On being blind

Melissa Benson – on being blind

Quite often most of my world forgets I can’t see, and that’s brilliant!

Speaker: Melissa Benson

Date: 17th February, 2017

Description: After losing her sight in her early twenties, Melissa Benson began a unique journey towards independence and resilience. In this talk, Melissa speaks to students about courage, positivity in the face of hardship, and overcoming adversity.

Key quotes from this talk

Asking for help

There is nothing shameful about asking for help. It is the most beautiful, divine thing on the planet, and it actually brings you closer to another person. After all, we are all people and we are supposed to interact with each other. We are not supposed to be little lone warriors travelling the planet by ourselves, getting through life.

Taking on the world

You’re dealt a hand of cards in any sort of game… and you play that game [as] best… you can. You take all the advantages, you create opportunities, and you have a blast!

Coping with difficult moments

I think humour gets you through a lot of things. Not that you are in denial of serious issues and choices and decisions, but sometimes a smile gets you through. I always say, through thick and thin, always remember to grin. It’s one of my favourite quotes.

Life is tough, I’m not going to lie, but it’s amazing as well. So grasp onto the good stuff. Even if, say, school’s really tough but you’ve got this one amazing friend who makes you smile – that’s brilliant!

Perceptions of others’

I simply put it like this: I listen to the type of music I do because I’m me, not because I’m blind, I dress the way I do because I’m me, not because I’m blind, I like the food I like because I’m me, not because I’m blind.

When I first lost my sight, my mum took me to Vision Australia… and the lady sat down with me and said “ok, you need to learn to be a blind person in society”, and straight away I said “no I don’t. I need to be Melissa, a woman in society who happens to be blind”.

My big, big point of life is ‘never lose your identity’. Never forget who you are.

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