Some Might Say: Judgments About Me #Blogtober20

Okay, I said I wasn’t going to take part in the #Blogtober20 prompts anymore, but this one did speak to me. Today’s prompt is “Some Might Say”. People can be incredibly judgmental. Today, I will write about some things people have said about me that indicate they are clueless or insensitive or both.

The first things people notice about me, are my blindness and the fact that I’m relatively well-spoken. This often leads people to assume that I either should be able to be independent or that I am obviously not because I’m blind.

My parents and other people who are relatively educated about blindness, often assume that I should be able to live independently and be employed. Even if they are fine with my “choice” of not pursuing a career, their idea of me is to live independently. Some people who don’t know me that well, ask whether my husband and I have or want kids. To me, it’s obvious that we don’t, but then again that may be internalized ableism. After all, I for one am not able to take care of kids, and besides I value my freedom. Others with my disabilities may definitely be able and willing to parent.

Another judgment I often get is that my marriage isn’t strong because we don’t live together. My last psychologist at the mental hospital even dared to say my marriage isn’t worth anything if I don’t intend on living with my husband. Well, when we got married in 2011, we had zero intention of living together. I was on the waiting list for a permanent workhome for autistic people. It is only because that didn’t work out, that my husband asked me whether I wanted to live with him. And just so you know, our reason for getting married is that we love each other and want to show each other that this is for life. And in my opinion, that’s the essence of marriage. Okay, I know that at least a third of marriages end in divorce, but I hope that if couples get married, they at least hope this is going to be for life.

Like I said, some people, particularly strangers who are clueless about disabilities, think that it’s perfectly understandable that as a blind person I live in a care facility. This misconception often feels as uncomfortable to me as the idea that I am or should be independent. I used to want to educate people that most people who are just blind, can live independently. I no longer do this though. Not only is it none of random strangers’ business that I’m not just blind, and isn’t it my obligation to educate, but I might also be adding to the stigma I fought so hard against as a teen.

By this I mean the National Federation of the Blind’s philosophy that blindness shouldn’t hold you back. It in fact used to say that the average blind person is just as capable as the average sighted person. That led to the idea that, unless you had severe or multiple other disabilities, you were to be pushed to achieve whether you could or wanted to or not. That just doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for many blind people.

#Blogtober20

16 thoughts on “Some Might Say: Judgments About Me #Blogtober20

  1. I love the honesty in your posts. Sadly some folk are just too quick to judge others but life is too short to waste time on those individuals. I often think how dull their life must be to have so much time on their hands to stick their beaks into other peoples business.
    Keep being awesome Astrid! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, many people are so quick to judge. I agree it’s not worth it wasting my time on them, unless they have a lot of influence over my life, such as that last psychologist did.

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  2. Oh yeah, people have weird ideas about blindness and disability in general!
    It’s funny how many people have this default assumption, especially when they don’t get to know you much, that when you have a physical disability something may also be wrong with your intelligence and no matter the degree of your disability you probably need 24/7 care, but when they get to talk to you and realise that you are relatively intelligent and can talk with them coherently, they often instantly conclude that you must be (or if that’s not the case you definitely should be) independent and sometimes even doing some outstanding things like someone with the same disability they’d once seen on the TV. 😀
    I hate the kids question, but thankfully because I’m single I don’t get it a whole lot, usually if I do it’s when I tell people I’m into baby naming, then it very often brings them to the conclusion that I must be into parenting in general or something like this. I once had a teacher at a mainstream school where I had individual education – someone whom I owe a lot and who was very kind to me during my stay at that school, in a way I can say he saved me, or at least some of my sanity, 😀 and that won’t be an overstatement, but he wasn’t a particularly flexible thinker – And he once asked me if I was planning to have kids, in a sort of way that made it quite clear he thought I couldn’t say anything other than yes. I obviously said no and told him very briefly why, but instead of actually listening to my explanation of this he got fixated on my no answer and started to convince me that: “Oh but of course blind people can have children! Why would you think otherwise?” even though I actually didn’t mention my blindness as a direct reason at all, because it’s just one of the reasons for me. I tried to tell him that of course I don’t think blind people can’t have children, and that in fact I know many happy families in which one or both parents are blind, but he just couldn’t move on from that so any constructive conversation wasn’t really possible, so I believe he was in fact projecting his own beliefs on to me. That was an interesting experience.
    It sucks that people can think only in such a schematic way about marriage. If people only marry for the sole purpose of living together, as it seems from the judgements you get, no wonder there are so many divorces.
    Oh yes, I can relate to how you feel about what people think about you being in a care facility. I’m also not as independent as an average blind person (but then it makes me think, what’s considered average? I’m not sure I know, especially that there seem to be more and more blind children with additional disabilities compared with just blind ones, so I guess the idea of averageness might be up for a shift), and a lot of people also assume that some of my limitations or things that are true for me are only natural for any blind person and must be the case with a lot of blind people. This doesn’t bother me personally to a huge extend but what bothers me is that it’s so totally unfair on other blind people who are more independent. Even my family often have such beliefs and I try to explain to them that something that is the case with me doesn’t have to be with all or even most blind people, but it just doesn’t always work. My Sofi has especially many such convictions which are difficult to get rid of. But, like you, with strangers I don’t bother educating them as it’s way too personal and I don’t really have the skills I guess, and also just as you say it’s easy to spread the other extreme belief this way even if it’s anything but your intention, and make people think that in fact a blind person is capable of doing absolutely anything. And overall I supose this extreme is a worse kind of stigma because there are quite a lot of blind people who also have other difficulties/disabilities beyond just blindness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do think many or even most blind people have some additional disability, so the idea of average the NFB had is unfair. Their current motto is “I can live the life I want; blindness doesn’t hold me back”. That’s mostly true for me, although I wouldn’t say blindness has no part in my issues at all. Besides, I cannot just turn off my other disabilities to see what effect blindness would still have. That’s the unfortunate reality with multiple disabilities: they are often if not always more than the sum of each individual disability. And that’s hard to comprehend for people who don’t live with them. It’s one reason I initially got denied long-term care, since someone who is just blind or just has mild cerebral palsy, would be able to live without 24-hour care and at the time autism didn’t count.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This motto sounds better indeed and more accurate for more people, or even if it’s not exactly always accurate it’s more realistic to achieve, and indeed more relatable for me too.
        Well yeah that would be interesting to see how much things would be different if we could turn off either our other issues or perhaps blindness. I’ve been wondering a lot about that, especially that my additional difficulties (except for mental illnesses) – like the balance stuff etc. aren’t even diagnosed properly as they’re so mild that it’s not possible from what I’ve been told yet substantial enough that they do affect my functioning to a varying degree, and the ones that are, like my feet deformities aren’t really officially mentioned in my certificate of disability or anything like that – so I’d like to see how much my functioning could change either with those other things, or without blindness. Especially that people like my Dad for example don’t understand why I say I wouldn’t want to be able to see if there was a way for it to happen, because they think it could make my life easier. Surely it would, to some degree, but I think in a way it would just make things much more complicated, because I would still have all the other difficulties, which all together have a lot of impact on my life, but I wouldn’t be disabled anymore and people would expect me to function normally. So I wonder if I actually could then, and find it rather doubtful, but I might be wrong, it’s hard to say.
        I’m glad autism now can count for long-term care, it can be so very different for each individual who has it and is such a wide spectrum that it most definitely should.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, agree with you about the complexities of removing one disability when we have multiple.

          As for long-term care, until recently (officially until January 1, 2021 in fact) autism with an IQ above 85 was classified as a psychiatric condition and psychiatric conditions didn’t qualify you for long-term care. Both of these are worng in my opinion – the classifying autism as a psychiatric condition as well as excluding psychiatric conditions from qualifying an individual for long-term care. They solved that last one now.

          Liked by 1 person

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