Part of my problem was that I just didn’t identify as “blind.” Even though I was born with a visual impairment, I didn’t think of myself as disabled. Everyone always went on about sight loss, but I’d never had it in the first place! It was my normal.~Amy Kavanagh
Amy Kavanagh | Blind Beauty 65
This part of Amy’s quote “I just didn’t identify as blind” speaks volumes to me. Her words take me back to a time before I received my first pair of eyeglasses. Granted, even though I was myopic (severely nearsighted), the difference between me and Amy was my eyesight back then was correctable to 20/20.
The situation of seeing versus not seeing is one of the most baffling aspects of blindness. Back in the day, when a person was defined as blind we generally understood it to mean they couldn’t see anything. Today, we know that greatly diminished, uncorrectable eyesight can severely impact a person’s day to day life. For those of you who wear corrective lenses when you aren’t wearing them do you notice a difference in
I can relate to Amy only from the perspective of ‘my normal’ (nearsightedness) wasn’t a problem until my sight was corrected. In other words, ‘normal’ was blurry vision because ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know.’ Before my eyes were corrected I didn’t know I couldn’t see.
As I read and reread Amy’s words I wonder how many people don’t identify as blind because it’s their normal. When we add in the stigma associated with blindness it takes this thinking to another level. For years, because Amy was living her ‘normal’ she didn’t take advantage of tools and training that could have made her life easier. I’ll tell you what though, I’m happy she came around because today she’s a fearless activist. Her #JustAskDontGrab campaign speaks to respecting the personal space of people with disabilities.
Blindness is complex. People are complex. If there were one lesson to come out of this post it would be we all ‘see’ differently (literally and figuratively). I think we run into problems when we measure our circumstances against others.
Blind Beauty 65 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Amy Kavanagh’s image on the cover is black & white. This photo is a head and shoulder shot. Amy is sat in front of a wall with the BBC logo on. She is wearing big headphones over her bright pink hair and she’s smiling and looking at the camera.
Blocks of text superimposed on Charise’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”
- This photo is a selfie. It’s a sunny day, with trees and blue sky in the background. Amy is smiling looking at the camera in large round sunglasses. Her hair is blond with bright pink hair fading from the top. She is wearing a black t-shirt and badge, the badge shows a pair of sunglasses and reads,
medicalnecessity not fashionaccessory.