As a child I would often ask myself if my future wife would be blind. I didn’t want to marry a blind person. I would justify it by thinking to myself that it would be too inconvenient, that she would have to be able to drive, to help me with certain tasks etc. But the truth is that I wasn’t attracted to blind women, I was afraid. This fear was rooted in a deep denial about my condition. Like many visually impaired kids, I was a self-loathing teenager. How could I be attracted to blind women if I didn’t love myself? Subconsciously I associated blindness with depression, anger, resentment.
When I got married, and started this wonderful journey with my wife Alexandra, she helped me understand many things about myself. The first important lesson that she taught me is that being blind doesn’t define who I am. I know, it sounds obvious, but it took me many years to truly interiorize this. Once this denial was gone, I started to be myself again, my smile was back. This smile was everything.
I’m sure that at first, Alexandra probably asked herself things like, will Charles be a good father? Who will drive me home from the hospital after I give birth to our child? Can he use chopsticks? But we both would have these thoughts regardless of my disability. Blind boyfriend or not, she would have wondered if this relationship was right. . And together, we found our happiness.
This positive mentality and this renewed happiness helped me become a dynamic person, find a good job, be more involved in my community, and the symptoms that initially came with blindness, depression, anger, resentment were finally gone. My wife isn’t blind, but she suffers from anxiety. Would she marry someone who has anxiety issues? This is not a relevant question, this doesn’t define who she is and I’m sure that it never even entered her mind.
I wish I could talk to this younger Charles and tell him everything I just told you. Now that I am more comfortable with my disability, of course, I would respond differently to my initial question, but the thing is that I don’t even think in these terms anymore. It took me many years to regain my confidence, becoming an athlete helped, but being loved helped even more. I assume that most of the readers of this blog are familiar with these issues, I’d love to know if some of you have a similar story to share.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie
What a wonderful self analysis.