As many of you know, I like trying new things and being active. Before losing my sight in Afghanistan almost four years ago I was always on the go. You can ask my parents, if there was something that was a little dangerous or considered “extreme” I was there and usually first in line. It’s a wonder it took me so long to get hurt but it just never happened.
Fortunately, going blind hasn’t taken that spirit out of me. When we lived at Lackland AFB I started at a crossfit gym and with a little effort and creativity we adapted every exercise for me. Have you tried crossfit with your eyes shut? I dare you to do it just once. You might like it.
When we moved to our new home in February I was disheartened to learn that there weren’t any crossfit gyms near the house. I tried to arrange a few rides but things always seemed to fall apart.
A few weeks ago I got a call from our neighbor who is a regular at the Y here in New Braunfels. I learned that they were going to start a crossfit program that they would be calling Y Fit.
I was a little apprehensive at first. I expected this to be a meager imitation of “real” crossfit. Even with my reservations I signed up. We had our first class early last week and I was pleasantly surprised when I was exhausted and panting by the end of the workout.
Don’t be fooled by the Y fit people. It sounds like JV but it’s the real deal and it’s been awesome! It’s always a challenge to train a whole new group of sighted people to deal with me but it’s been going great.
For the first few classes my instructor didn’t quite realize I couldn’t see at all. He kept saying things like “do it like this” or “go over there”. He kept trying to hand me things and you can imagine his confusion when I just stood and stared at him.
After the second class I decided to throw him for a loop and switch my eyes out. The first few classes I had my green prosthetic eye in and for the third class I swapped it out for the blue one.
I was surprised when nobody asked me outright about it but I don’t think the comfort level is quite there. I did notice some hesitation in his speech when he looked at me. I could imagine the internal thought process.
“Blue? I could have sworn that his eye was green. SHould I ask? What if he gets mad or I offend him? I guess I’ll just stay quiet.”
I’m going to give it a few days and throw a different green one in there. Maybe next week I’ll rock the smiley face eye and really blow his mind.
See how fun being blind can be? I always tell people that being blind isn’t scary or miserable and I don’t think most people believe me. There are tons of opportunities for fun like this and I enjoy every minute of it. I am a firm believer that blindness is only a disability if you let it be one.
If you deal with blind people give them the chance to stumble and wander a little bit. They should know how to deal with it and if they don’t there are plenty of places for them to learn how. Help them help themselves. It will make us all better in the long run.
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