Albinism, albino, visually impaired, astigmatism, nystagmus, squint. They’re just words aren’t they. Not to me though, these words define my existence day to day. I hate them! For me, and I don’t mean to sound melodramatic but navigating this world on a daily basis can be a struggle. Bright sunlight is like when an optician shines that little torch directly in your eye. Grey days are full of glare and headache inducing. Actually most of my daily tasks are headache inducing. Working on my computer, squinting to see the timetable boards at the train station, reading price tags in shops, trying to recognise faces at a distance. I hate it. I was born visually impaired and I shouldn’t complain; many people are worse off than me, my sister included but I hate it.. I walk everywhere or use public transport not out of choice but necessity. I commute on rush hour trains with a toddler out of necessity. I walk to work in the pouring rain and gusting winds out of necessity. Did I mention that I hate it.
in here there is the occasional offer of a board game to keep us amused but I rarely opt in. The other day it was monopoly. I probably appeared rude and odd but I just can’t read the cards and especially around strangers. I can only play such games with my closest friends who’ve known me for years and in whom I’ve built up the trust to share my difficulties with them.
I would give anything to drive, but I never will. I would give anything to see the individual faces of my students in the lecture hall, but I never will. I would give anything to not appear rude to people when I walk past them in the street and don’t say hello, not out of rudeness but because I just didn’t see them; but I never will.
Let’s not forget, sight deteriorates further as we get older. There’s no fixing this one. So how do I learn to accept it again. I don’t know.
Embraces the sights around you, they are special.