I am not brave

Recently people keep saying to me that I’m brave and as much as I appreciate the fact that they are trying to pay me a compliment it really isn’t true. I live a pretty normal life, I go to school and I play sports in my spare time and just do what most teenagers are doing. From my perspective there is nothing unusual about what I do. I understand that a lot of people can’t imagine being blind because it is so different from the life they lead but they forget that for me it is just normal, I’ve never known any different.

That’s not to say I don’t sometimes hate the fact that I can’t see. Sometimes life would be a lot easier if I could drive or not have to wait for ages for things to be transcribed into Braille. It’s not always easy because there are occasions, especially in an educational setting, where things do take a lot longer. But I guess everyone dislikes aspects of their life; again, I don’t think it’s particularly unusual. There was a time when I was extremely comfortable with being blind, before I ever really saw it as a problem. Once other people at school started to notice the difference so did I and in some ways it was other people that made it an issue. I don’t like it but the reality is I have no choice. You might say I’m brave but you’re looking at it from the point of view of someone who can see, someone who isn’t used to coping with being visually impaired. To you it seems impossible but for me there is no alternative. Bravery is taking one for the team when you don’t have to, you make a choice and do something brave. I don’t have that choice, I can’t take the fact that I’m blind away and so I live with it because really what else can I do?

So for everyone who thinks I’m brave for living a normal life I’m seriously not. It’s just my life, maybe you can’t imagine it but I don’t do anything out of the ordinary. A few years ago someone said that we got dealt a crap hand in life and it was just the way things are and I think that’s totally true. If I had the choice I definitely wouldn’t be blind but there is no choice about it. I don’t like being seen as brave because I think saying someone living their life is brave waters down the meaning of bravery. It makes it horribly average and indicates that you don’t have to do anything to be seen as brave. From my point of view that’s totally inaccurate. I didn’t do anything to influence the life I was born in to, it just happened. Would you call someone without a disability brave because they were getting on with their life? No, I doubt you would.

  1. Sean Barlow left a comment on June 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Know what you mean, am I “brave” for being in London come the summer for the Paralympics? Is giving orders to bus drivers when i’m blind “brave”? NO!

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