How to relate with or act around a blind person…Chronicles of a Blind Nigerian (15)
By Ademola Adeleke
- When you see me being led along the street, don’t stare like you’ve seen a ghost or celebrity. When you do that, it makes the person leading me feel uncomfortable.
In fact, the stares of astonished passers-by have once threatened my relationship with a girl. We both alighted from the bus, trying to fetch some edibles before getting back on transit. At the entrance of the mall was a gutter. Girlfriend was explaining to me how wide it was so I could get the mental picture and have a triumphant crossing. The instruction from my girl, my blank look, plus the calculation of my steps all glared my blindness, thus attracting all eyes to me, and consequently discomforting my girl.
She muttered and muttered, asking why all eyes were on us, and I reminded her on how pitiable, misadventurous or useless many people perceive a kind like me. She found the stares humiliating, and I’m certain that contributed to her discouragement as things went sour between us few weeks after. So, maybe you all should take a turn to look at me when I pass by, don’t submit your eyes on me all at once. It has no effect on me though, but it does on the person I’m walking with.
- When you propose a friendship with me and we eventually became friends, don’t tell me how it’s in your belief that I’ll definitely have my sight back some day, especially when it’s obvious that I’ve moved on without it. When you do, it makes me feel like your friendship is conditioned on the hope that I’ll have my sight back; therefore, there’s a possibility for you to be disappointed and withdraw your friendship if years go by and my sight is still not restored.
In other words, persistently wishing aloud how you want my sight to be back can be interpreted, by me, as you not accepting me the way I am. Hence, even if you have such wish in mind, kindly keep it to yourself.
- If you see me with a person and wish to know my name and other info about me, ask me directly and not the sighted person I’m with. I’m blind, not blank. My eyes may be shut or expressionless, but I’m awake. You can tap me gently to arouse my alertness, then ask your question.
When you ask a third party about me, in my presence; it simply means that you perceive me to be dumb, duncely, asleep or invisible.
- Betrayal is when someone talks to you, my friend, with facial expressions in order to keep me out of the conversation and you respond, especially when the gossip is not in my best interest. If I eventually find out, you will lose my trust forever and ever. Mofe accompanied me to a female hostel that has a drugstore in it. While I was downstairs waiting for the chemist to administer some drugs for my ailment, I remembered my toastee who stayed in the hostel and called her to come meet me downstairs. Mofe must have dampened his pants on setting eyes on the girl, Amaka. Black and beautiful. He immediately struck up a conversation with her and I would chip in intermittently. All of a sudden, the audibility of their conversation fell into nothingness. Mofe had stretched his phone to Amaka, gesturing to her to type her phone number on it.
I was not surprised by Mofe’s action, dude is a renowned idiot. Besides, he was only an acquaintance, but Amaka’s compliance disappointed me, big time. Though it was the same Amaka that later revealed how Mofe had cunningly collected her number, but is Amaka not treacherous to have yielded to the scheme? She and I eventually dated, but the love that attracted me to her from the onset was no longer there to fuel our intended romance. Till date, I still see her as a betrayer.
- You got the gist that Bisola is my girlfriend. You run your eyes on her, from her hair, down to her hilly region, then to her hips, before landing on her toes. You look me, you look the girl. You look me, you look the girl. You then conclude in your mind that the girl is cheap. If not, she wouldn’t have agreed to date a blind man. You feel she’ll irresistibly run to you if you woo her, but you had your tail between your legs when she trashed your proposal into a bin and waggled her round behind as she walked away from you.
Look here bro, the best soothsayers are the female folks. They can foresee a guy’s future even in the dark. Bisola must have seen mine, perhaps admirable, thus attracting her to me.
All I’m saying is that, if you see an abled spouse getting married to a disabled person, it is not always as a result of the spouse’s lowself esteem, lack of confidence, sympathy for the disabled person or desperation, like many people do assume. It also can be as a result of a genuine love, the peace and love he/she finds in the disabled person and some other attractive factors.
Or tell me, why won’t the ladies want a relationship with me when I have enough love games in my cartridge? We go play love, you go forget blindness. Don’t miss the moral; which is, never disparage a person who chooses to be with a disabled person. After all, he/she has had encounters with abled lovers before making such choice. And of course, only him/her can give us the reason behind his/her choice.
- If you have a blind partner and he is lazy with job, be it domestic, entrepreneurial, white-collar or sexual; please don’t tolerate him, especially if your tolerance stems from your sympathy with his disability. Laziness does not come with sightlessness, so if your blind friend or sweetheart is lazier than me, kindly kick his ass to work. Kick it hard and BBN (Blind Boys of Nigeria) will reward you with a headless chicken.
- Whenever you find yourself leading/walking with me, avoid being meticulous about my steps. Don’t be tense. Don’t grip my wrist so firmly and think you’ve had me under control. I can be prone to stumbling over when we walk like that, and this is because I won’t be connected with your body to get a feeling of when it moves up, down or sideways.
Instead, allow me to have the grip on your palm, wrist or shoulder, depending on my preference. Walk with me without the fear of making me slip or stumble. We’ll both get to our destination unhurtly, as far as you keep calling my attention to the obstacles, drains and steep hills on the way.
- Nothing makes me feel worse than when you cry on my disability. You may not know it, but you are indirectly implying that my life has been damned. The worst has happened to him! Some hot tears you shed.
You’re breaking my spirit, you are just some bad vibes. I’ve been made to believe that I can make something great out of my blind self, and you are here wailing. Does that mean it’s all a lie? Is there something you know that I don’t know? But if truly I can live a fulfilled life even with my disability, then hold back your tears. Hold back your pity. Yeah, I know you’re just being emotional, but that’s not what I need right now. If I, the blindness victim, have stopped crying many years ago, biko why is your own more than the bereaved?
Brethren, I think Nigeria needs the cry more, please kindly give it to her.
Do you have questions on how to relate with or act around a blind Nigerian? kindly drop them in the comment section and I’ll provide answers to them.