Monday, October 28, 2013

Inescapable Pieces of Me

My family and friends often tell me that they forget I'm blind. They tell me that their forgetfulness is a result of me being so "normal" and independent. When they say that to me, I suppose I'm expected to feel some level of gratitude that people see me, but don't see my blindness. In many situations that's what I actually prefer. But when it is time for you to help guide me around an obstacle or just guide me at all, I expect you to remember.

There have been a number of cases when family and friends have left me standing somewhere, not realizing that I am not with them until they've walked off and left me. They come back to me with a shameful laugh and this popular excuse. "I forget you can't see, girl."

Well, here's the truth. I never forget. It's branded into my brain. It's a world that I never get to escape.

No matter how well I'm dressed, how straight I can flatiron my hair, how perfect I can pain my gloss on my lips, How many college degrees I have, how great I am at taking care of my nieces, or how quickly I can type up a letter on my computer, I am blind. Yes, I am a highly functional blind woman, but still blind. And my blindness presents challenges that are real and inescapable.

Just this weekend, I had three accidents. I stumped my toe against my mother's walker and broke my toenail and split the skin. I walked into a car door that my niece left open after getting out of the car. That accident resulted in me having a swollen, busted lip. And I stepped in our puppy's wet oops in the hallway. That accident was probably the most aggravating of the three. (I'm not a lover of stepping in urine, even a cute puppy's.)

Perhaps I’m glad that people see me for me. But it really is okay if the person you see me as is a blind woman. I wouldn’t want anyone to forget that I’m black or a woman. All of these characteristics lend to who I am. They make up the fabric of this person you and I know as Angela L. Braden. Don’t forget about the pieces that make me. Embrace all of them and love the whole package.

Angela L. Braden is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker. You can learn more about her speaking at

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