Lily Mordaunt | Comfortable & Confident Navigating The World As I Am

A headshot of Lily an attractive African American woman smiling broadly. Her hair is styled in long thin braids dyed a light blue on the ends. She is wearing a black & white striped top.

Women On The Move | Lily Mordaunt

Contents:

Editor’s Note

Today’s Woman On The Move, Lily Mordaunt, was recently featured on Episode 7 of our podcast. In this episode, Lily and the summer interns discuss the challenges and triumphs of going to college while living with sight loss.

In many social situations, feelings from being the ‘only one’ (in any given category i.e. race, ethnicity, gender, ability, etc.) can range from mild discomfort to trauma. From school to networking and job-seeking scenarios, Lily shares with us her personal experience of what it’s like and how she’s coped with being the only blind person.

As with our other 2021 Beyond Sight features we’ve included the YouTube video along with the transcript for those who prefer to read the content. Enjoy! ~Steph

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover contains the same photo as in the header. The text reads Lily Mordaunt | Comfortable & Confident Navigating The World As I Am.

YouTube Video

Transcript

Introducing Lily Mordaunt

Frontal headshot of Lily smiling and wearing a purple v-neck sweater adorned with rivets. The front of her hair is pulled up into a bun on top with long wavy spiral curls cascading down her back. She paired her outfit with complementary earrings shaped like upside down triangles.

Hi, my name is Lily Mordaunt and I have congenital glaucoma. Which if I remember correctly means that somewhere between being born and the age of one I was diagnosed with glaucoma.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. It’s characterized by really high eye pressure. Oftentimes, I do believe occasionally, we can get really low high pressure. And having so much pressure built up, damages the optic nerve, and there’s no way to regenerate that as of yet. So yeah, the only thing that can really be done is eye drops to regulate and control the pressure.

My vision has actually worsened noticeably over the years because there was a period where I refused to take my eyedrops, but that’s a story for another time. Even with all of that said, though, I have only ever been able to see out of one eye. And because of that, I learned how to use braille. And I learned how to read braille and large print simultaneously. Though, at a certain point, braille was emphasized a little bit more heavily.

Adaptations In Social Situations

I also grew up using a cane, so I feel like I can’t necessarily talk about, what might have been otherwise. What my personality might have been, or any real impacts of vision on my life, because this is how it always has been. Perhaps it helped me to work with my humor.

I feel like there was a period of time when I was the only blind person in school. And so sort of joking to ease the sighted people around me into things. And easing them into realizing like, ‘Hey, I am actually normal’ was one of my, social defense mechanisms.

I feel like when I think about my vision, the real way that it impacts me is sometimes how I will approach a situation. I am a pretty social person I enjoyed talking to and interacting with people. The only thing is that sometimes if it’s perhaps in a networking setting, or something like that, I will not approach someone. Because I’m just like, I don’t know, do you have a standoffish expression? Are you talking to someone? And so I feel like in some ways, my vision will make me hesitate, but it won’t keep me from pushing forward.

You know, I have struckup conversations, if I was just standing there and just like, ‘Oh my gosh, is absolutely driving me crazy.’ But I will always 110% reciprocate. As a college student, I definitely put those social skills to the test as many of my friends were, in school out of state. Having the experience of being the only blind person for so long, I do think definitely helped me sort of gain a level of fortitude that I know some of my visually impaired and blind peers struggle with.

Shifting Perceptions By Pushing Through

And now being a job seeker, I feel like knowing that sometimes an employer will judge based off of vision and sort of their perception of my ability, or lack thereof, is definitely frustrating. But I feel like again, just going back to my life experiences, going back to the people in my life who were just like, “yeah, you can climb on this monkey bars and jump off” because that’s what all the other kids are doing.

Some of these parents are looking at me kind of crazily, but you’re having fun even when you’ve injured yourself. I feel like that has really helped in my attitude as well like the people I grew up with. And just the experience having either when I’ve been in communities of blind people at my summer camp, at my music school, my elementary school, and and some aspects of high school, versus when I was the solo blind person. I feel like each has lent to different skill sets in terms of teaching me how to socialize in each group.

Final Words

And so yeah, I do feel like I can’t even imagine what it would be like not to be visually impaired. There’s so much that I just automatically adjust for myself. Whether that’s, you know, a quick rundown of explaining to someone how to go about guiding me or being comfortable and confident navigating the world as I am.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Connecting With Lily:

Image Descriptions:

  • The header image is a headshot of Lily an attractive African American woman smiling broadly. Lily is wearing a black and white striped top and her hair is styled in long thin braids dyed a light blue on the ends.
  • Beyond Sight Magazine Cover contains the same photo as in the header. The text reads Lily Mordaunt | Comfortable & Confident Navigating The World As I Am.
  • Frontal headshot of Lily smiling and wearing a purple v-neck sweater adorned with rivets. The front of her hair is pulled up into a bun on top with long wavy spiral curls cascading down her back. She paired her outfit with complementary earrings shaped like upside down triangles.
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