Finding Your Voice
By Yvonne Garris
July 23, 2013
A strange thing happens when you become disabled, not only do you lose one of your senses you seem to lose your voice. All of a sudden you are in this roller coaster of unknowns, with everyone telling you what you should do and pulling you this way and that. Somewhere along the line your voice falls through the cracks as your head is spinning and you almost feel like you are a zombie. Once you lose your voice it is difficult to find it again since by the time you realize you lost it you are not sure where it went.
This is the way I felt for probably the first six months to a year after losing my sight. First I noticed that my mom was talking for me and ordering for me at restaurants. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my mom very much and at first I guess it was okay, but I was an adult and can talk for myself. It doesn’t help matters when the staff at pretty much any establishment looks at the able bodied person and not the disabled person. So, my mom is treating me like a child (which I was to a point, since I was learning to be disabled) and staff treated me like I was invisible.
Luckily as I have written before I had a wonderful mom who wanted me to get back to independence and at times would give me little shoves to do things on my own. I also was attending support groups at my local blind association and I asked the other members what to do and they told me to just say something. Okay, what a simple concept, but it was a scary one none the less. I still could not read the menu at the restaurant, but the next time mom and I went out I asked her if I could order for myself. Honestly I was a little nervous, but she was fine with it, and when something came that needed cutting she asked if I needed help or if I wanted to try to do it on my own. Wow, how liberating!
The next time I had to try out my fledgling voice was when mom and I went to the store to buy an office chair. We walked around and I felt the different chairs and found one that I liked and mom took the ticket and we found a salesperson. We then went to a desk to complete the order and since I have some sight I could see that the whole time he was looking at my mom and not me. I found this very upsetting since I was the one actually holding the credit card on the desk. So now, in my new found voice, that was getting more upset by the minute, I asked him about it and he got all flustered. Needless to say, I highly doubt if I will ever shop at that store again, but I was very proud of myself that I found my voice and used it to stand up for myself. I will write more about advocating for yourself in upcoming articles so make sure you watch for them. Until then I hope you find your voice!
©Yvonne Garris 2013 all rights reserved