Monday, May 9, 2011

How do you describe an Elephant

A different view can have people seeing elephants from different ways. Blindness has different ways of seeing things. When people become blind, they hear about one group or way of doing things or another, and I don't blame that newly-blinded person who is a blank slate and tabula raza. We all come from different cultural perspectives. Not all generalities are true. Not all Protestants, thouth many tend to be scared and therefore pretentious and more passive as the dominant class white middle-class men and to a lesser extent, women. Those who are on the margins are less contrived and constrained. I apprecaite Kevin's comment, (a pseudonym or nome do plume) about how we navigate our lives. I have known other people with visual impairments who never knew they were different, and never felt different, because they did not grow up around their cohort or peers. A young woman who explores and asks questions and is inquisitive such as one I mentor uses me as a mentor and role model. We need to wrap each other in love and self-confidence. Self-esteem is over-used. I want to be more than the "blind" label with shuffling feet, dependent and all that would imply. But those in leadership have an obligation to help the next person to glide along and life and have experiences that will help them maintin their life and well-being. Yes, a newly -blinded person, or one who has been attacked by an animal, or had an accident as two people in Alaska have had need to create their life anew, but that does make them better than those of us who are congenitally blind. That is somewhat of a misnomer, since I did not have inherited blindness, but I had to work hard, thinking that I could change things. I was the first woman I know of in Alaska with a blog, first woman in the legislature in a professional manner to pave the way for the next person, and coordinated four legislative aides who were three Republicans and one Democrat alongwith the Director of Division of Elections and Independent Living advocates and Alaska Independent Blind of which I am the President and was then, but am pretty burned out about blindness. Though I cannot escape it altogether, I understand why this young man wants to mitigate it as much as possible. However, it is a part, albeig a small part of our identity. Please, Kevin, respond to this. I think it is essential that we speak about how we view blindness and the role it might play in our lives. Unless we help each other mitigate it, instead of kicking each other down instead of picking us up and attaining all we can, one person should not have more options than the next. Many adventitiously blind people have more resources because they were part of the mainstream. My friend Caryn became blind in about sixth grade, and it meant a change in her life. She is a Braille expert, and attained heR doctorate at 28. I even wrote a song about this and three situations. Maybe, I'll put it on here. Thanks. Those of us who are congenitally blind are much more isolated and do not have the networks and mentors and skills that some, not all, adventitiously blind people have buiilt up. Many blind people lose their spouses or friends, because people shy away from them, and are afraid of them. Koraling Lynne

4 comments:

SueEllen said...

This is a bigger topic than can be covered in a blog, but I (SueEllen) think it is very hard to compare people given all the factors that influence who we are. Some people are blessed to have good family and social support, which are huge factors in the development of the individual. Financial resources, resilience, how outgoing a person is, willingness to take risks, and intellect are several more important factors. My education is in clinical psychology, which has helped me to see the nuance of personality, family and community. Also, every person's experience of blindness is their unique experience very much influenced by their own perspectives about blindness and themselves. For instance, I really value being a joyful person with a sense of humor and a critical thinker. I also want to not let my fears stop me from doing things, such as travel, participating in sports, and being as independent as I can be. If someone is not that way, that is ok with me - we are all different and have different values.

Anonymous said...

you seemed to have traveled all over in this post. I'm not sure why there was a shot at protestants in there, but I believe, like SueEllen, that we all come to our place in life via the circumstances that surround us while life is happening. Your family support, intellect, outgoingness, and other factors have much to do with your happiness and ability to adapt to whatever and whenever life hands you a curveball (or a beeping curveball).

Koraling Lynne said...

I did not mean to offend you Mr. or Ms. Anonymous and I want you to keep commenting and critiquing. If we don't communicate, how can we learn and grow? Like a flower, we must shed light and put water on it for it to blossom and grow. I have found in only my own experience in my BS in Psychology, my MSW and my MPA that I have learned much about myself and others, and I am still learning. I do not want to categorize or generalize but through of human motivations and behaviors, I have learned about me and others. I can always learn much more and I believe feedback is important not criticism. We used to have "criticism and self-criticism" in "radical therapy" in the 1980's. We all have our way of coping. I have felt so lucky in my life until the last few years when my life has turned in another direction, and I try to change and do new things, but my physical health is not as good, nor my relationship. I am a social being, and like teamworkand networking. Like SueEllen, people come to their life from differnet perspectives. Class and background matters a lot. Many of us who are congenitally blind come from more likely dysfunctional situations. One ofmy research questions was that disabled folks are more likely to come from dysfunctional families. I don't know how well I proved anything. It was conjecture, at best. I spent the morning struggling with Adobe products, and sometimes big companies are difficult to communicate with and have no "bedside manner" or customer service. I remebmer when doctors had their bags and made house calls. Dr. Kurtz was one of them. Okay, wandering off the trail again! Koraling Lynne with love, open mind and appreciation

Koraling Lynne said...

Elephants