Many people wonder what it’s like to be totally blind. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation, in 2010 there were approximately 8.1 million people in the U.S. 15 and older with a vision impairment*. Of this number, the amount of people who are totally blind is minuscule.
Beyond navigating in a sighted world without light and the stimulation of vision, how does one live in complete darkness day-to-day?
Join me as my guest, Mel Scott, Founder of BlindAlive, answers a thought-provoking question on blindness posed to her by a young girl.
I had an eight-year-old girl ask me once, “Is it boring being blind?” I thought for a minute and said, “No, I have a great imagination.” She said, “My mom says I do to.”
I loved her curiosity and I began thinking more about the question, Why am I not bored? Does it have anything to do with blindness or even having a good imagination? To say, “I’m bored” is actually saying,” I’m not creative nor am I willing to investigate my own mind.
Blindness has made it much easier to be silent which is my nature. I do not have all the distractions sighted people have forced upon them. I could easily create distractions for myself with the radio or television but then the opportunity for introspection would be missed. I do not want my own thoughts to be diluted by the media.
SO, the answer is, No, I am never bored. I allow my blank screen to fill up with shapes, words, songs, poems, mantras, and a multitude of questions to be answered. I confess, not all of my thoughts are profound or even kind. Even so, I enjoy keeping myself occupied. The relationships between my mind, body, spirit, plus how all that intersects with everything else will keep me busy for a lifetime.
*The National Federation of the Blind has this view on vision impairment: “encourage persons to consider themselves to be blind if their sight is bad enough—even with corrective lenses—that they must use alternative methods to engage in any activity that persons with normal vision would do using their eyes.”