GD-Zone Archives Logo

GD-Zone Archives Logo
Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TOO BLIND TO SEE?

Since I have regained vision in my right eye, I realize that I’m changing considerably. It’s funny when I write about it but I feel that part of me has died, or rather slowly dying. And it’s hard for many people to understand that being blind is not the end of the world. At least, it wasn’t for me. There is of course a considerable period of recovery since I am overwhelmed by the world of lights I see around me.

Believe me, I sometimes wonder whether this is a dream after all… and I wake up to the life I had built for these past three years. And no, I am in no position to make value judgments or answer questions such as:

Aren’t you better now that you can see?

Unfortunately, I got this question thrown at me over and over again. As well as to recount my whole experience before and after surgery. But the answer to the question of whether my life is better or not now that I can see from one eye is prejudicial. Why?

A common mistake that people make is to associate blindness with the worst of things that can happen to you. Indeed, historically blindness was associated with sin or ill doing. And then again, I’m told that an advertising campaign against cigarette smoking have included the warning that smoking can kill or cause blindness.

No, I’m not saying that everyone should stop taking medications or start smoking. I’m saying that the value of blind people must go beyond the simple recognition that they cannot see. Or that there life is miserable. I even hate speaking of ‘us’ and ‘them’ here, as it seems that I’m am now setting myself apart.

I feel that I cannot even speak of a better life after having major eye surgery to rectify my situation. The idea that we still speak of the value of diversity and then in our hearts believe that being blind is tragic smacks of hypocrisy to me!

I have been blind, but now I can see. The happiness of my life, or the choices are make from now on are a different matter. But one crucial factor that can make a difference in the range of choices I can make does not depend on my range of vision or movement. Sorry to disappoint you rehab folk…
A society that still regards blindness and physical/sensory/intellectual impairments as individual problems … … implies that society has no option but to believe impairment to be a tragic ‘affliction’. And then you have all the things that seemingly enforce this verdict on our life.

When people say that my life should be better now that I can see, it only means that they thought my life, as a blind person was not. And with the same logic, my life as a wheelchair user now is in many people’s minds a source of unhappiness that remains to this day.

But still you ask me whether my three years of living in a world of lights and shadows was really a waste of life… was if I had to describe my life …

My life as a blind person was really fine…

I rather think that it’s society that needs to do some serious re-thinking about people with impairments. I remain a wheelchair user. But I was proud to be blind. And I am proud to have been welcomed and included in the local blind community.

Stating otherwise would not only be false but would mean that I am as disablist as others who judge me by my impairment,

3 comments:

Deanne said...

Hi,

I wonder about this myself. I have a degenerative eye disease and I wouldn't wish anyone to need to adapt to sight loss and disability. On the other hand, I love my family and my friends, I enjoy my life and I have hope. Who could ask for more? Sight loss doesn't let you skim the surface of life, and I'm glad I get to dive a little deeper. I've linked to this post at one of my blogs, RetGen. Hope that's okay!

Cheers,

Dee

Anonymous said...

picked up on your blog from blues site (the gimp parade) your perspective is very interesting and provides a good insight for a abiled bodied person like me. keep up the good work to give people like me that there is more to life the perecieved obsticles like a disability that there is tones out there to explore and learn!
-jen

Connie Kuusisto said...

Gordon,

My husband would say to you: "Welcome to the planet of the blind"!

I've discovered your blog through The Gimp Parade blog. If you haven't discovered it yet, a Disability Blog Carnival has been formed and is growing. Come join us! We're enjoying getting to know one another.