Being blind has enhanced my senses?
This has some truth in it. Yes, my senses have become more heightened but not in the way a superhero would have. I think what it is is that I have become more aware of my other senses. I believe sight is the strongest sense and with us living in such a visual world, it is no wonder it is. I think unless you are a Buddhist monk you are not that aware of all of your senses. That is until one is removed. Why not give it a go! Wear a blind fold whilst eating dinner or sitting in the bath and see what you can pick up on.
2 Do you prefer to date fellow blind people?
No, if I am completely honest I have never dated a visually impaired person. This is not because I didn’t want to but because I didn’t know many. I know strange right! You see growing up with a sight problem/disability, I did everything I could to not admit to myself who I was. I struggled with acceptance and I think that if I were to have dated someone with a visual impairment or even hung around with them it would have meant I would have had to face who I was. I don’t want that to sound terrible it was and is not a reflection on people with sight loss it was my own personal issue. I have definably been working on those issues, and now I am working on acceptance. I am the one who has missed out on so many wonderful people and I only hope to move forward as a proud blind woman and hope to make some wonderful friends and allies. My husband is fully sighted.
3 I am less shallow about romantic partners?
No not at all! I have never been a ‘looks is everything’ kind of girl. I am very laid back when it comes to this because I do believe that personality is far more important. I mean if the guy had two heads, horns or a tail I may have to think about it. I do believe that losing my sight has took some judgment away. Not only when it comes to romantic situations but everyday ones too. Everyone is guilty of “oh my god did you see her hair” or “oh my god what is he wearing” I think this is a normal reaction it is what you do with that information that is important. For instance shouting it across a bar or street is not the nicest thing to do. You should always treat others how you want to be treated. Just to add I know what my hubby looks like as we met 12 years ago and I had sight. He is a solid 9/10!
4 unsolicited help makes things harder?
Yes I agree with this one. When I had vision all be it limited at times. I never really got offered or approached as much as I do now. That is something that I have struggled with because I am still capable of doing things alone. Don’t get me wrong there are many things now that I definably need help with but I need you to ask first. As an example, when walking through a new area or building using my cain. It is not okay to just grab my arm and pull me to one side because you see something in the way. My cain is there to alert me to obsticals and if you wanted to let me know it is there it is much better to use your voice. When using verbal actions rather then physical ones this stops me being shocked which can then end in further distress and perhaps a worse accident. Also, you wouldn’t just manhandle a sighted person and pull them so why would it be right to do it to a blind or visually impaired person.
5 The city I live in is accessible for me
Yes I would have to say in all that Manchester is an accessible city. It is definably improving. I have lived here all my life and have been on my sight loss journey so have experienced the different levels of usability. There are still a lot of improvements that could be made but on the whole, not bad! I am looking forward to the talking buses, like London.
6 I am offended when blind is used as a characteristic
No, definably not! I am blind so why would it offend me. It is like saying you’re a white woman, which I am so why would that offend me. When I had vision but visually impaired, I would get the odd joke. “Bloody hell are you blind”. Then I wasn’t so I couldn’t say anything back apart from “no not blind, visually impaired” now it is the best and most empowering way of stopping someone in their tracks. Although no one has meant it in a negative way or maybe I just didn’t take it that way. I have always had a good sense of humour when it comes to my sight. I am known as the clumsy one in the family so I just go with it, plus I use my blindness as a description myself. I want to help remove the negative connotations around blindness.
7 Being blind has affected my mental health
Yes, I would agree with this. When people face life changing situations, whether it be a loss of a loved ones, an illness, a loss of any description, a disability, any challenge that forces the known into the unknown, it will have an effect on even the strongest of minds. We are human after all and as humans we want to connect and be accepted. Facing challenges that put you in new situations where you don’t know if you will cope is a strain on the mind. It has been that way for me throughout my life. I never knew how to handle this until I was put in a situation where I couldn’t escape it. I had to face my darkness and get help. I am still working on shining my light. I think acknowledgement and getting help is the bravest thing you can do. It is also the hardest thing that you will do but speaking from experience it is worth it in the long run.
8 I have experienced discrimination
I agree. In some form or another over the years I have most definitely experienced this. When I have been for jobs, when I have been asked to do things or not, not being included in social activities. Then there is the social model of discrimination. When there are no accessible toilets or I am told I can’t use it because I am not in a wheel chair. When there is no audio description on tv or in public areas, inaccessible websites, this is effectively discrimination. When a person treats you differently because of their assumptions without them getting any information. I have experienced different levels of it over the years as I had varied levels of sight over the years. Although I have experienced it, I try my best not to take it personally, as it is not that they necessarily believe what they are saying or doing. It is that they don’t have enough correct information to hand to make a better choice. That is where I hope to help make the world better by creating more awareness and allowing the world to see what it is that I am capable of.
9 If I could regain my sight with a cure would I?
Well, this is a tough one. I truly believe that with everything that I have been through with my sight that I am meant to be a blind woman. Who knows what for hopefully to make the world a better place but for now I have accepted my sight loss and I am adapting quite well to it. It is becoming apart of me and not defining me. I have achieved so much despite my sight problems, my degree, my businesses, I have travelled and becoming a mum and many more. I guess if I were to have sight back now I would feel like I have lost something again because of the work I have done on myself as a result of the sight loss. I would however pay copious amounts of money to see my sons face again for a day.
Well I hope you have enjoyed reading my answers and I hope I haven’t offended anyone, that was not my attention. These are all my own thoughts and answers. Why not use the #doallblindpeoplethinkthesame on social media and YouTube and see what others have said because this is about sharing and creating awareness. The best way to do this is to hear it straight from the horses mouth.
Have a great week, stay safe