I know that I have a lot of anger that has built up over the years. I think that most of all I am angry about being treated as a novelty or as if I don't exist. The novelty, I feel is strictly a result of being disabled and having to use techniques that are unusual--fascinating. Being ignored is something that I know is an indirect result. Maybe some people ignore me because they're scared of me--a 12-year-old friend once told me that. But I think a lot of people ignore me because they're busy. People are expected to "jump in" or "mingle". This is something that I cannot do. I don't have full knowledge of what people are doing around me. Even if I know what they are talking about, I don't always know when it is appropriate for me to try to join a conversation.
Also, my repertoire of topics to discuss is much more limited than other people's. Other people talk about what they see. So much of life revolves around what can be seen! Even when someone is relating a nonvisual event, there are visual elements: "He looked confused." "He grinned." People insert these visual things to enhance their stories. I even find it difficult to write a story because I cannot describe a character or setting. People are not interested in what comes through the other senses. They want that visual stimuli. If the other sensory input was absent, it would not be a catastrophy as it is when visual input is absent. People watch mime and dance. They don't listen to music or radio shows any more. Even concerts have to have visual effects! I am not a whole person, and it is all because one part of my physical body doesn't work!
I know that I should look for wholeness in You, Lord. I'm realizing how intertwined the issues of my blindness and my loneliness are. The root of the whole thing is fear that I am unacceptable. Perhaps it is even belief that I am unacceptable. All my life, people have ignored me, taunted me, or treated me like a novelty to be admired. I have never been a regular person. I've been told that there are various reasons for being ignored, mostly revolving around things I have not learned to do correctly because I cannot see others doing them correctly. The things I can do correctly are not enough to make me acceptable to society. At least, this is the message I have gotten. And this message has come primarily from my mom. This is why the mom issue ties into everything. When I aired my hurts to my mom, the answer she gave to me was [often] that there was something that needed to be changed, usually about some aspect of me that was visually apparent to others. Because I was so isolated, she was my primary source of information about how acceptable I was to society as a whole. It shouldn't have been this way, but it was. When I did start questioning others, I got very mixed messages. To use the example of make-up, which is not something I presently think I have to change:
My mom thinks that if I wore more, I would look better and people would like it. Some friends think I look fine the way I am. When I put it on, Mom thinks that most of the time it looks good, although more would be fine. My sister cannot tell that I'm wearing it.
I know that people have various opinions about what looks nice and what doesn't and even about how important appearance is. I cannot see to judge whether or not I look nice and presentable, so I have to rely on whoever is closest, and if that person doesn't like it, then I don't have the ability to decide that this is their personal opinion and allow my own opinion to overrule it.
Then there is the matter of getting myself involved in a conversation. I am bombarded with messages at church to reach out to people who are in need, to find the person who is sitting by herself and start a conversation. The problem is that I cannot do this independently, no matter how much I want to. In fact, usually I am that person sitting by myself, and no one finds me and starts a conversation.
This brings up another mixed message I get sometimes. I'm not supposed to be negative and sad all the time. The truth is that in situations where I am sitting by myself, I usually am sad. But this is not acceptable, so I figure I need to put on a happy face. But if I put on that happy face, do people assume that I don't need anything? Maybe need isn't the right word. Do they assume that I am happy sitting there by myself? So how do I approach someone who is already in a conversation? Those are the people I have access to. It is difficult for me to realize that not everyone is always participating in a conversation. If I do know of someone who isn't participating, what do I say?
Me: Hi. How are you?
Other person: Fine. How are you?
Me: Fine. What's been going on lately?
Other person: Not much. Just work.
Where does it go from there? These are things I don't know. It's easy to start conversations with people I know some things about. It's easy to start a conversation with a total stranger on an airplane. I can ask questions about what they do, whether or not they have kids, etc. But how do I talk to my brother-in-law? I know that he works at Sam's and is taking finals. I know that his major is chemistry. He typically gives short responses like that. It's not necessarily an attempt to avoid me, but I don't know where to take it from there. So I usually go back to just sitting around and listening to what is going on around me to try to judge whether or not anything applies to me and whether or not there is an opportunity for me to enter a conversation. Most of my attempts at casual conversation leave me feeling very awkward and childish.
The truth is that there are a lot of things I enjoy and a lot of things that make me happy. The problem I have is that when I get into a group situation where the focus is not necessarily on a topic I know anything about, I tend to feel very frustrated and even angry and upset. I know that being able to see would not solve all of my problems, but I think it would give me access to a lot of things that would alleviate the problem of nothing to talk about.
Also there is the issue that started this whole fiasco with wanting healing. It has to do with the reasoning that I am not healed because I don't have enough faith. In a roundabout way, this reasoning communicates to me that I am not acceptable to You. I know this is not true and that this kind of reasoning is very simplistic and is not necessarily the case for me. I know that You love me the way that I am. This You have shown me, and I think that the faith issue is on the back burner right now. Still, I needed to mention it because it has been an issue for me in the past.
This whole thing about my not having because I ask selfishly is bothering me, too. When You met blind men, all You asked was what they wanted. They did not have to give reasons for what they wanted. They were beggars! Surely You knew that they wanted empowerment in society. No, I am not a beggar for my physical needs, but sometimes I feel like I am begging for my emotional needs. Aren't those important, too? Or am I too dissatisfied and always wanting more?
I also really have problems with the idea that You are allowing me to be this way for a purpose. I have believed this in the past, and perhaps I will believe it again tomorrow. Right?
now I am really struggling with it. Why would You want anyone to be in this kind of emotional pain? Just so they could say it is possible in You to overcome it? And still be disabled? This makes no sense. This pain does not feel like something that can be overcome. If I had had one injury, I could heal. These emotional wounds are opened over and over again. How can those kinds of wounds ever be healed? I am not immune to them, You know.
It is so tempting to just walk away from this writing. I don't want to hear that You can heal them. I guess I don't believe it right now. I don't want to believe it. Believing it means that I don't get my way and I have to stay disabled. The bottom line is that I want to see. Yes, I guess that has become my will. I wish I could hear the DCTalk song because maybe it's appropriate for my situation.
So I guess the bottom line really is whether I want my will or Yours to be done. I am ashamed of my selfishness. I don't know when it began. Will You still hear my prayers? I cannot even tell if I ask with sincerity when I ask You to take all of this from me and give me the right spirit that I used to have. I understand the words now: "Cast me not away from Thy Presence, oLord, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." I can't even give any of this up on my own. Now is a time when I could really use a miracle, in every sense of the word. If You can take away this kind of bitterness and this kind of selfishness, it will truly be a miracle. Some tiny part of me is willing now for You to do this, I think. I hope...