I am visually impaired, what the state of Texas considers blind, but with a small field of vision that to most people means I am not really blind. This was the result of an act of violence committed against me by a sociopath. A person who believed themselves entitled to their anger, their grievances, their hurts and most of all entitled to live a life based on the false assumption that nothing and no one besides themselves counted above their own self absorption. I have nothing to do with such people these days, something that is actually easier to do in real life than here.
Being a tough cookie I fully expected that I would surmount this, newest, obstacle. What I didn’t know was that my very way of thinking had to readjust in order to make the changes required for making a life under these very new circumstances. Being tough just frankly was not enough. I was going to need to find in myself something more than courage and a stubborn insistence on moving forward.
There was no aspect to my life that was not impacted and I came to understand that only the choices I made would determine whether the outcome was good or bad.
I had wonderful help, I was fortunate to be a Texan with the full support of the Texas Commission For the Blind to face all these changed circumstances. My first hurdle was simply mobility, getting around in a world I suddenly could not see very much of. That turned out to be a three year long training exercise before I was fully confident of my ability to go where I wanted to go when I wanted on my own terms. But I got there.
The second life altering change I had to make was to acknowledge all those messy emotions that go along with such a life changing experience. My first caseworker with the Commission read me like an open book, a disconcerting thing that blind people do and I suspect the reason people are so afraid of us. She insisted to me that I must grieve what I had lost and I must acknowledge those feelings or I would ultimately undo all the other work I was being so successful at. Her suggestion to me was that I set a timer for five minutes, be private and have my pity party and then when the bell goes off be done with it for a while. It was the best advice I have ever gotten in my life.
There are some things that need to be addressed to be successful at it. The main one to me was the stunning realization that I didn’t have more than five minutes worth of original material. Any longer and I was repeating myself and wasting good time I could be using for a better purpose. The other was realizing that it was a whole lot like expecting to smoke pot and get something done. You can, provided you decide before you get high what you’re going to do and how you’re going to get started. Then you can just do it and not blow your buzz. Same thing with a pity party, be prepared and then be busy. The healing comes along in reverse proportion to losing your buzz, it builds rather than decreases.
My caseworker’s point was that any one dimensional solution to a multi dimensional problem is destined to fail. No one thing that I did, no service that was provided to me by the Commission helped me to survive being blinded; it took many things all working together.
I did not “get over” being blinded, although I can say that there are people in world insensitive enough to actually say and apparently mean such a thing. What I did do though was get with, embrace and accept the new reality that is my life.
My feelings about that are addressed, privately, in a pity party. What that does for me is allow me to go forward in action and make choices that are not directed by those feelings. They get their hearing and they certainly can be a factor, but they damn sure don’t run the show and for that I am truly grateful.
Do I lack patience with people who won’t deal with their feelings privately and use and embrace them instead of inflicting them on the wider world? In a word-YES. It doesn’t need to be done like that and it doesn’t actually work as well that way.
So, please folks would you leave me off the invitation list for your pity party.