Monday, March 28, 2011

public noticing and private knowledge

My friend ensomnia is as prevalent as ever, so I thought I'd write again. A post from An ya from her daughter wanting to know how to answer people's personal questions reminds me of something that bothers me. Why do others feel it is appropriate to approach me and ask whatever they want? Random people don't even ask me my name. They ask why are you blind? Were you born that way? What is your dog's name? And if that isn't bad enough, they touch, grab, or push me, my guide dog Dee, or my belongings. They would *never*, I hope, do this to an able-bodied person. Now, if I am about to crash face-first in to a glass structure or am one step from falling down a 20-foot manhole, then it is ok to grab me without warning. What I do not appreciate is when people do it without talking or asking. For example, I was in line waiting for the campus shuttle last week. Dee knows how to move forward when the line moves, and we were doing just fine. Some person rabs my arm in a death grip and tries to propel me forward. I stoppeed and told I was fine and I didn't need help. She continued to hold my arm, so I ducked and moved away. Another person jumped in front of Dee and me while I was crossing a busy street. Dee stopped suddenly to avoid me crashing into this person. I shoved her hand away and said don't pet my dog. I then calmly told Dee forward, and she went around the rude individual.
I was in line for pizza at the cafeteria when someone pets my dog's head; her tail wags faster than usual when she is being petted. I said please don't pet my dog, she's working. She even has an orange sign on her harness that says so. The woman says so who cares and continues her petting. I pushed her hand and told Dee to lie down and she did after I repeated it with a correction. The woman procedes to be huffy and said to her friend, "how rude, I was just petting, what's the deal?"
When I am traveling sans dog and using my cane, people try to grab the end of my cne and a misleading attempt to guide me across the street. Ifthey thought about it logically, I need my cane to touch the ground if I am going to see where I am going!
People don't often ask me about adoption, because they see my disability before they ever see my skin color, and it isn't something I share unless I am going to be friends with someone. I can't discuss it with my family because they say "I am lucky" and the subtext of the message is you should be grateful. On the one hand, I am glad to live in America and have the opportunity for a colege education. On the other hand, there are just so many other complicated feelings about being an adoptee. What my family and random people dont understand is there is a loss of culture and identity. I am latina on the outside, but white on the inside. I wasn't raised in the latin-American culture or Paraguayan-American culture, if there is one. I do not know what I have in common with my first mother and sibblings, and what is my own from nature and the environment in which I was raised.


  1. Hi! I just read your blog and love it! My daughter is vision impaired, and I love reading about adults who have made a wonderful, successful life for themselves and not letting their vision impairment stand in their way. It helps me encourage my daughter to be anything she wants to be in life. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. I had a similar situation with someone petting Cessna a couple weeks after we had returned home from the dog guide school. I was standing at a booth, waiting for a slushy, when this woman started petting Cessna. I noticed her hand on Cessna's back, so asked her to please not pet her and she proceeded to first ask me how I knew she was doing it and then saying that it didn't matter anymore since she had already done it. Luckily I've only ever had to deal with someone like her once because I think I'd actually smack the next one lol!

    I can't even start to imagine the feelings and thoughts you must have surrounding what life would have been like with your birth family. My husband and I are currently beginning the process to foster for our local children's aid society in an effort to some day adopt a child, so reading your thoughts and feelings has really given me something to think about. I don't think it's right that your family makes you feel as though you should be thankful for being adopted, in my opinion they should feel thankful that you were born and that they were given the opportunity to have you join their family - probably not written right sorry, but I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm trying to say.

    I hope that our future children know we are thankful for having them in our lives and aren't afraid to ask questions or make their feelings known to us.