Татьяна Зюликова
30 лет, глаукома

“I am not sure if I would ever submit an application to participate in the project if it were not for a woman who helped me to cross the street the very day I learned about the casting. As she was saying goodbye to me, she asked, ‘Has anyone ever told you that you are very beautiful?’


“My vision problems were recognized when I was 12–18 months old. My eyesight was failing gradually. There was time when I could even read and write. I well remember the day when my auntie from the town of Krasnoufimsk sent me a letter and I was unable to read it. I was about ten at the moment.


“I had always known that I would lose my eyesight. My parents did not hide this fact from me and were gently preparing me to face it. So, this wasn’t a shock, but obviously I felt a little sad.


“A few years ago I finally learned to use a white cane. It is a wonderful skill that gives you great freedom. Besides, it is not half as scary as I expected. And it has increased my trust in the world and faith in humanity, as quite a lot of people approach me to offer their help.


“There are a lot of myths and stereotypes surrounding the blind. The thing that jars me most is to be asked, ‘Why are you walking on your own? Why is nobody accompanying you?’ If you see a person walking with a white cane, you should be glad for them because now they have their freedom of movement and action and need not depend on anyone else.


“Beauty is that which gives you joy and elevates you spiritually. A beautiful person for me is someone who, first and foremost, is highly moral and kind.


“Some blind people are depressed about their vision loss, but come on, guys, you have ears, arms and legs—not everyone has that. All of us have our reasons to feel distressed, but then you learn about someone who has been given even less than you and yet is leading a full, active and happy life, and then you simply become ashamed of yourself.


“Happiness for me is the ability to take life as it is, to be content with whatever you have and be thankful for that. This is the attitude I am aspiring to”.