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Vulnerability, Sight Loss & The White Cane

Vulnerability, Sight Loss & The White Cane featured image description is in the body of the post.

Vulnerability, Sight Loss & The White Cane

“What bothered me most about my sight loss was my fear of people knowing I couldn’t see. Everywhere I went I felt so vulnerable and isolated not to mention, my anxiety levels rocketed off into the stratosphere.”

The first time I picked up a white cane was when my Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialist introduced me to one for my training. Perhaps it was the novelty of a new gadget is what prompted me to follow through but secretly I was bitter.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, in the privacy of my home it was okay to learn proper white cane techniques. Practicing in public was a different story.

  • What would people think?
  • Are they looking at me?
  • What if I run into something or someone?
  • Are they laughing at me?
  • Do I look foolish?
  • Are they talking about me?
  • Why? Why do I have to do this?

On and on these and many more questions ran through my head. I felt scared, exposed, and vulnerable. I hated vulnerability.

After my O&M training was complete I was free to use my cane independently. So what did I do? Simple, I stashed it away and continued living pretending.

With the exception of family, co-workers, and friends, no one knew I couldn’t see. The problem was I seldom went anywhere alone because while I didn’t look ‘blind’ I was.

So I continued my charade until the day I wanted to take a short stroll. I’ll never forget; I was at work it was the middle of the afternoon and I needed a little snack. I could have asked any number of people to go with me but I wanted to do this on my own. Afterall it was no biggie, and I was familiar with the route to the store which wasn’t far from my office.

So Clever & So Foolish

On the elevator ride down to the lobby of my office building I had second thoughts but squashed them. As I pushed through the revolving glass doors out onto the plaza I thought “maybe I should turn around.”

Alone with nothing but my thoughts for company, I walked to the store. As I walked by people I didn’t know whether they noticed me and it didn’t matter. For at this moment I appeared just as sighted as anyone else. That is if you ignored my superheroine move when stepping off curbs.

When you lack depth perception it can be tricky navigating uneven terrain. Your footing is unsure so curbs, stairs, cobblestones, etc. can make walking a little dicey. So what I would do is put out my right hand as if an invisible energy force would keep me from falling.

Once I reached the safety of the store I was so relieved because I’d done it by myself. After I bought my snacks and left the store it was just a couple of short blocks back to the office.

I did my little ‘step off the curb superheroine move’ then I heard it. A blaring car horn and someone shouting at me! How could I have missed it? The car nearly hit me and I didn’t see it coming. Shaky and on verge of tears I don’t know how I gathered myself but I made it back to the office.

Strength In A Simple Choice 

Acceptance of a major life-altering event like illness or disability can be extremely difficult. And even once the choice for acceptance is made it can still be a day-to-day struggle. However, I believe strength and freedom are found in acceptance.

I realized the day I was almost mowed down by that vehicle I had a choice. I could continue living in denial. Or I could pick up my white cane, embrace my sight loss and work to help others by sharing my story.

Today I not only use my white cane but I proudly wear my Abby gear! Below I describe today’s featured photo.

Vulnerability, Sight Loss & The White Cane Featured Image Description: 

A mirror selfie of my black “Relax It’s Only A Cane!” tee. I’m wearing new hair, a pixie cut wig, blond in the front, dark brown in the back. Wished I could have taken a full body photo but my phone doesn’t take pictures on voice command.

The white Abby icon is above the slogan walking with her white cane in one hand, handbag in the other. She is wearing heels and a stylish dress made of panels resembling overlapping banana leaves. The dress panels gently curve from her nipped in waist to just above the knee. Her signature hairstyle is best described as explosive.

 

18 thoughts on “Vulnerability, Sight Loss & The White Cane

  1. Thank you for such an honest and heartfelt post! It’s amazing to see the resilience of someone like yourself. You set an inspiring example for others going through the same thing. I look forward to the time when sight and hearing loss will be a thing of the past in God’s Kingdom (Isaiah 35:5). Until then, keep on being inspiring.

    1. Thank you, Heather, for your kind comment. 💖

  2. As always, love your spirit and what a fantastic t-shirt!
    XxX

    1. Thank you😊

  3. I read this to my husband. It meant so much to us.

    Theresa

    1. Thank you Theresa, I’m happy to hear this meant so much to both of you.💖

  4. Hi Stephanae
    This was very well put. As you know from previous conversations my experience was a little different as I was eager to get and embrace my Wand Of Power for the independence I would regain. If I can’t clearly see someone I presume even if they seem to be looking my way they are not focusing on me. And to be honest I’m too busy concentrating on getting safely from A to B to worry about other people.

    1. Hi Lynne, I love hearing stories like yours where you’ve readily embraced the white cane early on. More of these types of stories need to be shared to lessen the stigma associated with the white cane. It was only after I came around to accepting my loss of sight that I could then see the white cane as beacon of freedom. 💖

  5. Steph, thanks for this great post and for speaking your truth.

    1. Thank you for coming by Susan. I hope you are doing well. Happy Monday!!

  6. You said it very well girl! Once we accept out blindness and embrace the amazing tools we have access to such as our cane, technology, and daily living tools, we know we can continue to live a rich, fulfilling, fun, and productive life. Ms. Carla

    1. Thank you Ms. Carla💖

  7. I really appreciate this post. 🙂

    1. Thank you Camie.💖

  8. Great post. Thanks for sharing your struggles, insights, and triumphs. It helps me to better understand those who can’t see and I’m sure gives encouragement to those who are going through similar circumstances now.

    1. Thank you for stopping past, reading and commenting. I’m glad to hear this helps somewhat. I’ve been wanting to do a post on what I see to help give people a better understanding of how different sight loss is for each person who goes through it. The struggle is even though I live with it I find it hard to put into words what it’s like.

      1. Struggles are hard to put into words. Sometimes, there are no words that sufficiently describe how you feel. You do a great job relating what it is like for you. At least, I feel like you do.

      2. Thank you. It’s so funny in a way because when I was writing this post it felt awkward and it seemed like it wasn’t flowing so I just let it go.

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