I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the last few days after some interesting conversations I’ve had with various people about blindness — a friend’s mom, new friends, and some close friends I’ve known for years — and it got me thinking. I’ve made a lot of new friends lately who are probably curious about my disability, and maybe some close friends have had questions but didn’t want to ask. Anyway, interesting conversations have led me to ponder and think of 10 common questions I get asked about being blind. I’ll list them here with my answers below. You learn new things every day, right?
1. Do you prefer to date someone who’s blind or sighted?
I don’t really have a preference, I’ve experienced both. Both have upsides and downsides to them. I’ve concluded that the thing I absolutely love most about dating someone who is also blind is that I know with 100 percent certainty that he’s seeing me for me, and not what I look like. I’m not saying all guys date girls strictly for looks — not at all — but I like looking back on the day we met and knowing his first impression of me was who I was as a person.
2. How do you text (and type) on your phone?
The iPhone comes with speech capabilities already built in. It’s called Voiceover, and if you’re interested in trying it out, it’s in settings>general>acccessibility>voiceover. I’ve memorized where the letters are, even on a touch screen phone.
3. Do you count steps?
I don’t. I know some blind people who do, though. This is why I don’t: My steps could be different sizes every day. Five steps from my room to the bathroom might be 10 another day, when I’m tired or distracted and taking smaller steps.
4. How do you dream?
I dream the same way I experience the world around me: using my four senses. I know who someone is in my dreams based on the sound of their voice.
5. If you could have vision, would you?
No. A lot of people are surprised by this answer. The thing is, I’d have to learn everything. I’d have to learn to read print, drive, write, everything. I’ve been blind for 23 years. This is the life I’m used to.
6. Do people ever talk to you like a child because of your blindness?
ALL THE TIME. It’s annoying. I try not to let it bother me too much, but admittedly it still does.
7. How do you take notes in school?
I use what’s called a Braille Note Apex. Essentially, it’s a screenless laptop. Instead of a screen, it has a Braille display at the bottom. Similar to displaying words on the screen when you type on a computer, it displays the words in Braille so I can read them.
8. Are you scared to travel alone?
Not really anymore. I’ve been taking solo train trips for a little over a year now. I’ve also been on an Amtrak train, used buses, and cabs. The only thing that scares me is the thought of flying alone. I’m sure I’ll do it someday, though.
9. Where would you like to travel by yourself?
A concert. People are usually expecting me to give some sort of vacation destination, but honestly, a concert. I was talking with a friend of mine who is also blind, and we discussed going to a concert together sometime. We said, “What if we’re the only ones who wanted to go to this concert? It’s not fair to have a sighted person pay for a ticket for a concert they don’t want to go to just so they can lead us around.” So we actually looked into concert venues and contacted some to ask about their
accommodations and stuff. I haven’t been to one yet, but it’s possible!
10. How did you become blind?
I have what’s called Retinopathy of Prematurity, which means my retinas were detached due to premature birth.