Why I love using a cane...
1. I can window shop! I know this sounds crazy but since I started using a cane my shopping experience has gotten better! My first "Ah hA" experience came when I was in New York City, with my Master's cohort (Jennifer, Rob & Jim). We were walking down Saks Fifth Avenue, all of us with canes in hand and I was peering in all the windows full of Louis Vuitton's and Jimmy Choo's, needless to say I was in heaven. As I walked down my favorite street, in my favorite city in the whole world it all hit me...THIS is why I use a cane, THIS is why the training under a blindfold is important because now I could use what little vision I have to look at things I actually want to look at. No more staring at sidewalk cracks or staring at the ground I could use my can for that and my vision to look at AWESOME STUFF!!!
|New York City 2008: Deja Powell, Rob Hobson, Jennifer Kennedy & Jim Vanhorn|
2. People don't think I'm dumb. While growing up, it always confused people why I couldn't read a menu or show time listings or price tags...people probably though I simply didn't know how to read. This bothered me tremendously, I hated trying to explain this to people and often felt embarrassed and awkward. Now that I use my cane, most people know I'm blind and when I ask someone to read the menu to me, it's not confusing to me or anyone else.
3. People stare at me. Okay, I know this is what most blind people HATE most about using a cane, but I've learned to change my thought process in this matter (with a lot of self talk and work on self-confidence). I take the opportunity now to try to dress my best, hold my head up high, smile and look like I'm ready to take on the world (even if I have to fake it some days). I know imagine people are staring because I'm an enjoyable person to look at, not because of my cane. No matter people's reasons for staring, I have changed MY thought process and now when people stare, I see it as the looking at me as a strong, confident, fashionable, bright woman who is comfortable in her own skin (again, fake it until you make it if you need to...I do some days).
|Mardi Gras 2007: Tina B., Daniel A., Jennifer K., Serena O., Rob H., Deja P., Lucas A.|
|In Congressman Bob Bennett's office 2008: Ron G, Wendy B.|
5. I get to relate to people who need it. Just the other day I went to Walmart for some last minute Christmas shopping. While I was in the store I was stopped by three different people, one who was blind himself and didn't know how he was going to "survive", a women whose husband refuses to leave their house because he's now lost all of his sight and a little boy who has a blind girl in his class and didn't know how to talk to or play with her. My husband called to see if I needed to be picked up, after all it had been THREE HOURS. Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot of shopping done but I couldn't help but feel I was supposed to meet those people and without my cane in hand, they would have never known I'm blind. (Now I want to clarify, it's NOT our individual jobs to change the whole world’s attitudes about blindness, we don't always have to stop and talk to people for a long time or educate them thoroughly on blindness, but you just may be the somebody someone needs to talk to that day).
I once was told, by a pretty dang hip, fashionable blind teenage girl that it’s "Impossible" for a blind person to be attractive and fashionable AND carry a cane. Well I accepted that young ladies challenge and I DO believe it IS possible.
Using a cane is tough, it took me 23 years to catch onto the idea, but these few PROS might help you better understand what is meant when people tell you that a cane can bring independence and confidence, in a very real way.
What's your favorite reason for using a cane?