Life is good -- my life is rich and full of abundance perhaps that is why when we heard this comment in the grocery store Steve smiled and said - now that is bloggable (is that a word?)!
You know the routine in the grocery store ... you make the loop from aisle to aisle and often pass the same people. On our second time around of passing a mother and daughter, the young daughter said to her mom - "Mom, why did you say it was so sad about that lady?" as she pointed to me. Steve and I smiled and said hi to them! No need to pity this girl!
I reflected on 25 years ago when being diagnosed with RP ... I was scared and concerned about the dynamics of losing my vision but was pretty naive to the experience of others perceptions of blindness. When I began to use a cane, I began to be exposed to the experience of at times being treated differently. One of the books that was SO beneficial to me in those early years was: Dr. Dean W. Tuttle's Self-Esteem and Adjusting with Blindness. (a psychologist with Retinitis Pigmentosa so I could relate well to him)
That book and accompanying workbook from Hadley School for the Blind was so helpful as I explored my sense of self and the impact blindness would have on that. As Christy and I were in San Diego for our conference having late night chats about life ... she asked me about how I dealt with others' perceptions. I told her I was only in charge of my perception, my adaptability and meeting the realities and challenges that come my way ... (that is a direct quote from Dr. Tuttle). That has been such a freeing experience and doesn't mean that at times something doesn't pop up (daily!) that throws me for a curve. This book has been a great resource to me over the years and also has been a wonderful useful tools for any challenge. It was super thrilling when I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Tuttle... then a few years later when I was giving a presentation his wife was in the audience! Dr. Tutle defines relationships people who are blind experience into six categories: 1. The Nonperson or Impersonal Relationship 'the "it", 2. The Relationship based on stereotypes "the blind", 3. The Relationship based on the Exception "The superblind", 4. The Relationship Based on Coping "The Capable Blind", 5. The Relationship Based on Respect "The person who is blind", and 6. the relationship based on friendship "The Friend who happens to be blind".
I am so grateful for all the relationships, friendships and colleagues that I enjoy interaction with that I believe fit into category #6 of seeing me as someone who happens to be blind. It is a process ... as with any relationship where as we get to know each other and the blindness (or any other factor about an individual) becomes a minimal part of the relationship as it becomes an equal, healthy relationship (sorry psycho babble as my kids call it).
If you are searching for an interesting read ... you might enjoy this book - whether or not you are blind. Its been around for a long time and I want to believe some of the issues discussed are outdated - we have come so far.