I was recently checking out what was happening on Facebook when I came across a post about a woman who was sick of being told that she was too good looking to be disabled. The furious comments about it intrigued me.

By Jill Barkley

I have the utmost respect for anybody who is living with a disability, as let’s face it, life would be easier if I wasn’t totally blind. I was told at the age of 19 that I would never see again and instead of letting it defeat me I decided to grab life by the proverbials and make it work for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy… I was that girl who was told she’d never have a decent job and would never really do much with her life. I suppose the belligerent side of my nature decided that I was going to prove everyone wrong.

Anyway, being a fairly positive person, I was dismayed that every single comment came across as a bitter rant. People were outraged that any able-bodied person could be so insensitive as to tell someone they were good looking despite having a disability.

Now don’t get me wrong, why shouldn’t a person with a disability be good looking? As a newly diagnosed blind girl in my early 20’s, I was asked to join the books of a modelling agency for disabled people. My counterparts were all stunning individuals, in fact, I wondered why they wanted to include me with all these beautiful people! But what the hell! And why not? I was flattered.

People will sometimes say that I don’t look blind or that I am not what they imagined I would look like, I take it in the spirit in which it was meant: as a compliment.

We are all guilty of ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome and sometimes people just say these things because they are trying to say something nice. Come on, surely there are worse insults than being told you are good looking!?

My biggest fear is not what people think I look like, it is getting to the end of my life and realising that being bitter about the cards that life has dealt me, didn’t change a thing.

About Jill Barkley…

At 19 years old, Jill suddenly lost her sight from diabetic retinopathy. She joined RNIB Connect Radio (originally Insight Radio) in Scotland, Europe’s first station for blind and partially sighted people. She has also worked with BBC Radio Scotland hosting the Music Match and in 2018 she took a coveted late night slot, presenting The Jill Barkley Show. Jill and her husband run their own lettings business in Glasgow, Victoria Letting.

Twitter: @Jill_Barkley
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