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.

***

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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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS

SoCS: Close But No Cigar

socs-badge-2015-05-30-00-14.jpg

Time for another instalment of Stream of Consciousness Saturday:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/05/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-3015/

***

Okay, so this post isn’t about cigars. I figured I should say that, right off the bat. There is no mention of a cigar anywhere, from here on out. I just liked the phrase.

🙂

Every damn time, it felt like, I got so close and then the floor just dropped out from underfoot.

I could see where I wanted to go, where I wanted to end up, but somehow I missed the mark, every time.

I had gone to school for years, fighting so many obstacles, and it had been both rewarding and hard work.

I almost got held back while my friends were off to high school, but I had managed to avoid that at least.

But now, I was almost at the end, but not quite. I guess “almost” is a relative term, because I actually only had half the credits I needed to graduate, but in the grand scheme of things it felt close enough to my mind.

Right around this time a song came out that I would equate with this feeling of frustration, that I couldn’t quite do it. I had been almost at the end of the road, but I had to face the fact that I would be left behind.

I’d lost everything. It felt like I had nothing to show for all that hard work. How was I supposed to get over this disappointment I felt?

The anger in the song mirrored the anger I felt at myself, for almost making it to the milestone, one so many parents celebrate for their children, but I had fallen short.

I was almost certain I was letting everyone down: my parents, the teachers that had helped me along the way, and myself of course.

Almost wasn’t good enough. I hadn’t been good enough.

***

Next would come two relationships. Two years. Two-and-a-half. Same disappointment. That’s life sometimes, I suppose.
I could blame it on my bad health and illness, bad luck, or maybe it was me.

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Fiction Friday

Gamophobia: Part One

“If I lay here. If I just lay here. Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”
– Snow Patrol

***

Part One

From his favourite stool, where he sat every Friday evening now, he noticed the young man walk into the bar and approach the bar tender. Something seemed familiar about this young man, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it could be.

Every Friday for the last four months, ever since his wife died he had come here to be around people for a few hours. Ever since he lost her he couldn’t stand sitting at home by the end of a long week, so he had begun coming for a drink down the street at the local pup. He used to come here more when he was a young man. the place hadn’t really changed much in all the years.

Now he watched the younger man ordering a beer from the bar tender and then sitting down beside him, looking nervous and anxious. This younger man seemed to be hesitant about something. Perhaps he was waiting to meet a girl for drinks for the first time. The more he observed the younger man’s actions and body language, the more strangely familiar he seemed. It wasn’t something he could quite put his finger on.

“Hello son. My name’s Carl. First date?”

The young man looked at him as if he hadn’t noticed he was sitting next to anyone, like he was alone in the place.

“What’s that?” he spluttered. “Oh, no. Why do you ask?”

“I just notice you seem nervous.”

“Not exactly, no. I…well I haven’t had a first date in a few years now.”

At this the young man slowly removed a tiny velvet box from his pocket, turning it over and over in his hand.

“Congratulations.” The older man recognized what must be in the small box right away and thought this was in order. He remembered the nervousness, the fear of proposing to his lovely wife, some forty-five years before. It was a feeling you never forgot and he smiled at the memory, something he’d found difficult to do of late.

“I suppose,” the younger man slowly spoke the words. He opened the ring box and stared at the sparkling gem lying inside.

“For someone who is about to propose, must I say you don’t seem very excited.” Had he said too much? The younger man rubbed his stubbled chin in thought. It looked suddenly like he was older than anyone in the whole place.

“I haven’t exactly made up my mind yet, about the proposal I mean.” He wasn’t sure why he was saying this, to a total stranger, but he needed to say it to someone and he couldn’t talk about the doubts he was having with anyone else. His family thought his girlfriend was perfect for him and they would call him totally insane if he told them he wasn’t so sure. His friends, same thing. Maybe he was nuts after all. Okay, maybe she wasn’t necessarily perfect, but she was pretty damn close. If she wasn’t perfect for him, who was?

“What is the hold-up, if you don’t mind me asking?” He wanted to know. He would give anything to have his sweet Grace back now, but this young man was clearly struggling with taking this biggest of steps. He felt for the kid. Maybe he could help him see things more clearly. After living this long he knew that, most times, talking things out did help.

“I don’t know exactly.”

“May I?” the older man asked, holding out a hand.

“Okay,” the younger man said, handing over the box.

The older man looked carefully at the beautiful diamond. It looked a little like the one he had given Grace all those years ago. It turned out she was the real treasure, more precious than any jewel on earth and she was lost to him, for good now. What he wouldn’t give to go back to that day, to see her smile at him through her tears of joy.

“Well this is some ring,” he finally told the younger man, who was staring at him, waiting for some kind of response. He closed the velvet box and handed back to the tortured sad looking man sitting next to him. “Are you going to give it to her?”

“I had planned on it, but I went to go home to do it tonight and my car just had a mind of its own and brought me here instead.”

“Do you love this girl?”

“I do. I mean I think so.”

“But you’re not sure?”

“I can’t believe I am talking to you about this. No offence sir, but I don’t know what I am saying. I don’t know what I am thinking. And I don’t know you.” He moved to stand up, but the old man waved him down again.

“Just wait a minute son,” he spoke out rather more sternly than he’d meant to. “But I like to think I know a little about life at this point and I feel I need to say a few things to you, before you just walk out of here and make a mistake, one you may regret for the rest of your life.”

***

To be continued next Fiction Friday.

What do you think? Do you think the younger man stays? Do you think he will listen to what the older man has to say?

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