I prefer her to be sighted, but that is between us


In a previous post, I shared some thoughts about the challenges that a blind woman sometimes encounters when it comes to love and marriage. I got a comment from a blind girl friend that had unsuccessful experience and liked to share her thoughts. I decided to let her do that through this post as blind women face double discrimination not only from sighted men, but from blind men as well. Let us see what she would like to say:

“If blind males are somewhat established and successful in life, they think that getting married to a blind woman is a downgrading for them. They want to look normal, act normal, viewed as normal. That is why some of them think that walking down a street with a blind wife would not embarrassing, asking for help down a street every now and then would not be normal. Some blind men want to maintain their manhood which may not be full except by marrying a sighted woman.

For only the sake of marrying a sighted woman, they sacrifice sometimes other qualities; no matter if she is not educated, it makes no difference that she’s from a different cultural and social background; it is not very important to have common things or understanding between them; the most important thing is to be sighted!

The problem gets worse when there is a love story between a blind man and a blind woman, when he leaves her to run after a sighted girl, as if all the feelings and love between them do not really count. Some of them would put the blame on their families, saying that they are the ones who do not accept for their blind son to marry a blind woman; I tell them where your role as a man is.

Aren’t you supposed to bear the responsibility of completing the path that you two started together? I tell them how come you are a man and you let someone else control your life? I tell them where is the love that you are speaking about, doesn’t love means commitment?”

My friend’s words end at this point. I can get the bitter feelings that you are experiencing, I can feel the pain you are suffering from dear, I wish if I can do anything to calm you down. I don’t have so much to add here but one of the ridiculous things when a family of a blind guy doesn’t accept a blind woman. It doesn’t make sense to me. It is even weirder to me when a family has a blind son and a blind daughter, and they may accept a blind man for their blind daughter but they don’t accept the opposite.

Yeah, I know that some blind men want their wives to be their servant, house keeper, driver, and their personal assistant. What a deal when you get all in one! You can’t get everything dear man, please set your priorities before making any decisions.

Aren’t we eve’s daughters too?

I was asked this question by one of the most decent, sensitive, well-educated blind female friends I ever knew. She asked me this question wondering why it is so difficult issue for a blind girl to be loved or to get married. Why is she neglected by everybody whether sighted or even blind men? I don’t have a specific answer to you my dear although I can understand your point very well. Unfortunately this is the truth that blind women are less fortunate when it comes to love and marriage whether this partner is either sighted or even blind. I think blind guys also suffer from this problem, but the ratio is pretty low compared to the blind men and the sighted women. Sighted women are more willing to open towards blind men than sighted men towards blind women. Of course this doesn’t mean that blind women don’t have chances at all but it turned out to be challenging and it needs a lot of sacrifice from her side. It becomes more difficult when this woman is well-educated and beautiful, as if she wants to say, what do I lack so that I don’t have a good opportunity with an equivalent partner?

A blind woman has a choice to make either to stay as she is, or she has to do some kind of sacrifice. For example, she may accept somebody who is not educated, even if she is highly educated. If she has money, most probably she is responsible to pay for the expenses associated with establishing the new house. What a painful feeling when you have to choose to be either nobody, or to pay to be somebody.

For me, who cannot appreciate me as I am, he simply doesn’t deserve me. My dear blind female friend, with all dignity, raise your head to the sky, you have love, caring, understanding, and faithfulness for whoever can only appreciate them. Honestly speaking, the guy also has the right to be with you or with another sighted woman; you can’t force anybody to love you.

Do you know what really drives me crazy when it comes to discussing this issue with sighted people? It is the hypocrisy and lying that they try to use in order to get rid of the discussion as soon as they can. So you may hear something like you are really great, you are more beautiful than many sighted women, you deserve the best person in the world, If you ask them if this mean that they can accept marrying a blind woman or not, you hear things like hmmm, I don’t know, I am not sure, I don’t think this can suit me. This applies on blind men too. We sometimes try to appear more civilized and understanding as long as the issue is very far from our personal interest. I never forget the story of my blind friend when she used to have a sighted girl friend. They were very close, they were like sisters. One day, the sighted friend’s brother saw my blind friend. He liked her so much and decided to marry her. As long as he raised the issue to his family including his sighted sister, the whole family started to put their curse on the poor girl. The closest friend now has become the fiercest enemy. The girl had to deal with a flow of insults to the extent that one of her relatives picked the phone and said to them that their son is the one who was running after her and they should deal with him far from the poor girl. The guy insisted on his choice and got married to the girl. Believe me that until now and after more than 3 or 4 years, and even after being a successful mother for two kids, his family still wishes if she doesn’t exist on earth. What if you get married to a sighted woman only just for being sighted and you discover later that she is not suitable. What if you get married to a very good person and she lost her sight after marriage, will you leave her? I don’t have an answer for your question my dear friend, but I suppose that people should be measured based on their qualities, not based on something that they can’t choose or have control on.

To dream or not to dream, that is the question

My lovely author William Shakespeare, Could you please allow me to borrow your famous quote “to be or not to be, that is the question?” I may need to edit it a bit to serve another purpose here though.

Hey my readers, how are you today? How is it going with your dreams? Are the dreams sweet? Are they inspiring? Are they terrible? Perhaps you are like me, you feel too tired to dream. You put your head on your pillow until next morning.

Many psychologists give a great attention to this part of the sleep cycle that any human being experience almost on daily basis. They say that if you don’t dream, this means that you don’t pass through the different stages of your sleep cycle which may affect negatively your daily performance. Again, I am not a psychologist but what I am sure about is that every human being on this earth dreams, has the ability to dream, or he / she used to dream. So why a blind person cannot dream!

You can’t imagine how often I have been asked this question in my life. I am sure that it has been asked thousand times to my blind friends, (does a blind person dream? If so, how is that? What does a blind person see in his / her dream while he / she can’t see in real life?)

What a strange perception especially when it comes from highly educated people!

As far as I know, psychologists and psychiatrist consider dreams are a reflection of our real world: our wishes, our fears, our aspirations, our desires, or our daily activities. They also say that dreams are a mental or an intellectual activity, actually it is not a sight related one so I don’t understand what the problem is.

Anyway, yes of course, blind individuals like all people on this earth dream. Since they can’t see in reality, they can’t see in their dreams. Since they can feel their surroundings, they can hear what is going on around them, so this exactly what happens to them when they dream. For example, if a blind person dreams that he / she is on a train, he / she can’t see the train but definitely he / she can hear the voices of the passenger, the noise of the train etc.

Upon that, I hope that to dream or not to dream is not a question any longer and I wish you all happy dreams!

Sighted People are Always Right

At customer service, they teach the agent that the customer is always right; the customer should be happy; the customer should be satisfied.  I sometimes think sighted people impose this idea on people who are blind. We, sighted people, are always right. You, blind person, don’t know about your capabilities more than we do. You are always the cause of the problem if there is. You are always the one to be blamed. We, sighted people, never do anything wrong.

I want to share those stories with you to know what I am talking about.

There was this blind lady who was having lunch with a sighted friend. The sighted friend spilled her juice on the table. It sometimes happens, and nothing is wrong with it. Somebody ran to clean everything and stuff like that. After this, the waiter brought another glass of juice, he put it in front of the blind lady and he put her hand on it thinking that she is the one who spilled it. Yeah, of course, he couldn’t imagine that the sighted person who did it.

At work, one day I put an ad online; when my CEO saw it, he called me and said “o, there is something wrong with your stuff, you definitely did something wrong with the format.” “I really didn’t do anything wrong.” I replied. We had to seek for a third party to help us. He called my colleague to see what I did. She came to rescue me. She explained that she saw the ads and they are not like the way they were shown on his screen and he is the one who has something wrong with his tiny screen.

One day, I was trying to explain to a lady which train she should take to go to her destination, then another person came and gave her a wrong direction. Of course, she thought that she is more informed than I do. Yeah, she can see; she can understand the directions and the trains; she can’t be wrong. You can’t imagine how funny it is when somebody asks you “do you know where you are? Do you know which stop are you getting off?” I wish if I tell them (you know what? I really don’t know, I am just taking a tour on the train lol)

I am not saying that blind people don’t make mistakes or they don’t need any help what so ever. I just meant that they can still be reliable sources of information. They are not the only people who can spill their stuff. Why do we always put the blame on them because they are blind. Why don’t we ask ourselves “do we do the same thing? Can this happen for us too?”

A Message To Some Of My Blind Friends

We sometimes blame the sighted people; we always have some issues about the way they treat us with. Sighted people are unfair, they don’t communicate well with us, they are sometimes ignorant or even they don’t care. I think you are right to some extent, but let us speak up and admit to ourselves and to them that we also have some issues that don’t encourage them to be closer or to understand us. We build those high walls and put barriers in front of them to prevent them reaching this level of healthy communication we both wish for. At the end of the day, those sighted people are not coming from another planet; they are our relatives, friends, classmates, coworkers, or our life partners whom we love.

Some sighted people complained to me and to others about the aggressive reaction they get back if they try to offer help to a blind person walking down a street or something. Why do we do that? Why we convey a message to them that we are not friendly and aggressive? If you don’t need help, you simply thank the person politely and that’s it! You don’t need to give him or her tough lectures about your confidence and abilities. Why do you insult a person just because he / she kindly thought of you and wished to be with you for some time? I myself can’t find any justification for such a violent and arrogant attitude that some of us adopt.

Some blind people keep yelling if they hit a door or trip on something on their way. If this happens in front of a sighted person, they feel more embarrassed and upset about it. Of course such a situation is so embarrassing for everybody. This doesn’t mean that you keep yelling at everybody even if they don’t have any relation with what happened to you. Be confident, believe me even sighted people face those situations. Don’t be ashamed or take it so hard on yourself because everybody has an issue. You may find sighted people who have another disability; you may come across a normal person but he or she suffers from a certain disease. You may meet a healthy person but he / she is encountering many economic or social problems that depress him / her. . The only reality is that nobody is perfect in this world.

Head shaking, extra movements, touching everything and everybody with or without a valid reason are kinds of behavior that should be stopped right now!

I cannot tell you how disgusting it is to me to meet blind people who do those things. I feel they are so distracting to me, I can’t follow their conversations, and I even want to leave them. If we really want to be treated normally, we should try to behave like normal people. I think families should take extra care of such issues for the sake of their children and relatives.

A Job Down The Street

In New York, there are many restaurants, many places for leisure activities, easy transportation, and very high competition to find a job. Guess what! I found a job offered to me! I got this job that I didn’t even look for. Strange huh? Some people offer you a job without knowing you in New York city? Yeah not only 1 person, imagine? I got this job offer without sending resumes or going for interviews. The job even didn’t need so many qualifications. It required only one thing – just to be blind! I am sure that many of my blind friends are offered this job before even without asking.

The job is simple, just stand in a busy street and open your hands LOL! It is said that it is sometimes well-paying job especially if you have an advantage to be blind for example.

Yesterday, I was waiting for a friend to come to pick me from the subway station in order to go to meet other friends for dinner. While waiting for him, somebody put money in my hand. Of course I gave it back saying “thank you I don’t need that.” he took it back and he said, “you don’t want it?” I felt he was like what a dare! How come you say no! 😀 I wished to ask him how much I worth a dollar? Quarter? Perhaps more?

It happened before more than one time with me here in New York. I figured out that I am not the only person who experienced this. For those of you who already know me in person, I think they know that I don’t behave or dress weird or something but anyway.

Continuing with the idea of built assumptions, it is also common especially in big cities to find blind people ask for financial help from others. Many sighted people also do it, right? This does not mean that any sighted person waiting for a train or a bus receive such a title or is offered such job. So why do some people assume that a blind person needs that as long as he is only blind but standing for a reason or another and he does not show any sign that he or she may need such help.

I am sorry if there are really people in our societies have to experience such conditions which can lead them to beg and ask for financial help on the street whether they are blind or sighted people but still it shouldn’t be a general attitude. I also know that those who offer such help have good intention but this attitude should be changed.

Let me tell you this funny story. A blind friend of mine gut used to give a homeless guy some change from time to time. One day, that friend was in a hurry to go to work, he didn’t have time to shave or even to take a shower. He only washed his face and put on his clothes to run to work. On his way, my friend met this homeless guy and that guy asked him “Sir, do you want a quarter?” 😀

With this funny story, I say goodbye and can’t wait for your comments or suggestions!

Building Assumptions

Unfortunately, this is the truth, all of us do it. We like to put people in boxes and classify them according to our assumptions. You may discover that Most of the time those assumptions are really wrong if you give yourself the opportunity to know the real nature of the other person a bit better before you judge. We sometimes like to play dumb either because we don’t actually care, or we are happy with those built assumptions. If this is somehow applicable for everybody, it is 100% true to the blind person.

Let me share with you some of those assumptions

We should speak so loud to a blind person. So that he / she hears us.

Those people forget that this person is only blind not necessarily deaf. Yes that’s true, there are hard hearing -blind cases but you may need to ask if that person needs you to talk a bit louder or not instead of building the assumption.

People sometimes think that you cannot walk because you are blind.

You notice this in airports when the employee or the assistant tries to force you to sit on this wheel chair even if you don’t want to. Of course I understand that it is a very important thing to have the wheel chair in all the airports for old and people with disability to make life easier, but I believe it should still be an option to take it or leave it. Another related assumption is that in a subway station, a blind person should always go through the emergency gate or use the elevator. It is more convenient and easier for him / her. In fact, it may not be necessarily the case because most blind people can use the turnstile and the stairs efficiently. In a city like New York, the sound of the subway emergency gate may be even disturbing for the blind person who uses his / her ears to figure out his / her surroundings.

Blind people are moody, sensitive, and aggressive; we should better stay away from them.

Didn’t you ever meet a normal sensitive, aggressive, moody but sighted person in your life?Believe me, Blind people still belong to the human being, so among them, you may find the sensitive, the moody, the attractive, the smart, the silly, the introvert, the extrovert, etc, it actually has nothing to do with being blind, it is just the human nature.

 

You talk to the blind assistant or friend instead of the blind person himself / herself.

I don’t want to generalize but at least the majority of the blind people can speak and express themselves clearly and fluently. It is so offensive to ignore them in conversation or think that they are not equivalent to you.. So you may find the sighted person says to your assistant things like: “ask her if she needs this, ask him what he wants.” I am wondering why do you put this barrier between you as a sighted person and the other blind one? why do you want to convey a message to him / her that he or she is a mystery or a puzzle that you can’t solve?

A blind person always : helpless, poor thing, can’t help his / her relatives or friends.

One day, I went with a friend to the tax office to file her annual taxes, everybody in the office thought that she came to assist me to file mine. They couldn’t think that I was just accompanying her as any two friends.

Another day, I went to the farmer’s market to buy some stuff for myself, a friend of mine asked me to buy something for her because she was so busy at work on that day and she couldn’t go with me. At the farmer’s market, I met the guy from whom I should by my friend’s stuff,. because he already knows me and her, he asked in an angry manner “how come she let you come to buy her stuff, why did she send you?” I said “it is OK, she is already busy and I am coming anyway.” It was like a fight with him, and I really hated this attitude.

I don’t say that we don’t need the help of the sighted people., of course we need it from time to time. What I want to say that we are not only receivers, we can be generous givers, kind hearted, empowered.. we have a lot to offer specially for our loved ones.

blind person may lack the sexual ability.

Crazy, Huh? I don’t know why people sometimes think that you are deprived from all your capabilities if you are blind. I can’t forget a story when a blind friend of mine, a PhD holder and a professor in one of the top universities, told me that a lady asked him one day, “are you guys able to make love and have sex?” he strongly replied, “do you want to try it?” In fact, this answer is a normal reaction to such type of questions that may drive you crazy sometimes.

I also remember that story I heard that a father rejected a blind guy proposing his daughter only for a similar reason.

These are only some of the assumptions that I can remember now and of course you can share more with me. Try to put yourself in the blinds’ shoes to know how those assumptions can really affect their social, psychological, and professional life.

So What should we do? I think the best thing we can do is to spread out this spirit that a blind person is just a normal human being. How can we deal with a blind person then? I came across this nice article talking about The Basics of Interacting with people with Disabilities and I believe it is great. Please try to read it, it may be help you understand better the blind person before just building wrong assumptions