Disability is often portrayed as being something completely negative. I’ve come across many people who believe I lead a negative life because of the fact that I’m blind/VI, this however is not the truth. Of course, there are many negative aspects to being visually impaired but there are also many positives. Every cloud has a silver lining, right?
I thought I’d take some time today to highlight some of the pros and cons that come alongside being visually impaired. These are purely my own views and it will not apply to every other blind/VI person out there because as I’ve said many times in my previous posts, everyone is different and no one will hold the same views or have the same experiences.
I did consider writing a post about the pros alone but I decided against that as I don’t want to sugarcoat anything on my blog, I want to highlight the reality of living with a disability (from my own perspective) as well as highlighting the positive aspects.
So with this in mind, here are some of the pros and cons of being blind/VI.
Con: It stops me from having the chance to drive
This can be tough sometimes, especially on those days when all I want to do is get out of the house and go somewhere, just anywhere that isn’t my local village. Of course there is always the option of taking the bus or the train but as I live in a rural area, getting access to such public transport isn’t the easiest of things to do.
Pro: I don’t have to spend thousands of pounds on a car and everything that comes along with it
Although I sometimes envy those who can drive and who have the opportunity to drive, I must say that I don’t envy the cost that comes along with it. Those who know me will often hear me say that I am quite glad about the fact that I don’t have to spend all that money, I can use it on other things. A new perfume is practical right?
Con: I have to deal with misconceptions on a daily basis
If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you’ll know that I often talk about the endless list of misconceptions that surround being blind/VI, it’s quite shocking to think of them all sometimes. I understand that many of these misconceptions come from people’s lack of understanding of disability but it can be hard to deal with at times. All we want as disabled people is to be treated equally within society and the misconceptions that people hold often prevent that from happening.
Pro: I have the opportunity to tackle these misconceptions
I have come across my fair share of misconceptions as I’ve grown up with sight loss so when I created my blog nearly three years ago, I realised that it was the perfect opportunity to tackle them. I now have an outlet, a place where I can talk openly about these misconceptions and hopefully be able to change some people’s perceptions of disability, vision impairment in my case.
Con: It was hard to make friends
For me, growing up with a vision impairment made it quite difficult to make friends. There were many people who weren’t willing to look past my vision impairment and realise that I am in fact a ‘normal person’. People would often make fun of me because of my disability and I’ve talked quite a bit about my experience of being bullied because of it. I often felt inferior to the people around me when I was growing up because I was treated differently and this knocked my confidence quite a bit, making it difficult for me to make new friends. Living with sight loss can be isolating at times, it was a feeling I often felt especially during my time in education. It hurt at times to think that people weren’t willing to accept me for who I am, they just saw my disability and not the person behind it.
Pro: It has proven who my true friends are and has allowed me to meet others in a similar situation
Saying all that, I am so grateful that there has been quite a few people who have accepted me for me and haven’t given my sight loss a second thought. Living with a vision impairment has proven to me who my true friends are, the people who treat me just like they would anyone else. A few of my friends have told me that they often forget that I’m visually impaired (I think that’s a good thing), they’ve said that they don’t understand why people would even think to treat me differently to anyone else. I’m just like them, the only difference is that I can’t see. Being blind/VI has also given me the opportunity to meet others who are also living with a vision impairment, my best friend being one of them, someone who I can completely relate to and be myself around, someone who I would have never of met if I wasn’t visually impaired.
Con: I have to use a cane
I just want to point out that this is not something I see as being a con anymore but when I was younger, I couldn’t think of anything worse than going out into the public with my cane and being heavily judged for it. I used to be so self-conscious about it and I was so embarrassed to use it. I refused to pick it up for years because of this but I finally swallowed my pride about three years ago and decided that enough was enough and that it wouldn’t get the better of me. You can read the story of me and my cane here if you’re interested.
Pro: It’s my key to independence
Gaining independence as a blind/VI person has proven to be quite difficult for me as I know it can be for many others aswell. However, many blind/VI people are pros at going out on their own and travelling independently. Hearing their stories and realising that it is possible definitely gives me the determination I need to be more independent myself. My cane is now my key to independence. If I want to go for a walk on my own then I won’t leave without my cane. Granted, I am guilty of not using it all the time, I know, if I trip it’s my own fault. But I’ve realised that using a cane is nothing to be ashamed of. Sure, some people will still have their judgements and it’s definitely proven to be a barrier sometimes in terms of sparking conversations but as long as it gives me that independence I need then that’s good enough for me.
Con: Missing out on seeing photos of friends and family
Everyone loves to show their loved ones the photos from their recent holiday, the latest edition to their family or their cute new puppy, but as blind/VI people, we can’t appreciate these things. I do have some remaining vision but I find it increasingly difficult to look at things like pictures. I do feel like I’m missing out sometimes when everyone gathers round their phones with their “Aww how cute” comments but I’m lucky in the sense that my family and friends will describe most photos to me.
Pro: I don’t have to see the things that aren’t so pleasant
I’m quite a faint hearted person, I don’t do so well with unpleasant things. So a pro to being blind/VI is that I don’t have to see things such as the photos of a gory accident or something else that isn’t very pleasant. Plus, you’ll never hear me scream when there’s a spider in the room because I can’t see it #winwin.
I thought I’d mention a few extra positive things about being blind/VI because I’m all about those positive vibes.
Free personal assistant tickets to concerts/shows
Let’s face it, concerts are expensive but one of the benefits of being blind/disabled is that it’s possible to get a free personal assistant ticket with the purchase of any accessible ticket, something I’m not complaining about. It does make me feel a little guilty however. But if I can get a free ticket to that extremely expensive Taylor Swift concert which I’m going to in June (one ticket was enough to break my bank) then I’m not complaining.
1/3 off train fares
Talking about expensive things, don’t get me started on trains. As disabled people, we are lucky in the sense that we can get a third off the price of our train tickets. We have to pay £20 a year in order to receive our railcards but it’s definitely worth it. Although the prices are still quite high even with the money off so I really feel for those who have to pay full price!
Having the opportunity to learn new skills
Of course, anyone can turn their hand to learning any skill they want but I’ve definitely learned specific skills because of living with a vision impairment, things that I probably never would have learned if I wasn’t losing my sight. One of the most valuable skills I’ve learned as a blind/VI person is how to read and write braille. I’ve learned it in three languages now and I definitely think it’s valuable to me since a lot of things are labelled with braille these days so I can recognise those items without needing the assistance of someone else.
Proving people wrong
This is something I think many people like to do, disability or not. But personally, I’ve grown up with people thinking or telling me that I can’t do something or that it’s impossible for me to reach my goals because of the fact that I’m visually impaired. In some way, this drives me more to reach my full potential. I love showing people that in fact, a lot of things are possible and there’s something really satisfying about proving those people wrong.
Having the opportunity to help and motivate others
If you’re a regular reader of my blog then you will have heard me talk about this point so many times. But one of the things I’m most passionate about doing is helping and motivating others. Living with sight loss has allowed me to be able to share my experiences in the hope of educating others but has also allowed me to share my story with others in the same or similar situation. It means so much to me when people reach out to me and say that they could relate to my blog posts and story in some way or that what I write has helped them even if it’s just the slightest amount. That’s one of my main aims and it’s such a special feeling when I manage to achieve it.
As you can tell, there are quite a few negatives to living with sight loss but that doesn’t mean that it’s all doom and gloom. I can’t hide that some days are hard, I can’t deny that I feel down because of it sometimes but we all have our down days. One of the main aims of my blog is to spread positivity and focus on the positive aspects of living with a disability, but it’s equally as important to me that I highlight the struggles and challenges I face as a blind/VI person in a sighted world and that was why I decided to write this post.
Are you blind/VI or do you live with another disability? What are some pros and cons that you associate with your disability? I would love to hear from you.