What Happens When Denial Does Not Work Anymore?
Denial has been my dark best friend for almost my whole life. I am coming up on 60 years now, and I am ready to let it go. Denial isn’t working for me anymore.
Recently I went to a fund-raising party. It was one of those with a silent auction, a live auction, cocktails, and ending with a buffet. Being an introvert of the first degree, this is not my natural environment. I suspect it would be challenging for me even if I had perfect sight. It was crowded, dark, and loud. People were expected to hold a drink in one hand, and food in the other while having polite conversation. The idea is to look at the items for bidding while eating and drinking. Oh yes, you are supposed to look fabulous at the same time.
I chose not to take my guide dog because I thought she would be confused and I was worried about not having enough hands. I also chose not to take my cane because my husband was there and I wanted use of my hands. This was a mistake. I understand that now. If I had either one of them, I think it would have been easier for me.
Next came the buffet. My dog would have been fine during this part. We sat at a large round table. The volume was deafening. I was barely able to talk with my closest neighbor. Nobody was talking to me and I couldn’t figure out how to enter into any of the conversations. I sat and sat and sat, being still and quiet. I imagined I was a beautiful plant. It wasn’t my job to interact. My imagination is pretty powerful, but this didn’t work for very long. I became increasingly uneasy. One minute I felt completely invisible and the next I felt like I was sticking out like a huge bump on my face. One minute I could breathe into myself and feel at ease and the next I was about to explode. Finally, I hit my husband on the leg and told him, “You need to talk to me. I am not Buddha!” I used some bad words. He got the message and we began to have a polite though stilted conversation suitable for any group. I made it very clear that we needed to leave at the first possible moment.
On the way home from the event, I became very clear that I do not need to put myself through that anymore. I know that there are many people who are blind who might love this type of party. I am finished pretending to be somebody that I am not. Blindness makes this kind of situation hell for me. It may have been better if I had a cane or my dog, but I kind of doubt it.
Denial is no longer any kind of friend for me. I acknowledge and accept that I am a sensitive introvert who thrives in small groups and quiet spaces. I prefer engaging conversations and quiet music. Being blind makes these loud, chaotic situations much more grueling for me and I am now giving myself permission to stay home. Denying who I am helps no one. Declaring myself in this way makes me feel like my true self. I don’t have to do those damn parties anymore! How freeing is that?