I Am One Of The 0.5% Of Women Who Struggle With Colorblindness

Flickr / Simon Strandgaard
Flickr / Simon Strandgaard

I have learned that being colorblind can mean a few different things. There are the type that sees grey instead of colors, or the type that sees only one shade of a color, and of course there is the type who can see color but it’s the wrong shade of the color. That last one is what I suffer with. I can see colors, but usually the shade I am seeing is not the shade that the rest of the world sees. Pinks, reds and oranges sort of blend into each other and purple and blue may as well be the same damn color for me.

I found out I was colorblind about three years ago and have since then been trying to trick myself into hopefully seeing the right color. As in, I see this purple shirt and I know in my head that it is not actually purple, but more of a blue weird color that normal people would think is awful. I attempted to make little tricks in my head to remember what colors were which. I try to really stare at something before I say what color it is or wait for someone else to say it so I’m not wrong.

I never realized how being colorblind would affect me as a woman. I mean just doing everyday normal things has now changed in my eyes, literally. Everything is different to me, but the reality is that I am the only one who even knows. Even the simplest things like getting dressed in the morning, or doing my makeup changed. It was a good thing that I never wanted to work in fashion because I couldn’t.

One of the major issues with being a woman who is colorblind is picking out an outfit for the day. Anyone who knows me now knows that I wear black like it’s a religion, but I used to love wearing browns because it looks nice with my blonde hair. The thing I didn’t know was that I was wearing four completely different shades of the color. The only reason I changed the way I was dressing was because it made life a little easier for me. Every time I went in public with browns or colors on, nothing matched. I now send pictures to my friends of every outfit asking if things matched or not. It is much fucking harder than you think to not be able to see shades of color. Nothing ever matches, so all black it is.

Another thing I’ve trained myself to remember is that when I get my nails done, I have to either ask the lady for recommendations, know the name of the pre-approved color in my head or send pictures to a friend to be sure it’s not some odd poop looking color that I believed to be tan.

There have been errors in my judgment in the past, thinking I could pick a color on my own. That always ends in me being ashamed to be in public for the two weeks that was on my nails. How could something women do all the time be so hard for me? Having to always ask someone if I match or my nails look okay is ridiculous, but I have to live with it.

At the restaurant I worked at in college, the hostesses used a system of writing down colors of items of clothing so we could find the party later to seat them, but that was super tough on me. I would rather just yell someone’s name than have to attempt to find someone by the color of his or her shirt, hat or jacket. There are obviously other ways of finding people. It became a joke to me in a way because I just hoped I was going for the right person most of the time.

You don’t realize how important it is to be able to see what color something is until you lose it. I had no idea that it would be this hard to just put on an outfit like any other woman does. I am part of the small percent of women out there who struggle with this. Most people I tell either laugh and think I’m joking, or ask a bunch of stupid questions because they’ve never met someone that’s colorblind before. It’s a tough situation to be in as a woman. So for those who are colorblind out there, men or women, I feel your pain. But I moved on, still attempting to trick myself into remembering colors based on what I’m seeing. I see the world differently, but I believe that makes me unique and I’m okay with that. TC mark

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