Sunday, July 15, 2007

I Refuse to Look Blind (Whatever that means.)

Even though I cannot see, how I look is so important to me. I guess it’s because I know that physical appearance is so important to others. I live in a world with no sight. But my world is lodged in a world that is full of sight. So, which world do I adhere to? Well, the one that has the greatest impact. So, since looks are important to the sighted, this blind woman pulls out all the stops to make sure that I at least look decent.

I get up every morning and pull myself together, simply because I realize that how I look helps shape what people think of me. I have a huge battle of perceptions to leap over as it relates to my blindness. So, that’s why I make sure that I place a lot of investment in making sure that I don’t look “blind.”

What does “blind” look like? I’m not sure. I figured to most people “blind” looks mismatched, unmade up, sloppy, unfashionable, and homely. All the things I refuse to be... But somehow, others must expect me to look this way. I think that’s why I always get praised for not looking “blind.”

Although I don’t agree with what everyone else thinks “blind” looks like, I still buck against the standards that people have set for me as a blind woman. I refuse to look anything less than good. It just ain’t happening.

My cousin recently told me that she often tells people how nice I look despite being blind. I’m not sure why this woman, who has known me since we were babies, would ever think that I would go down the path of “torn down” when it comes to the looks department. I’ve never been a glamour girl. But I’ve always taken good care of myself. So, why would she think that my habits would change just because I can’t see? Strange… I’m still me. A me that cannot see. But still me.

So, I get up every single day, get my hair together, put my make up on, iron my clothes, and pick out the cutest shoes to put on for two reasons.
A. It’s just in my nature. It’s also because of the way I was raised to try to look nice.
B. I have to make sure that I bring the pain because most people are not expecting the blind girl to look cute.

Earlier this year I wrote a posts where I discussed the idea of "looking blind". Check it out. It’s one of my favorite blog entries. It really supports this particular entry.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i luv, LUV, what you had to say about the mind being the mouth's superior partner in the post you referenced. i also like how you tied the ableism of "i don't see blindness" to the racism of "i don't see color" in the post after this one.

wrt how folx are awestruck by the abilities of the disabled (or those have other obstacles), i think it also has something to do with the culture of having low expectations. chris rock mentions it in one of his routines. damn, either we're buying into the myth that "anyone can make it if they just work hard" or we think its the most phenomenal thing ever when someone can overcome an obstacle. peoples thinking is just too strange sometimes.

i hope this doesn't come across as downplaying your accomplishments, that's not my intent at all. i think you're a beautiful accomplished, successful woman who is also blind; not beautiful, accomplished & successful because of, or in spite of, being blind.