Hello everyone, and welcome back to my blog.
Sorry for not posting in a while, I have been very busy lately. I hope you all had an amazing summer!
Today’s post is about the awkward moments that i have been involved in due to the fact that i have a visual impairment.
#EndTheAwkward is a campaign created by disability charity, Scope. The aim of the campaign is to End the Awkwardness surrounding disability.
It is said that ‘Two thirds of people feel awkward around disability’.
Emily Davison (or Fashioneyesta as some might know her) created this video talking us through her awkward moments involving her disability.
Emily tagged me to share my own awkward moments and I couldn’t wait to join in in a bid to #EndTheAwkward.
I just want to put a quick disclaimer out there to begin with, I am in no way trying to offend, insult or patronise anyone by writing this post. I am writing this merely to raise awareness of disability.
I will be sharing three of my awkward moments with you today, they might not be very awkward but i thought they fit into the category of this campaign, I hope you enjoy.
1. Bus drivers
Last year i had my first ‘mobility lesson’ on a bus (at least that’s what it was supposed to be). I was very nervous as I had never had a mobility lesson on a bus before. I was travelling from my local village to a supermarket about 15 minutes away and then travelling back, my mobility officer was with me but to me it was like she was never there because i didn’t receive any kind of support from her. Anyway I had previously received a bus pass so i could travel for free as i am visually impaired, i had never used the bus pass before therefore i had no idea what i was supposed to do. The journey there was ok, the driver took my pass and scanned it for me and then i asked him if he could tell me when i reached my destination, which he did. But the journey home wasn’t as pleasant… I went on the bus and tried to give my bus pass to the driver explaining that i am visually impaired and that i couldn’t see where i was supposed to scan it, the driver was very mean about the whole thing and said some pretty nasty things. He wouldn’t take the bus pass from me, he said that i had to do it myself and he was pointing at the scanner (of course I couldn’t see where he was pointing at), i told him over and over again that i couldn’t see the scanner and i asked him nicely if he could scan it for me, he said :
‘You have to learn to do these things yourself, the fact that you’re visually impaired is not an excuse’
By this time i was quite upset but I managed to keep my anger inside. In the end he scanned the card for me but then he wouldn’t give it back. Now you’re probably thinking what my mobility officer was doing this entire time, well she was just standing there behind me doing absolutely nothing! She didn’t tell me where the scanner was and she didn’t try to explain to the driver that this was my first time on a bus, the fact that she didn’t give me any support just made the situation worse. The driver was still arguing with me telling me that I had to take the bus pass back whilst I was trying to tell him that I couldn’t see where the pass was and if he could please put it back in my hand, he was very adamant to do so but after about 5 minutes he gave the bus pass back to me. This was a very awkward situation for me as the bus was quite full so a lot of people were watching the situation and i just felt really pressured. The events of this day made me feel really conscious/anxious about public transport and i haven t been on a bus since.
2. ‘Are you blind or something?’
I have recently started training with a cane so that I can be a bit more independent (side note : the training is going well and my new mobility officer and i are very happy with the progress that I am making). Anyway we went out one morning to the local town so that i could practice my cane skills in larger crowds, we were coming to the end of our session and were about to pop into a shop to look for something, as i was entering the shop a man asked me :
‘Are you blind or something?’
I didn’t respond to his question as I thought it was best to ignore him, but i believe my mobility officer looked at him in disbelief that he asked such a question. This situation didn’t really affect me that much but i was just shocked that someone would ask such a stupid question, i mean i wasn’t walking around with a white cane for fun was I? In my opinion, some people are just completely ignorant and totally oblivious to some things and his comment really did annoy me because i never thought that someone could be so oblivious. If you are a fully sighted person reading this then just remember if you see someone walking around with a cane, it is not for fun. We use them as a disability aid, it’s not a new fashion accessory!
3. ‘Why don’t you make eye contact? It’s like you’re blind or something’.
This is something that I’ve heard people say to me a few times, especially at school. Someone comes up to me and starts talking to me and then asks this:
‘Why don’t you make eye contact? It’s like you’re blind or something’.
And I reply :
‘Well actually I am vision impaired so I can’t see your eyes to make eye contact.’
The person that has been talking to me is then speechless, it’s like I’ve just dropped the bombshell of the century. Let me just say this, you shouldn’t be shocked by someone telling you that they have a disability, we aren’t aliens. You can talk to us like a normal human being because that is what we are. I often get people talking to me like I’m a child, as if I don’t understand what they’re telling me, well the truth is that i understand every single word, I am visually impaired, it doesn’t mean I’mm stupid.
Well that’s all the awkward moments I’m going to share with you today. I have many more that I could share with you but then this post would be very long. I hope you enjoyed hearing about my awkward moments,
I am going to tag Life of a Blind girl to do this, but if you have a disability then feel free to do this as I think it’s a very important campaign to support.
You can discover more information about the campaign here:
Again I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope more people join in to #EndTheAwkward.