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I know you have all heard those sappy love stories and I am sure if you are a female you get all giggly over them and if you are a guy you just can't wait until their over to get back to watching the football game.  My goal here is to tell a version that will keep both entertained.  Its a version that defies the so-called stereotypical male-female relationship.  It's not a "job" for everyone.  In actuality, its a "job" for only a very select and special few.  What "job" am I speaking of? Yes, I'm talking about getting in a relationship with a blind guy that does triathlons.  That special girl is none other than Miss Alabama herself, Brittney Paisley :)    

Beside being the most beautiful girl from the South, she is much much more.  I mean, you have to be something very special to deal with me. Just as an example, the first time we met for a date after being matched on eHarmony, she didn't know I couldn't see worth a darn until we got the menus and I asked if she could read it for me and she took it right in stride and read me the choices.  Let me explain my rationale. I know there could be hesitation at first glance when browsing over a profile and reading that your potential date is legally blind. I would rather people find out who I am as a person and then find out that as an added bonus I am legally blind. The last thing I want to be is a burden on someone else but I fully realize and understand that dating someone like me is not for everyone.  I don't look at those people that feel that way in a bad way at all nor do i fault them for that, I just know a relationship with these dynamics wouldn't work.    Brittney is one of the only girls I have met that I don't feel like this is an issue.  Here are five Characteristics/tolerances that make Brittney the right girl for me.  

 

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1.  Ability to Handle the Attention on You:  If you can’t handle attention focused on you, in particular when that attention could be embarrassing, you may not be fit to date me.  Brittney takes it in stride and is able to laugh along with me during the embarrassing moments.  For example, ask yourself, “How would I react if....?”  Your partner was eating sushi and all of a sudden took a spoonful of wasabi, put it on his spring roll and then ate it thinking it was avocado?  Your partner was running with you and all of a sudden ran right smack into a street sign while other cars were passing by?  You and your partner were at the local sports bar watching college football and your partner pulls out a pair of binoculars to watch the game on the TV that is not far from your table?  You go to the local Home Depot looking to exchange some items and your partner goes up to an employee to ask where the Customer Service desk is located.  The worker proceeds to point to a big sign less than five feet away that reads Customer Service? How would you react in these situations to the attention and reactions of others around?  I am sure all of you are thinking, “oh, I would feel so bad for Aaron and go help him out (blah blah blah).  Wrong answer, I want to know how you would feel and would be able to find a coping mechanism that would work well for the both of you.  Brittney is able to use humor in these situations.  She knows these incidents happen due to my vision and is able to not get embarrassed herself and also make light of the situation which is exactly how I would handle it. 

2.  Understand Male-Female Stereotypes Go Out the Door:  In this world we have stereotypes for relationships; the man drives everywhere, the man opens the door for the woman, the man fixes everything and the list goes on and on.  In the first place I don’t like stereotypes because its kind of like assuming and you know where I am going with that.  Anyone in a relationship with me will soon see that these stereotypes need to be thrown out the window.  Until, “Google Cars” are readily available to the public and legal, Aaron will not be driving.  This is for the better good of those on the roads.  Although, I try and open the door for Brittney when I can, its hard to open the door when you can't see it.  As for fixing things, I’m not too bad when things break and need to be put back together but any assembly requiring a manual  can take days.  Its a good thing Brittney was taught well by her dad and is smarter than I will ever be.  She understands that some things I am not able to do or need a little help in completing.  

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3.  Able to Understand Me as an Athlete:  Brittney is an amazing athlete herself so she understands competition but understanding triathletes is a whole other beast of its own.  I mean, I don’t even understand triathletes.  I tell everyone I do triathlons but I am not a triathlete.  I am not your typical triathlete that has a structured plan and everything revolves around that plan nor do I really enjoy talking about triathlon and statistics.  That said, I do compete in triathlons for a living and so I am surrounded by triathletes a good amount.  Also, lets be honest, triathlon is not really a spectator sport.  Yes you can get the loving family member out once or twice a year and then there are the other triathlete junkies that are injured themselves but just can't get enough of it but other than that there isn't too many more.  If I was putting on these races, they would be run a whole lot different but we will leave that for another blog.  Let's stick to the point of this blog and that is that despite the fact that I get up at 4am for races, sit on my bike seat spinning for hours in the garage and occasionally hang around techies that love to talk about bike components, Brittney still supports me in this career and love. 

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4.  Aaron's Gonna Do What Aaron's Gonna Do: Brittney accepts the fact that a big part of who I am is a goofy but resilient and passionate person that is going to do things that others may think I shouldn't.  This is not referring at all to "Aaron has to have his way or Aaron doesn't listen to others."  I am more speaking to the fact that Brittney accepts that I value my independence and doesn't always worry about Aaron going out into that dangerous world and not seeing things and getting hurt.  These things that Aaron's going to do include but aren't limited to; running through busy city streets alone, traveling to foreign countries without knowing the language alone and occasionally riding my bike alone.  Taking part in these actions is often accompanied by hitting stray grocery cart,s asking the homeless man for directions and even hitting a few parked cars on the bike.  Other things that fall into this category include doing the NYC Underwear run in central park annually, dressing up as Sparty for Michigan State basketball games and standing up for the rights of those that are blind/VI even when this can also be associate with backlash.  So many people worry about my safety or worry they may ask or say something that offends me.  Brittney knows to only help when I ask and realizes that there isn't much that offends me, after all even I call myself "the blind kid."

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5.   Always On the Run:  Brittney loves to see new places and go on new adventures.  Keeping up with my pace is like keeping up  with a 10-year old kid with ADHD.  Brittney loves to go on new adventures, in fact she is normally the one that initiates them.  Brittney loves to travel so those of you that know us from Seattle also know that we aren't in town much.  Life is too short to be sitting on your finances or waiting for adventure to come to you.  Britney has introduced me to "God's Country" as well as the traditions of Auburn.  I have introduced her to "America's Heartland" and the culture that is "Spartan Nation."  We are always on the run and at this point in our lives we both love that aspect.  

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Hopefully this blog has helped you understand how Brittney Paisley is instrumental to my success.  I haven't even scratched the surface on how special she is but again I promised this wouldn't be that sappy story only geared towards females.  To be honest, Brittney is the one that plays football and the more "hard-core" sports whereas I prance around in my spandex on a tandem bike with a partner.  There are so many dynamics that go into a relationship with a blind/visually impaired individual that you can't fully grasp unless you are in that relationship.  It takes a very strong person to fully grasp the necessities to make the relationship work.  Its not for everyone but I hope everyone can truly understand some of the factors that go into this type of relationship and how important and special Brittney is for the ability to put aside the dynamics and appreciate the real person inside.  Thanks Brittney for the AMAZING person you are ;)

 

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