“Why can’t you see me?”


“Kuthwa uSethu ukujonga nje adlule, akasoze akubulise”/”(If Sethu sees you in public) she looks at you and keeps walking, she’ll never acknowledge you” – A friend said this a few years ago – chuckling – and it has stuck with me since. Being partially sighted leaves me with a crippling sense of awkwardness and isolation in many social situations. I am independent enough to creatively find my way from place to place, but in many ways, I am blind; and I’m always trying to articulate this better, to not shy away from situations that require that vulnerability and honesty. But I’ve noticed people, even my friends, make many assumptions, and I never really know the right time to safely share my truth. I recognize that I have a responsibility of being honest with people if I want to build healthy relationships. Many times in a day I’m confronted with situations where my eyesight becomes a barrier to building and maintaining new friendships, for being understood. Many times I ask myself: Do I just randomly blurt out that I can never recognize people unless their a few meters from my face and in my line of sight? Or do I let the awkwardness simmer, and hope people understand? When is the safest time to share my truth with people I’ve just met? I write this so you can understand me a bit better, and make this conversation easier to approach should we meet. Here’s to choosing honesty and vulnerability, always.

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