"Why don't you look where you're going..."

November 12, 2017



Forgive me for the absence of blogs lately.  My brain has been overflowing with thoughts, and I am just now processing and working through them all.  


I have been in a season of reflection and questioning….I have been writing, thinking, and testing thought after thought, experience after experience.  But the one thing I want to talk about isn’t the meaning of life or who God is or something ENORMOUS like that.


I want to talk about what it means to be a visually impaired person in this world.  Luckily, lots of people on this planet are compassionate, giving, and understanding.  However, in the past few weeks, I have been approached by those who are angry, brash, and rough around the edges.  People who yell, “Look where the F*CK you’re going,” or “get your  head out of your “*&^%$  phone” (while I’m desperately looking at my GPS because street signs are  impossible to see).   


See, it’s tricky when you’re visually impaired but don’t “look like it” some of the time. Let me first give you awesome people a non-textbooky definition of vision impairment.  Being a VIP (visually impaired person) means you live with a decreased ability to see, and glasses or contacts cannot fix the problem.  So, you’re not totally blind, but you also sound like a Wheel of Fortune contestant when reading the eye chart.  There are varying degrees of visual impairment, and you can have different amounts of vision in each eye.  Some people only have light perception, others see things only with their peripheral vision, others don’t have peripheral vision, and others see through a pin-hole of sight.  No two VIPs are exactly alike.  


A few more points in regards to vision impairment.

  1. A visually impaired person may not appear to be looking you directly in the eye….we are still super-focused on you and we are listening.  Our eyes just don’t always do the focus thing.

  2. If you see someone who is a grown adult reading something right up to their face….they most likely know that they “should try glasses.”  Glasses just don’t do the trick.  

  3. I promise lots of us aren’t “stupid millennials” when we have our heads in our phones.  I use my Maps app to get just about everywhere, and the accessibility settings in my iPhone have saved my butt more times than i can try to explain.  Some VIPs rely on a white cane to help them navigate.  Because I still rely on the sight I DO have, I may appear to have no trouble navigating NYC…but alas.  I have been side-swiped by bikers in my periphery more than you wanna count.  Keeps ya on your toes.  

  4. Just because some of us don’t use a cane or a dog, does not mean our impairment is not valid.  Invisible disabilities exist, and we are always happy to talk to you about it or answer questions.  ALWAYS.  


With that being said, if you have any questions on what it’s like to live with a vision impairment, ask me!  I would much rather educate anyone than have us all sit in awkwardness.  


Peace and blessings,

Alie B.  


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