If You Don’t Know Me By Now…..

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Identity has been a topic of interest for me for a while.    It’s fascinating to me how people interact with me with my disability.    I’m clear on who I am more so than I’ve been for most of my life.   It shocks me how many people get stuck on the disability.   Most of the people in my life family, friends, and colleagues get stuck on the disability.    I don’t think them bad but it’s not helpful.   It is extremely marginalizing though.  They really don’t know me at all.
I am a person who is blind, ok legally blind, it’s easier to say bling because then people don’t get stuck on blindness being a state of total darkness which it isn’t.   Anyway, being a person who is blind I live my life differently.  We’ve been through this blah blah blah.    Again, anyway, being blind isn’t who I am.   Blindness does define how I look at the world and how I think but it doesn’t define who I am.
My identity is based on many other things.  I’ve attempted to identify these dimensions in the past but I still struggle with identity.   Labels are easy.

·       Fat Bastard: overweight, work in progress to not be
·       Blind: obvious
·       Athlete:  Yes I did run a marathon and a half marathon and a sprint triathlon
·       Writer:  This blog and other stuff
·       Photographer:  love taking picture
·       Videographer:  Love taking video
·       Singer:  Love singing opera and other stuff
·       Lover:  you better believe it baby
·       Friend:  love people
·       Father:   Yup biologically anyway…
·       Husband:   Not at the moment but I’ll get it right one day
Your get the picture, but identity isn’t tied to title or role either.     How much I do isn’t identity either, work, go to school, write a blog, work at another place, volunteer, go out and do stuff.   I love life but that isn’t identity.    It’s hard in our modern world many social constructs are changing.    A generation or two ago a man could be judged by his character.   Another topic yikes, is Identity character I don’t think so.    Is identity intent, probably not, all roads to hell are paved with good intent.  Let me tell you, there are many things I do with the best of intent that don’t work out exactly as I intended.     Now a days there is little in the way of trust or faith, somehow we are now all from Missouri and need to be shown.   So is identity a sum of our actions?   Maybe but that’s a hard one these days too.  It used to be it was what have you done for me, then it was what have you done for me lately.   Now its what are you doing for me right now.  Not sure how were going to measure what are you going to do for me.   We’ll see I guess.   So what is identity?   I don’t know.
What I can tell you is my identity isn’t defined by my being blind.    Personally and you could argue I think I’m a better person for being blind.    Where does this stop I don’t want to be cured, sorry I don’t want to be like you either.   I’m not special I’m just me yes I can ride the short bus but who cares.
At my age I don’t honestly care what your hang-ups are over my disability.   Accommodation is appreciated with the right intent.  Sympathy you can stick in your ear.    I’m a really really cool interesting person I dare you to get past whatever barrier or good intent you have in your head and treat me like a person.   That’s all I ask.

Posted in: Being Blind, Family, Friends, Work
Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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