Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter

Well, I said, at the end of last week’s

RDAC post: Seeing Is Believing,

that it would come down to what was going on that particular day.

I was right.

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Q: Do you see disability as more of an asset or a drawback in your daily life?

A: Let’s just call it 70/30 and I will explain why, but this could change if I were to answer this same question, say, a week from now. I suppose, though, that would be true for many of the questions I’ve answered and have yet to tackle.

I will respond using two examples of things happening during the day or two it has taken me to actually answer this question.

THE DATE AND THE NIGHT SKY

So there I am, with the contents of my closet strewn across my queen sized bed, wondering if I should just back out of the date altogether and save myself the hassle.

Dating when you can’t see is a hassle. Yes, I would use that word. I don’t like to complain because I know other people, who can’t see like me, some have trouble even getting a date to begin with.

However, out of the options offered in today’s question (asset or drawback), the latter is the one that seems to be the winner for me, given my most recent circumstances.

It’s a drawback when you want to look your best, like any girl off on a first date, but you must rely on another person’s opinions because otherwise I would leave the house wondering just exactly what best self I were going as.

I am afraid my hair will look too messy, my clothes will not match or will have some mysterious and unknown stain, and then there’s the ever-present question of makeup/no makeup?

My left eye was struck with some unexplained virus years ago and had to be removed. Now I can’t bring myself to leave my house to meet someone new without first asking someone I trust if my eye has turned.

Yes, because it does that. I am somewhat comfortable with this inevitability around my family and friends, boyfriends have found it interesting and we’ve learned to make jokes to lighten the mood, but I never want it to be the first thing an unsuspecting guy notices upon meeting me for the first time.

😉

I wait until at least the fifth date to reveal that particular quirk to anyone who has made it that far in my presence.

🙂

You just never know how someone might react.

The makeup debate rages on inside my head on an ongoing basis, but comes up particularly strongly when I am dating. Do I bother? Should I present my best self and want to look the best I can for a first meeting? I know I won’t keep up the habit going forward with any subsequent dates. I feel I’m being disingenuous because makeup is not my thing and I wouldn’t normally bother. Maybe I should just go without because the natural look is my trademark and any guy not okay with that isn’t the guy for me anyway.

My sister is my makeup artist and my manicurist. I do enjoy having my nails done. It makes me feel feminine, even if I can’t apply the polish myself.

What do I do with my hair? I don’t usually do much of anything with it. My inability to see what it looks like in the mirror certainly would make the drawback category, in this instance when I want to look well-put-together.

So I must call in the reinforcements every single time I want to have a first date. This means dragging my sister away from her own life to help me have a social life of my own.

I feel the drawback pulling at me and I want to cry. It’s only drinks, after all.

I just want to date and have a social life, like any other girl. I want to be spontaneous and carefree and live a little.

I just want to meet a guy for drinks, not having to make a huge deal of the whole thing before even leaving the house.

Drawback. Drawback. Drawback.

I guess, in the case of some guys, I could look at my disability as an asset.

This is where I try to see the positive side of the coin and I try to look at my situation as an asset. It’s only an asset in that this pretty big part of who I am could be considered intriguing to some.

They are unsure of what I am like and how I do certain things. Meeting me is a curiosity to them, not in that I am not worth meeting for other reasons mind you.

It’s another talking point and something that definitely makes me unique to most of the other girls they’ve likely met.

So I don’t give into the temptation to cancel the date and I give it my best shot.

I wear minimal makeup and nothing too flashy on my nails. I show up and try not to look as nervous as I feel inside. I talk about my blindness, am open and honest, but it’s not all we talk about.

I leave and tell myself there’s no way I can control how they saw me or what their final impressions may have been. And I hope for the best, remembering that what will be will be.

So now I stand outside, after midnight, staring up at the sky.

I am thinking over how the date went and trying to not let things out of my power make me crazy.

It’s supposed to be one of those nights where two planets (Jupiter and Venus) are closer than usual to one another.

I have come out here to stare up at the night sky, not actually hoping to see this phenomenon, but hoping that I miraculously just might.

Yeah, so I would again use the word “Drawback” to describe my disability. Tonight I would.

Because, damn, I love outer space and the planets and I wish I could see this predicted special sight. I know, reality and all that, but I am angry that I have this drawback which is preventing me from seeing what so many others are getting to see.

Okay, so I may wake up to hear that the predicted spectacle didn’t turn out like they had hoped it would. Maybe nobody got a very good show after all. Maybe it was much too cloudy anyway.

I come back in the house. There are shouts of early celebrating, on the eve of Canada Day, and then the rain comes.

I hear the sudden downpour out my window, having just avoided getting wet myself.

At this point, I have been blind for more than thirty years and I don’t often cry about any specific drawback that I experience.

The assets normally do balance them out.

But now I let the rain out my living room window fall, in place of the tears I can’t quite muster.

***

Check out Rose’s blog for:

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge questions

and our relatively new

Facebook page.

And I’ll be back, next Memoir Monday, with whatever’s on my mind.

Free post day!

Happy Canada Day or Fourth of July, which ever one you may be celebrating.

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Special Occasions, Travel Tuesday

Oh Canada

Today is Canada’s 147th Birthday and so I wanted to celebrate by bragging about why I love my country. I don’t usually brag about anything, but Canada is worth it to me.

Okay, so I don’t like maple syrup or poutine, (yes, I realize this could get me kicked out). There are, however, plenty of things I do love in their stead. Here are just ten.

1. My Oma and Opa chose Canada and they came here and worked hard to make a new life. They raised a good family and that is how I came to be here at all. I love that they were welcomed here and that they were given the chances to make all this possible. They were proud to be Canadians and to raise their family here and I am proud because of them.

2. I love our flag. The red and white always made such a bright contrast for a visually impaired person like myself. Maybe my favourite colour is red because of this and my earliest memories of the main symbol of our nation.

3. I love the music Canada has produced. I love artists such as: Sarah McLachlan, Jann Arden, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Chantal Kreviazuk, Diana Krall, Joni Mitchell, Blue Rodeo, and Alanis Morisette. These musicians represent Canada with their beautiful voices, their moving lyrics, and their distinct sounds. I love them for making me smile, making me cry, and for helping me deal with the hard things in life.

4. I love the literature of my country. I love brilliant writers such as: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Munro. When Alice won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature I was so very proud and I felt honoured to be a woman, a Canadian, and an aspiring writer.

5. I love the land itself. I love how vast and sweeping it is. I love all the open space and our Canadian north. I love how we value nature and all its natural resources. I love the Great Lakes and the St. Laurence River and the oceans surrounding us. I love the Prairies, the Rockies – from the lush forests to the expansive Arctic .

6. I love the places I’ve traveled and the ones I have yet to explore. I love Niagara and its power which awes me every single time I stand at the railing overlooking the Falls. I love Toronto (Ontario’s capital) for its acceptance of all humans (coming off of 2014’s World Pride celebrations) and for the mixture of cultures and countries it houses all in one city. I love the Maritimes out on our east coast and Vancouver Island out on our west. I love having a little piece of another language and culture right in the middle of all the English-speaking provinces. Quebec is where I received my beloved guide dog all those years ago. I hope to see as much of Canada in the years to come as I possibly can.

7. I love the pride Canadians have in this country and as a result, in themselves. Despite the things the rest of the world think about us and the stereotypes that exist; it is true we are kind and welcoming, for the most part, and are known for it all around the world. We do come off quiet and reserved in contrast with some other countries, but as a quiet and reserved person I feel I am living in the right place. In fact, in my opinion these qualities are highly under-rated. We may not treated our native peoples properly over the years, but it is because of them that Canada is what it is today. I hope we are on the way to making it right and to righting the wrongs of our past. We disagree about the environment, politics, and when it comes to Canada’s role in foreign matters and militarily. Sure we have our problems and don’t always agree. We are by no means perfect but these disagreements just make for a successful democracy.

8. I love how this pride extends to our sports teams. Again, I could get kicked out for admitting I am not quite as enamoured with the game of hockey as the rest of the country, but I do love the image of a backyard or pond rink in winter. I have good memories of Saturdays at the arena with my family or late night roaming an empty one with my siblings while my father played. My brother loved playing hockey in his youth and my father loved being a part of a team as goalie. My family are not Leaf fans or any other Canadian team in particular, but what hockey means to our fellow Canadians it means to us too.

9. I prefer baseball over hockey. I love The Toronto Bluejays and no…I am not just saying this because they happened to win today of all days. I remember sitting tight between my father and brother in our basement, on the couch when Joe Carter scored the home runs to win the 1992 and 1993 World Series and I could hear the pride in their voices as they cheered. The Bluejays are our only team here and we have high hopes for them making the playoffs this year. Going to a game at the Sky dome is an experience in fun and an atmosphere of high energy and enthusiasm.

10. And last but certainly not least, I love the health care we are lucky enough to have here. Again, many could voice their complaints and sure nothing is perfect, but I know of what I speak. I am proud of innovators such as: Dr. Frederick Banting and Tommy Douglas for insulin and universal health care. I know nothing in life is completely free, but after all the surgeries, hospital stays, and medicines my brother and I have needed over the years I am thankful for the universal health care we have. I would feel forever guilt-ridden if I had caused my family to end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for the care I required. Not all countries around the world would have payed for all the care me and my brother received over the years and my family would be so far in debt if we weren’t living in Canada.

So there are just ten reasons why I love being Canadian. I will now enjoy a wonderful firework display from the comfort of my front porch with my nephew and be thankful I live where I do and enjoy the freedom and the beauty I enjoy.

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians today and I want to wish my neighbours to the south an early Happy Fourth of July. We all need to be grateful for the blessings we have and celebrate our countries and how lucky we truly are to live where we live.

What are you most thankful for where you live?

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