Tag Archive | listening

Judging light and dark

There is a lot of talk about “microaggression” and that it can occur when a white person says they don’t see colour, fine but what if it’s true?

I was born blind in my left eye and partially sighted in my right eye. I did not become sighted until I was seven years old. I spent a lot of those first 7 years being tortured by different methods to see if they could “wake” my eye up. Things like patching my “good” eye, yeah, make the kid completely blind. Drops, bandages, dark rooms, light rooms, obviously none of it worked. When they went in to do the surgery they found out the muscles on both eyes were only loosely connected, the left worse than the right, which did explain why the left eye used to roll on its own. This grossed a lot of people out including my first grade teacher who used to find ways to punish me for grossing her out.

Anyway, when one is small and has a disability, you learn to judge what is safe and good and learn your prejudices through other means than sight very quickly. You have to.

I learned to depend on how a person made me feel and what I heard in their voice.  I still use those methods to judge people. When I meet someone new I often close my eyes or disengage my sight and listen to the person. Yes, I can still turn the sight on and off. I still look seeing and my eyes are open but I’m not seeing you. I have no idea why that trick stayed but it is useful.

Everyone to me has a texture. If you have a nice texture, I will like you just fine but if you have the texture of burlap or sandpaper or spiky (I really don’t like spiky) , I won’t. Which is why most of my close friends feel soft in some way to me.

People’s voices to the non-seeing have music. People whose voices have uncomfortable music and I don’t mean anger but more conveying harshness or dislike or hate or other nasty things, I will not trust.

Getting my sight has never changed the way I judge people. I don’t care what you are wearing, or whether your hair is crazy. I really could care less what your physical presence is unless you are a spae invader.

Dark and light do not normally bother me unless I’m in the hold of depression. It would be pretty stupid to not like the dark when you have spent so much time in it. The world growing up was pretty grey, black and dark. My most painful moment in my entire life was the moment they took the bandages off my eyes the first time and the doctor shown the light in my eye. It hurt so bad like knives had been stuck in my eyes. Breaking bones and having several surgeries since then did not hurt as much as that did. So I associate light and white with pain. I only wear white under duress, my closet looks like it belongs to a goth even though I’m not.

So if I say grief is a big black dog it isn’t because I associate black or dark as a negative, that is literally how I see grief. It is the image that has always been there since my great grandmother died when I was 5. I don’t know if someone I knew had a big black dog but it is my personal association. I do know that the people next door had an enormous black standard poodle that used to knock us down but my dog is more Newfie or Bull Mastiff.

Anyway for me saying colour doesn’t matter is simply the truth. I was way past the age of learning that prejudice by the time I was seeing. FYI: I’m still not totally seeing since only one eye works at a time. If you haven’t learned to see with two eyes but the age of 5 you never do but since my surgery was experimental they didn’t know that in 1961. You can’t judge every one alike no matter who they are.