Blind people should not be avoided, shunned, or ignored.
This past year, I have encountered two blind people online.
You probably already know Maxwell Ivey, whom I interviewed and who is now a blogging coach and author of Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light (which I edited for him). If you have already visited Max’s blog or had any type of interaction with him, you know that he is a sweet man with a heart of gold. He’s also inspirational in many ways: he lost over two hundred pounds in two years, he owns two businesses (one which involves buying and selling carnival rides), he is a blogger, he’s on social media, and he’s now proud of the fact he’s blind and has accomplished so much in his life.
However, you might not yet know Kerry.
Kerry. Kerry. Who the Heck is Kerry?
Kerry Kijewski is a blind woman. But she is so much more than just that.
She’s a great writer, an insightful person, and a pleasure to talk to, both through emails and Skype. (Aah, I love technology!)
Kerry agreed to let me interview her, too. It seemed only fitting that I should have a post about an interview with a blind woman on my site, as I already have An Interview With a Blind Man on Wording Well.
Kerry is a blogger, a writer, and insightful traveller. Her writing site is a free blog called Her Headache, and her travel site is her new, hosted site called The Insightful Wanderer.
I first met Kerry through LinkedIn, after being told about her by Max, and then through a comment I left for her on her blog.
A Blind Woman Who Wants to Travel?
Kerry’s goals include pursuing a career in writing and travelling the world.
Before you jump to any conclusions about that last statement, know that I initially had a hard time believing it, too. But when you think about it, she has every right to do the same things sighted people do. Her experience, however, will be a bit different from yours or mine. She’ll utilize her other senses to enjoy the locations she visits.
In fact, before we get to the in-depth interview, here is a super-brief introduction to Kerry, using what Kerry has to say about herself and her desire to travel:
I just want to say that I’m no different from anyone else. I’m really not. I’m not scary. I like music, movies, books, autumn, chocolate, and pizza.
I love to laugh and have a wicked sense of humour, if I do say so myself.
I like symmetry.
I love to go to concerts, on day trips/road trips, and theme parks. Even blind girls wanna have fun!
I like to sing, but I am not great.
I love history, psychology, literature, and pop culture.
I love the scent immediately after a spring rain, the fragrance of freshly cut grass in summer,, the crispness of the fall air, or the fresh and still silent snowfall that I smell in the night.
Think what life would be like if you only stayed inside your own little bubble, if you didn’t get out and discovered the world around you. that’s all I want to do. I stand at a place like Niagara Falls and, although I am not taking in its majesty with my eyes, my remaining senses step in and take over. I feel the spray of the mist on my face, I grip the cold railing, smelling the cool windy air, listening to the roar and feeling its vibration through the stone at my feet.
That is what travel can be for me. Just because I can’t see it (which must be really hard for people to wrap their heads around), does that mean I deserve to experience such things for myself any less?
I get something out of going somewhere new and meeting the people who live there. I eat the food and listen to the accents and the differences in speech, but I still see the same humanity that I see everywhere.
We are all the same, despite our differences. That’s the lesson I get from travel and of which I want to impart, whether it’s people from another country, who speak a different language, observe a different religion, or whatever it may be. This translates to living with any difference or “disability” like blindness, that people can’t imagine for themselves, but we all need to try and put ourselves in one another’s shoes to truly find our common ground.
I miss looking at pictures every day. I still like to hear descriptions of something. I can imagine how a certain light hits something. I can imagine a look, but yet I can’t. I try. I don’t just retreat into my own experience of the world.
I have an imagination and I saw more at one time. I have the ability to envision my surroundings.
Travel is also, in huge part, who you are with. It’s the people you experience the world with that make the experience so special.
If the conditions are just right, if the light hits the face of my niece or nephew in just the right way, I catch a glimpse of sweetness in their faces.
Just because blind people can’t see doesn’t mean we don’t wonder what someone of the opposite sex might look like. The inability to see it doesn’t take away the instinct to want to know anyway.
As you can clearly see, Kerry is a woman of substance. Most people, however, can’t seem to look past her blindness, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to showcase her today and do an in-depth interview with her.
An Interview With A Blind Woman, Kerry Kijewski
Some of the questions have several parts, and some of Kerry’s answers are fairly long. However, I hope you read through each question and response carefully, as Kerry reveals certain things about herself that you don’t want to miss!
Without further ado, please get to know Kerry a bit! I’m sure you’ll come to like her as much as I do! At the very least, you’ll learn a bit about this blind woman and realize that not all blind folk should be clumped together in a stereotypical category, or be treated so differently that they are made to feel like freaks.
Enjoy the interview!