My #BeReal guest today is Kerry Kijewski.
I started this series to showcase real people with real struggles doing real people things. I don’t want my daughter to spend her time trying to keep up with some invisible standard. Our children deserve a future full of real people to look up to. Real people like us teaching them how to overcome real life obstacles.
Kerry reminds us to take the time to look deeper. Some people are just waiting to give you more of themselves. Thank you Kerry for giving us more of you!
I was the blind girl in my class at school. Was I that label to the others or was that how I saw myself, the main thing I projected outward?
We’re constantly told that it doesn’t matter how others see us. What matters is how we see ourselves. I don’t know which one is more real. Which one is the correct answer?
I fool myself, often, about what is really and truly there to see. When others see me, I don’t know what that image truly is.
If you see me, do I immediately come off as being visually impaired?
Strangely, the term “blind” seems too harsh, strong, and bold and I have the urge to use “visually impaired” instead.
My physical scars are only visible when I choose not to cover them up. The advent of clothing makes this almost too easy.
The small one on my chest, on the right side, this one isn’t so easily hidden. That’s the time I had a line inserted to receive life-saving dialysis treatments. I rarely ever bat an eye anymore at the thought that it might be spotted. People often notice, but aren’t sure if they should ask me about its origin.
I hesitate on leaving the house, without the reassurance from one who knows me, that my left eye matches my right one. I dislike the fake and the artificial. This is more for people, but when others see my artificial (fake) eye, I feel exposed to an uncomfortable degree. This is only one small part of me.
My eye is not made of glass. It will not break or shatter. I am learning that I will not shatter into a million pieces either. Nothing can break me so badly that I can not put myself back together again.
It does not possess any of the magical powers of which Professor Moody had in the Harry Potter books. I’ve seen less, since I got it, than I once did. This, however, hasn’t stopped me from holding onto a vision for what I want my life and a better world to look like.
I don’t like that others see any version of me, of which is beyond my control, but that’s how it’s been for so much of my life.
I’ve been seen, first and foremost, as the blind girl – nice and kind (as it says in my yearbook) but different. It’s been enough to keep people at a distance, unsure how close to get. As if it might be contagious.
I do know all the positive qualities about my character and my worth. I know my sense of humour is sharp, witty, and dry with sarcasm. What I don’t know is how to show other people these things, how to get around the inevitable and the obvious.
I try to push away my shyness and my quiet demeanor, my fear of being rejected, to reveal the loads of things I’m dying to tell you all. And so I’m starting right here.
Its been a lifelong minefield, but I won’t ever stop trying. There are loads of different ways of seeing other people, oneself, and the world we all share.
Kerry is a writer and blogger. She was born visually impaired. She writes to make sense of the world around her.
She has a Certificate of Creative Writing and has written a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
She had a short essay published on BREVITY’s Nonfiction Blog and just recently she was included in a romance anthology:
You can find her, as Her Headache, at her blog:
Or on Facebook and Twitter:
Kerry lives in Ontario, Canada with her literary-themed dog and cat: Dobby and Lumos.
10 thoughts on “#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI”
Lovely to read your part in this series, Kerry.
We had an ‘artificial eye guy’ come and do a professional talk for my team at our last training day and it was FASCINATING but as much as he enjoyed telling us about one of his young patients who has fales eyes in gold and purple and neon, he also told us about how vulnerable and self-conscious it can make people feel.
I’m really glad you are still exploring the way you perceove yourself and are happy to continue doing so. You’re awesome.
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Thanks. Yes, the artificial eye has come along way from the glass eye of the past, but it can still make you feel self-conscious. I can make jokes of it to lighten the mood, but it isn’t all humour and fun.
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No, it’s damage limitation.
Thank you so much for sharing, Kerry. And I could be wrong, but I think you see yourself through a much more critical “eye” than those around you – though I could be wrong. When I was in college, as a work-study assignment (that I volunteered for), I assisted a girl who was visually impaired who was taking Film and Fiction. The class involved watching a movie and comparing it to the book. I helped her with her homework (though I wasn’t taking the class). And I helped Nancy, the visually impaired student, to get around the building because she also couldn’t walk. I don’t remember why she was in a wheelchair, but I don’t think she ever told me. And I never asked because it didn’t matter to me that she was. My biggest concern was wheeling her into/out of the elevator without bumping into anyone because that caused her a lot of embarrassment, so luckily that never happened. She could maneuver her wheelchair like a pro, but for some reason, she was apprehensive about elevators, probably because of the cramped space.
She, like you, was also visually impaired from birth. However, she saw nothing but darkness. And it sounds like you do have limited sight, from what you wrote. And I loved her black lab, her “seeing eye” dog, but that’s another story.
Anyway, I was amazed how much she could glean from what was on the screen as we watched the movie – that, of course, she couldn’t see. Like when she said she could tell one of the characters was going to kill herself, which wasn’t in the book, which Nancy detected by the inflection in the actress’s voice. Whenever she surprised me with insight like that, she would just smile and tell me I wasn’t “listening”. It got to be a big joke between us.
And, honestly, I don’t remember anyone staring at her or being uncomfortable around her except for this one football player, who was a jerk to everyone, so anyone he encountered was just as likely to get a snarky look or comment for any number of reasons. Nancy usually wore dark glasses because she said her “crazy eyes” that wandered aimlessly sometimes did unnerve people occasionally, much like your concern about your artificial eye. But I never noticed anyone giving her a 2nd glance when she forgot her sunglasses at home one day. But maybe the students at Marshall University (my alma mater) were just kinder than most, difficult to say.
That said, my point is, like Nancy you’re a beautiful girl. And anyone who doesn’t bother to “look” beyond your physical attributes both scarred and unscarred isn’t worth your time any more than that football player who thought his handsome exterior and athletic ability granted him some sort of pass to be an asshole. But anyone worth their salt, as my mother used to say, knows otherwise! 🙂 Thanks again for sharing. Have a good day!
You are right. I do have a bit of vision left. I don’t wear dark glasses. I would make myself completely blind if I did that. I can feel it when the artificial eye is turned, sometimes. I used to have a guide dog also, black lab. I am probably the most critical of myself, you are rright. I love movies and I can see the humour of that joke about you not listening. Having a good sense of humour is important. I am sure that girl was glad to have your help. Thanks for reading and your kind words offered.
Reblogged this on Her Headache and commented:
My pleasure to #BeReal here:
Thanks, Hasty, for giving me a place to #BeReal.
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