Lj Idol: She Thought I Couldn't - AS IT HAPPENS
Wed, Jan. 28th, 2009
11:57 pm - Lj Idol: She Thought I Couldn't
The locker room was crowded and bustling that first day, not to mention that I'd already gotten lost trying to find the high school gymnasium. So, needless to say I was already quite nervous. "Ah, but getting lost makes the day interesting," someone said only half jokingly. Yeah, but it sure doesn't help my confidence.
The sweats I used as dress-out clothes were already feeling kind of wrong as I stepped out onto the floor. "Ok," the instructor said: "I'm going to have this young lady help you to learn the exercises I show the class."
Alright? I reached out to shake her hand, only to discover that she was just barely 5 feet tall and 95 pounds soaking wet. "Uh, hi," she stammered.
The first thing we did was stretch. "Hey, can't you see what I'm doing?" she asked. "No, that's the point. I'm totally blind, and I'm going to need you to give me some hands-on help". "Ok? Well, just watch me!" Oh boy, this is gonna be a long semester.
I somehow got the message home to her within the next few minutes, and when she was able to comprehend my meaning, she said "oh no way! I can't teach him. I don't think he can do anything!"
We butted heads all throughout that semester, with me trying to participate in the classroom activities and she doing her level best to stop me.
Pull-ups. You know, the thing where you must clear your chin of the bar by essentially lifting your own weight? We were required to do four. "You're gonna fall from that bar and break your face. I bet you can't even do one!" One-two-three-four-five-six. Yeah, I threw in the last two for good measure. She and the rest of the class applauded wildly, but they were still very much unconvinced.
Next came the field trip to the local swimming pool. "Oh no way!" she said: "I will not let you get into that water. Not happening." I dove in over her cries and slid smoothly below the surface. I did a nice little lap and raced to the wall with so much force that I nearly broke my fingers. When my head popped up, she and they were clapping again.
Something amazing happened after that, though. We'd come to the end of the semester, and in order to wrap things up, we were to complete a grueling two-and-a-half mile jaunt around the tracks. It was raining and awfully cold, but our merciless instructor would have none of this about catching colds and such. "You'll go and do it now, or you won't pass!" she said as we shuffled towards the doors with our heads hanging.
As I grabbed the guide rope and my partner/nemesis took up the other end, I said something I hadn't all that time. "I can't do this." "Yes you can, you can do it!" she said.
This victory, while it may seem small to most, was huge to me. I don't know if I'd ever encountered anyone so cynical about my abilities, so to have proven her wrong gave me an incredible boost. I tore around that track so fast after that that I needed three different guides to maintain my pace. She simply couldn't keep up.
I decided on that day that people might think lowly of me at first, but I would do all I could to change their minds. I wish they wouldn't regard all blind people as one in the same, but since so many do I believe the impression I leave is vital for those of other generations who come up behind me. This is why I never have a problem with educating, and always look forward to answering questions posed in an intelligent manner. Better to know the truth than to live shrouded in falsehoods.