For a time after brain surgery I was blind.
Blind, about 4% vision in one eye and zero in the other. It was confronting, frightening but then the strangest thing happened- my biology morphed and adjusted. Not only did it adjust but I found myself with a whole new set of skills. I could cut through all the rubbish and get to the grit, purely because I didn’t have to utilise and get past visual cues. My hearing became almost bionic, and I became incredibly perceptive in being able to hone in on people’s emotions from the tone of their voice. Rather than being a sad event- it was one of the most incredible and profound experiences of my life. I told those I loved that I now had super-powers and the process my body went through to enhance itself without sight was miraculous. Sure I had a few brick imprints on my head – double brick homes are not favorable. But hey, dints can be sexy!
What also became very apparent, was that even though I felt enhanced in many ways, I was not seen this way by others.
I had no hair, I had many deep and shocking scars over my head, swelling to the side of my head and I had to learn how to walk again. I was disabled. I had to learn a lot of new skills and abilities, sure. But I didn’t view myself as dis-anything. I was very lucky to be alive, I was grateful to be alive, and I knew I had some hard work ahead. To many, my situation was about “how sad” my situation was, which created a “less than” mentality. Complete strangers would say lovely things edged with unmistakable pity. A huge presumption was being made, that my life was less terrific because I did things differently now. I have never looked at another “disabled” person the same again. To me, those that are “enhanced” have an evolved sense of so much MORE than the average Joe. More than. Not less than.
Within 6 months my sight returned- this was a very unexpected event. I was grateful for my return of sight, for two reasons only- smiles and colour. I missed it. I missed seeing my children’s smiles and sunsets. Everything else? I could do.
Not long ago one of my children saw a man in a wheelchair, turned to me and said: “Look at that poor man with no legs Mum.” This beautiful child of mine had empathy- a gift to be sure. But I turned to him and said “Don’t ever think that man has less than honey, look at that smile. I bet he’s happier and more successful than anyone we know. And, he’s got great wheels.” I looked at my son and saw that his look had changed from empathy to admiration towards a stranger that was “different.”
When I stumbled across this video, it took my breath away and made me smile and laugh, because it is the most accurate perspective I have yet heard about “being blind.”
Susan has so accurately verbalized the time I had. I can honestly tell you that if I needed a judge of character, I would trust someone without eye vision that has the inner vision in a heartbeat. The best bit, she made me laugh until my belly hurt. This is a great thing. So click below and check out Susan’s adventure in failing to be disabled. You won’t regret it.
Enjoy, be sure to comment below and share this incredible TED-talk.