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Natalie. New Zealand.


Natalie. New Zealand.

My world has ‘no colour’, ‘no shape’ and ‘no outline’, but I have brilliant light and dark perception...

My world has ‘no colour’, ‘no shape’, ‘no outline’, ‘no detail’ and ‘no movement’, but I have brilliant light and dark perception, which is incredibly useful – I’m the best person to have around in a power cut because I can navigate you around in the dark!

I was born totally blind or legally blind which means I don’t have a perception of sight, but in my opinion that’s the best way to have it because I don’t know what I’m missing out on, so it’s a lot easier to accept, embrace and enjoy. The only time I’ve ever wished I could see was when I auditioned for the school production thinking “wow I’d love to play the lead role one day”.

For me, it’s been a case of embracing it through humour. I am a very open person with my blindness and I’m the first to break the ice by cracking blind jokes. Having a disability seems like it should be really hard, sad or negative for other people, but it’s like, nah you just gotta laugh at it.

I am a singer-songwriter and am currently studying at the Excel School of Performing Arts in New Lynn where I am a vocal major. It really is such a beautiful thing for me as I love music - it’s such an important part of my life. It’s so perfect, it’s right up my street, it’s awesome and I love it so much.

What makes me feel most beautiful is nature, family and friends and my faith – because I can’t look in the mirror. I have a mirror, but I can’t look in it.

When I wear makeup, I don’t feel any different but other people comment. So when I had my twenty-first birthday my sister did my makeup and everyone was saying “wow, who did your makeup? It looks really good” and that’s what makes it worth wearing, sometimes. But I only put it on for special occasions.

My friends have taught me a heck of a lot. They’ve shown me what it’s like to roll down a hill or run in a field. They have been able to take me out and have fun with me.

For me, beauty is the way you feel - because I can’t see. For me, it’s very much from the heart. I think a person is beautiful by what they say to me and how they treat me and others, rather than what they look like or the brand of clothes they’re wearing, or what they look like on the outside.

I love nature and being in the water. I’m the type that will go down for a beach bbq and I’ll be in the water for like 90% of the time. I love the feeling of being able to let waves or water just take you, being weightless. Whether it’s spending time with family or whether it’s jamming with people or by myself on a piano somewhere or performing, or with my faith or nature, it’s huge. I just love to surround myself with positive things and positive people, and I guess that’s how I’ve become such a positive person because a lot of blind people might not have the mindset that I have.

People say to me “wow you’re so amazing, you’re so inspirational”, but that’s only because I do what makes me happy. I do what makes me feel good and connects with me in the heart. I’m an extrovert but I’m also very inwardly focused in terms of what makes me feel beautiful and what makes me feel good, so for me making friends is very inward. I don’t care if you’re black, white, brown, polka-dotted, whatever! I don’t care, I can’t see it! There’s a verse in the bible that says “man focuses on the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”, I think that’s one of my favourite verses because I can really relate to that.

I guess because I can’t see what other people think of me that I’m so unapologetically me. I can’t see the way people are looking at me, so I’m just naturally who I am and I’m not afraid of that.     

You can be bitter about the things you don’t have, or you can be better at the things you do. You can sit around a mope and be like “why me, why is my life this way?” Or you can go out and live.