I believe in the beauty that comes from the experience of being blind

Stephanie - USA
Entered on December 16, 2008

I believe in the beauty that comes from the experience of being blind. Not in the sense that I was ever blind or that I am going blind.

I know what you’re thinking. Where could I have gotten this idea from, right? Well, I will tell you.

For Humanities class the students, including myself, proposed the question, ‘If most of what beauty means to you is determined with eye sight, how can the blind know what is beautiful and what is not?’ Curious, from being teenagers and all, we established with the approval of our teacher and the principals that on the final day before the Thanksgiving Break we would be able to come to school, put on a blindfold, and go through a whole day without being able to see.

My first thought consisted of how easy this project was going to be. I wouldn’t have to do any work, my friend’s would help me move around the school, and I could fall asleep in my classes and no one would know it. Well, this was just a dream, because it didn’t happen as I expected it to be.

When I got to school I put my blindfold on and I was ready to go. My younger sister was going to take me to my first class, which was upstairs. It was hard trying to step up and not knowing how far to level it, since you might trip; but I was able to make it to my classroom without a scratch.

My first class went without the blind experience. I had to do a project and I needed the use of my eyes.

Everything was alright until I got to my 6th period class… Gym!

• First Challenge: Opening up that locker of mine. Of course I couldn’t see so I sat there waiting for someone to open my locker because my sister couldn’t.

• Second Challenge: Putting on my clothes. It was a huge hassle, but I ended up in my clothes.

• Third Challenge: Finding out how I could get around and not trip.

THIS WAS THE HARDEST OF THEM ALL.

The friend that I had asked to help guide me had ran away so I didn’t know where she was. Well… I did have Iman, my other friend, but she was blind, too. She had also asked, or at least chosen, someone to be her guide through the gym hour, but being teenagers we don’t ever stick to a plan, so she was also left behind.

So the two blind people only had each other. At least we got to the gym okay. Norma, which is my older sister very good friend, helped us even though we didn’t ask for it. We were very thankful.

To get around the gym I decided that I would get a feel of the walls. They had all sorts of posters on them so I would be able to tell where there was a sudden gap, or when to move to the other wall. As for the randomly placed tires that are used to hang the volleyball net, I counted steps in between each, it went: 11 steps to the first tire, I began counting from a bump in the wall, then 9 steps, 10 steps, and finally one step.

After thirty minutes I wanted to go outside. It was easy to figure out how I can move around on the track. The track has lines that keep runners in their places; I was going to use those. The lines were higher leveled than the concrete floor; I used my foot to feel the bump and then I would go all the way around.

During Humanities, the period afterwards, our teacher, Mr. Owens, still wouldn’t let us take the blindfold off. In the class before we had started to watch the movie Wall-E and since I had never watched the movie I wanted to finish it being able to see. Mr. Owens wanted us to get a full experience from this so we had to ‘watch’ the movie blind. It was a real disappointment. All that was heard was ‘blub blee blob’ which were the robot noises. There wasn’t much dialogue in the film so I couldn’t tell what was going on. I was at the brink of truly falling asleep while ‘watching’ a great movie. Later when the movie was over he explained to us what happened and I tried to really hard to piece everything together, but it didn’t work. I guess I will just have to watch the movie again.

Instead of heading to my homeroom, I went to my sister’s homeroom. People weren’t especially nice. Some would poke me and then run away. This one person grabbed a book and would slam his hand on it next to my ear so it would make a loud noise and I would scream because I would be terrified.

Lunch was a little bit better, but I could never tell if there were people sitting with me at the table or if they had left. Eating was a bit stressful, I always had to stretch out my hand so I could feel were the food was, my hand then would get sticky because I touched the food directly. I couldn’t have my sister feed me, I would feel useless.

At some points during my day, I felt like crying.

On my way to the gym people had tried to trip me and were yelling ‘There is a wall in front of you’. I mean we were just pretending to be blind so it really didn’t matter, but would those people ever try to trip a real blind person? Will they ever make fun of them? This project was liked by many people because it brought out the best and worst in people. Students that I didn’t know or ever talked to helped me to figure out where I was, where I was going, and even if there was something in font of me that I would bump into.

Even though this project was probably a one time thing I really enjoy the feeling that came from it. People now know how others really and truly care for them.

Now I can truly appreciate what a blind person feel and thinks. Before this I had just thought that they have it easy. Well, they don’t. People don’t have the time and patience to take care of somebody else. So they actually have the hardest time, but they are strong and they will be able to overcome danger.

Thank You, Mr. Owens for making this possible!