Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday

Love Is Blind

Last week’s Memoir Monday was inspired by a well-known Cyndi Lauper song:

Even Blind Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.

This week, for the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

Back to business.

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Q: Does disability affect you in other ways? If so, how?

A: Sure it does, in ways big and small and in many ways I don’t even really think about or notice so much.

However, in one big way. It affects my dating and my love life.

What am I attracted to? What is attractive to me in the opposite sex?

I have asked myself this many times, and yeah, if I don’t know, who will.

🙂

So much of our society hinges on the physical and on looks and appearances, and dating is no exception. In fact, it is high up there.

Love is blind.

Blind date.

There are many common phrases having to do with love and including the word blind.

I had enough sight, in the past, to have gotten a pretty clear picture what my family looked like.

By the time I was old enough to be interested in guys and dating, my vision had declined so much so that looks were not high on the list of priority. How could they be?

Then, if I did feel like I wanted to have opinions and views on what a guy looked like, all in my head, I felt unnecessarily vain. What did it matter for me? Shouldn’t I be the one person that did not matter to?

I have the same sorts of issues in imagining what someone might look like that I might be interested in dating as I do with myself. I try really hard to picture what they look like and how I might feel about that if I could suddenly see.

I’ve often thought, when I’m in a relationship with someone, what would happen if I suddenly got my sight back. Would I have found myself still attracted to that person if I saw them, whereas being unable to see I fell in love with them for other reasons.

Do guys need to feel attractive? Of course they do, but what happens when I am unable to see them to pay them the compliments they may need to feel wanted. I could pay them a compliment about their looks, to make them feel good, but it would not feel natural to me.

I am no good at saying something that I can’t feel to be the case. this isn’t to say I wouldn’t feel that way if I could see, but if I were to say it, in my case, it wouldn’t feel authentically my view.

Has this contributed to past issues in past relationships?

I feel at a disadvantage when dating as a woman who is not immune to the uncertainty of my own physical appearance, like most women. The other person can see me and all my flaws, whereas I see nothing of them.

Does this make me a more accepting and less critical person?

I am attracted to a certain sounding voice, laugh, and many other little verbal cues. I pay close attention to smell. I focus on if our senses of humour match and if I think we will laugh a lot. I have many things I look for and this list has grown, the more experiences I have had.

Maybe most people wouldn’t notice or be bothered by or with these things because they are focused on looks.

Dating is made more difficult at times. I am constantly working on my self-confidence because everyone’s attracted to confidence, both women and men.

I am overly self-aware in public and on dates, nervous at the disadvantage I am clearly at.

I have done okay. I have dated and have been in love. I have had my heart broken and have done the breaking. It feels nice to be normal in that way, is what I tell myself when I am in the midst of that pain and later on when I am out of it.

I can not catch a guy’s eye from across a crowded room. I can not smile at him and make the kind of first impression I would like.

I know a blind woman can be intimidating, in the way that guys may not feel comfortable approaching me. This makes meeting people difficult.

I have the fear, that I had before I dated much, and I have it again now. Will I ever meet anyone again? Will I end up alone? Does my blindness, in the end, does it make me difficult to be in a relationship with for any length of time? Has it cost me relationships in the past or will it cost me any in the future?

These questions and more plague me often, but I don’t know what answers are to be had.

In the end I make due. I make due without the non-verbal and the lack of body language. I deal with the fact that, to most guys who have never known a blind person, the idea of dating a blind girl makes them nervous.

Love is worth looking for and worth searching hard for. It’s worth it.

***

Next week is a free writing day.

What do you think you might replace with the physical attributes you look for when dating? If you could not see, what things about a person do you think you would be most attracted to and looking for?

Do you agree with the statement: love is blind?

Have you ever been on a “blind date”? How did it go?

Discussions on love and dating are some of my favourite to have, if you can’t tell.

🙂

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday

Even Blind Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Welcome back to another Memoir Monday and another answer to a question from the:

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

***

Q: Are your leisure activities or hobbies affected by disability? How do you work around this?

A: Of course they are. I don’t know what kinds of things I would be into if I had all my sight. I sometimes wonder. Would I like sports? Would I love to paint? However, it does no good to linger on these questions. I like to have fun and enjoy myself just like anyone else.

I love to watch movies: in the theatre or at home on the couch. I know a lot of visually impaired people who could care less and who would place movies very low on the list, but I have always loved to escape and get lost in an interesting storyline, with gripping characters, played by my favourite actors.

This is addressed in last week’s post:

All They’ve Ever Known.

I might not have been able to enjoy all the movies I’ve enjoyed over the years, if it hadn’t been for people like those in my family who learned to describe the action going on on the screen, so I never felt left out of popular culture and the blockbusters of the day.

Now, of course, there were services such as DVS (descriptive video service) and my brother and I used to order movies from a catalogue. They would arrive in the mail and we could watch movies on our own.

This is where I first discovered my love of Gone With The Wind.

I like to think I have a wide variety of hobbies and interests, just as varied as anyone else.

I would probably love to paint now, if I could see. I miss the times, as a child with more sight, when I would draw for hours at a time with my beloved markers. This hobby I had to give up, but I have replaced it with others.

Spending time with family and friends isn’t really affected. I fit in with them because they know me and accept me. We have fun spending time together.

I love to go to concerts, on day trips/road trips, and theme parks.

The big question and the universal joke made by and for visually impaired people would be the issue of driving.

One of my favourite things to do is go for a drive, especially at night, with my favourite music playing. I love feeling like I am moving forward, speeding ahead, an energy and a relaxation I get no other way.

I never have to drive and can always just sit back, in the passenger seat or in the back, and enjoy the ride, leaving other people to concentrate on the road.

Of course this means I am never able to just jump in my car and go for a drive alone, but with the possibility of technology and the driverless cars that already exist, who knows what the future may bring.

I have had the chance to sit on a parent’s lap, when I was younger, and drive around a WAL-MART parking lot at night. In my dreams I drive sometimes and perhaps that’s a sign that I could be good at it, if circumstances were different.

My main hobbies are reading and writing, both not impossible with the help of technology. I need help from special equipment, such as: Mac computers with built-in voice software, electronic braille displays, and iPhones. These things continue to improve and there is no telling where things could be headed.

I used to have shelves and shelves of thick braille books and volumes. This could be cumbersome at times, but nowadays space is more plentiful with the inventions I mentioned above.

With the help of these technologies I spend time on Facebook and other social media like most people these days. An entertaining distraction, taking up maybe more time than it should.

🙂

I have a tandem bicycle. I can walk alone, depending on whether I know the route. Going for a walk outside in my favourite autumn weather is better arm in arm with a loved one. Sometimes I take my dog. Sometimes I take a cane.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper

So the song applies to all girls, even me. It’s important to have fun and to have time to relax and kick back and I look forward to this, with others or solo. I find ways around the problems that can arise, if it’s something I really enjoy. I owe my parents for helping to show me, from a young age, that this is possible.

***

Next Week I will answer a broader, more open-ended question for the challenge:

Does disability affect you in other ways? If so, how?

Which hobby or leisure activity that you enjoy would you think might become difficult or impossible to do if you lost your sight? Which one would you miss most: driving, painting, sports? How do you think you might adapt?

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