What Does “Looking Blind” Even Mean?

I am going to preface this post with a few things before I go on my mini tirade/rant/whatever you want to call what is about to occur.

 

This isn’t a fact that I really hide or anything, it’s just not something that I feel the urge to mention every day, or every post, or anywhere I frequent on the internet.  Simply because it’s something I deal with every day, and it’s not even remotely a big deal to me.  When the need arises, or when I feel like I know someone well enough to want them to know this fact about me, I tell them and have gotten mixed reactions.  Reactions from “Wow, that’s amazing/so cool!” to “You’re lying” to “Wow, you don’t look blind at all!”.  I’ve posted about accessibility problems I’ve had and the like, but have never just come out and said I’m blind on this blog (I don’t think?  Maybe I’m mistaken) but I am going to mention it at the beginning of this post, because it’s important to what this post is going to be about.

 

So yeah, I’m blind.  Which to most people, they honestly don’t really care because you know, I’m a person who just happens to be blind.  I still have the same interests, likes, and dislikes as someone with sight could or couldn’t have, and just have to approach certain activities that may need vision primarily to do differently.  I’ve been blind for about 20 years now, having lost the majority of my vision when I was 10, due to an eye condition known as RP.  So, I still have a teeny teeny bit of vision, but it isn’t’ high functioning at all:  I can tell if a light is on or off, or how bright/dark it is in a room, and can sometimes see colors, and shapes only if something is very, very close to my face – and even then, colors blur together (I can’t tell different shades of reds and blue from each other, but I can tell if a color is lighter or darker and I use the memory of seeing color when I was a kid to try and connect the dots).  For these reasons, this is why I just tell people I’m blind:  Not visually impaired, not legally blind, but blind.  And, to be honest, I shouldn’t’ have to justify my vision, or lack thereof,  to anyone.

 

But that’s exactly what I’ve recently found myself having to do in some YouTube comments sections.  I mention I’m blind, because my comment wouldn’t make sense to the video creator if I didn’t, and in come the people who say I have to be lying about it, because I can type, and use a computer, and post covers from video games I enjoy.  Because, to their narrow minded viewpoint, a blind person can’t play video games, because you have to see to do that!  Forget the fact that sound is a major factor in gaming as well, and with the audio engineering the way it is in modern games, you can tell where you are with panning, and how 3-dimensional the sound scape is in game.  I understand that people possibly can’t comprehend that someone without sight would want to play a more visual medium of entertainment, but don’t act like they are liars, or aggressively, rudely attack them so they have to defend themselves on the subject, if you simply do not know how a blind person would play games.  Easier to catch flies with honey, as the old saying goes.  This is a major tangent I went on, so sorry about that.  But let me get to what I intentionally wrote this post for.

 

What is “Looking blind” exactly?  I legitimately want to know.  I’m just a person, another human being who looks like people do.  Do people who say this specific comment, think that it’s a compliment?  Think that I should not be out and about, and look like a functioning adult?  What does looking blind in their heads look like, because when I hear someone say that to me, this is what my perceived connotation is:

 

“You don’t look blind!  Because a blind person would be stumbling all over the place barely able to cross the street.  Oh, and they’d have miss matched socks, two different shoes on and really ugly clothing that doesn’t match at all.  They’d also never, ever come outside, because they can’t see!”
Seriously, it’s 2016.  People are so aware of so many issues.  There are technological strides that are helping everyone, in every disability spectrum do more things independently.  It shocks me that blindness isn’t’ something people know, or care to know more about:  And, if you run across someone who is blind, you don’t ask them questions in an offensive accusatory way.  “You don’t look blind” is an instant way to put someone on the defensive, because “Looking blind” isn’t a thing.  Asking “How can you type?” is equally offensive, because who the heck even looks at the keyboard to type anymore?  Do people look at the keyboard to type?  Am I missing something?

 

I’m blind.  I’m also a singer, who likes anime, and video games, and nerd culture, and being blind isn’t’ going to stop me from liking anything visual that I like to do.  What being blind does, is makes me find alternatives to playing and experiencing video games, and anime, and cooking, and making jewelry.  Before you ask a blind person a question just please, please, please make sure it doesn’t come off as offensive.  Be genuine, be curious, and be inviting.  There’s nothing worse than an aggressive encounter, when you really just wanted to get to know someone better by asking a question.
I like to keep this blog more on the positive side, but this has just been nagging at me for the past few days so I wanted to write a post about it.  It does make me sort of want to write more about different blind issues in more detail, because honestly this was a very cathartic post lol.  If you got to the end of this post, then you get a virtual cookie for sitting through my venting!  XD

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Chainmail Chronicles: First Finished piece and wrap up

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Above is a picture of my first finished chainmail project – six copper chainmail rings dangling down in a straight line, with a small, turquoise bead at the top and bottom of the chains. I decided to go with a pair of earrings, because I didn’t want to have to attempt to connect the two pieces of chain that had fallen apart the night before. I also wanted to just have a completed piece, so I could move onto something else and have my first completed chainmail piece under my belt. Overall, I like how it turned out! I was winging it with the earring design, and had to tweek it a bit here and there. After showing my Mom the earrings, she suggested to add another turquoise bead at the bottom of the chain to make the piece look complete, and I liked it. Before, it looked like this:
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The earrings, with a bead only on the top of the chain

It was nice, but definitely was missing something so I’m glad I showed it to her for some input. Also was debating fixing the longer loop and ultimately decided to – it was scary for me to tinker with it because I was afraid I’d ruin the chain by cutting off the bead dangle, so instead opted to open the loop a little and slide the dangle off the ear wire. After I was done, it had a more professional finish.

There were some troubles along the way assembling this thing! I’ve never been a fan of making earrings because I hate having to thread the small pieces onto the ear wire and close them and possibly distort the piece (like by having one bead dangle longer than the other which happens to me a lot) but with the jump rings, it was a lot easier to thread the chain onto the ear wire. When I put the head pin with the bead dangle on there came the hard part. I really need to get a ruler or something so I can measure lengths and have consistent loops. The first earring was easy, but the second one I had to use three headpins before getting it to stick at the length I want it to. When I threaded everything onto one ear wire, it kept on falling off and I was freaking out that my jump rings weren’t closed all the way – but then the bead dangle fell off too, and at closer inspection the ear wire had been opened a bit, no clue how that even happened! It was majorly frustrating because the first headpin I had had both turquoise beads even and if I had noticed before I would have just fully closed the ear wire and been done instead of trying to re-adjust with a new headpin. Next time I’ll check every piece of the assemblage before jumping to conclusions, will probably make my life a lot easier in the long run!

It wasn’t easy, by any means to make the adjustments to the earrings – I fought a lot with cutting headpins to the right size, trying to thread them on with itty bitty headpin pieces left, and then not having enough of the pin to close. It was soooo annoying! And I wound up opening the ear wire again, but then that gave me an idea! Instead of trying to open and close the headpins, why not just thread everything onto the ear wire while it’s open and then close that? So I did and it worked perfectly! I will probably be using that as my earring making technique from now on because it was soooo much easier . A jump ring was a little open, but I luckily could close it enough so the second turquoise dangle I added to the bottom stayed secure. And as another alternative method, I decided to try not snipping the head pin until I made the loop, made sure it was closed and at the length I wanted, then cut off the excess. Worked like a charm and also will be another technique I adopt into my jewelry making arsenal!

And thus, ends my first Chainmail journey. It was very interesting to say the least, I think I learned a lot about being patient and staying persistent – the hardest thing about this whole experience was not giving up on a technique I’ve always wanted to learn, and I’m glad to say I stuck with it until the end of this small project. I also learned how to feel for the most part when a jump ring is closed, and how to keep my work from vanishing when I drop it. Also, to check all parts of the finished piece before going to fix it! XD

I was reading that the rhythm of chainmailing was very calming, and when I first started I was like “That article was cray this is so frustrating blarg!” but, when you get into the process and can do all steps of the technique well enough, it really is a nice way to get your mind off things and just zone into your work. Can’t wait to do more patterns with this technique and get better at it!

What will I do next? Why, practice chainmailing, of course! I still have a long way to go before being super special awesome at it, but I am happy to say my first chainmailing adventure has been brought to a close!

Chainmail Chronicles

I was sosososo excited! I just had to share EEEE like progress yay!

In an earlier post I spoke of my chainmailing woes. Well, that same night, I did my usual routine: going to bed a bit later and practicing for an hour. The nights before, I kept on losing my in progress piece while attaching a new jump ring. Like, it would go flying somewhere and I wasn’t even going to attempt finding it. It was late, and dark because well, I don’t need the lights on to practice lol. But last night, I not only didn’t lose my work, but made the longest piece to date, in the shortest amount of time!

Usually, it would take me an hour to an hour and a half to connect four links due to the learning curve. My sighted friend, and online tutorials, said it was easy to do, which is true, but there’s always that learning curve for a blind person in which you have to get a feel for the materials and the technique, fix what you’re doing wrong, try and absorb as much of the process to perfect etc etc. So my first few days was just doing that. But last night I had a major break through where everything just sort of clicked, and it was so exciting! I was opening jump rings and threading them onto each other like a boss, and within a half an hour I had a chain of eight jump rings, woohoo! When I went to add a few more, one in the middle of the chain wasn’t secured as much as I thought, so it broke in half, but still major progress. I put my beading board under my work (which should have been an obvious fix for dropping pieces so derp) and when the in progress chain fell, it fell onto the board, made a noise and was easy enough for me to find.

I am so happy! It really gives me the confidence to continue with the process, because I’m doing most of it right. I’m debating either continuing the current chain, using both pieces to make a pair of earrings, or trying to just link both pieces back together – I tried doing that last night and it was kind of…difficult. One piece is a bit longer than the other, so I am thinking of just continuing that piece and then working on the smaller piece later, we’ll see!

But yeah, I couldn’t be happier about this, you have no idea haha. There’s only up to go, or something like that! XD

I’ll be posting pictures fosho of my finished piece when I figure out what I want to do with what I’m working on, so stay tuned for that!

Hello! An introduction to ValkyrieCeles

Hello, and thank you for stopping by! Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Crystal, and I’m a blind Celtic music singer a little too obsessed with Sailor Moon and video games (it took a lot of will power to not intro myself in the typical magical girl style XD) I love to write, craft, sing (obviously cuz it’s what I do for a living) and just generally derp around on the internets. I adore fanfiction – both reading and writing, and am very passionate about my various fandoms. I adore Sailor Moon and Final Fantasy Vi especially, hence the ‘Celes’ in my user name. I love expressing my creative whims on the web, so that’s what this space is for!

Some links of my various haunts on the internet:https://soundcloud.com/valkyrieceleshttps://www.fanfiction.net/u/1141593/Valkyrie-Celes