At this point in my RP journey, I am sans mobility devices; no white cane, no seeing eye dog, no glaringly obvious low vision contraptions. I still have about 20 degrees of peripheral vision in each eye; and yet I am legally blind.. So how does one navigate the world when they live in the space between sighted and blind? When they are afflicted with what I call an invisible disability? Carefully, with frustration, and at times with humor.
Some days, I feel as if my RP is easy to forget, to push out into the dusty edges. If you saw me, you would never know I have a disability; I have learned to navigate the world so well that unless someone actually knows that I have RP, it appears as if I am just as sighted as the next person; until I trip over the curb or bump into someone walking past me who any normally sighted person would have seen. And because I appear normally sighted, these bumps and trips are often met with anger from the affronted party. I have been called clumsy and stupid and occasionally bitch. Ok, so I may be a bitch, sometimes, but I am not stupid or clumsy……..I am blind. I am afflicted with a disability that is invisible to the world and the world is becoming invisible to me.
The world is becoming invisible; sounds scary and sometimes I feel impossibly afraid, but most of the time I just continue to muddle my way through, laughing at the spills along the way. Simply put, when you have RP, you don’t know what you don’t see because you can’t see it. Of course, intellectually, there is an understanding that your view of the world is limited and hopefully this keeps you hyper aware and in constant scanning mode, but the dark edges aren’t an entity, they are just nothing. It is as if the edges of the world have been erased.