First impressions have always been tricky for me. My first instinct is often to jump to conclusions and form a judgment immediately. I've never been okay with this. How can I teach children not to judge a book by its cover, and yet I continuously do just that. So through years of practice I have (for the most part) retrained my brain to keep an open mind, be patient, and let the situation (or person) reveal themself naturally. However, since losing my vision I seem to find myself reverting to old habits.
Perhaps it's because, as I adjust to my vision loss, I often feel judged. While I am here at the Training Center I am required to carry a white cane. To me this is tremendously difficult on many, many levels. It feels unnatural, I can't keep the proper rhythm, and I trip over it more often than not. Namely though, it's been very challenging emotionally. It feels like a giant advertisement to the world that I am now BLIND. And not only am I now BLIND, I also am not very good at being BLIND. Everyone else here has had vision impairments for years, if not their whole lives, and knows how to do this. I am a newbie, and therefore subject to judgment. Most of this perception lies solely in my own feelings of inadequacy and ineptness.
As ridiculous as it may sound, a secret part of me thought I could waltz in here, master everything, and be home in a week. I am a teacher for goodness sake, learning is what I do. Uh . . . not so much. This is hard, and I am slowly realizing that I am not the teacher in this situation and I have a LOT to learn.]
The first impression I leave of myself here doesn't have to be one of a confident, self-assured woman who is excelling at every skill she is asked to master. I am not, and why should I be?
I have always been my biggest critic. If I thought it would cure my desperate need for excellence, I'd join a 12-step program, proudly stand up, and say, "Hi, my name is Christy, and I am a recovering perfectionist."
Since this recovery program is not an option, today I need to be content with a gentle reminder that I am new at this and if I am not mastering things as quickly as I (often unreasonably) expect myself to, it's okay. I am here to learn, just like every other student. They may be more proficient at cane skills than I am, but I may have a greater knowledge of computers, this is temporarily quieting my inner critic. But in a day or so, I may need a smack upside the head to drown out her voice.
Until then, I'll keep trying, failing, and using my perfectionist self to provide the drive I'll need to try again.