What Defines Us

16 Jan

by Stella De Genova

When I was a kid, I was a 6 year-old with glasses because of myopia. I had “night blindness” due to my retinitis pigmentosa (RP) but that wasn’t diagnosed yet so my tripping over or running into things in the dark was chalked up to my near-sightedness and being a little clumsy.

No one knew or thought of me as being blind or having a disability. There were no over-protective limitations set on me as worried parents are known to do.  So when my interest went in the direction of art, I had all of the crayons, colored pencils, drawing pads and construction paper a blooming young artist could ask for.  Even after my RP was diagnosed when I was 16 years old, I majored in art in high school, and planned on attending an art academy post high school.  As far as any of us were concerned, I just had to be careful in the dark, but otherwise my daytime vision was correctable.

As time has passed, my RP has progressed, and even in good light, things are quite blurry and much of the time, colorless. I use a white cane when moving around outside of my home.  But my artwork has been my oldest friend and it still is.  I may have changed when and where and how I do my artwork but if I have to define who I am, I am an artist, a mother, a wife.  Blind is much further down the list because it’s something I live with, not who I am.

So it’s not so much that I have this great positive attitude toward my blindness. It’s just that I look at it as something I live with but it’s not who I am.  And now that the holidays and all of the attached obligations are over, it’s time to get back to some painting!

Stella De Genova posts submissions by blind and visually impaired authors on this blog, as well as some of her own.   You can see her artwork at: http://www.artbystelladg.com

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