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Capable, Competent & Crushing It

“You’re not blind, you looked at me;” or “What do you mean you’re blind? Who put your make-up on this morning?” or “What do you mean you’re blind? You have kids.” ~Ashley Nemeth, www.blindmovingon.com

Close up photo of Ashley wearing her makeup.

Unlike the term “a little bit pregnant,” blindness is not like this. In blindness, there isn’t an “is” or “is not.” There is a wide range in the loss of eyesight (it’s not as simple as seeing or not seeing). For those of us who make the decision to get on with life after sight loss, we learn different methods of accomplishing the tasks we used to do. Anything is possible when we choose not to limit ourselves.

Blindness is not black or white. According to VisionAware.org, the estimated percentage of people who are “totally without sight” or no light perception is 15%—the remaining 85% of all individuals with eye disorders have some remaining sight.

15 thoughts on “Capable, Competent & Crushing It

  1. “What do you mean you’re blind? You have kids.” That one made me wince, as if they’re somehow connected. It’s like saying “What do you mean it’s raining? You ate apple pie last night.” As my mom loses her sight, we’ve gone through multiple shades of blindness, and it’s best not assume. My mom is happy to clarify whenever someone asks. 🙂

    1. Sorry to hear that your mom is losing her sight I think it’s especially difficult when we’ve had vision for the majority of our lives. Some of the stories I hear about blind parents being challenged as unfit or people being turned away from activities because others feel there is a risk associated with their blindness.

      I saw a video yesterday about a young woman who is deeply into fitness. She was turned away again and again at a number of gyms because she wanted to participate in group sessions. Most were agreeable to give her one on one sessions then, after deeming her capable she would be allowed in the group settings. Then there was the couple last year who was turned away from a cruise because the ship’s doctor and others said their blindness was too great a risk for them to be allowed on the liner.

      It’s situations like those above that prompts a number of us to advocate on behalf of ourselves and others who are blind in an effort to break the stereotypes.

      As always thank you for visiting and commenting Diana I appreciate it.💖

      1. Thanks for breaking down barriers. Information and education, Steph, make a huge difference, as well as getting to know wonderful people like you. 🙂

      2. 😊You’re welcome.

  2. One of my brothers-in-law is legally blind. He has tunnel vision which prevents him from driving and from seeing anyone unless they are directly in front of him. He is a retired judge and I bet that few of those who appeared before him would have known.

    1. Eyesight is such a fascinating gift and yet it’s one that I still can’t fully understand. Since I’ve been nearsighted all my life I couldn’t wrap my head around what farsighted vision must be like. What I mean by that is I couldn’t understand how anyone wouldn’t be able to see up close. So when I began losing my vision and learned about different diseases that cause tunnel vision, loss of peripheral vision or even vision where there are blind spots it was sobering. I think when we hear the word blind we automatically think in terms of total blindness where the individual’s eyes have a blank appearance due to the inability to focus.

  3. Sigh. So frustrating especially when in the “gray area” where it often feels like you don’t quite belong in either world. When you can put a lot of effort and can sometimes “pass” in the regular sighted world, and when on others everything morphs into doing everything easier the “proper” blind way.
    “But you don’t look …” (roll eyes)

    1. It’s an awful situation to be in because as I know you know, it’s exhausting pretending to “pass” and it’s equally frustrating when being challenged. And I know there is a small segment of the population who do fake blindness up to the point of using a white cane or “fake” guide dog which is very unfortunate because it obviously hurts those of us living in the “gray area.” My one son gets so angry when we are out together and people stare at me using my cane. The one bonus for me is not being able to see them but I also try to calm him because not everyone who stares is staring in pity or with the thought I don’t need my cane. Rather there are people who marvel that we are able to get on with life.

      1. It’s also frustrating there are so many different eye (/brain) combinations, when some cane users have e.g. a few degrees of usable sight so they give a compliment on your style or glasses or tell they read regular print and so on. Or my neighbor, who has a guide dog and told me he has some central vision…
        Then on the other end we have all these grandmas with cataracts that still drive, or who insist on their ways, refusing to get out of home, to ask for any kind of help ever, to learn any basic vi skills or to admit that they’re getting “a bit” blinder. And then we have the usual whoever decides on what kids get taught. If some kid needs every year stronger glasses, when would it be appropriate to teach them a few little vi life skills? When you break your glasses and aren’t functional without because you don’t see your feet or the stairs, maybe… call me silly but perhaps some basic navigational skills would be good. Also when you can still see something daytime but when your nighttime is pitch black but not for the others. Stay home or learn some skills that get some independence? The worst with the gray area is sometimes that both worlds feel like you’re juat trying to fake it and you don’t believe in either. 🙁

      2. It’s a little overwhelming sometimes with so many conditions that cause sight loss and even if two people have the same condition their vision can vary greatly. I sure could have used some navigational skills when I was young because I was constantly breaking my glasses and couldn’t see without them. And I don’t think getting a stronger prescription every year helped much because no matter how strong the prescription when I would take off my glasses or contacts I felt helpless and don’t even get me started on the amount of times I almost got mowed over by vehicles. As far as more seasoned individuals driving with cataracts or other sight issues that, I just don’t understand. They are not only putting themselves at risk but of course others on the road. It is annoying being in two different worlds and feeling like you don’t fit into either. 😕It’s a sad state of affairs but the one good thing is many more of us are starting a conversation around the topic of blindness and what it really means.

      3. Exactly. And low vision, which can be so much more invisible. And I guess generally, so many other invisible issues. Colorblindness is kind of invisible, even if 1 in 12 guys with normal sight has it, dyslexia is invisible yet 1 in 5 (also vi can be very dyslexic), 1 in 4 ladies has some depression at a certain age and so on. All invisible, and people usually hide those.
        What’s great is so many people now starting to be more open and realize what previously was something they wanted to hide, can actually be a good thing. Just because others might think being colorblind, hard of hearing, dyslexic, autistic, whatever else might have similar amounts of stigma – make it open and share what it means on the good side.

        Which is just awesome on the VI side. Mainstream fashion or beauty (or cooking or whatever) is often so badly explained as it’s all about looking at pictures. So here we have ladies that show that it’s ok to dress boldly and feel beautiful, so what if only others can see it? Emily Davison is one of those youtubers I’ve learned so much from, about how to try to do makeup as of course there are all sorts of little tricks to get it perfect (and i feel no shame asking for help to pick a color that looks like my skin) etc.
        Then, dress bold in your own style, stand straight, sound confident and smile. That all transfers to confidence in voice.

      4. Amen!! So well stated. Emily was one of the first VI bloggers I met and featured here. She’s a fabulous woman and her advocacy work is phenomenal.

  4. After serving around wounded warriors as a caregiver, it was evident all disabilities and wounds are not visible. I would notice how some responded to those who wounds were not visible compared to those with visible wounds. A wound is a wound. I can imagine those who look for certain characteristic of blindness versus those not quite obvious are doing the same.

    1. You make a valid point. And it’s worth noting the reason many people who have hidden disabilities won’t disclose, and this is their right, is because they are treated differently. I think when we’re talking specifically about blindness people are thrown off when someone like me can make eye contact or appears to focus. When in fact unless I am extremely close to a person I cannot recognize their face, unfortunately my grown sons know this all too well whenever they come over unannounced. As a society we are in need of continuing an open dialog on disabilities, visible and non visible.

      1. I agree Steph as you have eloquently stated.

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