Why I’m Out

Why on earth do I identify openly as a blind person?   That according to most people who have shared their own fears with me is the worst thing ever.   When I came “Out” as a blind man, it was very difficult.   I had grown up believing that if I could hide my blindness that I would be accepted and be welcomed into the group.

What I’ve learned over the years is that there really isn’t a “group’ to be welcomed into.  Life and your support systems your circle of friends, your family is what you can make of it.
Its all about your choices.

I had two choices basically go through life perceived as an arrogant bastard or be the person that I am, which includes being blind.      Why on earth would I call myself an arrogant bastard.   Well that’s what people thought of me.   I wouldn’t, really couldn’t, say hello when people walked by, in the park or at the mall, I can’t see them.   Pretending I could see made other people think I was ignoring them, or worse too good for them.

Hiding my blindness only caused me grief.  Its lying and I’m smart but not that smart keeping up a lie is a lot of work.  Ultimately the realities of my blindness would betray me and people would ask will you could you do that yesterday and why can’t you do that today?    Being found out in a lie especially of a lie of non-disclosure is devastating.    Most connections I’ve made while hiding my blindness didn’t survive.   Its like cheating on your wife.   Only a very few relationships survive such a traumatic disclosure.

Relationships of any kind are ultimately built on trust.    If you can’t  trust someone there is no relationship.    It doesn’t work.   Without trust there is only mutually assured destruction which is no way to live.

Professional relationships of mine were destroyed.  I lost job opportunities major projects failed important relationships were either damaged or destroyed.    Its really simple if your lying about one thing then how do people know your not lying about other things.   Your credibility is destroyed and ultimately your not trusted.

Personal relationship are also impacted.    Try dating a person that expects you to drive or expects you to be able to do certain things in a certain way.   I don’t hold it against people but there are a lot of people that worry about how they look and how you and your blindness will impact their image.     The blindness dynamic is a great filter only people of emotional maturity, quality of character need apply.   People with unmanaged issues or insecurities will run away very quickly with their hair on fire.

As a person with blindness my behaviors are very different.  There are very many things I do differently because I have to.  There are many other things I do differently because I don’t know how to, I wasn’t taught or couldn’t be.   That’s why I need people to get in my face occasionally.   Tell me hay you know this is how you are perceived and this is what you should do about it.    These people are very important to me.   I have a few who I think enjoy telling me that I’m off course a little too much.  Anyway.   There are many things I don’t know how to do because I haven’t seen them done.

Being “Out” as a blind person isn’t easy believe me.   There are many ignorant people out there who panic at the sight of you or who think your some kind of leaper or something and the blindness will rub off.   Or because your blind your evil.   Only my sense of humor is evil thank you very much.

I am a very good person.  I work very hard at keeping a high standard and being a good role model for my children.  Ultimately I am of a mindset that i want to give back.  So really I try to model good character all the time.

There is another reality I’m an ambassador for other blind or disabled people.   If someone has a bad experience with one blind or disabled person. Then the next experience that person has with a blind or disabled person will likely be bad.   Its like me saying sighted people all look alike.   Well if one blind person is miserable then maybe they all are.    By the way sighted people do look alike sometimes.    Either silhouettes or they aren’t there because I can’t see them because of the light.    See evil humor.

I like being “Out”.   My integrity is something that is very important to me.  I don’t want to be perceived in any way shape or form as a person who lies.    I find its very clear to people most of the time that I’m blind when I carry a white cane.   Others well there are “special” short bus “special” people who don’t get it.     They assume because I don’t fit their expectations of a “blind” person that I’m lying.    These people are a lot of fun.   Generally very insecure about themselves and their own identifies.

Openly identifying as a person with blindness is very empowering.    I no longer have to tolerate employers who are not comfortable with a blind person on their staff as I can now filter them out during the interview process.    Also people that are uncomfortable with a blind person in their life can now turn and walk away not wasting any of my time or energy.

Being “Out” is a choice.    A choice I make every day.   There are days I am a miserable person and don’t want to carry the cane and I don’t.    Then I walk into something miss something or hurt myself and I’m quickly reminded how I too suffer from stupid man syndrome occasionally.

Choose OUT its a lot more interesting.

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.

Post a Comment