Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, SoCS, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

The Vanishing Mirror, #FTSF #SoCS #LoIsInDaBl

“You used to see more, back when you were a little girl, right?”

kerport-005-2016-02-13-00-14.jpg

This post is part stream of consciousness writing and part finishing a sentence, along with

LOVE IS IN DA BLOG

SoCS

I wanted to join in with both:

FINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY

&

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY

But my weekend somehow got away from me and Sunday is nearly done.

And then my five-year-old niece asked me that all too meaningful question.

This is an excerpt of a post I did for

THE REDEFINING DISABILITY AWARENESS CHALLENGE

***Q: Are there ways that disability affects your self perception?

A: How do I perceive myself?

Good question.

🙂

Disability definitely influences how I see myself. How could it not?

That’s the key word: “see”. How I see myself when I can not even see myself in a mirror.

I actually wrote a post about this topic, which I called

MIRROR IMAGE,

where I wrote about how I see myself and the social norms of makeup, beauty, and fashion and my attempts to discover my own norms.

I held my grade eight graduation picture in my hands and stared at my face. I knew that a picture was simply a flat representation of what I was, that I was more than some one-dimensional image in a frame. I couldn’t quite believe that was what I looked like, photographed like though.

I could make out my broad smile and my relatively short haircut that framed my face. I don’t know why, but I used to silently study the photo, often in my room. I don’t know what I was looking for exactly. Perhaps I was simply vane.

Okay, maybe not, but I can’t quite describe what I was trying to accomplish by this act.

I remember snippets of what I look like. I have flashes, in my mind, to what I used to see when I would look in the mirror.

Mostly I did not see enough detail to pick myself apart, as so many women do. I saw my face and hair and shoulders in the reflective surface, in a bathroom somewhere, and I did not shy away at the Me looking back.

Women rip apart their physical selves so often and I am not immune to that, not entirely. I wish I were.

Merriam-Webster defines it as: “the idea you have about the kind of person you are”.

I know, logically and in my own heart, that I am a kind, generous, and friendly person. I know I am fun and can be funny from time to time.

Perceptions, however, they aren’t quite so logical I’m afraid. I wish they were because they are able to play tricks on me. These perceptions slip in and, before I know it, I am thinking things about myself that likely are just plain untruths.

Like my exaggerated perception that makeup would make me look like a clown, other strange and incorrect perceptions plague my thoughts.

Both self perception and self esteem are so intermingled. They involve the senses, mostly seeing for people. I go by my other senses to gage ideas about my own body and how I present my best self to the world.

I trace the shape of my nose, my eyebrows, and my skin to look for acne, of which I am happy to be rid of for the most part. The skin that was once covered in bumps as a teenager is mostly smooth now.

I am left with other worries that have replaced the pimples of my youth. I wish I had less of one feature and more of another.

I hate having frizzy hair or rough nails.

How does my face compare to all those of the women who are populating the rest of the world, makeup included?

I could focus on my imperfections all day and it’s not like the mirror is going to help with that or hurt it. The scale would talk to me if I wanted it to, but the only mirror that ever spoke to me was the toy Beauty and the Beast mirror I once had.

Sometimes I think the two cancel each other out somehow, that I should be okay then, but the nagging self-image exaggerations bleed into the good personality traits I know I possess. The negative brings down any positives I’ve managed to accumulate. I’m left with doubts that anyone could stand the sight of me, the part they can see and I can not.

I feel my beating heart inside my chest, under my hand, and I know that the good person I am inside is in tact. If only I could convince myself that I am normal in my outward appearance. If I could stop the shame that has built up over years then maybe I could be sure of my first impressions, of which I am at a constant disadvantage to other people who see. When I meet someone I am strongly aware of the upper hand they have over me, as I try to show what a confident person I am and learn as much as I can about them, other than the exterior things most of us fall back on.

Sometimes I feel I am invisible and the next second I am terrified of how much I stand out. I don’t know where this all might lead me going forward. My future is as uncertain as anyone’s, but will any of this get easier with age and general wisdom? I can only hope so, but the perceptions will always exist. What’s a girl to do?***

I grasp onto other resources:

Steph at Bold Blind Beauty

&

Emily at Fashioneyesta

because I can then begin to feel like I am not so alone in the vanishing mirror. I can see that fashion is not unimportant, that I am allowed to care about how I look sometimes, and that I’m not going invisible.

My entire life has been one of limited sight, but I had an idea of what I looked like in the mirror, as lacking in details as it may have been, up until my early twenties. Now I am losing that. My brother tries to/tires of helping me face a future with less and less sight to rely on, I feel the parts of my body I don’t like and wish I could change, and I can’t reconcile the two worlds I’m trapped between.

My niece tries to imagine what I must have been like as a girl, as she compares that to the aunt she knows. She is learning about hers and other perceptions. I wish I could have had something more to offer her in that moment when she brought it up.

Instead, I am just tired. I am tired of having to educate the world, as I read another woman write about her experiences with self image as a woman with a visual impairment.

WHEN I LOOK IN THE MIRROR: BLINDNESS AND BODY IMAGE

Instead, I wait for her to speak. She did a good job at filling people in on things they hadn’t thought of, and I can’t blame them for that. They can then see that there’s her and me and the bloggers I mentioned above. We women with lack of sight still go through it all and more, or all in our own ways. When I look in the mirror I see less and less. I just do.

When I look in the mirror, I need to let go of the image I once saw there and try to look forward into the future, through that glass. I need to learn how to love myself still, love that which I do not see. I need to let that love sustain me, through loneliness or bad days. It’s all about the image. I wish it weren’t. I wish I wouldn’t care about being found attractive by the right person or accepted when I step out into the world. It all must start with me though. If I lack self image, if I hate what I see or don’t see in the mirror, little girls like my niece will sense that somehow. I don’t want that. I’m entirely certain of that.

Standard
Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Seeing Is Believing

Summer has arrived and the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

continues on.

Last time I wrote about my own life with technology:

When It Rains It Pours

This week I get personal, I guess.

***

Q: Are there ways that disability affects your self perception?

A: How do I perceive myself?

Good question.

🙂

Disability definitely influences how I see myself. How could it not?

That’s the key word: “see”. How I see myself when I can not even see myself in a mirror.

I actually wrote a post about this topic last year:

Mirror Image,

where I wrote about how I see myself and the social norms of makeup, beauty, and fashion and my attempts to discover my own norms.

I held my grade eight graduation picture in my hands and stared at my face. I knew that a picture was simply a flat representation of what I was, that I was more than some one-dimensional image in a frame. I couldn’t quite believe that was what I looked like, photographed like though.

I could make out my broad smile and my relatively short haircut that framed my face.

I don’t know why, but I used to silently study the photo, often in my room. I don’t know what I was looking for exactly.

Perhaps I was simply vane.

Okay, maybe not, but I can’t quite describe what I was trying to accomplish by this act.

I remember snippets of what I look like. I have flashes, in my mind, to what I used to see when I would look in the mirror.

Mostly I did not see enough detail to pick myself apart, as so many women do. I saw my face and hair and shoulders in the reflective surface, in a bathroom somewhere, and I did not shy away at the Me looking back.

Women rip apart their physical selves so often and I am not immune to that, not entirely. I wish I were.

Merriam-Webster defines it as: “the idea you have about the kind of person you are”.

I know, logically and in my own heart, that I am a kind, generous, and friendly person. I know I am fun and can be funny from time to time.

Perceptions, however, they aren’t quite so logical I’m afraid. I wish they were because they are able to play tricks on me. These perceptions slip in and, before I know it, I am thinking things about myself that likely are just plain untruths.

Like my exaggerated perception that makeup would make me look like a clown, other strange and incorrect perceptions plague my thoughts.

Both self perception and self esteem are so intermingled. They involve the senses, mostly seeing for people. I go by my other senses to gage ideas about my own body and how I present my best self to the world.

I trace the shape of my nose, my eyebrows, and my skin to look for acne, of which I am happy to be rid of for the most part. The skin that was once covered in bumps as a teenager is mostly smooth now.

I am left with other worries that have replaced the pimples of my youth. I wish I had less of one feature and more of another.

I hate having frizzy hair or rough nails.

How does my face compare to all those of the women who are populating the rest of the world, makeup included?

I could focus on my imperfections all day and it’s not like the mirror is going to help with that or hurt it. The scale would talk to me if I wanted it to, but the only mirror that ever spoke to me was the toy Beauty and the Beast mirror I once had.

Sometimes I think the two cancel each other out somehow, that I should be okay then, but the nagging self-image exaggerations bleed into the good personality traits I know I possess.

The negative brings down any positives I’ve managed to accumulate.

I’m left with doubts that anyone could stand the sight of me, the part they can see and I can not.

I feel my beating heart inside my chest, under my hand, and I know that the good person I am inside is in tact.

If only I could convince myself that I am normal in my outward appearance.

If I could stop the shame that has built up over years then maybe I could be sure my first impressions, of which I am at a constant disadvantage to other people who see. When I meet someone I am strongly aware of the upper hand they have over me, as I try to show what a confident person I am and learn as much as I can about them, other than the exterior things most of us fall back on.

Sometimes I feel I am invisible and the next second I am terrified of how much I stand out.

I don’t know where this all might lead me going forward. My future is as uncertain as anyone’s, but will any of this get easier with age and general wisdom?

I can only hope so, but the perceptions will always exist. What’s a girl to do?

***

May I make a suggestion?

Follow:

The Redefining Disability Awareness Project on Facebook,

to help our little page grow.

🙂

Next week’s question:
Do you see disability as more of an asset or a drawback in your daily life?

Guess we’ll see how I’m feeling in a week.

🙂

Sometimes it depends on the day and my answer may change a dozen times between now and then.

Standard