Being Blind at Christmas
I’ve posted about my experiences as a legally blind mom a few times, but it’s not something I throw into every post. I’m proud of my accomplishments and who I am, but I don’t just want to be known as “that blind mom.” Sometimes, I need to talk about it and also mention why I don’t like talking about it at the same time.
I hear two topics of conversation when it comes to being blind. The first is usually when someone compares wearing glasses to being blind. They say things like, “oh, I understand because I can’t see a thing without my glasses.” I try to hold in my frustration. If they made glasses that allowed me to drive and reversed my genetic eye disease that is gradually getting worse, I would get what you’re saying. I do appreciate the attempt at relating to my situation, and I’m sorry that you have eye problems. Having issues with sight can be very difficult. The second topic that frustrates me is when a person will say, “at least you’re not blind blind.” Yes, I have some sight, and I’m extremely fortunate to not be completely blind. The part that frustrates me about these types of conversations is that they are comparisons. I genuinely believe you shouldn’t pin two peoples experiences together and go back and forth with any disability or struggle. Everyone experiences things differently. Having understanding and compassion is one thing, belittling and trying to “out do” each other is wrong. That’s why I don’t like talking about it. If that mini rant made sense, mission accomplished. If not, I give up. Back to the holidays!
Tis the season for sparkly lights, dressing up, and decorations. I do the best that I can to blend in with the sighted. My mobility training has allowed me to go unnoticed for the most part. Truth is, I struggle this time of year. I try to hide it, because I don’t want people to pity me, but there are parts of the holidays that really get me down. Like I said, being open about my eyes isn’t easy.
The Hard Part
The hardest part of Christmas is that I can’t see my babies faces light up when they open gifts. I can hear how happy and excited they are, but I can’t see those little details. I get them all dressed up and take pictures just so I can zoom in on those smiles. It gets hard not being able to see your little ones’ faces during those moments. I know it’s magical though.
We drive around sometimes to look at the lights people put up, but I can’t see it the way my kids or husband can. I see a tiny blur of lights and sometimes color. I have had moments where someone goes all out in their decorations, and I can see a bit more than I expected to if we stop and I stare for a while. Whether I can see if someone decorated each and every shrub or not, I love taking those rides and trying to see the lights for myself. I have moments where my husband is describing it and I get choked up, but I’m usually filled with joy on those rides.
Decorating the House
It takes me an entire day to get things where I want them, because I can’t just set my decorations up. I have to feel and make sure it’s all even and well balanced. It gets stressful feeling around and staring at the same damn elf sign for what feels like forever to see if I hung it straight, but I love it. I think I do a pretty good job keeping the decorations on point. I still have moments where I’m embarrassed if someone fixes something that is crooked or upside down, but overall, I’m pretty happy about the job I did.
All About the Baking
I think I’m a pretty decent baker and cook. It’s something I really enjoy doing. If I’m alone in the kitchen, I can’t really see to measure things on my own. So, I go with what I can feel. I have some raised measuring units on cups, and I make do with that. It’s freeing to not ask for my husband’s eyes while I whip up a batch of cookies. At the same time, I love how willing he is to be there baking with me. There are upsetting moments when I’m trying to prepare dishes to take for our holiday dinners, but that’s apart of being visually impaired. Everyone has ups and downs in the kitchen, so I try to stay positive overall.
Getting Dressed and Doing Makeup
Looking good and getting dressed up for the holidays is one of my favorite parts of the season. When it comes to style, I do my best to match things and look good. I love fashion, and it’s not easy to love something that is so visual when you have very little vision to begin with. Finding what to wear for the holidays is daunting, but I still have fun in the process. I will admit I’ve brought myself to tears because I can’t see what I look like in an outfit I’ve imagined in my head. My eyes have been a big reason I struggle with body issues, but I do my best to stay positive, especially this time of year. I try to make it fun, and blogging my outfit ideas has really helped.
Makeup is a different story. I’m still learning how to do my makeup. I’m almost 30, and I could benefit from a lesson or two. My eyes are not entirely to blame for my lack of knowledge, but they are good chunk of it. I’m a little embarrassed to ask for help sometimes. I do ask my husband to help with my eyebrows. He lets me know how well things are blended and what colors I’ve used too. I love makeup, and even though my sight will continue to slowly decrease, my love of makeup and fashion will stay strong.
Being blind during the holidays has its downsides. There are things I struggle with. There are moments I hide my tears in the bathroom, but when it comes down to it, my eyes have helped shape me. My strength comes from overcoming my weakest points. Retinitis Pigmentosa does not define me, and I will be damned if I let it ruin my festive spirit. My goal for this holiday is to try to be as positive as I can be. I want to show my kids that everyone has hurdles to jump, and that if you do it with a positive mindset, you’ll jump higher. I hope everyone has a good holiday!