This month, I interview Nicole Renee Bissett, a blind woman who has joined my Facebook group.
1. You told me you were born blind. Were your parents blind? If not, how did
they help you cope with a world designed for people who can see?
Yes, I was born blind. No one else in my family was blind. I think how
parents view blindness, or any other disability, is huge on how a child
views him/herself as a disabled person. I had mixed views.I didn’t have much
to cope with because I could never see. What was really hard to cope with
were the misinformed attitudes of others. My dad was pretty good with
helping with that just by being there for me. He was my best friend growing
2. How self-sufficient are you? How do you get assistance in the areas that
give you problems?
I’m as self-sufficient as I feel like being at the time.
I’m not super blind, and I’m not super dependent. When I want help, I simply
3. What is your favorite Bible verse?
Romans 8:28. “God works all things (all things, meaning blindness, divorce,
loss… all of which I have experienced) together for good to those who love
Him and are called according to his purpose.”
4. Did you ever feel betrayed by God?
With regard to my blindness, no. In that regard, I have felt betrayed by the
church. But I have felt hurt by God when stupid stuff I did came back on me
and I blamed Him. But after longer speculation and healing, I realized it
was brought on by myself.
5. How do you keep a positive attitude? How do you turn your weakness into a
I try to remember things could be, and have been, worse. At this stage in my
life, I look back on the things I’ve lived through, the things I thought I’d
die without but survived instead, the places where god carried me… and
where I come up against a trial, just try to remember I made it through
6. Who is your favorite Biblical figure besides Jesus?
Joseph, of the Old Testament. He has a faith I can only hope to emulate. He kept strong and never
got bitter through all his trials, even when there was serious injustice.
7. What tips would you give to people who want to help blind people without
coming across as phony or annoying?
1. Try to understand that I am not amazing because I do day-to-day things. I am not super woman because I’m
blind. I’m merely doing something I’ve done all my life. I know that’ s hard
to imagine if you’ve never done it, but it has been, and can be done.
2. Don’t talk to me in the third person. I am not hard of hearing. In that
same vain, don’t talk down to me like a child. I am a full-grown adult and
do not wish to be coddled or told what to do.
3. Just to clear things up, not every blind person thinks life would be
better with a guide dog. I, for one, and others I know, am not an animal
person. I don’t want to spend my life partnered up with one. And no, they
don’t drive you around, and you don’t say “go to the 711” and they go. It
doesn’t work that way. I am perfectly happy with my white cane or a sighted
4. In regard to a church, don’t assume that my life-long dream is to have my
sight healed. I have lived this way since birth. Maybe that is your life
dream for me, but let’s not confuse the two. Having someone pray for me and
jam their finger into my eyes really is annoying and demeaning, and, in all
honesty, there are many other things I’d like healing from. As far as my eye
sight goes, I look at it this way (and yes, I use terms like look and see
like everyone else, since we’re on the subject) — Jesus said to count the
cost. If someone said I could have my eye sight tomorrow,, but I’d have more
migraine headaches, I’d say forget it. Someone might think I’m crazy, but
again, they’re coming from a place of “I’ll die without sight”. But my truth
is, migraine headaches affect my quality of life; blindness does not. I have
never had a life that involved driving, so my quality of life was never
8. What do you want people to know about blind people?
Everyone is different. While there are some blind people who are sheltered;
many others are not. While some live on the government, others do not. We
all come in different shapes and sizes with different preferences.