Losing my sight slowly meant that I was not always aware of what I couldn’t see. I carried on doing things as if I could see. It was only way down the line when I realised that I was doing things that had absolutely no visual value.
I was sitting in a coffee shop with my sister (who is also visually impaired) and I took the large, leather- bound menu and opened it up. I held the menu in my left hand and I tilted my head to the right to look at the left hand page and then slowly tilted my head to the left to peruse the delicacies on the opposite page. . This is ‘normal’ body language for deciding on an item to order. It was only when my sister asked me if the menu was upside down-and we both burst out laughing- , that I stopped to think about what I was doing. I had become so used to pretending to see that I suddenly realised that I had unconsciously been acting so that no-one would know that I couldn’t see. How silly!
Other things I found myself
doing that I couldn’t see at all is, pretending to check my cell phone when waiting in a queue; looking towards the projector screen in church when singing songs; taking the post out of the post box and pretending to read the addresses on each envelope; looking into the mirror to put on my lipstick…….where is my face?
Nowadays I use my white cane when I go to a restaurant. If I am alone, I ask for help to be seated, wave away the menu and ask the waitron what’s on order. It is far more relaxing than acting as if I can see, and I get to know the person serving me . This has taken so much stress out of having to be the great pretender.