So, I took some of these abilities away from myself. In a full sense, I lost part of me for the day. I lost my eyes for this mystery and discovery.
This was the plan: for one full day, I would wake up and literally be blinded for the entirety of the day. My darling husband, Asa, would be home for the adventure for me, helping me with anything I needed. The boys knew about the day to come, and the plans were to allow me to discover, er, rediscover myself and my life without the use of one thing I take for granted daily.
So the adventure began. I woke to the alarm singing at 6:45 AM. At once, the blindfold, a normal heavy duty sleeping mask, was placed on me. I had not smoked a cigarette, used the bathroom, or even had the luxury of a cup of coffee yet. I learned very quickly how much the bed frame hurts against bare toes, and the scraping of the counter by the sink when my arm slipped from it while washing my hands. There were new sensations all around me, from the darkness of the cavern behind the mask to the smell of fresh brewed coffee.
The baby thought I was a scientist for the day. He told me he couldn't see my eyes and that wasn't cool. I untied his shoes , still blinded, and put them on him. The feel of the shoes in my hands was completely new to me, as if I had never felt shoes before in my life. I knew by the feel which was left and right, and was able to tie them for him.
My husband brought me a pair of jeans, but as for the rest, it was entirely up to me. Putting on a bra, not seeing the notches and having to feel my way around it was a totally weird experience for me. I had no issues putting on the jeans and the socks, but I had to feel my way around the shirt to note which way the collar was supposed to be.
The morning went a little better. I knocked my hip into the corner of microwave stand, didn't expect that to come. It truly is interesting to realize how much you do NOT know your own house, no matter how long you have lived there. As for this house, it has been 18 months, and I didn't know that the stucco on the walls felt like rough ends of a stingray, stabbing your hands as they brushed against you, welting the flesh right off the palms and tips of your fingers.
Feeling... This is another sensory that we take for granted so much. How much do we really use our hands every single day? How much do we truly touch things, people, animals? How do we know the difference between a dirty pair of jeans by the feel of them more than the look of them, or simply by remembering that they were worn the day or two days before hand? I took this into effect. Not once did I flip a light switch. Not once did I attempt to pull the blind off, seeking the light we all so desperately depend on day after day. I have my smokes, positioned to my right, my cell phone to my left. My husband helps me make a cup of coffee by the feel of the heat rising from the cup. I learn that each of my coffee cups has a distinct marking on them, letting me know which cup is which from the cabinet, not just by its size, but by the graphics on their sides.
Then the true test came. Asa and Allen left to take the baby to school... leaving me alone in the house with nothing but time and sound to occupy me. I fed the fish, carefully, by feeling the mantle where the food is kept, picturing in my mind where the lid to fish tank was. From there, I counted the steps across the living room to the front door and back to the kitchen table. I sat back down, just sipping my coffee, proud of my simple accomplishments, and it had only been an hour since the alarm had gone off. I sat there, just thinking, wondering what would I do with my time if I were actually fully blind?
Out of nowhere, something fell over in Allen's room. Right after, the shower started dripping water. A steady stream enough to cause a sense of fear rush through my body. "WTF??? Was that?!?!?" I didn't take my blindfold off, nor did I decide to make it a good idea to investigate. I just sat there, like a bump, figuring whatever it was, probably wasn't that big of a deal.
Asa and Allen came home, bringing our good friend Mama Frances with them. She had already had the concept explained to her, no big deal. After setting with her chatting and sipping on coffee, we decided to walk her dogs and go to the grocery store.
Now most of us take this very thing for granted. Walk into the grocer, get what we need, and get out. Right? Folks, this is a brand new world. Realizing that the grocery store here (which will remained unnamed) does not have any form of Braille except on the bathroom signs. How is it a person who is legally blind is able to get through a grocery store without knowing what things are? Not everyone has someone to depend on and tell them where the ketchup is, or cereal, or even ice cream. Luckily, Asa was with me. He took me through the bakery, and to produce. He had me hold and smell different fruits and vegetables. From avocado to onions, it was amazing how much I miss when I simply go to get groceries.
What I don't miss about the experience is the sense of eyes on me, unbeknownst to these strangers that I absolutely knew and felt them looking at me. A perfect stranger to them, without the one thing that they had the glory and revelation of: simply being able to see. I don't quite understand the hypocritical feeling I had while walking and being led through the grocery. But I can say that I don't want to say I have never done it myself. What a horrible feeling, eyes staring at you, judging you for a slight imperfection to them, but a way of life to you. I, myself, feel ashamed for have been like that before, and so should anyone else. And to be quite honest, it's not just those with disabilities but folks with piercings, children, tattoos, gay and lesbian couples and/or families, and more. I know how it feels to be stared and gawked at as a lesbian couple, a bisexual's family, and all that. It's not cool.
So take the time to really evaluate the things you have in life. Be it your eyes, your ears, feeling in your extra sensories, your children or your spouse. Imagine what it would be like to lose yourself (a part of you) for one day.