Something has been on my mind lately and I have been hesitant to write about it in this particular forum; I worry that it may upset some people, but I feel compelled, so I will write it and face the decision to press publish (or not) when the time comes.
I read a lot of blogs written by other blind and visually impaired people and I have noticed that most of them seem to be much more positive than mine. Am I too negative? Am I doing a disservice to the blind community by writing more about the struggles than the triumphs on my road to blindness? I try to make it clear that I am not speaking for the blind community, but is it clear enough? Am I inadvertently hurting people? Am I casting a harmful light? Or is it clear that what I write is simply my personal truth and nothing more?
As an artist, I have always felt that the best art comes from a place of total honesty, and whether that place is positive or negative doesn’t matter as long as it is true. But, is this an irresponsible way of looking at things when it comes to writing about disability? I don’t want to hurt anyone or instill fear or further stereotypes. On the other hand, isn’t it my responsibility to myself as a writer, to write my story from my own perspective, no matter how uncomfortable it may be?
When I started writing about RP and going blind, I made a promise to myself that I was going to convey my story in a way that was neither overly “woe is me”, nor overly “I can overcome anything and screw this pesky blindness”. As my story progressed, I allowed my nature to conduct my journey and my experiences, and my nature does veer toward the darker side of things. I have never been the kind of person who races to the top of the mountain and shouts my triumph to the world; I am more the person who contemplates the mountain itself and explores its darkness. I am in no way knocking the person who races to the top of the mountain; I actually admire that person. I am just not wired to climb.
The way I write about my journey into blindness isn’t dictated by blindness itself, but by the nature of who I am, and that is something that was there long before I even knew I was going blind. As an artist, I am compelled to write from the center of my own truth, and that is going to make some people uncomfortable, but I am a writer, not an advocate. I believe that art, in all it’s forms, is powerful because it inspires all kinds of feelings. I don’t set out to hurt anyone or to make anyone uncomfortable, but I do choose to write my truth and sometimes, it will be messy and hard to swallow. My writing isn’t for everyone, but it isn’t meant to be.
Am I being irresponsible? naive? I just don’t know.