Thursday, June 30, 2011

How My Blindness Affects My Own Behavior

I have spent a great deal of time writing on how my loss of vision has impacted how other people interact with me but I have largely neglected how it changes my own behavior. Perhaps I have avoided it because I might not like what I find. Intraspection is never a pleasant process since it involves confronting my weaknesses and faults. I have observed that in many instances, primarily my first discussion with a new friend, I tend to focus my conversation on how ‘tough” I am. For example, I will share how even though I am legally blind, I can still kick some ass if necessary. (I used to be fairly good at martial arts.) In fact, I had an experience in which I actually taunted a man who got out of his car to express his displeasure with me flipping him off. (I was crossing a busy intersection and he almost ran into me while making a right turn.) When the man approached me, he asked if I was going to flip him off again. At first I didn’t realize who he was and after recognizing him I said, “Well, if your going to do something, let’s see what you got”. The man mumbled some inaudible remarks as he turned to walk away and I stated, “That’s the smartest thing you have done all day”. Yes, I probably would have had little difficulty in beating the crap out of him, but then what? In reality my attempts to portray myself as a “tough guy” are indicative of a lack of maturity and I doubt anybody really cares about my ability to defend myself, should the need arise. Instead of portraying myself as a “tough guy”, I was flaunting my own lack of maturity.


  1. Perhaps, but I also think you are showing people that first of all, you are not your blindness and second, you have a sense of humor. I think you may have said that to Nate and me when we first met you (hehe) and I thought, this is a guy who can do things despite what happens to his body. Saying that makes you approachable and helps people feel at ease when talking to you. I never interpreted your comments as being immature...(well, maybe a little, but not any more so than any other man...) so while you may feel that your blindness has affected you in that way, I never saw it like that. Thanks for blogging, hope you all are doing well!

  2. It's good to be honest with yourself, but don't come down too hard. I think we all have a need to appear invulnerable to some extent. We just present it in different ways. I am one of those people that can "do it all" (except martial arts) and that's my defense. When something comes along that makes us feel like we are perceived as less than what we are, it's tough. You are dealing with blindness; I am dealing with obesity. What I am finding is that very few people perceive me the way I perceive myself. You find yourself talking about being tough, I find myself talking about how I lost 100+ lbs before and can do it again. The reality is that I am a lot more than a fat person, and you are a lot more than a blind person. And I really appreciate the comments you are making - I think we can all learn from what you are willing to put out there.

  3. We all have our own way of handling our insecurities don't we? If I picked myself apart I'm sure I'd have a list full. The fact that you can recognize your own behavior is actually quite mature. I totally talk tough sometimes too but if someone turned and challenged me I'd probably run away! haha it would serve me right.