Roped Off

Roped Off

Posted under Eye Conditions, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

Recently I joined a new low vision support group. I knew no one in the group of 200 women. They did not know me either and only the person who invited me knew that I had a visual impairment. Since my format would need to be adjusted so that I could participate, she told the leader in an attempt to secure my materials. What happened after that was sweet and comical all at the same time.

For instance when I arrived I was shown to a back seat in which to sit as if moving any more forward would be beyond my comprehension. Mind you, I had just successfully walked in from the parking lot and was not eaten by crocodiles or any other natural disaster. I guess walking a few more feet in a secure environment might prove problematic. It is then that the gracious lady told me that they rope off the back area to force people to sit further up. I was being let into the sections destined as off limits. One thing I also knew is that this was going to be a learning opportunity for both them and me. I could teach them and I could learn humility from them. They mean well. Of course in my bravado to show how skilled I was to be self-sufficient I walked into the first set of glass doors as I was determined and set on the second set of doors that caused me to bang my face into the first set. Gotcha! Proving that I am not as hot stuff as I try to implore. Of course I did have a secret weapon in my arsenal. I invited a friend to join me for the adventure so she would be my counter balance. She knows me well enough to let me do what I can and lean when I need to. One of the leaders called my friend and was surprised to find out at I have a cell phone and can even use an iPad. Why did she just not ask me those things? Fear?

It is my desire that after a while we can all stop staring at the cane and get back to looking at my face and heart to see who I am. The woman who drives me is the kindest and most generous person I have met. Yet when we left a restaurant she stood there and watched me try to climb into an unfamiliar truck and not her vehicle. When we arrived at the cars she said “We are here.” I was facing one way, in the direction of her voice and started to tug on the door handle. It felt higher than what I remembered but having only been in her car one time I thought I was imagining things. Then her voice rang out and said in a southern drawl, “No, dearie, not that car, this one.” When we did finally manage to get in her car I just asked that in the future if she could indicate when we were at the back of her vehicle then I could manage the rest. It would let me know where I was in space and that navigating to the car door handle would be easier. She likes to give instruction but sometimes it is too much and other times it is not quite enough.

Thankfully, I can hold my own when it comes to the questions that the discussion prompts. I am in my comfort zone and it is from that context that I want the 200 women to come to know and see me. Every week I dress in a snappy fashion so I never look dowdy or like I was unaware of how to put together an outfit. It is a small fun way to let people see that people who have vision issues should not me marginalized. We all have a long way to go before we reach symbiosis but it will come.

In the comfort of my home I was telling my sister about some of the experiences I had and we had a hearty laugh. I do not take myself so seriously that I judge the kindnesses of others as a slight against me. It is not. It is a point of education for all of us. So while it might appear that they are cordoning me off to a specific place that only I can go, it is also a place from which I can stand to be separated for a higher purpose.

Blessings, Denise