I believe that the definition of beauty cannot be focused on one specific thing, it is found in everything.
As I said there are many views of beauty and one that I see quite often is that of nature. The beautiful landscapes, the vast plains, the towering mountains! How could someone look at those things and not have anything to say other than “It’s beautiful…”? Then again there is also great beauty in structures that our fellow man has made. For Example: The Roman Colosseum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and The Eiffel Tower are all beautiful things. But there are also some views of beauty that only certain people see. Like to a teacher, a student that is improving, to a doctor, a healthy patient, to people on the streets, a hope for a new tomorrow. These are all examples of beauty, but the majority of these things require sight. So then, how would a blind person experience beauty without it? I found out first hand…
The last day before our Thanksgiving break we had a very special assignment to do for my Humanities class. We had to spend the entire day blindfolded and to see how a blind person would perceive beauty. This would be one of the hardest things I would have to do. Throughout my day of blindness, beauty presented itself in many forms. It came in knowing that I wasn’t alone, that I wasn’t the only one going through this difficult challenge. It came in my closest friends watching out for me(even though one of them led me into a wall). Beauty showed itself in compassionate people leading me to my classes, people I didn’t even know. The one thing I thought that ruined the whole experience was the fact that our teachers could tell us to take it off in class if they needed us to. The one time during the day where I kept it on almost constantly was when I went to my humanities class and during lunch, and this was the most difficult part of the day.
My first two classes were Chemistry and Art. In chemistry we had a test so of course I had to take it off, and in art of course I had to because I can’t really draw a portrait of anything without seeing it. Walking around the school was easy because I always had somebody to guide me around. After art, I had my Humanities class and we were going to finish watching the movie Wall-E. For the majority of the class this was their first time seeing it and they would have to see what its like to watch a movie without actually watching it. I had seen the movie a couple of times before this so I would already know what was going to happen. Since i just put my head down to listen to the movie I fell asleep so I got some much needed rest. At least one good thing came out of being blindfolded: nobody could tell that I was asleep. When it came to be lunch time it was a real challenge, I had just gotten out of class with nobody to guide me to the dining hall. Luckily I knew my school well enough to be able to go around without hitting a wall or anything. When I got to the lunch line though someone guided me to the line i wanted to go to so they were a big help. As soon as I got outside though people started messing with me, pushing me, hitting me, not rough enough to hurt me but enough to get me mad. Situations like these really show what people are like. Luckily I only had one more class to go, and my eyes were starting to hurt because of the blindfold. It was English class and guess what? I had another test. Exciting right? I went into class, sat down, took off my blindfold, and it felt like I had just woken up. Everything was blurry, and the light was blinding! I got used to it and I started to do my work.
That was the last time I wore the blindfold. Now even though this project was enlightening and interesting I don’t think it gave us a good enough idea on how a blind person lives. There are so many beautiful things someone blind could experience and just one day at school didn’t give us a good view of it. After that day I became more thankful for the gift of sight and my heart goes out to those people who are blind from birth or became blind because of an accident. My one day being blindfolded doesn’t compare to the hardships that those people go through every day. After the project it has put it all in perspective and it has made me appreciate the beauty I can see even more.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.