I’m somewhere between four and six years old–no longer sighted but not quite blind–when I’m bullied for the first time. And though the details are lost to memory, the belittlement and fear has never left my body. And I know it never will.

This is that story, the moment when I first learned that I would not always be safe, protected or valued because I was disabled.

“Who am I?”

“Who am I?”

“Who am I?”

Their voices tumble over each other, the cascade of the same mocking, accusing question thundering like a waterfall in my ears. I close my eyes and try to drown it out, but I can’t.

“Who am I?”

“Who am I?”

I don’t remember how I got here. The grassy slope that inclines up to the soccer field was where I’d been rolling down gleefully–maybe not today, but I know I have before–but now, it’s my prison. I’m on my back, my feet above my head at the top of the slope, and like a sheep amongst wolves, I am in the middle of them.


No way to escape.

Their hands pin me to the field, their taunts unrelenting. I can’t see whose holding me down, my vision is already too blurry to make them out. They’re older kids, anyway. I’m too small to struggle, and I’d never win. But there has to be at least five or six.

“Who am I?” comes the mocking refrain. Over and over, they spit the question and laugh. Let the little blind girl figure it out.

But I don’t.

So I stay put.

I don’t know how I get free. But at some point, I’m released from their grip, able to stand and brush the grass and dirt from my shirt, and go inside. It doesn’t happen again, but it doesn’t have to–I’ll never forget.


  1. Sounds like they needed an in-service where they would be put in that position to feel what it was like for you. I would think they actually believed the idea that blind people have super powers of identifying people auditorily.
    And often they are better than sighted folks. It would have been good if, after an in-service, they talked to you and told you what they had thought and apologized.
    Your experience reminds me of when Richard and I went back to his small home town in Saskatchewan for his mother’s funeral and so many people came up to him and did the same thing! They had big smiles and were fully expecting he would know them after many years away, not to mention it being an emotional day! He would tell them they need to say more and then he would try to identify them. He didn’t react angrily because he knew they meant well but it was a frustrating experience. So much unkindness is born out of ignorance in this world. Sorry you had to go through that Rhianna. I do think they probably felt bad and regretted their behaviour when they saw how it affected you but that didn’t help you.

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