I know many writings that highlight the implications disability – including blindness – may have. I know many blind people who, like me, have had emotional difficulties relating to their blindness. The articles I linked to yesterday also point to these issues. Still, I feel a bit ashamed of having these issues. It’s not even so much the dependence that I’m ashamed of – of course I’m ashamed of it, but I know that I should somehow be able to learn new skills -, but more in general what an importance my disability (?) seems to have. Like, the difficulties handling vision loss, the ongoing misconceptions about blindness and my own questions about them (does the fact that I cannot do something now and a sighted person says I’m crazy believing I could, mean I can never do it?), etc. Even though NFB folk don’t want to be told that their philosophy is that blindness isn’t a big deal, many of them have said that it isn’t, in generalised statements as if to say that it shouldn’t be. You may remember that discussion I had in June, when all the people reminded me of the “with proper training and opportunity” statement in their philosophy. Still, they overlook some important implications that at least have applied to me and do so to other blind folks (not NFB members that I know of). The people blindfold persons with residual vision to promote emotional adjustment. While I agree that people’s residual vision – or rather, the attitudes about it, valuing vision over alternative techniques – may prevent the learning of blindness skills (my independence decreased quite a bit as my vision deteriorated, although I’ve done a lot of catching up over the last few years), but I don’t see why being forced into not using one’s full abilities (residual vision is an ability, after all) would promote emotional adjustment. People in disabilities groups (also mobility impaired and deaf people) have promoted appropriate alternative techniques, as this article does with crutches and wheelchairs, but they do not deny the impacts of a disability. On that same website I found the previous article at, I also found an article stating that disabilities are significant.
I don’t know why I’m confused about the implications a disability, or blindness, if that’s not a disability, as some folks say, can have. Many statements I find people in Braille Monitor and Future Reflections make, have made me feel bad, cause all they keep highlighting is expectations, expectations, expectations. That makes me feel as if blindness is a disability (sorry, physical nuisance) which causes lack of eyesight and laziness. Sure I know there have been times when I passively accepted help that I shouldn’t have had (the guiding me around in seventh grade being the most notable example), but I have fought f*cking hard to find out how to do things that everyone expected me to do (or expects I will magically be able of once they kick me out of the house) but never bothered showing me how to cause they “aren’t trained to do so”, and “you should go to the rehab centre (but not when it costs you a year of college, and by the way, we don’t think you should go there, but the folks at the summer programme indoctrinated you)”. I don’t do much household stuff, I know, and my sister often gets mad with my parents and me cause my parents don’t expect me to do much household things (my folks don’t expect her to do husehold stuff, either, but anyway). This often gets me to try to do the thing Sigrid complains about, and it makes me wonder what I am lackign that she apparently can do that without having been shown, and I cannot. All the NFB folk have highlighted in their writings about their “excellent” training centres, is that they have high expectations of blind people. They say that the apartments are considerably removed from the centres, and that people should use public transit to go to the centre, that they are expected to cook their own meals, etc. They apparently only come to the centre to be expected to do these things, which they always were able of but never were expected to do; I wonder how a person who couldn’t yet travel safely and who couldn’t yet cook, would make it at their centres.
I feel angry. I cannot cope with having to pretend I’m just normal except I don’t have eyesight, by just holding on. A few days ago, I suddenly realized that plans for college are plans for four years (financial aid will be terminated if you interrupt college and I don’t know what other consequences there are). Maybe I can hold on at college – taking into account the total mess that I’ll be taking to college, my hope is slim -, but then still I’ll have to move out by 2007 or earlier. Sigrid was so stupid as to ask: “Aren’t you going to move out on your own this year yet?” Duh!!! How the heck does she expect me to do so?! I read a book a few months ago in which a situatin was painted of a 19-year-old girl who’d just moved out on her own, and who had not learnt daily living skills. All tasks took her a lot of time and energy. Maybe, I could do that. It’d prove I could hold on, wouldn’t it? Part of me wants to. Part of me wants to apply to college, wait till I’ve graduated and then apply for housing. Not because I like the unsafe situation, but cause I like to prove that I keep up. Another part of me doesn’t think that’s responsible one bit. I wrote from her (Clarissa’s) perspective yesterday:
Still no application for college, fortunately. Fortunately? Time doesn’t stand still, does it? But I don’t think applying for college would be a good thing now. I see that many of the “ladies” can’t keep up. Expectations won’t get Carol to get rid of her resentment or Milou to grow up. It’s 2005. That seems to make a great difference. It’s exactly five weeks since the time we should’ve applied for college, but that seems to make a lesser difference. Action needs to be taken now, or we’ll end up doing nothing and I don’t know what will happen then, but it’ll definitiely not be nice. I know that it’s a great mess of all sorts of things going on, and expectations won’t clean that up.
I don’t know fully how I will indeed get over this mess. Part of it can be settled by learning independence skills, and part of it probably cannot. There is more going on than a lack of skills, of course. There are these feelings of resentment and anger that only partly relate to my blindness – eg. that it is because of my blindness in addition to my intelligence (or vice versa) that my difficulties cannot be acknowledged. My feelings of being locked up in that place that I cannot get out of on my own also partly relate to those fights for recognition of my abilities, but totally unrelated factors also contribute, and blindness is only a very minor contributor. Neither of these issues limit my skills development, of course, but they make my situation more difficult emotionally than it would otherwise have been. Expectations – as in “You have to learn to live with your choices and the choices made for you,” – won’t get me over this. But what will? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll somehow learn to get over it. And, maybe, when I appear to have or get more abilities than I thought I had, I will get more at peace with my situation. Maybe college won’t be that bad? Then I’ve proved I hold on. I don’t want to admit I have difficulties. I want to hold on. At least, part of me does. Another part (I call her Carol) knows all too well what difficulties I have and has gotten sick and tired of having to fight to get over them, cause, as she perceives it, everyone only pushed her to just hold on. I know how right she is, even thoguh she has perceived some statements likely incorrectly. I know how powerless she was in achieving what she wanted. She is part of me, and, even though I’ve handed her responsibilities to another “lady”, that doesn’t make her less important. I know I have to do something to get over my issues, but I know hardly anything to do and I feel I ain’t allowed to.