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.
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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

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.

Can I Feel Your Face

Do you like to feel peoples faces?

I am very good about answering all kinds of questions from people, but every time someone talks about this, I laugh at them. I laugh until they probably start to feel a little uncomfortable. And then I laugh to myself some more because, to me,  it is the most ridiculous question.

No, I do not feel faces. I would probably have no friends. If someone came up to me and asked me in seriousness if they could feel my face, I would feel super uncomfortable. Lets start with the obvious. Hands are super gross. Who knows where they’ve been! So why would I, or any other socially adept blind person want to put our hands on someone else’s face.

Secondly, faces are nasty. Sometimes they’re oily, people have runny noses, food at the corners of their mouths, and lots of other unknown stuff. Gross! Who in their right mind would want to touch some random persons face?

Finally, touching faces is useless. It does not give me information about what someone looks like. One face feels similar to the next. Maybe, if I touched your face as a greeting every time we saw each other, and slowly and methodically caressed it for a few minutes, I would have a better picture of what you felt like. While we’re at it, I might as well touch your entire body, because why should we just stop at the face!

The only time I would ever feel someones face  would be if I was in a relationship, if I had a baby, or if I was being funny. So lets take this film exaggerated stereotype and throw it in the garbage.

Every day in October, I will be posting about blindness related subjects for Blindness Awareness month. Feel free to ask questions; I don’t get offended.

What came first: the question or the answer?

Blind Dating

I thought this title was funny because blind dates are a thing.

A friend asked me to do a post on dating. So while writing this makes me feel somewhat awkward, I promised I’d answer all questions.

What is a relationship like when both partners can see?

That is what a relationship with someone who is blind is like at it’s core. Blind people can love and hate. Blind people can argue and make up. Blind people have opinions and aspirations. Those are things that are the basis of relationships. The only difference is that blind people can’t see their partners facial expressions, nor drive for date night. We can’t tell you that you look nice, because that’s dumb. But we believe in personalities, honesty, love, hope, and sometimes outlines of what our friends call “attractive.”

I think that some people tend to assume that the blind date and marry the blind. This is not necessarily true. Some blind people will date or marry another blind person, while others will not. Some blind people even prefer dating other blind people over those who are sighted. However, many blind people date or marry sighted people as well.

I personally don’t go through life hoping to marry some nice blind guy. That is actually not part of the future I imagine for myself. If I were to meet and fall in love with someone who is blind, I would definitely follow my heart. But just as sighted people have physical traits that they want, I have an idea in my mind as well.

I think people believe that blind people don’t judge based on looks, and at some level this is true. We can’t look at a person and decide if they are attractive, but looks are such a big part of our culture, that other people sometimes cause us to be judgmental. This world is filled with so much vision, yet it is so blind.

Guide Dogs Vs. Seeing Eye Dogs

There is a difference between a guide dog and a Seeing Eye Dog.

Ever since I learned about this, I’ve been noticing more that people often make this common mistake. Guide dogs and Seeing Eye dogs have the same response in popular society. Both are dogs that assist the blind. However, they are quite different.

The school that I got Freesia from is called Guide Dogs for the Blind, and dogs from this school are known as guide dogs.There is another school called The Seeing Eye, and dogs from that school are called seeing eye dogs.  This is the only school for which this is true. Dogs from all other registered schools are properly called guide dogs. The Seeing Eye is a brand, therefore, only dogs from that school can be called Seeing Eye dogs. This means that all Seeing Eye dogs are guide dogs, but all guide dogs are not Seeing Eye dogs. I hope that didn’t confuse you. Just remember, if, and only if, a guide dog comes from The Seeing Eye In new Jersey, it can be called a Seeing Eye Dog. If it comes from any other school, the only proper name for it is a guide dog.

Every day this month I will be posting something for Blindness Awareness Month. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about blindness or the particular roles it plays in my life.

Curiosity killed the cat, not the human.

Shopping

How do you shop for clothes?

Most days, I probably couldn’t even tell you the color of the shirt I’m wearing. I have a device that tells me the colors of things, and I do use it, but not every day. Even when I do use it, by the time I’ve started my day, I can’t remember the color. On top of that, a lot of my shirts have multiple colors in them. My color identifier won’t specifically say, “pink and black shirt.” It says whatever color I have it pointed at. So if I happen to only point it at the black part of my shirt, I may never know that my shirt has some pink in it.

In general, I don’t have a particular style of clothing that I like. I get a lot of clothes with patterns, designs, and colors in them. Many blind people will stick to straight toned clothing so that they can be certain of the color and be certain as to what it matches with. I like to wear fun and (so I’m told) cute clothes. I get my clothes by shopping with friends and family members that I trust. I wouldn’t dare go clothes shopping by my self. There’s no way I would trust some random to help me find clothes.

Because I refuse to simplify my wardrobe, I have to have a way to make sure that my clothes always match. I haven’t yet found a system that works for me, so I always try to wear jeans or black pants, because everything goes with jeans and black. Maybe one day, I too can wear fun pants, but for now I’ll keep waiting.

The only problem I ever run in to is knowing what clothes qualify as (nice.) I’ve gotten a lot better at this, but when someone would say to me, “Just dress kind of nice for this event,” I’d panic right up until the event. I’d constantly change my clothes, for fear that what I wore wasn’t “nice” enough. Maybe the shirt I picked wasn’t nice. Maybe my jeans were faded and I didn’t know. I’d frantically call friends and family members, asking them to recall my entire wardrobe, and describe to me, in great detail, what I should wear.

A frantic conversation with my mom or best friend may have gone a little something like this.

“Remember that one outfit I wore for that one performance.”

“The one with the grey stripes?”

“How should I know? What the H is grey!?”

“You know, that dress with the thing in the front!”

“Yes, that’s the one I’m talking about.”

“Oh, then yes. Wear that.”

If they said no, then the conversation would continue for another five or so minutes. I know that almost every girl panics when getting ready. The only difference for me is that I don’t even have the option of looking at my outfit in the mirror. Not only that, but I can’t take a good enough selfie to send to friends. First world problems are so tragic.

Every day in October, except Saturdays, I will be posting something related to blindness for Blindness Awareness Month. Feel free to ask me questions about anything related to blindness. I know that more than half of you have some random question that you want answered, so message, text, comment with your questions. If you have a question and are too afraid to ask it, know that my respect for you has lessened. Accept the challenge.