Groups

For all of us inclusion of some manner in a group is comforting. People’s thinking seems to be focused around categorization. We all need a hole to fit into be it round or square its kind of up to us as individuals. Sometimes how you fit a square peg in a round hole is with a 20lb sledge hammer and a little body English.

Groups Podcast

Groups are very interesting things. At their best groups offer rich support systems, safety, a sense of belonging and reaffirmation for our individual beliefs, finally acceptance. It is very comforting to be like other people it makes us feel less special and takes the pressure off of creating an individual context for yourself. At their worst groups are unsafe, judgmental, demanding conformity, destructive to self esteem and personal beliefs, actively punishing or weeding out non conformity by ultimately excluding or casting out members.

I am by my personal definition or identity mainly group-less. There are groups I do belong to otherwise people would think me crazy or insane. However I am not sighted and I am not totally blind either. I am in the middle I am by no choice of my own an individual a maverick. An unstable element.

Being in the middle is very interesting. I have to create my own context to find out what works and what doesn’t work for me and ultimately establish my own identify or definition of who and what I am and what I am about.

Its very freeing. I can pick and choose the best bits from other groups. The downside is I’m the only member. Kinda like Tigger I’m the only one in the group. I can’t allow others in my group. I can share my context and my group identity but I can’t allow others in nor can I totally enter the context of other groups. I have to always create an abstraction layer or bridge between the groups. Otherwise the relationships in those groups don’t function and I am cast out.

When your a “tweener” your experience with vision is very unique so unique in fact that it is entirely your own. There are others that can understand more or less but no one will have the unique qualities or capabilities to truly understand what you can and cannot see. I think vision is individual for all of us. Its very confining as I am ultimately alone. No one else is blind like me. They are sorta blind like me or share some commonalities or similarities but they do not share the same experiences. The energy I expend to be “part of” or have my foot in a group is at times prohibitive. There are groups I’d love to be in but just can’t. I tend to deal on the fringe the outer edge the 1% to 5% of the population.

I have a unique perspective on groups. I know how they work and how they don’t . I have been cast out of many groups or denied entry in the first place because of my disability.

Professional groups

I have chosen a technical career with computers.

I really hate computers as in my opinion the capabilities of the computer really haven’t changed significantly in the lifetime I’ve spent working with them. Everything I experienced twenty years ago is still what is available today. The difference is the richness of the experience and the mobility of the experience. So I guess somethings have changed.

Regardless the professional groups I personally can belong to is limited by my disability and my ability to join the group. For instance I will never be a pizza delivery boy. Nor will I ever be a brain surgeon. My personal choices are very much limited by my lack of sight.

I am at my best being the thought leader the one bringing all the great ideas of the team into a focused vision. Them driving to implement that vision.

Religious groups

I’m sorry all you faith healers out there. Don’t waist my time anymore praying for my vision to return. I like who I am. God made me this way. Its all original equipment from the factory and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I was having a burger the other day and a faith healer came up to me and asked if he could pray for my leg which was in a cast. My fiance and I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t want to pray for my eyes. I told him knock yourself out. He prayed. Then was disgusted that I didn’t take my cast off and jump up and down and praise Jesus. Oh Well.

My fiancée and I recently were politely cast out of a religious group. Seems that religion still doesn’t have room for life. The facts of life people leaving unhealthy marriages getting divorced healing moving on new relationships and new life seems to be too much for the men of god. Get a life boys.

Gender Role groups

I will never be a “man” thank god. I don’t want to be an unfeeling unemotional insensitive sports obsessed buffoon. Sorry boys. I like the camaraderie of working together on a technical problem at three in the morning and sharing a take out steak to think about the problem but that’s about as far as it goes.

Groups of Friends

I am wicked smart and I’m blind not a great combination. I occasionally like to drink beer but love to do things. I love to sing I love to perform. In most groups I am the entertainment. I am always the tag along, as I don’t drive, or the court jester. Sometimes I get tired of performing. I very much like very close more intimate friendships and relationships. Big groups are too much work and wear me out.

Family Groups

There is a great line from the movie “Fast and the Furious”, “There are all kinds of family!”. Its so true. I am blessed as I realized this long ago. My biological family did everything they could to support me and my blindness. We all do our best with who we are and what we know and have at the time. My biological family never had the context to support all of my needs. The broader family of origin didn’t and doesn’t even acknowledge the disability that so prevalently runs in our genes. So I needed and have been fortunate enough to have found others. I have many ducks that honk me along in my life. I can’t thank god enough for all of the love and support sent my way.

Inclusion and the limits of groups are very interesting its like the lowest common denominator. A person cannot be their true self in a group. They can be an acceptable subset. At least that is my observation out here in my own little world.

Posted in: Everything Else, Living

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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