I think I have always been rather forgettable. I even got a disease that people seem to easily forget. I attended a family function recently and had to leave early because of problems with my eyes, and everyone but my husband seemed surprised by this. I think my family often forgets that I am going blind as they often seem to have forgotten about me in general, for as long as I can remember.
I am the youngest of three children, the oldest of whom is a veritable super star and the middle who has been plagued by illness since he was 18. I was conceived to save a failing marriage and failed in this task I was born to. I have always been not quite pretty or smart or memorable, and never really wanted so left to my own devices. Although sad in some respects, I have been afforded the freedom to have all kinds of fun and to live a life of pure and unadulterated self-expression.
I am in my forties and married to a wonderful and boisterous Irishman. I am heavily tattooed and change my hair as it suits my mood. I never followed a specific career path, even though I come from doctors and lawyers and general success types. I have lived all over the country and claimed a dozen professions. I am an artist and an individual, but in my family I am the shadow who gets the passing glance and is as quickly forgotten.
My family, when thrown together, forgets that I am around and forgets that I am going blind, but I don’t have that luxury. I live every day knowing that my eyes are failing me and that I no longer have the luxuries of driving or working or being able to walk through the world with any kind of grace or ease. I suppose that between my sister, who is constantly revered and celebrated and my brother, who is a constant patient, there is just nothing left for a shadowy girl who has never been much of anything. In my family, if you don’t stand out, you don’t stand a chance.
I have dreamed of disappearing and running away. I plot ways to get out of family functions. If I don’t show up, I won’t be missed. And if I do, I will be brushed to the side and forgotten. But, I feel guilty if I don’t show up. I don’t want to hurt anyone, but then no one even knows I am there. I can’t win and so far I haven’t found a way to escape. I suppose what I can do, what I have always done, is to simply write. I write about family and shadows and I write about going blind.
I write about going blind because I cannot forget. I write about going blind because it is part of the fabric of who I am, who I have become and who I will be . I write about going blind because it is my reality and my strength and my fear. I write about going blind because it is my truth, but no one in my family reads what I write or subscribes to this blog. I am an after thought. A back burner disaster. Nothing.