Now that I have your attention.. No, I am not talking badly about other people (that isn’t my style) :) Let me fill you in on a little secret.
That girl I am talking about is ME.
What are you talking about you wonder?
My eye disease has made me a very special person. I have been so blessed in so many ways. Many people when they first meet me, and even a bit into our relationship have no idea that I am legally blind. I have been blessed and challenged with the fact that from the outside, I am just a normal looking woman. I don’t have a seeing-eye-dog or a cane. So, unless you are looking closely and catch a glimpse of me as I try to read something on a piece of paper or do something silly like almost walk into the men's restroom, then quickly turn the other way as I get closer, then you probably won’t know I have low vision unless I tell you. Or you may think...1. She needs glasses. 2. Did you see that ditzy blonde girl?!
I have unintentionally "ignored" many people while I am in public. Really I just don't see them. Many people will say they saw me but I didn't acknowledge them so I explain why. This makes me feel horrible. I never want anyone to think I am giving them the cold shoulder or trying to be rude to them. Most times I am out in a public place, I have learned to keep my eyes and my head down. I do this because I never want there to be a situation that looks bad. I would prefer people think I am just not paying attention or in my own world rather than think I am rude. I can't say anything for sure, but I believe I have lost relationships with people because of it. People who know me well sometimes even forget so people who are new acquaintances probably will think this about me at one time or another.
My friends who know me well know that I have quite a sense of humor about my disease. I sometimes play off some of my struggles with saying things like, “Well, that’s blind-girl-problems for ya!” I say things about it in a light and easygoing way, because it does tend to make people sad or feel uncomfortable. I try to let people know that I am more than okay with this hand I have been dealt in life. I actually think there is something special about it that helps make me who I am. Sure there are obstacles, but doesn’t everybody have them? I try to make sure I make people aware of my disease, not to get sympathy or special treatment, but to make sure they understand that my intentions are always honest and I never want anyone to think that I am trying to ignore them in the grocery store.
We have all heard the sayings, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” or “you should always give people the benefit or the doubt.” My message is that we all have things going on in our lives and we all have struggles. Not everyone that is rude to you or ignores you is blind, obviously, but you never know what is going on with them. They could have been having the worst day ever or maybe just found out that they lost a loved one. It is so easy to get caught up thinking that everyone should always be a certain way in public, but as we all know, life happens and sometimes things are out of our control. Next time you are in a situation that has you thinking, “She/He is SO rude,” think about what could be going on in their life and do yourself a favor.. Give them the benefit of the doubt.