The Division within the blind community

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We have talked about the division between the way blindness is perceived by the sighted world and those who are experiencing it. The things they ask us and say to us. Things like “you don’t look blind” or “ how can you be blind when you’re looking at me”. The list of common things that are said are endless and all reaffirm the huge amount of misconceptions that still surround blindness and low vision today, but one thing that rarely gets talked about is the divisions within the blind community itself.

Blindness is truly a spectrum and the many ways we experience it can lead to division between ourselves and this is something I’ve witnessed and felt many times over the years.

The way someone who has been blind all their lives or someone who has been completely blind for many years is very different to that of those who are slowly going blind. Those who have adapted to the sightless world are mostly happy and wouldn’t change the way they live their lives so sometimes it’s hard for them to hear people talking about blindness as being a struggle.

I myself was criticised many times at the beginning for writing poetry about struggling with anxiety and depression over the sadness of losing my sight. People told me that I shouldn’t talk about the negatives of blindness even though my poetry would always address both aspects. Life is all about ups and downs, every day no matter what’s are challenges are we all face times where we struggle and times when we don’t. It’s not about how many times we fail but how we overcome. So for those who have truly accepted their blindness and see it as nothing but normality it’s no wonder that it’s hard for them to hear someone else talking about it in such a different way. There are also some who are like alcoholics who can’t be around people who are drinking. By that I mean just because they have moved past a particular stage of sight loss they can’t face hearing about others experiences especially those who are scared or dread not being able to see. But the truth is that none of our outlooks are wrong or invalid. It’s ok to feel however we feel. Each persons experiences are there own.

We need more understanding from outside of the blind community but we also need more understanding within it. I hope instead of judging others from our own experiences we can remember that the spectrum of blindness is truly that.

Blindness is a spectrum

we say it all the time

there’s many shades to how it fades

by it we’re not defined

Although we share how we prepare for blindness and adapt

that doesn’t mean we’re all the same

That’s not how we all act

There’s some who really struggle who feel sad about their eyes

feel trapped within the haze and days feel often compromised

There’s lots of us who wouldn’t change our lack of useful sight

are happy in the blur and that is perfectly alright

We all don’t need your pity

some aren’t looking for a cure

view blindness as a blessing

view their future as unsure

and just because the way that we perceive is not the same

is not a valid reason to be judged or made to blame

Just because some of you have moved past a certain stage

have learned to be accepting of what’s gone and turn the page

doesn’t mean that others should feel happy like you do

those dark days maybe old but to someone else their new

So let’s not be so quick to judge

don’t trivialise their pain

remember what comes easy for you might not be the same

Then maybe the division in our blind community

will one day just be like love

don’t need our eyes to see

#TheBlindPoet