There’s Something You Should Know: My Disability Story

I feel as if I wouldn’t be being completely honest with anyone if I did not tell them about my vision. I was born with Bilateral Colobomas, which is present in less than every one in ten thousand births.

It was not until I was two months old that my parents noticed the strange shape of my irises. After visiting a doctor, my mom was told that I was legally blind and would likely only see shadows, would walk with a walking stick, and would attend a specialty school for the blind. We were getting ready to move back overseas to Amsterdam, where my dad was at the time of my diagnosis. With little-to-no direction given to my parents on how to proceed, we fell into a fairly normal life. They were never quite sure of what I could or couldn’t see, so they would use black-and-white picture flashcards to see if I would follow them. Months later, I was eating a cracker in my height chair, and my mom noticed that I picked up a crumb that there was no possible way I would’ve been able to see if I had the vision limitations that the doctors originally diagnosed me with.

Every day since then has been faced with the knowledge that in a sense, I am extremely lucky. I cannot drive, which has become my ultimate limitation, especially as I’ve gotten older and craved more independence. It was not until beginning my time at Trinity that I was faced with a brand new battle; meeting people. I attended The Baldwin School, an all-girls school where I graduated with forty-seven girls, from kindergarten until graduating in 2013. I knew most of my peers since we were five years old; these people really, truly knew me. I never had to explain myself or defend anything I did due to my disability. I also never really had to make friends or meet new people, because everyone had been there for most of my life.

My vision disability has been a twenty-one year struggle, but it has also taught me a lot. Ironically, I have a strong passion for industries such as interior and production design, event planning and PR, all of which are extremely visual. And while one may think that this limitation would hold me back, I do not believe that I’ve allowed it to. When I am scanning a room full of people, I can’t distinguish a single face. Instead, I notice the color of the walls, the furniture, what everyone is wearing, what hairstyle they have. I pay attention to the details, the things that could’ve been overlooked by others who simply look at the big picture of things. And while I wonder every day what the rest of the people around me are seeing, I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have been able to overcome something such as this.