You Look Good!

I went into another office I am supposed to be working at. I had not been there in about three months. Waiting on the specialized materials I need, you know. The first thing out of several peoples’ mouths? “Well, you look good!” Incredulous. Really surprised.

This is not the first time I have heard this. Several people I have seen for the first time after my vision loss have said it. “You look good!” What exactly am I supposed to look like?????

Since the people yesterday were all counselors, I figured they could handle the question. What am I supposed to look like? No one could answer me what a visually impaired person is supposed to look like.

So what is that stereotype that I don’t fit? Am I supposed to be disheveled? Depressed? inarticulate? Frankly, I don’t know.

I looked up stereotype + blind and found a Washington state site. It said a myth about vision loss is in itself a tragedy. OK. It is no walk in the park but what good would it do me to sink into dark despair? Besides, most people weather tragedy. The human condition is very resilient. We may not come back 100% but we generally come back to our happiness baselines. Wikipedia refers to this as the happiness set point. I have always been the Pollyanna type so my set point is pretty high.

A study published by Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society of nursing, confirmed some ‘common sense’ about life satisfaction and vision loss from AMD. People with more loss, more trouble with activities of daily living and/or more additional health problems are less satisfied with life. Maybe they are the ones who look the way they are ‘supposed to’ look.

I am healthy and have taken advantage of nearly everything offered to me. Not proud when it comes to getting help to function better.

Well, how about inarticulate and….well, dumb? Should I have lost IQ points along with points on my eye screening? I have not had this happen to me – yet – but Lara has stories about people ‘dumbing’ down the conversation when they discover she is blind. Really? Enough said about that.

How about personal appearance? Aren’t the visually impaired supposed to have problems with that? I should look like an unmade bed. Right?

I still maintain a lot of vision. I have a husband who will tell me if things don’t match. I can learn basic tricks from my habilitation person. There is no reason for me to become slovenly in my personal appearance. Besides, truly, how many slovenly blind people have you ever see? Personal grooming is important for social acceptance and self-esteem. It is something that is stressed with people who have severe visual impairment.

Click here for some tips about personal grooming.

So whatever the stereotype is, I apparently don’t fit it. Not sure anyone does. I appreciate being told I look good, but could you stop sounding so SURPRISED about it ????

Next: KEEPING IN FOCUS

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