I have nothing to compare it to – never having been married to a sighted one.
My mother, sensing a seriousness she hadn’t before seen from me, approached me before I was even engaged. Approached the topic of how tough it would be to be married to a man who was blind. She told me she’d give me a similar speech if I were to want to marry someone of a different race or religion. Another such speech if I were to announce that I was a lesbian. That my choice of partner, my decision to marry this person was going to mean my life would be more difficult.
I knew this, on some level. But, I am headstrong. Fuck, I am a bullhead. I was going to love him, regardless of his disability.
Sure, I thought about certain things. But then there’s things I started to notice later. Things that made me mad, things that upset me, things that broke my heart.
I always had to drive, and I found that irritating, especially if we were dressed and headed somewhere formal.
There was the obvious one, that people viewed him as “less than” and that aggravated me to no end. I hated when waitresses asked me what he wanted. Very often people assumed he was uneducated or unable to do simple things because he couldn’t see as they could.
His blindness affected me every time we had to ask friends to drive us home from IVF procedures because he couldn’t do so. That someone else (since there were already so many extra people involved) had to be a part of that process bothered me.
The fact that when I was sick, so violently sick, he couldn’t go out to get my scripts or to the store to buy me popsicles.
There’s the obvious one everyone pointed out back then. Him being unable to see me on my wedding day. But it wasn’t that he didn’t see me all decked in white. It was not about him not being able to see me. It was him not being able to see me.
Sure, you think of the benefit here – my husband could have always assumed I looked fantastic, every day, without knowing the reality. Even when I gained weight and lost hair, he still thought I was beautiful.
But when you get dressed and he says “you look nice” because he thinks he should, (without knowing if you do look nice or if you looked like you slept in your clothes) you doubt it. You get a certain level of validation as a woman from your partner, even if it’s not progressive to admit this. Sure, in theory, it’s nice to not worry about what your hair looks like, and you can wear that old ugly but comfortable sweater without fear he’ll think you look terrible in it.
But I longed to be seen.
I found myself nervous with extended eye contact. Having abandoned it at home, it became normal for me to not have someone look at me when I spoke. I had no problem with business settings, but friends and family who might look at me, and expect me to look back, they must have noticed. My therapist noticed. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make eye contact, it was that I couldn’t keep it long, as if someone would see parts of me I kept hidden.
I want to finally able to open my eyes, to connect with someone that way. If I can find someone I could trust enough to open up to. Someone to look and be looked at. To see and be seen by.