Lachi, wearing dangly earrings and a cropped black sweater with a hot-pink zipper, stands in front of red metal scaffolding and greenery in New York City. She's looking confidently at the camera.

THE guy came out to me in high school. Girls adored him – guys hated that he played sports AND could sing. So, when Mr. Perfect tried several awkward attempts to corner me, naturally I grew excited. Me? I was the weird girl who held books too close to my nose, definitely not his tier. However, when he finally did manage to sit me down, it was to tell me he was gay. I was the first person he’d ever told. While I wasn’t self-aware enough to recognize the importance of my role in his life at that time…

…I get it now. That need to step outside the box society has set for you, and to step into the box you’ve set for yourself. To proudly self-identify. To win, to lose, to learn, as YOU. Unafraid.

Hi, I’m Lachi and I’m a legally blind recording artist, writer and producer, and have had the pleasure of working on a ton of major projects. I’d like to talk about one of my greatest fears – self-fear – and what I do to overcome it.

The Fear

I’m what the hip kids call a “high partial” – able to get around well enough without a cane or guide. So growing up, I did what I could to keep it hidden, a common trait among partials. I feared people would think less of me, find me too different or “broken” to relate to.

But the act of concealing this pretty defining part of myself led to an interesting complex.

Instead of feeling more confident because I wasn’t seen as a blind person, my confidence plummeted because people figured, “she must be holding books close because she’s a slow reader” or, “she seems confused – she must not know what she’s doing.”

This brought me to my crossroads. Which did I fear more: people treating me as “disabled” or people not knowing I’m disabled and wondering “What’s wrong with her?” Turns out it was option C: my fear of ME.

Years earlier, I’d gone up to a shy girl trying to find her place and said, “You need to hide who you are or no one’s gonna like you.” And that little girl listened to me. And that little girl was me.

Overcoming The Fear

One day, at my wits’ end, I decided I was done pretending.

I quit my desk job and opted to pursue music – and quit my face-mask and opted to pursue owning myself, flaws and all.

Because I attend a handful of industry events, one of the ways I handle budding social anxieties as an “out and proud” partial is to simply be upfront with it.

“Hi I’m Lachi! I’m legally blind, but don’t worry, I assume everyone’s hot.” Or “Oh, if my right eye goes off to lunch, let her. She deserves it.” Disarming, clever, and really just gets it out the way so I can move the conversation along with confidence.

The level of control harnessed in stepping outside society’s box and into your own, saying, “This is how I define myself, and you are welcome to treat me as I feel I deserve to be treated,” is a freedom every human being deserves to feel. And I didn’t know that until I myself felt it.

I want to thank Blind New World for allowing me to share my story. Please check out my upcoming track “Unafraid” releasing August 2nd on Phase One Network’s label, Future Cuts. The song was inspired by my above confession, so I hope you enjoy it!

To hear more of Lachi’s music, you can find her on Spotify and YouTube. You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

How has blindness impacted your world?

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