My short bio:

Most-asked questions, that will probably be a thread killer but should be addressed ahead of time to (hopefully) prevent redundancy.

  • How do you even Reddit?

Luckily, Reddit can be a largely textual website. I have a screen reader NVDA which reads text on a site as well as lets me know where edit boxes (where you type stuff) are and where links are. NVDA is also unique in that a person can use a mouse and it will read what is being hovered over, which is quite nice for those who are sighted enough to see, generally, what is on a screen without being able to see detail.

There's a much larger blind/visually impaired community online than people realize. In fact, most people are visually impaired to some extent - perfect vision is the rare phenomenon.

  • How can you be blind if you can still see?

Interestingly enough, most people who are blind have some residual vision - particuarly those who became blind at some point in their life as opposed to those who are born blind. Yes, there are some people who are totally blind, but it's an unfair assumption that those can register a general visual of the environment around them are not blind. Some blind people can read text, though it usually needs to be in larger print. Personally, I prefer Braille - though that may be due to the fact that while I can register great contrasts and sometimes avoid obstacles, I am not fortunate enough to be able to read most text.

  • How long have you been blind & how did it happen?

I started losing my sight about four years ago. My vision began to get blurry, I thought I merely needed glasses. I went to the optometrist, he said there was nothing wrong with my eyes. This was in September, by February I was no longer capable of driving a car. A few years later, after numerous tests, they realized that there is too much spinal fluid in my brain causing necrosis (death) of the brain tissue that processes visual information.

Essentially, there are three parts of the brain that interpret visual information from the eyes. On its way to the main office, so to speak, it needs to go through two other offices. The damage is in the main office, thus resulting in what is colloquially referred to as "blind sight" - conciously, I am not aware of the majoritity of what my brain is seeing, but my subconcious can register things such as facial expressions and obstacles.

Okay, then! Ask away :D

EDIT - Proof, sorry! Had to borrow a pen & get a neighbor to take a pic of me. It's a horrible picture, I know, but hopfully sufficient. I'm also on Twitter!

EDIT MORE PROOF Slate & stylus with Braille, hashed it out in a few seconds as per request It says "Hi, Reddit! AMA" the line after says "crickettekeeper"

Comments: 223 • Responses: 91  • Date: 

HappyChappie26 karma

How has your concept of beauty changed, if at all? Since you weren't blind from birth, you would have had time to establish your own perceptions of physical or visual beauty. Now that that becomes less important or even irrelevant, what fills that space? Do you become, in essence someone who truly only judges by personality and actions or do you still feel a desire for particular physical traits? Maybe 4 years isn't even long enough for that sort of change to manifest... Thank you for sharing.

crickettekeeper23 karma

Oh wow, great question.

Before I lost my sight, I was really negative about my appearance. I didn't want anyone to look at me for any reason, I tried to hide behind my hair and in my clothes. No matter what I did - make up, clothes, weight - I was unhappy with how I looked.

Being blind, I've learned to embrace the fact that people will stare. I'm different, now, people notice the disabled. My way of thinking has changed from "I'm not here" to "They're going to stare, anyway, might as well give them something to look at". I wear whatever the hell I want, go out whenever I want, eat whatever I want, and pretty much do whatever I want (except drive, I guess) like a damn lady :P I don't care much for what's in-style and put on make up only when I feel like it.

My perception of other people's attractiveness and beauty has also changed. Well-spoken people who smell nice are very attractive to me. My SO has a decent set of biceps and large hands, which I find very sexy - but I've always liked an articulate set of hands. I also like small breasts, though I don't get to see them anymore and touching them is out of the question as I'm in a monogamous relationship with a man.

I don't care for a lot of popular actors because they can't act - or, at least, they don't emote through their voices and that's very.. unnerving as well as annoying. It sounds monotone after a while. I used to love movies (still do, really) but I've gained a lot of respect for the theatre - you can't always tell when someone opens a door or walks through a room in a movie like you can in a play.

Sorry, that kinda got away from me there and I don't think I really answered your question but I hope that helped :)

dysoncube4 karma

I don't care for a lot of popular actors because they can't act - or, at least, they don't emote through their voices

What are some of your favorite movies, post-blindness?

crickettekeeper16 karma

I'm starting to get into Marvel films. All of their movies have an audio description track, it's quite.. well, marvellous.

ranchdepressing3 karma

an audio description track

What is that, exactly?

crickettekeeper15 karma

A descriptive audio track describes the action happening on a visual media (ballet, play, movie, tv show) during the pauses in dialogue. Sometimes they're very helpful, other times they're very annoying.

Here's a sample.

Here's another sample.

They're only trailers, but I think they display the gist of it

Eternally6514 karma


crickettekeeper2 karma

Was he on the street or on the sidewalk? Did you ask him what he needed help with before leading him somewhere?

Eternally653 karma


crickettekeeper4 karma

That makes sense. For all you know, unless you were watching him, you led him right back to the side of the street he was walking away from.

Good on you for trying to help, though. And I'm sorry he was a bit brusque with you, I know I get frustrated sometimes and take it out on innocent people

Eternally652 karma


crickettekeeper4 karma

No worries, these things happen :)

ranchdepressing1 karma

Maybe he thought it was rude you didn't extend your hand to where he could feel it, like you were trying to make him work for it? Sorry about that experience. I hope it doesn't deter you from helping people in the future.

ArgonTorr1 karma

Similar thing to what you're describing, I saw a totally blind girl at my undergraduate campus in the middle of the parking lot, so I stopped the car nearby and walked up and asked if she needed help getting somewhere (she looked like she took a wrong turn).

So I swung about 90 degrees around her and said the direction she wanted to go was "this way", trying to guide her towards my voice. Her response was "I can't see the direction you're pointing". I had this immediate reaction where I was like about to but totally stopped myself from saying, "Yeah, I know that. That's why I moved. THIS way for the way you want to go.". We eventually worked it out more cordially though than my visceral, filterless self could have allowed.

In hindsight I totally should have used the 'clock' system.

crickettekeeper1 karma

Don't turn people. Seriously. Don't do that. That's very rude. I realize you were trying to be helpful, but that's a bad way to do it.

That being said, she was responding to your voice, not where you were. She didn't know WHY you stepped over there. You should have asked where she was going, if she needed to get back to the sidewalk, that sort of thing.

ArgonTorr2 karma

Oh I did. Sorry I cut out a bunch of intervening discussion. Also, you must not have understood or I wasn't clear but didn't turn her I swung around her I.e. I stepped 10 feet in the direction of the sidewalk. I moved, not her.

crickettekeeper1 karma

Okay. Did you tell her that that's why you went that way? Granted, some people are rude or have difficulty expressing themselves when flustered, but she definitely had a destination in mind before you found her in the parking lot.

Sorry if I was a bit short with you, I've just had the experience of people spinning me around like a child at a birthday party, assuming they know where I want to go & giving me directions while pushing me, and taking my cane away - among other things. A lot of confusion and annoyance can be resolved by talking it through.

Kill_All_Trolls12 karma

I've always wondered, and maybe this is already asked, but, when you sleep... Do you dream? What are your dreams like?

crickettekeeper16 karma

I do dream, everyone does. That's just a side effect from REM.

My dreams are a hodgepodge of things - sometimes how I see now & and sometimes how I used to see things & sometimes there are no visuals at all. Everything else is the same as how you dream: smells, sounds, random people you haven't talked to, bizarre situations that would never happen IRL to anyone, etc... And, sometimes when you sleep, there are no dreams or at least none that you remember.

iamthetruth1234 karma

Huh, I never have smells in my dreams, never even thought about it, do most people?

crickettekeeper2 karma

Not to sound dismissive, but most people don't look for the details. They don't think about a lot of things until something provokes them to. The olfactory sense is the weakest sense, but most closely related to memory. So, you may have smelled something in your dream but not remember it later because your brain views it as unimportant data.

daychilde8 karma

So, forgive the set up, but I'm curious how your screen reader handles a couple of things that I hope will amuse you. My dad used to work with something back in the eighties called a "deck talk" - which I just spelled phonetically - it was actually a "DEC Talk". Anyway, it was pretty advanced for its time, and was a text-to-speech machine. He brought one home, and I spent hours typing things for it to say.

One of the ones that he taught me was this, which hopefully will be amusing for you:


In case it doesn't work - it's the word "shit" with a bunch of e's in the middle, and most text-to-speech programs I've run across (not that there have been that many, I suppose), elongate the word and it's hilarious.

The other one is this:


If it didn't just read all those letters individually and therefore make you want to kill me - the DEC Talk used to render that as something like: "ab dah fitch ka stooz iz"

So hopefully those were amusing and not annoying.

One more thing: Although I'm no longer the head moderator of Not The Onion, I was the one who took it over after it was abandoned and built it up to the point where I needed to bring on a moderator team, then stepped away for a year and a half. So after it became a default subreddit, I got to talking with the mods who were left from that original team I picked, and long story short, I'm back as a mod, though I don't interfere with the great thing they have going. But the point of all of that was to say that if you run across anything that screws up usability over there, do let us know. You can either send me a personal message or send in a modmail, whichever is easier, and I'll see if I can make things work better. I would imagine that you turn off custom css for subreddits, though, so hopefully nothing we've done hurts accessibility too badly.

Also, you've mentioned theatre, and as I'm involved in community theatre locally, I thought I'd mention one of my favorite actors to work with, although she doesn't do many shows. She's legally blind, and pretty much literally blind in one eye; with her other eye, she has a special eyepiece that looks like a tiny telescope that she uses to be able to read. So when she is able to get a copy of the script before the auditions to study it, since she reads pretty slowly, she will sometimes audition, and when she gets cast - well, I did mention really liking to work with her. We have to show her around the set, but then once she gets a feel for it, it's all good, and it's fulfilling for her to have that outlet from time to time. Point being, don't know for sure it would work out for you, but might be worth a shot talking to a local theatre or two and see if they might be able to accommodate you if an interesting play comes along.

I guess I didn't end up with a question, but after reading everything in the AMA so far, I have to say you sound like a really awesome lady. If I've managed to say something stupid along the way, feel free to correct me and I'll attempt to learn.

crickettekeeper4 karma

LoL, this is a fun comment. Okay, my screenreader does attempt to read things phonetically, however after a certain amount of repetition or several consonants in a row, it just sorta gives up and starts reading each individual letter. (IE the "Sheeeeeeeeit" one was mostly it saying "e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e" for a bit XD

I do have custom CSS turned off, just for accessibility's sake. THank you for the offer, though, I will definitely let you know if I experience any issues :)

That lady sounds great and her telescopic eye sounds like she should be a comic book hero or at least a mentor of one. I like to pretend I'm an actress, I really like acting and have been told that I'm quite good at it. I'm working with the local theatre, currently, changing hearts and minds. They tried to tell me I couldn't work with them because I might fall off the stage. Needless to say, I politely told them that was horse apples.

Thank you, by the by, you sound like a really awesome person. This was fun :D

Pickles2566 karma

How do you know when to stop wiping?

crickettekeeper12 karma

Like I said to user/Totty_Scone (and, essentially, anyone else who asks), when you feel clean.

lurkus_amongus5 karma

When I was young, my mom knew a blind friend. I was introduced to him and he touched my face with both hands when he met me, to get an idea of how I looked. Do you meet people the same way?

crickettekeeper9 karma

I don't do this to people I first meet. I'm a very touch-conscious person, and touching a person's face is very serious for me. I do it to my nieces and other family members, I sometimes do it to my SO, but it's not like how blind people shake hands or anything. A lot of them don't do this at all, I've discovered. I do it because I used to be a sculptor (and maybe I would be again if I lived near a kiln) so it's very easy for me to picture from the information a face, but not everyone has this background.

special_reddit2 karma

Did you ever see the video for Lionel Richie's "Hello"?

crickettekeeper2 karma

I did not even hear about it until after I was blind, actually. Someone asked if it was my favorite music video.... No. No, it's not.

BMIThrowaway1 karma

Is it because of the creepy professor-student attraction, or something else?

crickettekeeper3 karma

Creepy professor-student attraction, it's not really clear if she's into him. It's like the love ballad version of "Don't Stand So Close To Me"

Nowin4 karma

What is your favorite sub?

crickettekeeper6 karma

r/nottheonion, probably. It never fails to make me laugh and simutaneously worry about the world we live in.

Nowin4 karma

I like that one and /r/floridaman

crickettekeeper3 karma

Ah, Florida Man. Never disappoints.

Feenix10134 karma

What do you miss most from before you were blind?

crickettekeeper3 karma

Driving, always and forever. There's a level of autonomy with driving yourself somewhere that isn't covered by riding in a bus.

special_reddit3 karma

Followup question: are you, then, excited about the prospect of the Google self-driving cars? That would be awesome for you to drive again!

I've added a link to the Google video of one of their test rides. Definitely worth checking out. There's a statement by Google on the page that's interesting to read before you start the video. The audio could be more specific, but you'll be able to tell what's going on.

crickettekeeper2 karma

The self-driving car just sounds like another way to be a passenger. I've actually ridden in the self-driving car as well as the NFB's assitive driving car, and while I prefer the Google car simply because it's automated and thus I won't have to worry about human error, I still don't like being a permanent passenger. That being said, I would definitely buy one when it became commercially available because passenger or not, it's autonomy.

2ook4 karma

I am afraid of becoming blind.I think if i were to go blind everything i enjoy would be taken from me (reading,video games,sports).When you learned you were going blind what were your emotions.

Did your life change for better or for worst after becomnig blind.

crickettekeeper5 karma

At first, I was terrified. I mourned the loss of my sight, I really did.

Now, it's just a part of me, like having green eyes or liking Chipotle. It was more what I had thought being blind would be like rather than what it actually IS like. Things change. Things change for everyone. That doesn't mean it's a lesser quality of life.

I don't play video games anymore, but I do play some games. There are scores of accessible games out there, most of them are free.

What sports do you enjoy playing? I still get involved in a basketball game once in a while and soccer is my favorite.

Reading changes - instead of looking at a page, you're reading the words with your fingers. This is excellent because it doesn't disturb the person next to you if you decide to get another chapter in before going to sleep. Reading Braille is the ability to read anywhere, at any light level. Sighted people need light - WEAK :P There are audiobooks, too, which are great for when you're doing other things and can't use your hands (just like sighted people.)

Your life doesn't change for the better or the worse. It simply goes on. Whether or not it gets worse, stays the same, or gets better is entirely up to the individual. For example, I'm a better cook, a better listener, a better typist, but a worse driver. I like to think of myself as average, people only think I'm amazing because they see blindness as an insurmountable obstacle when, the reality is, it's merely an inconvenience.

crickettekeeper2 karma

It's not so much the blindness that gets to you as the public perception of what blindness is and what it must be like.

azandrew2343 karma

My mother has Glaucoma and her vision in her right eye is completely gone, She is also soon to be completely blind in her left eye and I would like to know how I could prepare for the moment when she does, What should I do around the house, to her routine and everything to get ready for this moment?

crickettekeeper2 karma

Get her involved with the NFB and their local chapter. If she's willing, get her to an NFB-certified blindness rehab center (I can highly suggest BLIND, Inc in Minneapolis, MN ) to learn alternative techniques to the way she already does things. Invest in bubble-stickers for her oven and stove. Get involved with the NFB, yourself.

Remember - she's not helpless or hopeless, if she cooked, cleaned, dressed herself when she was sighted, she still can.

Magooswife3 karma

My husband is going blind from a severe case of Glaucoma. He can be pretty angry at life or I guess I should say how his life is turning out. Do you ever get depressed and if you do how do you get yourself out of a funk? I try to get him to go places with me and do things outside of the house but it seldom happens. How do you keep such a positive outlook?

crickettekeeper1 karma

I'm sorry that he's going through that and I'm sorry he's angry about it. A lot of people are, especially at first. Make sure he gets training at an NFB-certified facility (I can highly recommend BLIND, Inc in Minneapolis, MN ) so he can learn how to adjust in a healthy way and get the best quality of life he can. There's no reason for anything in his life to change, only HOW he does the things he enjoys will change. Pro-tip: saying that you're not disabled, doesn't mean you're not. It's okay to be different, that's the whole point of life is to grow and change.

I'm positive becausebeing blind isn't the worst thing I can be. I enjoy the challenge of confronting other people's perceptions of what they think blindness is and what it means. I enjoy my life because the alternative is to be miserable. I could sit on the floor, singing my Shoulda Coulda Wouldas, OR I could actually do something. Even if that's something is doing an AMA ;) You guys can PM me whenever, I'd be happy to help, commiserate, whatever's needed.

moricat3 karma

This may be an unpleasant question, so I apologize in advance. Does the idea of losing your hearing, a sense you now strongly rely upon, fill you with dread?

crickettekeeper5 karma

I'm more worried about losing my memory, actually. If I lose my hearing, I'll deal with it like I have losing my sight. Bring a dry erase board with me, talk as well as I can, buy shirts that say "Can You See What I Hear?" Read a lot more, probably become a bit more instropective... maybe it'll be the kick in the pants I need to become an author, though ;)

Losing memory, however, that's got to be the most horrible thing imaginable. Forget who your family & friends are, how to read, how to cook, forget all of your favorite places to go and favorite movies. It sounds terrifying, like your entire existence being erased right in front of you, slowly, methodically.

bannana953 karma

What are things you have to do differently in your everyday life that most people wouldn't think of?

crickettekeeper8 karma

Brushing my teeth is a little different. I wet the bristles, then put the brush on the counter, hold the head between pointer finger and middle finger of one hand while applying toothpaste with the other.

Most of it has to do with cooking, which is a lot more tactile and auditory when you're blind. I'm pretty good at knowing when a patty needs to be flipped simply by the sound of it, for example.

Getting dressed involves touching clothes until I find what I want to wear, then put it on. Laundry involves remembering how much it costs for which machine and what the buttons are.

Signing for things, including card purchases, involves asking someone to point where I need to sign and I sign in the general area. I can guarantee that if it's on the line, it isn't mine ;)

When watching TV, sometimes I have to pause it and ask a few questions about the action or for them to describe a montage as it plays.

Finding out how to cook things from the freezer involves going to a website and reading the instructions there.

Sometimes before going to a restaurant, I'll check out their menu online as most places do not have Braille menus.

My cane can let me know if I'm on a sidewalk or in a parking lot or on a road. It can tell me what type of room I'm in, all by sliding it across the floor and listening. Walking places involves constructing a mental map of wherever I am and navigating accordingly.

nunchukity3 karma

Are there any things where you've forgotten what they look like, things that you wish you'd spent more time ingraining into your mind that you can't recall perfectly now?

crickettekeeper8 karma

I wish I would have seen Van Gogh's paintings IRL, but I can't think of anything I consider important that I don't remember exactly what they look like. Then again, my entire family will always look to me as they did four years ago, and that can't be bad.

PromotionMan3 karma

How have your other senses improved since? Did they all improve, or just a few?

crickettekeeper5 karma

I don't really think they've improved, more like you rely on them so you pay attention to them more. Without the distraction of sight, it's amazing what you notice.

PromotionMan2 karma

You just blew my mind, as I've never thought of it that way. Thanks for the answer! Also, how do you feel the visually impaired/blind community is to the community you were used to (as in, those not quite legally blind or legally deaf)? Have both been supportive? With who do you tend to hang around more? Sorry if dumb question, just read an article on the deaf community and was curious. Thanks again.

crickettekeeper2 karma

The blind community is very welcoming, for the most part, and it's very interesting to talk to them and learn from their different experiences. I don't think they are as insular as the deaf community, and they share a lot of the same ideologies. We don't need to be fixed, we're not broken.

ValeTudo903 karma

Once a blind woman asked if someone could help here, I said " Yes I can help you, whats the problem" "... I am blind you retard" and then she walked away...

I am still not sure if she was joking or was genuinly pissed off... -__-

crickettekeeper2 karma

That sounds bizarre. She was probably kidding, but I wouldn't know how to deal with that, either. I'd probably shout after her, "Oh good, so am I!"

Johnpley3 karma

I'm really curious about the changes in your hobbies, I mean, did you compensate the loss of visual entertainment with other kind of recreation? I'd like to ask specially on the subject of music. In your opinion, did your taste in music change in the last four years?

Also, thanks for doing this AMA!

crickettekeeper3 karma

To be honest, I think everyone's music tastes evolve. I don't really know if it has anything to do with my vision loss insomuch as me changing as a person. Classical music and classical covers of modern music as well as Pentatonix and Postmodern Jukebox and house music are some of my favorites.

My hobbies stayed the same, for the most part. Video games have gone by the wayside, of course, but it's simply HOW I do things have changed. I still bake, paint, write, act, and watch movies.

Thank you for thanking me, it's my pleasure :)

ben56473 karma

First of all, I just wanted to say that you are such a cool person. My question is: Who has inspired you the most in life?

crickettekeeper5 karma

Oh, well thank you. You're pretty cool, yourself.

Gosh, I don't really have just one person who has inspired me. My woodshop teacher, George Wurtzel, really taught me that sometimes things are scary but you gotta put your adult pants on and do them. He's an amazing wood-work artist and a definite inspiration.

My mom, of course, because she was always there, pushing me to be better than who I was.

Marlee Matlin taught me that you can be disabled AND an actress and be successful at it.

And then there's the lovely people of BLIND, Inc in Minneapolis and the NFB. They showed me a side to life I'd never considered before and inspired me to keep going. The most I want to be in life is an inspiration to someone else, to show them that complications arise but life goes on. I want to show people that being blind isn't a death sentence and it doesn't mean you're incapable, you just need to adjust HOW you do the things you were doing before.

LordHao2 karma

Are you a disabled adult actress?

crickettekeeper3 karma


LordHao1 karma

Links if you dont mind.

crickettekeeper1 karma

I don't have any, sorry - I'm part of a local theater company and my first play isn't for another month!

ranchdepressing3 karma

Does this mean porn, or...?

crickettekeeper1 karma

Believe it or not, there's a whole host of people out there who fetishize disabilities - including blindness. Rule 34, I guess.

ranchdepressing1 karma

Oh, I'm aware. I just didn't know if that's what the question was in reference to.

crickettekeeper1 karma

Aaaaaaaand I feel like an idiot

Snyggt3 karma

Does your screen reader tell you if a link is marked NSFW, and then, do you still enter them in hopes of something to listen to?

crickettekeeper12 karma

Usually it doesn't say if something is NSFW unless it says in the link text that it's NSFW. I tend to look at NSFW images with a friend and go to r/gonewildaudio for fap material

grizzlyking3 karma

Well that answers my question. Do you also just listen to audio on regular porn sites?

crickettekeeper6 karma

Sometimes. I have a few favorites that I've saved. Most of my problems with porn stem from the fact that most porn is geared towards men & it's just not sexy to me

thefrenchcrayon3 karma

The audio of most porn I came across makes me simultaneously want to laugh and hide my face in shame. You should compile a 'best of porn', ranked on the tolerability of the voices and dialogues! :) I'm sure I'd not be the only one to cheer you for it.

crickettekeeper2 karma

LoL - if I do, you'll be the first to know!

thefrenchcrayon2 karma

Thank you, kind lady! Speaking of recommendations, have you read Blindness by Jose Saramago? It's the story of blindness suddenly spreading through a city like an epidemic and all the social chaos ensuing. I've heard much good about it, and it's been in my reading list for quite a while.

How are your book-reading habits like, by the way? Do they have many books in braille? Do you get eBooks or audio books? Are there some books you really want to read but that the only copy is a traditionally printed book and do you ever force your boyfriend to read it out loud to you?

edit: also, also, if I have an inserted link, does your program notify you of this? does it read it as code?

crickettekeeper1 karma

I haven't read that, partially because I've heard there are no blind people in it and there certainly weren't any in the film. By that I mean, there must have been blind people (and other disabled people, too) BEFORE the blindness epidemic, right? Where are they? I guess there's no story if blind people start having adjustment classes for those who have lost their sight and everyone adjusts to their new situation.

I have a few books in Braille & there's a Braille Library that I borrow books from, I also have quite a collection of audiobooks, radio shows, and audiodescribed TV shows & movies on my iPod. So, I'm definitely not lacking in that department. My best galpal reads the Oglaf comic to me, though I've not asked my bf to read anything aloud to me yet.

The reader finding a link sounds like this, "have you read beep Blindness by Jose Saramago?" There are different beeps for different things, such as a capital letter when I'm typing or for links.

neuropathica2 karma

I have often heard that if one loses strength or total use in one senses (ie. sight) that other senses are heightened.

How would you prioritize your other senses in terms of strength/usefulness and do you think this is consistent with most visually impaired persons?

crickettekeeper2 karma

Like I mentioned before, I don't really think they become heightened or improve with vision loss. Visual processing takes up a lot of space in your brain. Lacking that, your brain notices the other information coming in from the other senses more quickly and accurately.

That being said, I think touch is the most important. It's how I use my cane, it's how I read, it's how I identify clothing... it's everything.

GratefulDead2762 karma

Was it difficult to learn Braille? I can't even feel the difference between the letters on my fingers.. About how fast can you read, like do you know how many letters/ words per minute you can read?

crickettekeeper1 karma

Everything in Grade 1 Braille is direct ABC-related, so that part was amazingly easy. Feeling the letters is helped by the instructors, you have to have a good one but they have tools to graduate you from very large version slowly down to paper-version.

I don't know how many words per minute I can read, nothing like when I was sighted. But I was sighted for twenty-two years and could read for twenty of them, so it's a curve. I like to think I'm at around 30-40 words per minute and it's consistently getting better. Thank you for your question!

Eternally652 karma

So, how much time do you spend on Reddit, and which subs?

crickettekeeper2 karma

It depends on the day, really. If I'm really busy with real life, I might spend a half hour on Reddit as compared to when I'm procrastinating, then I might spend a couple hours. It also depends on my patience, sometimes the voice of my screenreader gets super annoying.

I'm kinda all over the map, with browsing, hit the random button a lot and upvote a lot. I usually find myself in r/nottheonion, r/AskReddit, r/basketball, r/baseball, r/soccer, r/twoxchromosomes, r/sex... I mostly comment on Ask Reddit, though. Typically, I don't feel like I have anything special to add to a conversation.

p-wing2 karma

Have you learned braille yet? If so, what was the most difficult part?

crickettekeeper10 karma

I learned Braille a year after my vision problems started. It was great, actually. I cried when I read my first Braille sentence - it was an amazing feeling.

The most difficult part is level 2 Braille, when they start reversing symbols and leaving some to represent entire words and then dot-5 and dot-6 can modify words and... it can get a bit overwhelming, at least at first. But it's amazing and worth doing.

DarthSkier2 karma

How bad is your vision in relative terms? Can you see outlines of people, but really, really blurry? Or is it limited to light perception? What about typing and writing things? Are you independent or does someone need to help you with certain things (other than driving...)?

crickettekeeper3 karma

I'm independent, though I do know a lot of people who are totally blind and sighted alike who are just as independent as I am. I can see the outlines of people, generally where they are. If they're wearing a bright color like red or neon green, I can see that. There are not minute details in my life, just very broad strokes like an impressionistic painting up close. Dawn and dusk are the best/worst times for me because everything just turns gray for me except for the sun on the horizon.

RJCaptain2 karma

Is there any porn for the blind?

crickettekeeper3 karma

I use r/gonewildaudio, but I know a lot of people listen to regular old pornography you can find anywhere online

catapult902 karma

Where do you see this post going?

crickettekeeper3 karma

Idealistically, I just want to clear the air a little bit. People are always curious about blindness, I get a lot of questions both IRL and online, so I just want people to feel comfortable asking. Get it all out there, you know? Seriously, ask me anything you've ever wanted to know about being disabled or blind and I will answer to the best of my ability

catapult902 karma

Alright I have one. Have you ever experimented with LSD or mushrooms? If you have what was that like as a blind man?

crickettekeeper6 karma

Well, I'm not a man, so I can't speak for the male brained of the blind and I've never done mushrooms or LSD. I had a friend in high school that went on a bad trip and started cutting open her thigh to "get the worms out" and that scared me into being boring with my altered state pursuits.

TazTiger2 karma

I was going to ask the same thing, except I was going to ask whether you've tried ANY recreational substances (or prescription-turned-recreational substances for that matter). By the way, I hear from a lot of people that they will never try these things due to hearing about other people's bad trips, but just so you are aware, most of the time you'll only hear about the bad stories and in my experience with all of my friends and others i've talked to, it's very rare to have a bad trip like that. Most people's experience of a bad trip is feeling a bit anxious or confused around people if you're not doing it with the right people or in the right environment, but what you described with the worms thing is an extremely bad trip which wouldn't happen very often at all. I'd be curious about marijuana though, as it can be very thought-provoking and insightful and isn't really visually trippy. Personally, both mushrooms and LSD helped me deal with the serious spinal injuries i sustained and now chronic pain (I had lots of surgery to prevent paralysis). And I'm referring to the thought-provoking aspect and meaningful insights about life brought on by these substances, not the visual part.

Thanks for coming on reddit - I hope you can achieve everything out of life that you desire :)

crickettekeeper2 karma

I have tried marijuana, which is something I'm convinced nearly everyone does. It mellows me out before I do something that causes me anxiety like go to a party or to a concert. I haven't tried it recreationally just for self-medication at this point, but have been considering it. It makes me somehow even more tactile, huggy and holding hands.

It's comforting to know that bad trips are in the minority, but it has sufficiently scared me off for good. I'm glad to hear it has helped you, though. I hope you are well and acquire all that you desire _\ //

catapult901 karma

P.S. my original post was just a bad pun

crickettekeeper5 karma

Oh - hah - I see what you did there. Sorry. /anti-joke chicken

NinaBambina2 karma

I saw your Twitter bio and had to ask about how you became a nondenominational reverend. Did you become one before or after you lost your sight? If before, did losing your sight alter some of your faith? If after, was it the catalyst behind the reason to become a reverend?

crickettekeeper2 karma

I became a reverend last year, partially to annoy my grandma who is also a reverend and partially because faith is very important. I know that I do not know anything about the world at large other than that we're all in it together, more or less. Losing my sight actually lead me away from standardized religion for a quite a long time - and still has, actually. I don't think any structured religion has the answer, and becoming a nondenominational reverend is part of that. Being able to connect with a large amount of people on a spiritual level brings me peace and leading them towards something more tranquil and less distressing in their own lives gives me hope.

BattleRoyali2 karma

Do you use a seeing eye dog? If not, would you ever consider it? I used to raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind and knowing those dogs went on to help people was very rewarding! Thanks for doing this AMA!

crickettekeeper6 karma

I do not use a seeing eye dog and I'm not too keen on the idea, either. Don't get me wrong, I think they're very useful for those who have them and that it's a worthwhile endeavor to raise them, but I'm allergic to pet dander and I don't like the smell of dogs. It's like Miami - I like to visit, but I don't want it to be permanent :)

linuxrules2 karma

Without sounding condescending in any way, how do you trust people? Im able bodied per se but when i see someone less abled i always keep an eye out. i dont trust people other able bodied people

crickettekeeper2 karma

This is going to sound really naieve, but it's true - everyone has their bad sides, everyone also has a good side. I prefer to believe in the good in people. Yes, some people are too self-absorbed to be much good to anyone (see anyone that went on a violent spree of one kind or another) but they're in the minority, most people are just... people.

THEBIGC012 karma

How do you think? Like imagining images

crickettekeeper2 karma

It's pretty easy to make a mental map of things. My imagination hasn't suffered since losing my vision - if anything, I consider logistics more now than I did when I was sighted.

PatchSalts2 karma

NOTE: I left an edit at the end of my comment about 5 minutes later.

Since you used to be able to see, I can get an accurately described answer to my oldest unanswered question:

What do you "see" now that the signal from your eyes no longer reaches your consciousness?

EDIT: I should have read the other comments first.

crickettekeeper1 karma

No worries :) Let me know if you think of anything else!

regista2 karma

How did you make this post?

crickettekeeper6 karma

Talent and perseverence....

Seriously, though, I'm not sure I understand the question. Using Firefox, I went to after friends and strangers suggested I do one repeatedly over several weeks. I had today off so I figured, why not? Using the NVDA screenreader I mentioned earlier, I navigated across the page to the "submit an AMA" link, clicked Enter. Filled in the blank edit boxes with relevant data. Took pictures with my neighbor's camera for proof, uploaded them to IMGUR. Hit "enter" on the box that said "submit". Now I have two windows open - one to the thread and another on my Inbox. Periodically, I refresh my inbox & listen to see if another question has been asked. Tab to "reply", hit "enter" type my answer, then Tab to "submit" & hit "enter" again.

Umbrall2 karma

Do you think you'll be able to improve your ability to have blind sight?

crickettekeeper3 karma

I don't think there is a way to improve blindsight, as it's a subconscious thing in my brain, like a loose piece of code. However, they're hoping that now the pressure has been relieved in my brain, the blindness will lessen. I probably won't ever be fully sighted again, but someday it may get better. Only time will tell.

Umbrall1 karma

I just feel like there's gotta be some exercises you could do to improve things. Like picking up your cane or something.

Oh and another question: Do you notice if people turn away or leave the room when you see them face to face?

crickettekeeper3 karma

It's not so much their head that clues me in that they're leaving the room, but other environmental factors. Turning involves moving feet, their shape changes. If we're standing very close and they're white or are very dark with blonde hair, the change in color from their face to their hair can tune me into that they're looking at something else.

JDH752 karma

XXCanXX XXyouXX XXreadXX XXthisXX?

crickettekeeper43 karma

XXIXX XXCan'tXX XXUnderstandXX XXYourXX XXAccentXX?

screen3176 karma

Holy crap was that a Spongebob reference

crickettekeeper10 karma

Yes, yes it was

entirely12 karma

Proof needed. Or try /r/casualiama, where no proof is required.

crickettekeeper3 karma

Done & done. Sorry about that!

2MinutestoBelgium2 karma

Hi, not sure if you're still answering questions. Do you find that people treat you differently since you lost your sight?

crickettekeeper3 karma

My friends & family don't. Sometimes, they kind of forget because I'm so independant & they've known me as a sighted person for longer than a blind one. Strangers notice me a lot more and feel more comfortable asking me random questions and touching/moving my person, waitstaff tend to ask whomever I'm with what I would like to eat, little things like that. People are a lot more helpful, even when it's in a way that's unhelpful.

wyrwtb2 karma

Is it offensive when they ask others with you rather than asking you directly? I work as a tutor, and I've had one blind student and a couple of deaf students so far. The deaf student has an ASL translator, but I always talk directly to him and not to the translator. Otherwise it seems like bad manners. He watches me talk to him, but then he turns to her, so it seems like he's trying to show manners as well (edit: or maybe practicing reading lips!).

crickettekeeper2 karma

That's how you're supposed to do it - talk to your student directly & not to the translator.

It is offensive when people don't talk to me directly - I am perfectly capable of speaking for myself. Imagine you went to a restaurant with some friends and the wait staff treated you like the imaginary friend. "And what would they like to have to eat/drink? Do they want more water?"

irishhighviking2 karma

Any desire to have kids? I can't tell from your lead in if your condition is genetic.

crickettekeeper2 karma

My condition is not genetic. However, I'm nearing my 30s & still haven't found someone who mutually would enjoy co-parenting with me. I'd like to be a parent, it sounds quite nice even though pregnancy sounds gross & uncomfortable, but only time will tell if that will actually happen.

Xyanxe2 karma

I have read nearly all of your replies and it is so informative and interesting! Thank you for doing this! Hopefully you are still answering questions!

Do you ever feel frustrated because your life has changed? From your replies it seems you don't worry too much, so I wonder how you do that? I mean, how do you keep calm? For me I have a chronic illness, so things like brushing my hair and walking up stairs is hard. I'm 18 and I've had it for about a year now but sometimes I feel like it will never be over...

Also do you ever watch scary films? I think the music in them is what makes them scary so I wondered what it would be like for you.

Sorry for writing a lot, I think you have gone through more than me and it is inspirational! Reading this makes me feel like if I was to go blind, I could deal with it. :)

crickettekeeper1 karma

Wow, that was very nice of you to say! I'm sorry you're going through something so heavy when you're so young. The truth of the matter is, I find a lot of solace in letting things go. Take a deep breath and let it out to the universe. It's probably bullshit, but it makes me feel better and I'm a happier person for it. The truth about life is that it's mostly a plateau, most things are not really good or really bad but somewhere in the middle. Everybody has a daily plateau and you can either look at things with some humor or you cannot. Both are valid options and sometimes you gotta pick your battles.

Everything happens gradually, but one day it will strike you that things are not as difficult as they once were. Everyday issues like getting dressed and brushing your hair will be easier than they were. Trudging through the muck is what makes getting to the other side all the sweeter.

I wish I had words of wisdom for you, other than the triteness of "it gets better" but that's the reality. It really does get better. I wish you all the best.

Oh - and scary movies... I still get scared. Those parts that are supposed to shock the audience still scare me and you're right - it's all about the music. I don't like gore-y movies, never have, but things like disaster/monster movies I still enjoy. Ghost movies take on another dimension when you're blind ;)

matrixstar72 karma

You may have already answered this but what was your biggest adjustment, apart for not being able to see? Also is their anything that you consider a neat gadget that you get to use? I grew up with a kid who was born blind, apart from being able to see "light shadows" and he with his brother has been able to play more video games with the new tech that is out their.

crickettekeeper3 karma

The biggest adjustment was the semi-loss of autonomy. For a long time, I was afraid to go anywhere by myself. Now, after training, I'm able to travel alone and not be afraid, but there was about a year there where I clung to my family and friends and was essentially a shut in.

It's much better, now, but that was the biggest thing for me. I still can't drive, but I'm more in charge of my life, now, than I ever was - even when I was sighted.

Kulongers1 karma

When you are blind and you open your eyes, what do you "see"? Is everything a blob, or is it like black or darkness?

crickettekeeper1 karma

I can see the outlines of people, generally where they are. If they're wearing a bright color like red or neon green, I can see that. There are not minute details in my life, just very broad strokes like an impressionistic painting up close. Dawn and dusk are the best/worst times for me because everything just turns gray for me except for the sun on the horizon.

However, for people who are totally blind, they see as much with their eyes as you do from your elbow. They don't see black, they don't see white - there's nothing there.

Thank you for asking :)

Jester9481 karma

have you had sex, and if so did you stick it in the right hole the first try?

crickettekeeper7 karma

I have had sex, and yes. I'm pretty good with my own physiology

Nowin3 karma

I'm not blind and I missed my first try. It's not like my face is right down there with my penis.

crickettekeeper9 karma

Maybe your face should have been where your penis was. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Nowin1 karma

If it could, it would.

crickettekeeper3 karma

I was referring to oral.

Jester9483 karma

sounds like a blind guy did better at finding the hole than you did ;)

crickettekeeper3 karma

Blind LADY.... It helps to know where everything is.

norma_guy1 karma

Interesting that you hide yourself in the beginning and now you gained courage to be whoever you want! Reminds me of myself. Also when you go out, how much do you see exactly? I understood that you can read text with the tool. Also do you always need someone when you walk around? Sorry if bad/offence questions, I don't know so much about this stuff that's why I'm so interested..

crickettekeeper1 karma

I feel safe enough to go around by myself for walks and such, I don't typically have someone with me unless I need to go somewhere that involves driving. Thank you for asking :)

I can see the outlines of people, generally where they are. If they're wearing a bright color like red or neon green, I can see that. There are not minute details in my life, just very broad strokes like an impressionistic painting up close. Dawn and dusk are the best/worst times for me because everything just turns gray for me except for the sun on the horizon.

anod0s1 karma

You should check out Graphic Audio. Im a huge fan, and you liking the Marvel films because of the audio track made me think of it.

Also, i am making a game thats not specifically for blind people, its all audio and takes place in an audio 3d space which you can move around in. How does that sound to you?

crickettekeeper1 karma

Oh neat, thanks for the rec!

That sounds really cool - what's the storyline?

uupb1 karma

Do you dream in your sleep?

crickettekeeper1 karma

I've answered this before, so here's a copy-paste of that:

I do dream, everyone does. That's just a side effect from REM.

My dreams are a hodgepodge of things - sometimes how I see now & and sometimes how I used to see things & sometimes there are no visuals at all. Everything else is the same as how you dream: smells, sounds, random people you haven't talked to, bizarre situations that would never happen IRL to anyone, etc... And, sometimes when you sleep, there are no dreams or at least none that you remember.

JMorand1 karma

What kind of technologies help you most? For example, your screen reader.

crickettekeeper2 karma

Probably my screenreader, actually. It's helping me get into (and through) college, it helps me stay connected to friends via text either online or on my phone. It's amazing. My life would be vastly different, and probably more lonely, if I didn't have it. Thank you for asking :)

fhspatriot1 karma

You said the optometrist said nothing was wrong with your vision when there obviously was. Did you ever sue the doctor for medical malpractice?

crickettekeeper1 karma

No, I didn't sue them. I just wanted everything to be over. I'm too poor to go through any legislation, anyway.

ranchdepressing1 karma

What are your dreams like?

Also, I see you have a tattoo. How did you pick the design and how are you positive you are satisfied with the work?

crickettekeeper1 karma

I responded to this, earlier, so this is just a copy-paste of that.

My dreams are a hodgepodge of things - sometimes how I see now & and sometimes how I used to see things & sometimes there are no visuals at all. Everything else is the same as how you dream: smells, sounds, random people you haven't talked to, bizarre situations that would never happen IRL to anyone, etc... And, sometimes when you sleep, there are no dreams or at least none that you remember.

I do have a tattoo, I had it done when I was sighted. I'm happy with it. I've been considering getting another one done, I'm just waiting for the right tattoo artist.

AnthroPoBoy1 karma

1) I know you went over learning Braille in another answer, but I'm wondering if you can expand on what the process was like for you. My instinctual reaction is that it would be harder than learning a second language, because you need to use a different sense to read the letters. But maybe that's wrong?

2) Who are some of your favorite actors, based on how they emote with their voices? I find myself annoyed by most procedural TV shows because they all seem monotone, so it would be interesting to get your take. Have you tried listening to old radio shows? I think they are so fun.

3) I noticed the tattoo in your proof. Have you gotten any since the blindness? What of, and why?

crickettekeeper4 karma

1 - I think it's like learning a different language, but on Easy mode. You know the grammar, the language, it's just being written in a different way. Like code! It's like learning a secret code to be an intelligence operative.

2 - Benedict Cumberbatch, Rosario Dawson, Jude Law, Tom Hiddleston, Robert Downey Jr, Natalie Dormer, Lucy Liu, Chris Evans, Peter Dinklage, Anton Yelchin... There's more, of course, but these are the ones that spring into mind from what I've been enjoying lately. Police procedurals I really like are Elementary and Almost Human (though it wasn't renewed) - they're off the beaten path, which makes them fun.

For radio shows, I really like John Finnemore's work, especially Cabin Pressure. Welcome to Nightvale is another that's pretty good, and it's free on iTunes.

3 - The tattoo I have is meant to represent family & I, somewhat ironically, got it on my wrist so that I could look down and see it, no matter what I'm wearing. I haven't acquired any since then, though I am considering getting one of an owl on my ribcage near where a Vulcan heart would be to represent my best friend who is, essentially, my hetero lifemate. We're Trekkies & she's a bit of a hipster, but I love her anyway.

dilsweed1 karma

You sir are not a redditor. You are a hearditor. Hehehahahehe

crickettekeeper2 karma

Plot twist: I'm not a sir, either.

[deleted]1 karma


crickettekeeper1 karma

What would you like?

herpderpherpderp1 karma

hi - it's up to you to provide proof to verify your claim - only you will know what proof you have available.

crickettekeeper1 karma

Um, okay? I don't know how I can prove that I'm blind, though. Posting a pic of my slate and stylus, already linked to my Twitter feed & a pic of me with a sign. I don't really know how to prove my blindness.

RoarForService1 karma

Please excuse my lack of understanding but You said you could still see shapes and some colors? Does blindness somewhat seem like what the media has made it look like? What I mean being, is it just like seeing blackness?

crickettekeeper2 karma

People who don't see anything are totally blind. Those people see as much with their eyes as you do from your elbow. They don't see black, they don't see white - there's nothing there.

I'm legally blind, which means I see less than 20/200 and it cannot be corrected by glasses. There's various levels of visual ability and most people are visually impaired to some extent, though most of those problems can be fixed with corrective lenses.

Sanhen1 karma

The damage is in the main office, thus resulting in what is colloquially referred to as "blind sight" - conciously, I am not aware of the majoritity of what my brain is seeing, but my subconcious can register things such as facial expressions and obstacles.

Does the fact that your subconscious can still register images help in any way? What i mean is, do you find yourself aware of certain things around you on some level that you can't actually see or can you more accurately interpret images that you can barely make out?

crickettekeeper2 karma

It's difficult to say, really. I'm unaware of it happening, and some things can be contributed other environmental factors. While shopping, I sometimes pick out something we needed without any help or I grab a flavor of yogurt that I like without assistance. The point is, I do it absently, so it's not in a way I can control. It could be coincidence, it could be subconscious.

DrewDiezel2 karma

Piggy-backing on this question: So can you tell if other people are happy, like just a gut feeling, even if you can't consciously see their facial expression? The brain is a crazy interesting topic, sorry yours broke.

Something interesting: some people who are mechanically blind, aka their eyes are broken, not their brain, (you have it the other way around), end up very good at echolocation. This happens because the part of the brain used for seeing stuff is just kind of sitting there, nothing happening because it isn't getting input from the eyes. So, the brain uses that space that most people use to visualize and picture things so well, to do that based on information coming from sound.

crickettekeeper3 karma

That's very interesting abou the mechanically blind, though. When I tap my cane, in addition to telling me if I'm on pavement and what kind of pavement, the sound also bounces back letting me know what kind of environment I'm in. Is it close quarters? Are there soft things (sound dampeners)? Is it a long hallway or just a room? The cane is the best friend of any blind person, as long as you know how to use it.

crickettekeeper2 karma

That's typically how it goes. I'll be like, "Why are you sad?" just out of the blue, it's instinctual. Plus, I have no tact and no brain-to-mouth filter (unrelated to brain being broken, just a motormouth) so asking people questions out of the blue is really easy for me.

terattt1 karma

Kill, kiss, marry, kick: Brendan Frasier, The actual Frasier (Kelsey Grammer), Mark Marx, Danny McBride, or (wildcard) Jim Carrey?

crickettekeeper2 karma

Mark Marx that started Healing on the Streets OR the Business Advisor at JVS, Chicago OR some other one? This is an important detail.

terattt1 karma

It has the head of the Healing on the Streets Mark Marx and the body of the JVS one. And it is not looking too happy.

crickettekeeper3 karma

How does that even?? Whatever, okay -

Kiss: Brendan Fraiser, circa 1990 Marry: Mark Marx Kill: Danny McBride Kick: Jim Carrey AND Kelsey Grammer

terattt3 karma

Mark Marx immediately divorces you and takes half your assets. I'm so sorry.

crickettekeeper5 karma

Joke's on him, those "assets" are actually debts! Mu-ahahahaha!

jough221 karma

Fuck her right in the pussy.

Sorry, just wanted your screen reader to blare that out.

crickettekeeper2 karma

Just made me think of this

If you want to hear it for yourself, go here

fuck_tard1 karma

how many fingers am i holding up?

crickettekeeper4 karma

None, you're typing