My First Realization that I Don’t See like Everyone Else Does

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to The Invisible Vision Project’s Blog.

In honor of World Sight Day, I want to share with you all  two stories of when I first realized I don’t see like everyone else does. If you’ve been following and reading my blogs for a long time, you probably know that I live with Vision Loss since the age of 4 and 5 years old (you can read more about my childhood with Vision Loss in this blog). And of course I also wrote a blog specifically dedicating to my White Cane acceptance story, you can read that here.

When I was younger, even knowing that I don’t see as well as others or, even when my parents and other family members were constantly reminding me about my poor eye sight, I did took their words seriously -mainly for safety and precaution reasons, but I didn’t think too much about it other than that. However, it was not until when I was 14, and I sort of starting to realize that I REALLY don’t see like everyone else does, and specifically there are two incidents that made me come to this realization.

Fourteen years old is often a difficult age for a lot of people, because a lot of changes (to a young person’s body) happens at this age. And for me, I had to deal with another kind of change, that is, at 14, I moved away from my home country in China and I came to Canada. My first realization that I don’t see well like everyone else does also happened around this time. First week of school in a new country, speaking a language I wasn’t familiar with or even have the confident to speak at all, I faced a lot of cultural and language barriers at that time. Because of it, I also had my first experience of having not completed homework (for the very first time in my life, also the last). As a result, I was asked by the teacher to stay behind after class. So I did. As I was sitting in the almost empty classroom catching up on my homework, I worried about my family, knowing that they should be here to pick me up after school. However, what surprised me was that they didn’t come to the school to look for me yet. After spent seemed like forever in the classroom, I finally finished my homework and I packed up my bag to leave. At this point, I was a little worried, I wondered in my head, “Where are my family?” “Did they come?” “What if no one is here to pick me up and how will I get home?” I walked out of the school building with those question in my head and as I opened the front door of the school, I saw no one, and I really started to panic. Then, I quickly returned to the school’s main office. I made several phone calls home but no one picked up the phone. Finally, as I sat in the main office at school, waiting to be picked up, my mom appeared. The very first things I still remembered saying was asking her impatiently, almost yelling, “Where were you?!, “Why weren’t you coming to pick me up?!  “Why is there no one at home when I called?!” I could see the confused look on her face. She said, “I was parked at the other side of the road, across from the school.” I froze, I had no words to say, because obviously, I didn’t see the cat, because I don’t see that far. In the end, I said nothing.

In the second incident, it happened not long after the first one. It happened at Halloween. I remembered, I went to my aunt and uncle’s house for Halloween, along with my cousin who is 3 years younger than me. Also, for the first time, I went to Halloween trick-or-treating, which was supposed to be fun but it turned out to be a very terrifying experience for me. At first, I didn’t want to go because I already know I never do well in the dark. After being convinced that it’s fun (well, it probably is if you can see well in the dark), I did go. I remembered, I was constantly holding on to my younger cousin and I was so scared to walk around in an unfamiliar but also extremely poorly lit neighborhood. I think I also made my cousin very uncomfortable by the way I was so clinging onto her. Thankfully, we came home very quickly. Coming home from the trick-or-treating, I didn’t say a word. Then, I heard my cousin whisper something in my grandma’s ears in which I didn’t hear clearly. Later, my grandma told me that my cousin was asking why was I so scared and can’t see in the dark. Again, I had no answer for that. However, I know one thing for sure that she wasn’t being mean or rude, she just didn’t know. And as for me, I cried…and to be honest, I don’t think I cried because I can’t see. I cried because no one seemed to understand, the anxiety and fear of a girl who is not only severely visually impaired but also has night blindness.

So, here you have it. Two small incidents in my life that made me realize I don’t see well like everyone else. Do you also have a visual impairment or another disability? When did you realize that you are different from others around you? Share you thoughts in the comments and I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for reading to the end.

By: The Invisible Vision Project

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