Dance competition season ended a few weeks ago. I competed twice and it was amazing to be back on stage after the pandemic.
The one thought I have been pondering since then is how lucky I am. I feel privileged that I am able to compete in spite of my low vision. It only presents a slight problem back stage where the lighting is low. Even so, it is insignificant to the joy I feel on stage.
As usual, when I started thinking, I didn’t stop. I started wondering about all the other things I am able to do in spite of my low vision. With all these thoughts bouncing around in my head I decided to make a list. I titled it, “My CANs and CAN’Ts of Blindness.”
It was a surprise to me that I was able to come up with a reasonable amount for each side. Let’s focus on the positives first:
Dance/Compete: Of course the activity that inspired this list is first the be written down. I have been dancing since I could walk and I absolutely love it. It would never let my low vision keep me from dancing. It has never presented much of a problem before, and I plan to keep it that way.
Put on Makeup: Any dancer knows that you can’t step out on stage without a full face of makeup. It can be a tedious process to apply, but with an extremely magnifying mirror I am learning.
Read: I can read! Books are my favorite pastime and I am fortunate enough to be able read them without braille yet. This might not last forever, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
Play Piano from Sheet Music: Sometimes I will sit down and draw a song from the keys of my piano. Occasionally, I will enlarge the music, but for the most part I can print off any song and read the music from my piano bench.
Everyone knows that brightness can’t exist without the dark for comparison. Here are the dark spots of my low vision.
Embroider/Sew: I can be a hard-core thrifter. I love to remake old clothing into cute outfits. Sewing and embroidering are the cornerstones of these projects. I have tried and failed to do this on my own. It is too hard to see the tiny threads and needles. It’s not worth it to me.
Look at the Stars: My brother has gotten into astronomy over the last few years. Whenever he and my parents go out to look through a telescope or look at the moon, I don’t. It’s frustrating to squint up and see only darkness.
Play Sports: Balls terrify me. I have terrible depth perception and can never seem to catch them. They more often end up bouncing off my head than landing in my hand. Whenever I see a ball flying through the air, I run in the opposite direction. I was out about sports from the beginning.
Blindness is like everything else in life. There are ups and downs that are out of our control. I find it better to accept the things that I can’t do as just that. It is not accepting defeat, but rather choosing what to fight for.
Everyone has to choose their battles wisely because no one can fight everything. My question to you is: What do you fight for?