My Blindness Doesn't Make Me Inspirational


I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at 14, but didn’t really start acknowledging the diagnosis and visual impairment until around age 20. That’s also when I started to hear that I was an inspiration. At that time and for a few years after, I didn’t really care; in fact, I thought it was sweet and a compliment to my ability to persevere and keep moving. But after learning about inspiration porn and getting told I was an inspiration many times when I was just doing average joe activities, I started looking at things a little differently.

Inspiration porn is when a person without a disability thinks a person with a disability is inspirational just because they live with a disability. That’s it… just them living is the sole reason they are called an inspiration.

Living as a blind person with retinitis pigmentosa is not inspirational. Most people would continue to live if they were diagnosed with such. Going through what I have had to go through to continue to live the life I want to live, taking orientation and mobility lessons and using adaptive technology is not inspirational. I did what I had to do to survive.

I am OK with you thinking the perspective I have taken on disability, the advocacy work I do related to disability, and the amazing opportunities I have been given and embrace are inspirational. But just because I continue to keep on trekking through this thing called life with a disability — that’s not inspirational.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via Thinkstock.

Related to Blindness

Woman dress shopping

6 Funny Things I Do as a Visually Impaired Person

Living with a visual impairment can oftentimes be uncomfortable and embarrassing in social situations. What can I do? Well, I can laugh. Finding humor in these experiences makes the seemingly unbearable discomfort bearable and funny to think back on. Everyone has something that limits them, right? I have never met a superhuman. Not yet anyway. With [...]
Doctor examining baby.

What I Wish the Doctors Who Said I Would 'Never' Could See

I didn’t know this until a few years ago, but when I was 3 months old, doctors told my parents to prepare for what my life would be like. I had been diagnosed with several congenital abnormalities including micropthalmia with blindness in one eye. Doctors stated that I would never develop intellectually beyond where I [...]
Stack of books on a table.

Why We Must Save Bookshare for People With Disabilities

Author’s note: Bookshare, a service that provides large print and Braille digital books for people with print disabilities worldwide, is currently in danger of losing federal funding. As a student with low vision, I have been using Bookshare since 2011 and it has dramatically changed the way I read. Below, I have written a sample [...]

Josh Sundquist's First Novel Explores Blindness, Identity, 'Love and First Sight'

The following is an excerpt from Josh Sundquist’s debut novel, “Love and First Sight.” Vice Principal Larry Johnston extends his hand. To clarify: I don’t see this. I hear the swish of his shirtsleeve. “Nice to meet you, William.” The fabric sound plays again—the hand retracting. “I’m sorry, I guess you can’t do that now, [...]