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solstice_singer

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LJIDOL: Week 9 [May. 18th, 2014|08:52 pm]
solstice_singer
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[Current Mood |thoughtfulthoughtful]

I'm sitting alone on a train. You approach, but you have no interest in me. Instead, you're intrigued by my disability, and you lack the necessary filters to keep your interest in check. So, we chat. Well, it's not really a chat. It's more like an interrogation, or, at the very least, an extremely intense game of twenty questions. It never occurs to you that I'm a person with feelings. You have no idea that I might be offended by the liberties you take. The things you see as compliments are things I find insulting, but this idea is out of your reach.

I am not a Q&A session. I'm a person with a life to live. I do not know every other blind person to walk the earth. The fact that I have a dog at my side doesn't mean he's there to give you your daily doggy fix. My existence isn't an excuse for you to blurt out all the things you've ever wondered about blindness, and, honestly, I don't care that you can't imagine what life would be like for you if you couldn't see.

Am I harsh? Maybe so, but I'm also tired of being viewed as "the blind woman", the person who symbolizes that which so many fear. It's true. People have an irrational fear of blindness. I've heard about it for years, and, recently, I was unfortunate enough to read a book about it. So, you're scared to lose your sight? Well, hopefully, that won't be your reality, but, even if it could be, don't look at me as the thing you fear. We both lose out on so much if you do.

Try not to feel too badly about your behavior. You're not the first person to subject me to such things, and I doubt you'll be the last. People look at me and "BLIND" jumps out at them. It happens to strangers all the time, but the really sad thing is that it happens when I'm among my family too. So, your lack of consideration really shouldn't surprise me all that much. I suppose I should be used to it, no matter how distasteful I might find it. Still, it's hard being the symbol of something that induces pity and fear in equal doses. It's disheartening and dehumanizing, but you don't stop and think about that. Of course you don't! To you, I'm not human. To you, I'm only blind! And yet, there are so many things you cannot, will not see, but it's my blindness you fear? Look in the mirror and face the fear that looks back at you. Then, the next time we meet on this train, maybe you can view us more as equals. I'll keep waiting for that next meeting


This has been my contribution for
therealljidol
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read. If you're so inclined, please remember me when the polls open tomorrow evening.

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kagomeshuko
2014-05-19 02:19 am (UTC)
I always try to see a person for a person. Sometimes I fail. I can't deny that, but I want to see that person for the person. I thought it was really cool that I learned a blind gal was going to my college. I never talked to her because I only saw her two or three times. Somebody would come pick her up behind the building where I have classes. I didn't know what was happening at first because I had only come out of the building and saw that somebody came to get her and they left. I ended up seeing her talking with some people one of the other times.

As somebody who uses a transport wheelchair part time, it can be really irritating when people don't see you for you and see you as a disability.

It's irritating when they don't see my sister for my sister, too. She has Asperger's and so many people won't look past that to see the real person that is there.
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:02 pm (UTC)
Disabilities scare people. It's annoying but true. I'm sorry you and your sister have had to experience this.
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[User Picture]From: kagomeshuko
2014-05-22 09:29 pm (UTC)
It's a huge shame that they do. As if people are going to be so "perfect" and "healthy" all of their lives.
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[User Picture]From: adoptedwriter
2014-05-19 03:57 pm (UTC)
Very insightful and enlightening. My kids' school used to have an "Everybody Counts" day. They brought in guest speakers and had wheel chairs and other devices for kids to explore. I helped in a kindergarten class with the deaf alphabet. (I am not hearing-impaired, but I knew what to teach. We spelled their names, etc.). Anyway, the idea was to give little kids a chance to ask questions without being rude or making it awkward. It was to help them be more respectful as adults. I sometimes work w a lady who has an assistance dog. (He's a Labra-doodle and very awesome!). I've never asked about her situation, but it's not a VI or HI thing. AW
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:04 pm (UTC)
I like programs like that. They educate people in ways that aren't awkward. I like the fact that they teach respect.
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[User Picture]From: bleodswean
2014-05-19 04:31 pm (UTC)
This is so calmly irate and that's a good thing!
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:10 pm (UTC)
I wish I could say I'm always kind. sadly, there are times when I'm downright bitchy. Humanity can get on my very last nerve.
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[User Picture]From: tikva
2014-05-19 09:34 pm (UTC)
OMG. SO. MUCH. FUCKING. WORD.

May I share this with people? Better yet, may I print it out and staple it to people on the bus? :)
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:06 pm (UTC)
Share or print and staple, as you please. (Grin) Thanks for stopping by to read.
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From: catwomon
2014-05-20 02:14 am (UTC)

I like it a

, I
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[User Picture]From: kickthehobbit
2014-05-20 03:13 am (UTC)
The last few lines of this are really powerful—well-done.
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the comment, and the recommendation. I appreciate both immensely.
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[User Picture]From: roina_arwen
2014-05-20 09:23 pm (UTC)
People can be rude sometimes but it is good that you are still willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:11 pm (UTC)
I try to do that, but I fail sometimes. I have days when enough is just enough. I don't want to hear anyone talk to me about blindness and how horrible it must be. (Sigh)
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[User Picture]From: onda_bianca
2014-05-21 12:31 am (UTC)
Great entry.
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm really glad you liked it.
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[User Picture]From: grail76
2014-05-21 05:39 pm (UTC)
Nods.
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.
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[User Picture]From: eternal_ot
2014-05-22 11:48 am (UTC)
It's an eye opener for many of us..Glad I read this and I'll follow your advice..:) thanks for sharing this perspective.
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From: solstice_singer
2014-05-22 06:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'm glad you found it helpful. (Smile)
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[User Picture]From: cheshire23
2014-05-22 11:38 pm (UTC)
I remember being in a forum where someone brought up the whole "but you could go blind from diabetes!" thing, and I ended up saying something about can we please stop acting like blindness is the most tragic thing in the world. It's really tedious.
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[User Picture]From: halfshellvenus
2014-05-23 12:28 am (UTC)
I love the conclusion to this, though I am so sorry this happens to you (and so often). :(
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[User Picture]From: unmowngrass
2014-05-23 12:33 am (UTC)
Very coherently expressed :-)
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