Today I walked a blind girl to class. I’m not saying this for you guys to think I’m a good person and I promise not to post a
discreet FB update letting you all know I’m perfect and I do perfect things for humanity. The truth is, I only offered to help guide her because the thought of being blind in a crowd of college kids made me sick with anxiety, and I could not bare to see her attempt to be independent and fail. Plus, her hijab and dope shade of red lips somehow made me think we were star-crossed boss bitch lovers. She was cool. She had confidence and she walked with power, but she got stumbled up at the college gate because a school of freshman were hanging in a circle unaware of her walking cane. I offered to make a path for us. She smiled because she was genuine and grateful, but my compassion was tinged with self gratification. I walked her for me. I walked her so I could feel better about who I am and not be forced to standby awkwardly while the Parting of the Student Sea didn’t happen. Nonetheless, she held onto my arm as I trambled through the crowd of privileged freshman and whispered how fierce she was into her ear.
I felt like Gaga guiding a group of her misfit monsters through life with that we will conquer this world together attitude and a side of haughtiness.
I steered her toward the direction of her destination with about fifteen or so feet left to walk a (somewhat) straight line to her classroom door. Just as I looked back with pride at the sea of privileged flesh we rummaged through, my new blind friend missed the doorway and walked directly into a brick wall.
(I never said this story had a happy ending)
I took a long, hard, tear inducing fall from my high horse when I realized my good deed now seemed like a cruel trick. I was Regina George and I hated every second of it. I walked away in shame hoping aforementioned sea of freshman somehow missed my humanitarian denouement. Tears were flowing out of my eye sockets like pellets of fancy Lionhead rabbit shit and I just wanted to poke both of my eyes out so I could A) make the crying stop and B) live in solidarity with all of the fierce AF blind people in this world.
It’s a weird feeling to feel fortunate for my luck to be born a middle class white chick with 20/20 vision while simultaneously being ashamed for having said luck. After my encounter with my friend at school, I became haunted with the fact that I am me, and even more frustrated that I have some hidden superiority that thought she needed me. My failed Gaga compassion didn’t embrace the independence, courage and bravery my new friend exudes everyday. Instead, my haughty walk established a
perfect norm and perpetuated it. I made her an outsider, some form of otherness that needed me to grant them entrance into the cool crowd. It was as though I walked her while chanting, WATCH AND LEARN – like a distant friend that says “I got you”, but does’t actually have a clue.
Attempting and failing to help walk my friend to class made me realize I don’t actually have any understanding of the life she lives. I’m an outsider to her norm. But that doesn’t make me less normal – just as her being an outsider in my norm doesn’t make her any less normal.
I do believe there is still good being done, whether it’s with that tinge of self gratification or a pure heart for others, but can’t we do better than that? Can we help without creating some schism of normality?
I know I can. I can do good better.
Now, my newest addiction: