Life can be scary because there are no guarantees of what will and will not happen at any given time. It is like Forrest said in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump, “My Momma always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Generally speaking, the world is an unpredictable place where some people are born with/without one or more of the five senses. It is these life circumstances that ultimately shape what we think about ourselves and others. In the midst of life circumstances/experiences, comes emotions; how we feel and deal with what we’re given.
Some people could say that I have experienced two sides of life; with and without sight. For eighteen, almost nineteen years, I was able to see everything around me such as, shapes, colors, objects, etc. Since I have lost my eyesight, especially when I was attending school, people have often inquired about whether or not it is easier for a person who is born blind to prevail over their situation compared to a person losing their sight. In my opinion, there is no clear cut answer to this inquiry because people handle situations differently, no matter how long they have been living with a particular circumstance. For example, not all people who are born blind want to have the ability to see; everyone is different with various desires. We all feel and heal in our own way, on our own terms.
This topic has intrigued me for a while; therefore, I decided to do some research. There were quite a few articles and polls that peaked my interest. Specifically, there were two polls that asked similar questions, but generated different results. One poll titled, “What would be harder to overcome, being born blind or becoming blind later in life?” by answerback. The results of the poll concluded that four respondents voted it would be harder for a person who is blind to overcome their situation compared to two respondents who said it would be harder for a person who loses their sight. This poll shocked me because I thought it would be harder for a person who loses their eyesight later in life to overcome their situation because they’re entering into a world of unknown; whereas, people who are born blind, that is all they have known. However, what makes this topic interesting to me is the fact that I wonder if there is a sense of longing for something you never had. Living in such a visual world, I presume it would be harder to adjust and relate to things that you have never seen. Sure there are other ways to visualize what is around you, such as through texture, height, and shape, sound, smell, but it seems as though the association would be more difficult.
The second poll that I located is titled, “Would you rather be born blind or go blind at the age of 20?” by yahoo polls. The results of this inquiry revealed that seven respondents reported that they would rather be born blind compared to five respondents who said they would rather lose their sight at the age of 20. Some people feel that it is easier to deal with blindness, if you have never had the ability to see in the first place. Losing something like your vision, to which you have had your whole life, can be traumatic. Whereas on the other side, people who lose their eyesight have had the opportunity to experience what the world looks like.
In terms of my situation, when I took my undergraduate math course this topic of discussion arose between myself and professor. We both concluded that it was probably easier for me to navigate through the class because I could visualize the graphs and charts from when I could see. It was also interesting because my professor told me that when I was trying to solve a problem, I would close my eyes, as I was trying to think my way to the solution. When I travel to various places and the scenery is being described to me, I have the ability to recall and compare it to what I know. As my niece gets older, she is becoming more inquisitive, and often asks me if I know what she looks like. The last time I was able to physically see my niece with sight, she was a baby. With this in mind, to help me visualize my niece, my family told me that she looks exactly like Toni when she was little. Of course it is still hard not being able to visually see my niece, but at least I have some depiction to imagine what she looks like.
Whatever the case may be, being blind can cause a person to face interesting, challenging, shocking, and wide awakening experiences that ultimately create an atmosphere of learning. My blindness does not define me as a person, but instead it is an addition to my identity that I am learning everyday from. Our experiences shape our unique perspectives; therefore, Beautifully Blind invites all of our readers to share what’s on your mind.