Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s Blog.
In today’s blog, I want to share with you all about what life with vision loss was like for me, as a child. I never really shared a wholesome story of my experiences of living with vision loss when I was younger, in which, it was also a very different experience from my teens and adulthood (that I talk about it often). The illustration of this experience starts about when I was born to when I was around 14.
I was born with a very fragile body and a very poor heath. But, it was not until about age of 2 or 3, the adults around me noticed something different and wrong about my eyes. Then, from the time I was 4, I had to wear glasses. The kind of glasses I wore wasn’t even the normal- looking ones either; mine was thick and heavy, it also made me looked a little funny sometime. I never resisted on wearing glasses, but, I never liked them either. Whether I liked it or not, I had to wear them, since I have myopia, and in my case, it’s a more complicated and untreatable form of myopia, meaning, I am extremely nearsighted, and even with the bulky looking glasses I had on, I still couldn’t see clearly like a fully sighted person normally would.
Because of my eye sight and health being so bad, I was very much depended on the adults around me. I was the kind of child that almost never left the sight of a parent or caregiver. I was also sheltered by the people around me, and didn’t go out to explore the outside world as much. At home, my parents, grandparents, and even some relatives treated me almost like a “fragile treasure.” To some degree, it’s accurate to describe me in that way because I was very fragile, and perhaps, easily breakable if not cared for or “handled with caution.”
Also, because of my poor health and eye sight, I didn’t really go to kindergarten or pre-school. And, I even started elementary school a year later than the average school age kids. At the age of 7, that’s when I went to first grade. But, starting school for me was also slightly different. Before I started school, my parents and grandparents had to go on an “adventure” to “investigate” the school environment, and to have a talk with the principle, teachers and school administrators about my special circumstances and ask them for accommodations. For the most part, I was treated as a “special” student. This was good in some ways but also bad in others. Based on the accommodations, I was excused from participating in certain activities at school that were considered undoable or even dangerous for me and my health. But, because of this, it created jealousy among some students. One way that those jealous students dealt with it was through the form of bullying. But, the bullying never went too far, since if I ever reported them to the teachers, they’d be in big trouble.
Also, as for me, since I was very aware of my bad eye sight and poor health at a very young age, I also had expectations or “rules” given to me by the adults that I must follow, in order to protect me. Therefore, I wasn’t allowed to wonder around outside (especially alone) for a very long time, which means, it was expected of me to come straight home after school. And certainly, I wasn’t allowed to be out alone or even with other people (other than family) at night. For the most part, I followed those expectations obediently, because I wasn’t brave enough to do otherwise.
So, you could probably tell, my childhood was a well protected and sheltered one. I was given a lot of attention and care, because I wasn’t and wouldn’t be strong enough to help or protect myself. But, if you ask me, would I want to live the same childhood life again, my answer to that would be no. If I was to live through my childhood all over again, I wish the adults around me could be a little less protective. I wish, I had a little more freedom and space and, a little more opportunity to explore the world. I wish, I was taught to be my own advocate, instead of having it all done for me. Most of all, I wish, I was taught to build up my strength, instead of being left to fend myself when it comes to the age to do so. But, the reality is, none of us can re-live the past, so it is safe to say: just to leave it all behind and keep moving forward. And that is all, all of us can do about life.
So, this concludes today’s blog post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it! Thank you for reading to the end.
By: The Invisible Vision Project