It literally arrived less than half an hour ago. I’m still at a bit of a loss for words. I guess it feels kind of weird, because here I am, a sighted person, with a white cane. It felt weird enough a few days ago when I ordered it, but now I guess it’s so weird that I can’t figure out how to describe it.
I think that one aspect is that it feels kind of like a “next step” in the development of my BIID. You see, almost everyone with blindness-variant BIID has a cane, but I didn’t. So while my issues were perhaps as significant as those of any other person with BIID, I could kind of write it off as not really a big deal because, after all, it’s not like my life’s been affected by it in any way. I mean, installing a screenreader on one’s laptop doesn’t feel like that because it’s just a piece of software, but to have a cane is kind of a big thing to me – a significant part of my life, as in that now I guess I kind of live half as a blind person and half as a sighted person. It doesn’t really make sense, because for a long time now I’ve been living half-blind half-sighted, but somehow it’s different when you’ve got a cane.
Another aspect is that I’m sighted. So what the hell am I doing with a white cane? This aspect hit the strongest when I was removing it from the packaging. I happened to not be pretending at the time, so I was quite aware of my sight as usual. And there I was with the folded cane in my hand. I was frozen. It was like, it felt too weird to actually unfold the thing. And then after a while I did. And I wanted to check the length of the cane, but again it felt weird and I couldn’t at first move to holding it in the position that it would be in if I was a blind person walking with a cane. I wasn’t frozen from like, stress or anything, but kind of like “this is too weird, I’m sighted, why do I have a cane?”.
And I guess this comes back to my first point, but the other thing was like “I can’t believe I’m doing this”. In the sense of “my BIID is far more serious than I thought”. Like, it’s not just a little game of mine. It’s real, and it needs special equipment to deal with it. I can’t just ignore it any more. Screenreaders I can uninstall, braille books I can send back to the library, and so on. But this stays with me for life. It’s not just a little change so that I can pretend at home for a few hours a day; it’s actually buying stuff that blind people use and using it like a blind person would. It’s a part of my life. It’s a part of me.
I remember that one of my ex-friends with BIID used to tell me about how they kind of had to “overcome” some kind of internal conflict against pretending to be blind – like that they felt that it was somehow “wrong” to use a screenreader or a cane simply because they were not physically blind. I remember telling them that for me it was no big deal, like that I never really had an issue with pretending, it never felt “wrong” or anything, and I just did it when I felt that I needed it. So yeah, perhaps that issue wasn’t as much of an issue to me as it was to her, but I can certainly understand it now because I kind of felt the same way at first about getting the cane. When I ordered it it was like no big deal, but when it actually arrived and I unfolded it and held it like a blind person would that’s when I felt it.
That’s when it felt weird. That’s when it felt like I was doing something I shouldn’t be doing, simply because I’m not blind.
I don’t think there’s anything to worry about though. On the other hand, I’ve been feeling ten times better since I ordered it, and even better now that it has arrived. Of course I have the usual sore stomach that I always have when the BIID gets intense, but I think that I can safely say that this time it is at least in part caused by excitement. I can’t wait to use my cane. Hopefully I’ll go out with mom on the weekend.
And now that I’ve got a cane, I really feel more like a blind person. Maybe one day I will be blind for real.