Monday, January 26, 2009

"I'm sorry that you're blind."

Okay, okay, okay... People don't actually say, "I'm sorry that you're blind." But what they do say when they meet me and discover that I'm blind is, "I'm so sorry."

Sorry for what?

The only thing I can think of is that they're sorry that I'm blind. They're just too polite to say so. Remember, they feel sorry for me. They don't want to say the "blind" word. It's must too pitiful to say out loud, especially when talking to the one that is blind.

All day yesterday, I introduced myself to my fellow members at the church I recently joined. And 8 out of 10 of those folks that I introduced myself to required an explanation about my inability to see.

"You're blind? Oh, I'm sorry."

It's almost like people have a script that guides them on what to say to a blind person when they really don't know what to say.

But I have to give it to them... At least, they're compassionate... Hey, you can't fault people for trying to be sympathetic and concerned.

As I was leaving the women's fellowship after 10:00 service, a sweet lady, who I actually think is going to be my friend, asked me, "Are you alright? You don't feel good?"

I figured the only reason why she could be asking me if I was alright is because she saw me holding on to my mother's arm. I guessed that she probably thought that I was sick or something. Because I thought that was the reasoning behind her inquiry, I responded with, "I'm okay. I can't see."

Of course, the famous "I'm sorry." came next. But she followed the one-liner up with, "Well, the reason why I asked if you were alright is because you look tired. I can see it on your face."

And the truth is that I was tired. I was feeling drained emotionally and physically. And the cool thing is that that woman looked past my blindness and saw me. She noticed something other than my blind state. And she thought enough of "me" to be concerned about Angie, and not Blind Angie. How nice…

It makes me feel good when people see me and not just blind me. Yes, I’m blind. But my blindness is only a part of who I am. I’m more than that.

As my description of my blog says, I’m a beautiful, brilliant, African American woman, who happens to be blind. And no doubt about it-Blindness is pretty dog on bad. But I’m not sure if people should be saying, “I’m Sorry.” They didn’t do it. So, no need for an apology from them.

6 comments:

The Angry Independent said...

I think this comes from people generally not knowing what to say or how to react. Once they are informed, i'm sure most people will realize how much this bothers you.

Off topic:

Is it possible for you to upload some of your speeches?

sacredly breathing said...

Hello Angie.

I think there is no need for a person to say their sorry unless the person they are saying sorry to seems burdened by their condition, and even then the proper response would be how can i help you. Angie, I guess what drew me to your blog is the bright light and inspiration you show despite your disability. I have had people comment that my left eye is blue. It became that why due to an injury suffered at the age of nine. I've recently overcome the anxiety of how my eye appears. I'm occasionally asked if i can see out of my left eye and i say no. People have said that the blueness of my blind eye is pretty. All i no is my eye does not make me. So it can't break me. We are more than those things that can be seen. When i tell people i can't see out of my left eye a common response is " Oh I'm sorry. I tell them there's no need to be sorry. In life things happen. I am thankful to have sight in the other eye, further more I have accepted myself and learned how to deal with my circumstance. Our lot may be to educate those we come into verbal contact with on our condition. In turn they will educate others. Keep shining your light. Your inspiration allows others who are living in self imposed shadows due to their condition to come into the light. May peace and compassion be upon you sister.

Angie-Nuvision said...

AI: Thanks for coming by!!! I haven't seen you in these parts in a long time. It's always a pleasure to have you pay me a visit.

The infamous apology doesn't bother me anymore. It used to. But now that I'm in my 30's, I've developed a much thicker skin. Maturity will cause you to let stuff that people say that would once bother you sound like nothing at all.

I really should upload some of my speeches. I will certainly look into doing that this spring or summer. The truth is that I am officially starting to take this speaking thing seriously. So, I'm about to get someone to do a website, design my promotional materials, and start shooting all of my speaking engagements. I'm starting with the one I have next week at UH.

I'll let you know when I upload one. Likewise, I'll hit you up and let you know when I have the website up.

Again, thanks for showing a sista some love. Come back anytime.

Peace and prosperity,
Angie Braden

Angie-Nuvision said...

SB: I feel blessed that you've taken time to join me here at NuVision. Your comments are always so thoughtful, inspiring, and timely. There's healing in your words.

Please continue to stop by and share with me. It's an honor.

Angie

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie,

You describe your loss of sight as a 'tragedy' (in your 'About' section). When people tell you they are sorry, they are not assuming blame for this tragic event, they are showing sympathy, as in "I'm sorry for your troubles."

It would never occur to me to say 'I'm sorry' to a blind person, but I might if that person felt she had been through a tragedy.

all best
Phil

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie.. I must confess, that will probably be my reaction too, but not because you can't see, but because I didn't know you can't see.. and that I made you to bring our attention to the fact that you can't.. If I knew, I probably will try to save you the trouble of having to explain it to others.. So that's why I would be like 'Oh, I'm sorry (I didn't know)'.. Just a perspective!