Learning by Trying to Find Love with a Visible Disability

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about my continued single status and how I wish it would come to an end. Maybe it’s that we’re nearing the end of another year. Maybe it’s the arrival of another holiday season I will spend single. Maybe it’s the reality that I simply can’t believe I’m still single. Maybe it’s the truth that I feel like things I have always wanted are slipping away with the passage of time. Maybe it’s the understanding that my life isn’t, in this important way, what I ever imagined having. Maybe it’s the frustration that I’m not sure how my single status will end. Maybe it’s the recognition that my single status may never end. Most likely, it’s all of the above that have resulted in me thinking ore about my single status lately than I have for months.

I chose the title of this post because there is no question that my blindness has played a big role in my single status. The dilemma is that there is equally no question that my blindness has helped make me a better person and partner than I know I would have become had I been sighted.

That doesn’t at all mean I don’t believe sighted people are good people. Nor does it mean I would refrain from being with a sighted woman. What it means is I know who I am today. I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not experienced life as a blind person. Even the things blindness has made harder, like finding love, have made me stronger, more passionate, and more compassionate than I know I would have been without them.

Every person is on their own journey. Every good person has been influenced to be good by their experiences. In my case, my blindness has unquestionably made me better.

Still, I know the vast majority of people will never see me as I see myself. Most people will watch me veer when I walk and feel pity for or sorry for me when I neither pity nor feel sorry for myself. Most people will, whether they know it or not, be unsure around me. Most people will make negative assumptions about me without ever knowing me. They will not consider that I have had a lifetime to adapt to blindness. Most people will be turned off by the reality that I’m not the greatest at at making eye contact. Most people will find my closed eyes too different. Most people will never wonder what I may have to offer. Most people will instinctively know I’m not for them without wondering how I could be for them or even giving me a chance.

Honesty compels me to report that, used to being dismissed, I have become dismissive. Emotionally, it’s easier to expect the worst and to construct a wall of dismissal to make it harder for the rejection to get inside.

I tell myself life has taught me how interactions are likely to end. That story encourages me to too often be short with some who offer me assistance. It has become easy for me to project previous dismissals onto those I meet in the present. Instead of wondering if a new interaction could be different, I usually say almost nothing or wear my headphones to make it far less likely the interaction will ever occur.

Yet, the idea of randomly meeting someone and having it go great, something that seems to happen regularly, seems so far fetched to me that I have become foolishly resistant. Yes, most people will never see me as an equal. Yes, most people will never see me as someone they could love. But I have been seeing most of them in those ways too.

Acceptance of my obvious role in my ongoing single status is important. Wanting to do better is critical. Still, I can’t shake the idea I’m looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

But it only takes one magical spark. It only takes one woman to be as open to my differences and strengths as I will hopefully be open to hers. When that day comes, and deep inside I know it will, all of this–even the painful lessons I have had to learn–will make it even more magical.

In future posts, I will hold myself accountable. I will report on my efforts to be less dismissive and open. I will confront the frustrations and disappointment associated with having to educate almost everywhere I go. With some luck, I will also report on having, at last, found the love I know I deserve.

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