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I'm currently talking with yet another person that does not wish to use a . Because that would mean admitting they cannot navigate without it. And more importantly, because that would mean everyone else could see they're blind.
It is only one among many that I've talked to. So many people that prefer constantly having to ask someone for help, or painfully bumping their leg into things, to being noticed as blind. Because they think having a cane will make people avoid talking to them (and they're not wrong).
1/2

It still never fails to be sad. Not only because it's not even reasonable; someone who wears sunglasses all the time to hide their eyes, bumps into things, is always seen holding onto someone's arm, well, they'll seem just as blind -- just even more helpless.
But also because these people are not using aids that help them overcome their disability just because they're so concerned about what others will think. It's like pounding the nail into the wall using a fist because otherwise you'd be admitting to yourself and the world that you are a weakling with thin skin and have to use the hammer.
2/3 (sorry)

And yet, even the most masculine of men use hammers. But blind people all have pride issues with using canes. All of *us*. Because I went through a phase when I didn't want to use it too, and I've been blind my whole life.
I was lucky. For some reason I sobered up when told that if I got run over by a car without using a cane, it would be considered my fault in the eyes of the law for not using the basic preventative measures available to me. But others have to face much more harm before they admit to themselves that navigating more easily matters more than appearances.
I wonder what it'll take for this one. I don't wonder whether us humans will ever stop being so stubborn; of course not.
3/3

@Mayana Oh! It's an issue I never thought about.. Yes, I would not talk to a blind person before, lest I disturb them or something..

But that is actually bad..

In the age of technology, they miss out on the human interaction, because others are engrossed in the glitter on the screens..

You are doing great work!

@Aman9das Right. Blind people find it hard to approach other people without seeing them. Other people do not approach us because of "politeness".
Well, except for those people that just walk up to us, grab our arm and try to drag us somewhere without ever asking us if we want help first.
This Friday someone approached me when I was a little lost at a bus station, politely asking if I needed any help. And then he didn't just take me where I needed to be; he actually stuck around for a bit and chatted, so that I got to learn he was an English teacher for Mexico here on vacation, and about his school, about his students. It was incredibly nice.
Perhaps one day, a cool, friendly person will approach me like that, but just asking if I wanted to talk, rather than checking if I needed help first. Approach me because we're both strangers looking for connection, and not because I'm blind. One day.
And nah. I'm not doing great work. I'm just existing.

@Aman9das Hah, sorry. That probably sounded pretty sad and pathetic. I do have some friends, I swear! I'm just not in the highest of moods right now.

@Mayana where is 2/2?

You need to finish what you started.. :smiley:

@Aman9das It was posted about 10 minutes later. As has 3/2, because I never can get the math quite right.

@Mayana this is similar to my experience using mobility aids. I was very lucky to have two thoughtful abled friends that made me see that it wasn't a weakness to accept I needed help, it was making the most of what was available. As they pointed out, cars are also mobility aids. It made such a big difference to my life & gave me more access & independence. And now I'm always trying to convince others the same.

I know an elderly man who is very disabled but refuses to acknowledge this, and this act makes his life, and the lives of those near him, more difficult. In his case, it's a mix of both ableism and toxic masculinity that governs his view.

It's so frustrating, but as ableism is embodied within the very structures of society and our minds, I don't see a way forward, other than ongoing activism around these issues.

@GwenfarsGarden As it happens, the one I was talking to was older himself. He had never needed to use a cane before, relying on others to take him where he needed to go. But now his family was moving to another house, and he didn't know how he could manage the confusing layout.
The "It is not a weekness to accept help" lesson is one I still need to learn and relearn, especially now that I'm in a new environment and am taking a long time to ajust, and every additional time I ask my classmates if I can acompany them somewhere, I feel like a weight they have to drag around. It's hard convincing yourself you're worth the effort; that goes both for mobility aids and other people.
I'm glad you had friends who helped you with this, and that you are paying it forward. So am I, whenever I can. It just gets a little exhausting sometimes.
(BTW, OK if I boost?)

@Mayana I'm still fighting my inner abelist too, it's not easy to overcome. As you say, it's exhausting. I do find reading what other disabled people say, like your posts, gives me more confidence, both to fight internalised ableism and to advocate for our needs.

Boosting OK.

@Mayana my husbands grandma refused to wear her hearing aids, because people could think her hearing is bad at 86. So she keeps misunderstanding things. Or she is afraid of having the TV too loud. So she has it so silent, that I have a hard time understanding it. My hearing a bit less than average. I can tell she doesn't understand, because she doesn't react to the jokes.
Honestly, I prefer seeing that someone is blind. I see your blind. Let me know when you need help.

@Sibylle I'm sorry about your grandma. I hope she realizes one day that it is better to appreciate what senses she can while she can, damn anyone else's opinions.
We are taught disability is such a terrible thing that even old people refuse to admit they might have one. It's partly refusing to admit they're aging, sure. But I bet society is to blame for a chunk of it, as well. People might judge or they might not, but we have somehow been taught to suspect they will.

@Mayana another example is her refusal of using a cane. I completely get, that you do not use a cane, when it is not necessary. But when she starts using an umbrella and puts all her weight on it, I see terrible things happening. She does accept walking poles for the path to our house, though.

I think it is partly "aids are for old people, as long as I don't use them, I'm not old." a fear of being useless and pride.

@Mayana It is her decision. Not mine. I just think a lot of accidents could be prevented by using the proper aids in general.
And the public spaces need to be accessible. It needs to be normal to think of people with disabilities in the Basic designing process. This will help educate the people.
A ramp for those who can't walk well. Pictograms for those who can't read or don't speak the language. Audio aids for those who cannot see. And so on. It needs to be normal.

@Sibylle It really does! Pretty much everyone will be disabled at some point, even if temporarily. Ramps are good for wheelchairs, but also for people with a sprained ankle. Pictograms help the illiterate as well as turists. Buses automatically speaking the names of bus stations helps everyone who is unfamiliar with the area. Additions like this will not only help abled people consider the lives of the disabled, but also their own, and how similar they can in fact be.

@Mayana Ugh... that's really awful, I'm sorry.

I'm not blind, so, I never thought about "people will ignore you if you use a cane", but, now that you say it, it matches how people are in the world... I learned something. Though, it's something I should know already.

I wonder why we, non-blind people, are like this. A blind person won't hurt you because they are blind, it's not contagious... but, people act like it is. Stubborn, and foolish....

@yuumurakirika I wouldn't know. Could be just a general fear of the different, I guess. Or it could have something to do with the fact that we are, on average, kind of socially awkward. Blindness and autism actually have more similarities than you'd think, what with both being unable to read people, just for different reasons. Being blind also makes it more difficult to approach people to begin with, so I guess we could be seen as creepy loners.
Perhaps some see us as lesser, not equal(ly human).
But mostly it's just people believing they'll somehow be impolite, or just not giving it much thought at all. In the end that's what most of these things come down to; not so much fear or hate as just not really thinking about it at all.
And there's not much that can be done about that, except for being some kind of "inspiration" just by existing. :ms_shrug:

@Mayana Mm... fear of feeling impolite, I think, that's a big thing. Suddenly, you notice something different about a person, and, before you can think logically, your brain jumps in... "oh no, I wish to treat them well, but, I don't know if there is any special thing that I should respect"... then, it becomes awkward, when before, if you didn't notice, it would not be.

I think, I'm always awkward around people of any kind, as I didn't have a good social education, so, it was hard to notice this in me, before. I just thought, "well, I'm afraid of all people", haha.

But, talking about it like this, this help to make non-blind people like me, realise that there is a problem, so, that's a small thing that you did already, about that!

@yuumurakirika Think about it like people using the wrong pronouns (I imagine that's something you're familiar with). If someone were to do it intentionally, then that would certainly not feel good. But if someone merely didn't know, or slipped up once and immediately went "sorry, she", that'd be fine. And if they were to try and make it about themself by apologizing profusely, that'd be its own kind of awkward.
Basically, if there's any special things, you can learn them as you go. Most of us are just as aware that everyone is human as anyone else. There's always exceptions, of course, but if you encounter those, shrug and move on; you'll have better luck next time. :eyeless_smile:

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