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
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.