This was originally posted on February 8, 2017, at 3:32 AM on blogger.
I rarely lament being visually impaired. Even lately, with my vision worsening, it’s not something I do. Sometimes, I think wistfully, things would be easier if I could just skim documents like a sighted can, or if I could just read and write (in print) the answers to my own work instead of having to find a notetaker for certain circumstances. But everyone wishes for things they either can’t have or can’t do. So why should it be any different for me?
I can’t skim a document because in braille, it’s hard, I’d even say impossible, to just let one’s fingers glide over the words waiting for something to pop out at you. You actually have to pay attention to the words. And it’s not as though you can visually scan for bolded or highlighted text. But, sometimes, if your using a device like the BrailleNnote—essentially, a braille computer—then you can use the search string or text finder to search for words that you feel are important. Or find, sometimes more quickly than the sighted person scanning, the passage that your professor is reading. So an easy work-around.
In my lab class, all of the labs are paper-based and the PDF’S that the class has to print out are inaccessible with my screenreader—a software that reads most, if not all, of the visual content found on a computer screen (I use voiceover, Apple’s screen reader). So I need a notetaker for this class to both read the labs to me and then write my answers. It’s a little annoying, because sometimes this causes me to fall behind a little depending on how long it takes to find someone, but again, fairly easy to fix.
This post was prompted by someone on the train today, asking if I wished I could see “normally”.
“Well,” I told them. “The way I see is normal to me.”
“You know what I mean,” she sounded flustered. “See like… with both eyes.”
Sometimes, sure. I realize how convenient life would be. Instead of needing a note taker for my Weather and Climate class, I would be able to see the images my professor points to and have no trouble getting all of the notes. But I can’t.
I didn’t say this to the woman. What I did say was:
“Sometimes. But I’m happy with the way things are.”
“Well God bless you,” she said. “This is my stop but I’ll keep you in my prayers. I’ll pray for you to get your sight back.”
“Have a good day.” I told her. What I really wanted to say was: “Thanks. But I never had twenty/twenty so that prayer is kind of pointless.”
But I choose my battles. And I realize that for most, if not all of the people who say things similar to what that woman said, it’s not coming from a place of cruelty.
It can be frustrating though. People constantly praying to change me, or not understanding how I could be happy as… well… myself.
I’m blind, visually impaired, whatever. And I’m cool with it. Why shouldn’t I be? I can’t change things. Not easily anyway.
Just because being blind and happy is unfathomable to you, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
So, on January 25, Mending Misconceptions turned 2. I would have written a celebratory post like I did last year, but I was lounging around my godmother’s house in Atlanta that week, and not thinking about blogging. I have no excuses for the other two weeks of radio silence. I had so many plans for my winter break; all involving artistic hobbies that I either had to put on hold last semester (it got really intense) or things that I’ve always thought about but never seriously worked on. … I did non of that. I worked, read, ate and slept. And it was glorious.
Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week. My next post on braille reading speeds should be up by Saturday. And in the meantime, don’t be shy, check out my latest vlog upload.
till next time
довиђења ( (Goodbye in Serbian/Montenegrin)