How Does a Person With Disabilities Dream of ‘The One’?
“As a person with blindness, the way the author describes their imagination in the novels becomes my reality.”
By nature, I am a person who likes to talk and be with people.
When it comes to working or talking with opposite gender, I stutter and make a fool of myself before them.
Part of it is because I have studied in girls’ schools and colleges all my life. Even in my workplace, I mainly work with female colleagues. This makes me nervous whenever I talk to guys.
The other part, I attribute is to my fantasies because of the movies I have watched and the novels I have read. Being a person with blindness from birth, the comments and criticisms people make and the way the author describes their imagination in the novels becomes my reality.
I began to see the world through these outlets. I visualise everything based on other people’s opinion. It is after all human tendency to exaggerate everything - be it positive or negative while talking about it. I absorb every comment, detail and criticism hungrily since it describes to me what’s happening around me. This has made me second guess myself at every turn in my life. Like other humans, I too wished to never be criticised by anyone.
One of the influences, as I had mentioned before, was novels.
All these novels described women in the same manner. One with curves in all the right places. I know I am a little pudgy in the middle.
This has always added to my insecurity at social gatherings. These novels have also influenced what I imagine men to be like and behave like. Macho, cracking funny jokes. I wish I too had a little naughtiness inside me.
Am I Worthy of Being Loved and Cherished?
It is painful to admit that when I meet someone new, unless and until he describes himself; how old he is or until I hear from him or others who describe his attire, I am unable to build a full picture of him.
It’s not easy to understand a person only through words that he speaks. My fear of a man becoming my caregiver rather than treating me as a partner has made me additionally weary of approaching men.
Being a blind person, I need a lot of assistance while going to a new place whether its restaurant or a resort. I always wonder how will my partner feel while taking me. Won’t he feel shy? Won’t people stare at both of us? How would a man handle it?
These thoughts plague me as I try to think of relationships and dating as a blind woman.
It can be difficult for others when you need help all the time. Sometimes, I feel like a third wheel even when I am just out with my friends. I always end up in the background whenever the conversation develops. It is also why I avoid parties or other crowded places.
When the DJ shouts, ‘Come on! It’s time to dance!’ Everybody cheers, takes hold of each others hands and move to the dance floor. And I find myself sitting alone and mulling over my thoughts about belonging and my inabilities or shortcomings.
I have encountered guys who talk to me out of curiosity or who feel inspired when they see my ease of use of technology. They are good natured men. I try to be witty, even charming, but somewhere everything goes awry and I am back to square one. I never really understood why and I was never able to be a part of my peer group who enjoy casual friendships and romance.
Where Does Self Love Even Begin
It’s rare that I want to dress up nicely and go out. I wonder if anybody around is appreciating how I look. Because of my medical condition, my eyeball keeps rolling around, I am told and I can’t look anybody straight, much less looking deep into someone’s eyes. This is how I am told connections are made, right? One look and forever in love. So I believe there’s simply no way for them to connect with me.
It’s true I have never looked at the possibility of going out with guys who have the same disability as me.Again, this is because of my fantasies from when I was young, I have the dream of riding with my partner on the back of his Harley Davidson.
He should fill the visual silences during movies or sports and in a conversational manner making me feel it is interactive. He would be sensitive to what I could do by myself and where I would need his assistance. He would be able to value my abilities and ask for help without any apprehension.
Yet, I also believed that all my expectations, wishes, dreams reflected me giving myself second-class treatment.
I believe that when I meet a person who accepts me as well as criticises me with humour, and who instils confidence in me about my worth, I would lose all my inhibitions, self-inflicted doubts and find peace and love. I would belong.
When I reflect on it deeply, I feel I am not being rational. But I don’t think love and reasoning always go hand in hand.
Rising Flame is an NGO that works with women and youth with disabilities in India and is the recipient of the National Award for Empowerment of persons with disabilities 2019 from the government of India. Rising Flame launched India’s first-ever leadership programme for women with disabilities - I Can Lead - in July 2019. It believes in building an inclusive world with voice, agency and access for all. )
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