What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Anjelina. 

Our society has labeled me and anyone who is different in some way as “disabled” or having a “disability.” I understand the concept of the words, however I actively choose to not use the term due to the stigmas which are unfortunately attached.

I’m totally blind and here’s what I want you to know about blindness:
Encourage your children to ask questions. All too often while in public, I’ll hear an innocent voice inquire about the purpose of my white cane followed by an embarrassed-filled reprimand or apology. Our children are made to be inquisitive. If they do not have their questions answered, then they’ll just resort to the misguided perceptions put forth by our society. Even as adults it is ok to nourish the curiosity part of our brains.

Being blind is not the end of the world and pity or sadness is not helpful. I’ll admit there are days that being blind is a PITA, but I’m sure as a sighted person there are days you wish you didn’t have to drive or be bothered by small print. I have the luxury of being able to read in the dark (thank you Louis Braille) and not worry about the stress-inducing experience of driving! Blindness has taught me it’s all about our perspective.

Just because I strive to compete equally with sighted counterparts, I am not special or amazing. In our own God-given unique ways we are all special, whether sighted or blind. A person who is different also possesses the innate desire to receive the same amount of acceptance and inclusion as much as you. Let’s save amazing for miracles.

I know many will disagree, but if you went blind you would be ok. As a blind person I have learned to use alternative ways to accomplish the same tasks you often rely on sight for. Braillebug.org is a wonderful place to learn about Braille.

Finally, I know we are a politically-correct oriented group, but it’s ok to say the B word—blind. Since blindness is a minority group, and the majority of people who have sight loss have some useable vision, meeting a person who has no sight may be a rarity. See the person who may be noticeably different from your vantage point. Consider first how would I like to be approached? How would I want people to perceive my abilities? Whatever your answers, I am certain a person who is different is riding the same wavelength. 🙂

Thank you for reading!