BLOG BIZ | AWARENESS & SENSITIVITY
In an ongoing effort to increase awareness on sight loss/blindness, Bold Blind Beauty contributor Cheryl Minnette will be inviting readers into the world of what it’s like to live with severe sight loss. These articles are created with the intention of continuing meaningful conversation while further connecting blind and sighted people. We hope you will enjoy these quarterly pieces that will be published under Beauty Buzz & Blog Biz and tagged “Awareness & Sensitivity.”
Tell Them So They’ll Know
Sunday was a beautiful, but definitely hot, sunny afternoon as the women were taking an afternoon stroll to enjoy the weather and each others company. Although one was sighted and the other has severe low vision, when the two of them got together it was always a guaranteed good time.
It had been awhile since these close friends had some leisure time to spend together just talking, laughing, and enjoying the sights and sounds around them. They were both looking forward to this day to reconnect.
As they ventured along the streets of their quaint little town, they caught up with each other about family and what was occurring with them personally. Turning onto a winding street that was lined with huge shade trees, they discussed how much cooler it felt and chuckled. Having the branches act like a natural umbrella, protecting them from the sun, was amazing. The only thing that could’ve made this any better would have been a chaise lounge and a tall glass of iced tea with a long straw and a sprig of mint.
Moving deeper into the neighborhood they could hear voices of adults and children both near and far. Midway down the block there was an area that opened up into a wonderfully designed park. Upon approach they decided to venture inside, following along the red brick inlaid path that was shaped like a cul-de-sac. There were benches (each a different color), a round fountain with cherubs, and an elevated seasonal garden Which woun in sections throughout the park. While continuing their chattering and laughing along the path, they had lots of company. There were people sitting on various benches; some were chatting, eating, and even meditating. They passed dogs that were being walked, ranging in size from miniature to large. Moms were pushing strollers as their little ones were enjoying the ride. Other children were running, skipping, jumping, and playing, just as you would expect them to be doing.
In the midst of all that was happening around them, there was one little girl that was simply super adorable. She had on a short sleeved royal blue dress with matching laced ankle socks and black patent leather shoes. The dress head three Flower shaped buttons down the front with yellow cuffs on the sleeves. As she skipped around in the grass singing and enjoying herself, her curl filled pigtails and yellow hair ribbons were bouncing with the motion.
The sighted woman said to her friend with severe low vision, ‘Do you see that little girl over there?’ Her friend responded, ’Yes, I see her skipping around over there by the yellow bench.’ The sighted woman said, ‘Yes! She is a real cutie pie.’ The women smiled at each other and continued on their afternoon adventure, completing a lap around the cul-de-sac path, then exited the park and headed back home.
Something To Ponder
In the above scenario, there’s something very important that you need to understand. When the woman with low vision responds to her sighted friend, stating that she can see the little girl, her friend may not be aware that they are not seeing this child in the same manner. The sighted woman sees the child as described in the description above. The woman with low vision sees the child with much less clarity and distinction, but sees her nonetheless. She sees the little girl moving about and notices that she has on a short, dark outfit, with her hair pulled up and away from her face. Knowing the description that her friend has given her, she is able to determine that this is the child she is speaking of. With that being said, she does see the child, but differently. This is why descriptions are so very important to share with someone who has severe low vision.
Sometimes people are around you so much that they forget the severity of your sight loss. They want to understand what it is that you are able to see, but their mind is unable to fully process it. Certain scenarios allow the opportunity for teachable moments, so take full advantage of these.
As a person with severe low vision, it is your responsibility to bring awareness to the sighted community. Only you know what you can or cannot see. This needs to be expressed to those around you. Whether it’s a friend, loved one, caregiver or someone else in your circle of support, it is up to you to share descriptive insights in order to allow for better interaction.
When you open your door and allow others to step into your world, it gives them a sense of belonging and comfort. Everyone wants to feel A sense of inclusion and you are the one who can gift them that.
A graphic containing three vertical photos of two women having fun taking selfies together. To the right of the selfies is text that says “Authentic moments are priceless.”