Quite The Introduction

 

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“Hi, my name is Gabriella Drago and I am blind.”

I will refer to this statement throughout this entire post. I have made it my mission to never introduce myself that way, unless some day I become a motivational speaker, in which case, I will be very straightforward about it. I have a reason for this. For someone that is sighted, and even for some who are blind, informing others of a visual impairment seems pretty logical. If you think this, you are correct. However in most cases, I do not believe in going about it so bluntly, at least not during a real person to person social situation. That does not mean that it is the wrong way, it is just not the way that I prefer. I mean, come on! You wouldn’t go up to someone and say, “Hi, my name is Gabriella, and I’m wearing clothes.” If I am talking to you, and you are looking at me, I should hope that the cane or the dog, plus the lack of eye contact, gives you at least 95% certainty that I’m blind, unless you’re blind as well, in which case, I guess we’ll both never know. This is clearly based off of my own experiences, so please take it with a grain of salt.

When I first meet someone, whether it be in a professional or casual setting, my number one goal is to make sure that both myself and the person I am talking to do not feel uncomfortable. For starters, this statement makes me feel very uncomfortable. It makes me feel that being blind is a quality that I should be ashamed of. Sort of like I’m saying it in case the person I’m talking to hasn’t noticed and I’m giving them an opportunity to turn back. I also believe that this statement can make the other person feel uncomfortable. If I leave out the part abut being blind, they can just respond with a, “Nice to meet you. I’m so and so.” (Hopefully that’s not their actual name.) But if I add the part about being blind, they then feel the need to respond to that part as well with something like, “Oh, that’s cool that you’re blind. Um, I think there was a blind girl at my high school maybe.” And then they take a few seconds to remember the person’s name, because all blind people clearly know each other. Don’t get me wrong, their response isn’t their fault, because I was the one who awkwardly prompted it. It can also be awkward if I say nothing about it, but I find that it isn’t so awkward if I don’t bring it up in such an upfront manner. People who know me know that I really enjoy making people feel uncomfortable by making subtle jokes about being blind. People who are unfamiliar with someone who is blind often feel unsure as to whether they should laugh or not, therefore making the situation awkward for them, and hilarious for me. But before that, I want them to at least have gotten a chance to decide if they like me.

Before ending this post, I would like to caution: not all blind people are comfortable with laughing at their blindness, so please friends, be smart.

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5 thoughts on “Quite The Introduction

  1. Hi Gabriella , looking forward to seeing you. I have always loved dogs I know you are going to be great. I always get a strange feeling about now when i write .So i`m going to go. love you kid !

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  2. In one of your posts, you mentioned your condition has existed since birth so the world you know and have learned to live in is blind. I understood when you said if someone was to give you sight, it would be like starting over and learning a new life and a new world. Everything as you know it today would suddenly be different. So, not seeing for you is actually your comfort zone in a way, is that accurate? I wonder for someone who has lived both ways, what that would be like? My father in law may lose his sight and for the first time in his life, he is very scared. I’m not sure how to respond to the whole situation but we’re hoping his surgery is successful.

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    • Yes I guess that’s pretty accurate. I’ve met quite a few people who have lost their vision later on in life, and some express anger and frustration, while others have mastered this strange acceptance. I think it is a perfectly normal response to be afraid of losing vision, especially for someone who’s vision has been a constant for so many years. Blindness is an unknown. I’m not too sure how I would handle that fear because it’s completely logical. Maybe I would just embrace it and know that whatever happens there are always options and Solutions for independence. I would definitely be proactive in knowing what resources are available to him. It’s like preparing for an earthquake: you’d rather it not come but at least you’re ready in case. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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