News2019.12.26 14:00

#ToBe. What's it like to be blind? – video

#ToBe: a new video series exploring what it's like to be in someone else's shoes.

After living a life with full sight, Sigitas Sinkevičius saw everything around him start going dark in 2009. Six years later, he was completely blind, only able to see blurry shades of darks and greys. What’s it like to be blind when you spent your whole life admiring the world’s beauty and colours?

How did you feel when doctors said you would go blind?

It was scary when I learned I’d go blind in 2009, when I still had my sight. But after meeting other blind people – who live well and have fun – I thought to myself, if they are doing well, maybe I will be alright, too.

What do you see when you see nothing?

I see grey. Maybe some darker or lighter greys, but always a shade of grey.

Have you ever experienced discrimination?

So far, I’ve only met two people who were angry.

‘Hey you, why are you waving your stick around like a dog with a fifth leg, if you’re blind then stay home.’

I don't know his situation, so I can’t judge why he’d say something like that. But this was the harshest case. The other was less intense. ‘If you’re blind, then stay home.’

If he cannot see that I also want to be free and independent, he’s worse-off than I am.

Do you keep your house tidy in order to find what you need?

Can we skip this topic (laughs)? Have you ever seen a tidy man who lives by himself?

Sometimes my daughter comes to visit and says: ‘Dad, how can you find anything?’ I say, look, you go there, put your hand behind the pillow and pull out what you need. I simply have orientation at home.

How do you meet women?

I have no problems meeting [women] because I’m not someone short for words. God gave people speech and I’m using it. I can meet someone anywhere anytime.

I’ve met many people while standing at a street crossing and someone comes up to say ‘I will help you cross’. Thank you, it’s very cool, but could you be more helpful? ‘What do you need?’ I really need a coffee, let’s have it together.

What annoys you?

When you’re walking fully concentrated and someone suddenly grabs you by the arm and says ‘let’s go’. Where? What happened? Imagine you're standing and someone comes from the back and grabs you by the shoulders.

You would also be startled, and it happens to me, too. I don’t see the person who grabs me first and only then says ‘hello’ or ‘let’s go’. Sometimes it really annoys me, but I try not to show it.

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