Last week I was chatting to a South African friend on Facebook I used to work with when we both lived in London. It was nothing special; we just updated each other on our lives. He asked me if I was still working for the BBC in London and I told him I had moved back to Oslo to do a master’s degree because my contract had ended and I wanted to look more attractive to employers. “You are only scaring them off, LOL” was his reply. He was of course only joking, but he did sort of have a point.
Because I am blind, I have always been told that I will never be first in line for anything such as jobs, partners or even friends. People have also been quick to excuse any mistake I make, or any shortcomings I may have as a person on my blindness. I replied to my friend’s message saying that because of prejudices in the job market, it was imperative that my qualifications were so good that my blindness wouldn’t be taken into account. In other words, I had to over compensate.
I have spent a lot of my life trying to over compensate for the fact that my eyes don’t work. And though I am a great supporter of doing your best to achieve as much as you can, I think my problem has been my constant mental focus on needing to be better than sighted people in order to be as good. I realize this thought is a little confusing, but I hope you follow me.
In my previous post, I wrote that we live in a society where we all are made to feel bad if we are not performing to top standards in everything at all times. I think this is especially true for women. In Norwegian we have an expression for this. We say that somebody suffers from good girl syndrome, or clever girl syndrome.
I suffer from that. I can admit that openly, but I also suffer from over compensation due to blindness syndrome and the combination of those is hell. I am slowly trying to let go of this, but it is very difficult. I for example have to tell myself that it is okay to use a cab to get to somewhere I don’t know to save mental energy. And that sighted people also get help doing basic things sometimes.
The fierce superwoman standards I’ve tried to live up to, have at times made my life more complicated as well as lonelier than it need be. So, if you are VI and read this, remember that although it is important to do the best you can and work hard, over compensation will always lead to unhappiness. Hopefully, with changing attitudes in society, the need to over compensate will decrease. I am certainly noticing more positivity from both employers and well, I did manage to get a fully sighted partner. So in my case, a lot of the need for over compensation was in my head.