She Doesn't Look Blind – She Must Be Drunk

What would you think if you saw a girl slowly walking down a dimly lit flight of stairs, assisted by a friend, as she was leaving a crowded bar – at 1 AM?

What would you think if you saw a girl being helped around a busy pool and lounge chairs after hanging out poolside all afternoon with friends? 

What would you think if you saw a girl being escorted down the steps of a restaurant? Then stops at the curb so she can slide her foot over the edge and continue to walk, still hanging onto someone’s arm?

What would you think? C’mon…Would you be secretly judging her? She looks like your average girl. Cute outfit & shoes, hair curled, lip gloss and lashes on…. She looks like she’s having a good time. Hmmmm. Well, she must be drunk. She probably had one too many chocolate martinis, and now her friends have to help her!

Guess what? THAT girl is not drunk. THAT girl has an invisible disability. THAT girl is me!

The situations I described above are real experiences – my experiences living with sight loss from LHON – Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.

Sure, I may have a nice glass of wine… but, I don’t get drunk. I’m not saying I have never gotten drunk…because I have. Maybe once or twice, or something like that. A long time ago. In a land far far away. Maybe a few times. What. Ever! Anyway, now, since my sight loss, I just don’t. I mean, let’s think about that. Legally blind + too much alcohol = A HOT MESS!! OMG! That’s way too out of control for me. No thanks! Plus, we know that too much alcohol and/or binge drinking is not the best idea for people who are LHON carriers or already affected. (Note: I’m not telling anyone they can or can’t drink. Drinking alcohol Is a personal choice.)

Why do I need assistance from friends, or a white cane, with stairs, steps, or curbs, when I can walk down a sidewalk quite easily and unassisted?  It’s because I have lost my depth perception. All surfaces are blurry and flat. I can’t see the edges of stairs or steps. Unless it is painted on the edges. Have you ever paid any attention to those painted lines? I never used to. Now…. I think they are fantastic! If I’m not using my white cane, I can’t tell the height of the curb, or if there is a crack or a hole in the parking lot. Put me in front of an escalator… you’ve gotta be kidding me…Holy Sh*t!  I think you get the idea!

So, if you see someone being escorted down the stairs, steps, or around a busy poolside…. Don’t be so quick to judge. It could be a different situation than what you have conjured up in your mind. She, or he, might be  blind, and blindness is just one of many invisible disabilities. xx

14 Comments on “She Doesn't Look Blind – She Must Be Drunk

  1. Go GGB!!! I love reading your posts, true they are really funny at times – but still thought provoking. You have love and support.

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  2. Maria, your blog is really helping me understand just how impacting losing vision is. This is a very good thing you are doing to educate us. Love you, Helen

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  3. Maria,
    Hey lady, that girl is also my girlfriend, Nicole. Nothing stops her from going anywhere, and that includes bar hopping. I have been in situations whereas I have had smart-ass drunks give me snide remarks about the “drunk woman” I was helping down some steps or over a curb from a nightclub. I really wanted to knock them out, but Nicole doesn’t wanting me hitting people. Your article is right-on once again, keep it up, great job.

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  4. Very true, Maria. But it sounds like you’re navigating the world with your own power, and doing so with sassiness! L& H – Mel.

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  5. maria…once again you have heightened the understanding of being blind……you are articulate, just the right amount of emotional and extremely loveable…your posts move anyone who reads them…huge love to y0u dearest maria.

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  6. Spot on Maria! We get similar stares and looks with MS. In fact one of our mottos is “I’m not drunk, I have MS”. Or hey, that floor needed a hug! Or Hi, I am caroline, she who stumbles in flats. OK you get the point. That fact is, we are cute girls with disabilities that folks can’t see. It’s a good reminder of how important friends and family are ding these times. They know our issues. Xo, cc

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  7. Another amazing blog girl! I am sure that anyone who saw you being helped on the stairs or around the pool was thinking “she’s hot” not “she’s a hot mess” because you are beautiful on the inside and out!

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  8. Love your blogs, I hope you dont mind that I share these on my Facebook page. It is like reading my sisters mind. Josie also has Lhons.
    You’re an inspiration – clare, in the UK x

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  9. Girl you KNOW I would want to be part of anything having to do with helping you out! Whether you need guidance due to vision OR too many damn drinks, you know I got your back! I’ve been backing you up since 1976….

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  10. Very well said and stated Maria…..great for ALL of us to be aware and learn what you are learning
    Thank you dear one

    Erin Barnum

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  11. Hey Maddie… Great blog.. Who would have known back in the Delta days that this
    would be your future. God has a plan for you… Keep following your heart and know there is a purpose and reason. God bless

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  12. YOU MAY BE “GIRL GONE BLIND” BUT YOUR SPIRIT AND HUMOR HAVE NOT GONE ANYWHERE!!!
    YOU ARE SO,SO LOVED!!

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  13. I hear ya, Maria. While I run into similar neuro problems, it’s nothing compared to LHON. My heart aches for you – you don’t deserve this. Let me shed the tears for you, as I know the words all to well (you will overcome this), when in reality that’s not the reality. Keep up the positive outlook, and take it day by day, minute by minute. You are strong and I am in awe. Love and hugs – Mel.

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