10 perks of dating a blind girl

  1. You can look at all the booty you want, because we won’t see it. #JealousOfWhat
  2. We won’t take embarrassing pictures of you to use for blackmail.
  3. We can’t snapchat drunk videos of you.
  4. We can’t judge if you look terrible in the morning.
  5. You don’t have to worry about hiding presents, because we can’t see the box anyway.
  6. We’ll never borrow and lose your car keys.
  7. If you’re really good at being sneaky, you can try the food on our plate without even asking. **wouldn’t recommend**
  8. You won’t find us constantly taking stupid selfies in the mirror.
  9. You can stay awake with the lights on all you want; it won’t bother us. Just know that we won’t be the ones to get up to turn it off.
  10. We try to base our interests on more important things than vanity.

An Open Letter to Society

Dear society,

People who are blind do not need to be spoon fed, unless they’re still toddlers. A spoon full of sugar only helps the medicine go down, it does not help someone live with blindness, so stop sugarcoating life and disabilities in general.

As someone who is blind, I am not dependent on others for daily tasks such as getting dressed, brushing my teeth, and cooking. When I listen to a book, I will proudly say that I read it, because that’s my way of reading. I am capable of going to college and getting a job. I am able to cross streets and travel on my own. I am not helpless. I do not enjoy pity. And I refuse to accept a politically correct society that revels in calling me differently abled instead of disabled.

If you are blind, you have a disability. To whoever came up with “differently abled,” I’m sure that it was with very good intentions. I understand your line of thinking. People with disabilities cope in their own ways and adapt with different abilities, and thus are differently abled. However, I refuse to accept the soft padded room that my generation seems to want. I am disabled. Just because people have chosen to view disabled as a negative, doesn’t mean I also choose to see it as negative. However, I am a firm believer in person first language. The person should always come before their disability. I am not my blindness. I am a 19-year-old woman named Gabriella first, and blind second.

I’m tired of living in a society that refuses to acknowledge that I have a disability, that I’m blind. Society is so careful not to ask questions, for fear of causing offense. It would be nice to one day live in a society that saw me first, and my blindness second. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Fear is the reason people don’t mention my blindness, laugh at my humorous take on it, and unsuccessfully hide their pity. People are so afraid. Get out from under your blanket and stop hiding from the Overly Politically Correct Monster. He only bites a little, and you’ll be all the better for it.

And don’t worry, I’m also guilty of holding too tightly to the blanket.

I’m tired of living in a society that perpetuates blindness stereotypes. Just because you saw it once, does not mean it should be generalized. For instance, a few months ago, my guide dog and I were kicked out of a bakery because I did not look like I was blind. people who are Blind are all different.

•We don’t all carry canes, especially if we have a guide dog.

•We don’t all wear dark sunglasses.

•We don’t all use echolocation, more specifically, clicking noises, to get around.

•We don’t wear mismatched clothing… at least not all the time.

•We’re not constantly running into things… only sometimes.

•We don’t need “helpers” to function.

I know I’m being harsh. I thought it’d feel better if I ripped the bandaid off fast, instead of going through a slow and painful process. It’s okay to be curious. It’s okay to encourage independence in children who are blind. It’s okay to kindly offer help to those who are blind, and to walk away if they refuse it. I don’t think many people are ready to get rid of their blankets, I know I’m not. But I’m trying to hide beneath one that is much smaller than the one I’ve become accustomed to.

Sincerely,

Gabriella drago, a girl who is blind

Monthiversaries Are Dumb

I waited for what seemed like hours. I sat on the bed, then stood up to pace, sat back down…

I kept replaying the words that one of the instructors said to me about 20 minutes prior.

“Gabriella, you have Freesia, a female black lab.”

That was all I knew. Our instructor went around the room and said the name, gender and breed of the guide that each student would be receiving. She had a beautiful name for what I would soon come to know, a beautiful dog.

They told us to go to our rooms and wait for our instructor to bring our dog to us. I waited. And I waited. And I waited some more. I couldn’t breathe with the anxiety and excitement. I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t stand. I walked around the room adjusting things that were perfectly fine. I picked up my phone, as if I could google my new dog into my room. I put down the phone because, for once in my life, I didn’t have a use for it.

“ it’s 1:45, and I got to my room at 1:10. What’s taking so long? Did she die? I came all this way and I’m not getting a guide dog. No way! I’m being ridiculous. Of course she didn’t die. Maybe she’s just sad to leave her friends. I bet their going to come with my dog last because I’m the youngest and seniority rules or something…”

There was a knock at my door and I practically walked through it to get to my Freesia.

My instructor had me sit down and she brought Freesia to me. She was so small for a lab. She was so excited. She loved me for a minute and walked back to her familiar person, my instructor. She told me that Freesia weighed 49 pounds and was 19 inches, and that her birthday was on October 27; all of which I committed to memory. After that, she left Freesia and I alone to get to know each other.

I remember the day like it was yesterday, so it’s hard to believe that it happened 6 months and 5 days ago. Most people can’t remember the exact moment they met their best friend, but I remember. I remember how she licked me, and how she put her head in my lap. I remember the fear I felt as I put her harness on for the first time. I remember the confidence I felt from her. I remember picking up her harness handle, standing by her shoulders and  saying forward. I remember when we took our first steps together as a team. I will never forget the feeling of complete happiness. I had never known such freedom, such complete and total freedom. She was going to give me more independence and confidence than I had ever known. She and I would take on the world together, one day at a time.

Most people can’t remember the exact moment they realized their best friend was their best friend, but I can’t imagine how I could ever forget.

I hate meaningless anniversaries. Monthiversaries are the worst things ever. That’s why I’m posting this 5 days after the fact, because blog posts, and Facebook posts, and Instagram pictures don’t define our relationship.

Freesia takes on crazy

Freesia

My life has been crazy lately. Hey Girl and I got to be on TV, and not only that, it was on my birthday. I always new I had the face for the camera. They don’t even need to worry about getting my good side because all my sides are great. I think that’s why they took so many pictures of me. All I kept telling myself was, ‘Wags and puppy eyes Freesia; wags and puppy eyes.’

That day made me tired because I had to be on 3 different TV’s, plus I still had to take Gabriella to class. They sang happy birthday to me in Solfege, and again with human English words in music therapy. I felt special. Hey Girl even gave me a treat and some peanut butter.

I just love peanut butter. Hey Girl is so lucky I don’t have thumbs, because if I did, it’d be bye bye peanut butter sandwiches for her.

I also recently got gum stuck to my paw. It felt so gross when I walked, and Gabriella didn’t even notice until we got home. There was so much, and it was not a good fashion statement at all, so that was embarrassing. Hey girl picked some off and I let her, but after a while, it started to not feel good so I growled a little and walked away. After that, she put peanut butter on my gum paw. But I don’t know why she did this, she just told me it would help. It was mean because I didn’t know she put it on my foot, but I could smell it all around me. I wanted to find and eat it so bad, so I started running in circles. No matter where I went, I just kept smelling the peanut butter. Hey girl tapped my foot a few times, but I just thought she was going to hurt my paw again, so I walked away. Finally I got tired of chasing myself, went  on my bed, and realized the smell was coming from my paw. It was the best!

It’s been so cold lately. I’m not used to this kind of weather and I don’t like it at all. My friends keep talking about something called snow, but something tells me I don’t want to know what that is, unless it’s food. I love food! But if it’s something that makes my hair wet, like rain, I won’t be happy.

I like being happy. My favorite thing is when Gabriella, some of my friends and I go into the dorm hallway to play. They close the door at the end and I get to run. I run up and down the hall for a long time because it’s so much fun. Other people probably think I’m crazy for running fast all over the place, but they mostly just think I’m cute, because I am. And when it’s all over, and me and my people are tired, I lay down and sleep, because it’s hard work to be a guide dog named Freesia.

Jobs Blind People Shouldn’t Do

If you’re a blind person looking for a job, I thought I’d give you a list of things that you can’t do. Screw all those people advocating that you can do everything, because you can’t.

Taxi Driver

Until someone comes out with blind friendly cars, you will never be one. This includes driving for Uber and Lyft as well. I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings, but if you have no vision, you can’t drive or get a license.

Self driving cars don’t count because the car drives itself.

Brain Surgeon

I’m sorry, but you cannot operate on other humans or animals. Your lack of sight would make it impossible to be helpful. Although, if someone allowed a blind person to perform surgery on them at this point in time, you would be certain that they truly did need brain surgery.

Judge on Dancing With The Stars

Sorry stevie Wonder, you cannot do this. Let me rephrase that: you could not do this unless it was meant to be a joke, or the dancers allowed you to invade their personal space so that you could feel them dance. “Touching With the Stars.”

Sorry Stevie! Hope we’re still cool, even though I don’t know you.

Pilot

At this point in time, you would crash the plane immediately, unless of course someone guided and directed your every move, with their eyes on you the entire time. Even then, it’d probably be best to have no passengers, as their fearful screams would surely cause you to crash, if your blindness didn’t first.

And finally…

A referee for the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL…

Sometimes people will shout to refs, ‘Are you blind?’ If sighted refs suck so much, you, the blind person, would do terribly. I wonder if some of the refs in the 2015 NBA finals were blind. Who am I kidding, they must have been. I hope they know “Their eyes are broken,” as my 4-year-old sister would say. But that’s okay because it is not shameful to be blind.

But really, just because someone is blind doesn’t mean they can’t do things. There are limitless job opportunities for people who are blind. There are also limitless obstacles, but those are nothing.

10 Perks of Being Blind

IMG_1010I needed a stress break, but I’m back for Blindness Awareness Month.

10 perks of being blind

  1. You can sleep in class and your teachers/prof’s will never know. I mean, who’s expecting the blind girl to have her eyes focused up front, or even to have them open? I’d like to say I’m kidding, but those prerequisite classes…
  2. No one will ever ask you to drive on road trips… unless they have a death wish.
  3. And speaking of driving, you will never get a DUI/DWI.
  4. If you have a cane, some enemies, and a lot of anger, you have all the ingredients you need to ‘accidentally’ hit people you don’t like.
  5. You can’t see ugly people. But you also can’t see pretty people. There’s a downside to everything. You can’t judge people based on your opinion of what they look like though, mainly because that’s the one thing you can’t have an opinion on.
  6. You can make jokes about being blind in front of people who are not until they feel super uncomfortable. That’s my personal favorite.
  7. Even if you can see light, as I can, you don’t need it. You will save in the electricity department.
  8. Not using lights means that your neighbors will never be certain if you’re home, so you probably won’t be the door they knock on when they need a cup of sugar.
  9. If your mobility skills are good, you can have a guide dog that can go everywhere with you. Who wouldn’t want to bring a dog to school?
  10. You will never get caught staring at weird people, or people you have feelings for, or that weird thing on your teacher’s face. What weird thing? I don’t know because I can’t see it.

imagination

How do blind people imagine what things look like?

Blind people who have never seen before don’t imagine objects with pictures, but with textures, sounds, and shapes. This is probably a really hard concept to grasp, so I will do my best to let you into my mind.

If someone asked me to visualize my room,visualize meaning to think about it,  I would first think of myself standing inside the room. I would think about sound and hear how much space is in it using the sound of the echoes the room makes, which would give me a sketch of the room’s size. Then I would add textures, the way the walls feel, how the carpet feels underneath my feet, feeling objects and where they are located. I don’t imagine colors because they are meaningless to me. Maybe I would think, in words, the color of the room, but it is not something of much importance to me. ‘picture’ things. It takes me the same amount of time to come up with that whole outline as it would a sighted person thinking about what something looks like. This whole process seems long and crazy after thinking about it, but that is how I imagine things, and it all happens in about a second.

Throughout October, I will be posting things related to blindness for Blindness Awareness Month. It may not be as detrimental as breast cancer, but I believe it is just as important. Feel free to ask questions. I promise I’ll get to them by the end of the month.

Be bold!