I was raised to be a fierce advocate. Brutally. I was taught to fight and taught to win. I was told you can’t trust people to come through for you, you cant rely on anyone but yourself. Be the little Red Hen and do it yourself.

Vulnerability Podcast

I love the movie the “5th Element” when Zorg says “if you want something done do it yourself!!”. He gets his in the end.

Being vulnerable is such a multifaceted thing. Just anyone has to be vulnerable with themselves and not deceive themselves. Able to admit their true feelings wants and needs. Being open to new thoughts new ideas different cultures different ways of thinking new experiences, etc.

Then if we want any kind of relationship we have to be vulnerable enough to share ourselves. Committed relationships are even harder having to be vulnerable with our partner and ideally having an interdependent connection with them.

There are so many things that can make us feel vulnerable. My self esteem has been an issue for me most of my life. Frankly who would want to be with a blind man be my friend be my partner lover or wife. Oh my god who would want to have kids with a person with a genetic disorder.

I feel vulnerable most of the time just being safe. Emotionally I suck at sighted cultural norms and mess them up all the time. My body gestures and my language are very different because of my culture of the blind. Physically I am terrified. Terrified that I won’t see that bicycle car truck or the bus that will likely kill me dead like a bug. I often have joked about that bus that will kill me. I joke about going through the glass dramatically taking out the fare box and landing in the back of the bus, toast. Very morbid but you get the idea. I worry about people I don’t want to see. We’ve all been in relationships that go south and I can’t see the person coming up to bang me on the bean. Or my new girlfriends X coming for revenge. Or just the dude that wants to steal my wallet. Very scary stuff.

Then there are the practical things. I as a blind man need to ask for help all the time. Coming home from a job interview the other day. I asked a person what color the crossing light was. Turns out she was headed my way so I asked if I could walk with her. Turns out she was taking the same bus and I again followed her. Was a nice connection. You have to be willing to ask for help. ALL THE TIME!!! Pride will only limit you and likely get you hurt. Anyone see a bus coming? Kidding.

Being vulnerable at work is a hard one. You don’t want to give the impression you can’t do the job. I’ve had some terrible experiences at work. People seem to think that if you receive accommodations for the workplace, “See the Blog Post / Podcast on the Technology I use”, that you are suddenly cured, you are now unblind. Sorry doesn’t work that way. My professional success comes from working with managers that are flexible and allow me to make my own job. Then I can inject my blind style and get the job done. Managers and organizations that are worrying about perception form and function will sooner or later find me and purge me as scourge to their culture. Doesn’t work for me unfortunately. I always give my best be it at work or at home. I have done nothing I am ashamed of and have always done what I’ve been able to do at the time with the knowledge and abilities I have had.

Vulnerability at home is something else. Try having your four year old guide you across the street because you can’t see the traffic or the lights. Kids are fun they tend to try and figure out what you can and can’t do. Then exploit it. Try being mad at your significant other and having to ask for a ride somewhere. Worse have that same significant other know that you need the ride.

I have written before about the female model and groups. I am as a function of my disability very vulnerable. Managing my vulnerability is a constant vigil. Ensuring my pride doesn’t get in the way is even harder.

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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