Walk in my red (?) pumps, will ya?

 A day in my life

As I have mentioned before, I am partially colour blind. I have talked about how this affects my life as a teacher as well as a learner ( I am currently taking painting lessons). I have never posted anything about how this affects my life in general, though. I know that if you read my blog, you are probably used to posts that are about teaching and other ELT-ish topics. Today, I want to write about being colour blind and try to give a glimpse of what this is like. I would also like to raise awareness.

According to the colourblindawareness.org 1 out of 12 males and 1 out of 200 females are colour blind. They also believe that there is probably one colour blind student in every classroom (#1ineveryclassroom).  Being colour blind does not mean you cannot see colours (seeing black and white is really rare), it just means you may not be able to see some colours and shades. I am not going to go into medical details though because

a. I am not a doctor and

b. that’s not what this post is about.

Two paragraphs later, I am going to dig into the purpose of today’s post. Is it a big deal not to be able to see colours? Let’s see.

Walk in my red (?) pumps , will ya?

Girlie Stuff

As a 39 year old gal, this is something that really bothers me. I am unable to shop 90% of the time!!

I have no idea what colour the clothes I buy are. I always ask a sales assistant for help or I choose to shop from stores that have the colour written on the tag (for example, M&S and Next- even their websites have accurate descriptions of colours). Worst case scenario though is me buying something that turns out to be a random colour and then going back to the store and return it.

Makeup is an ordeal. I luv makeup, but I have no idea why cosmetics companies choose to give weird names to their eye shadows, nail varnish and lip sticks. Why does a pink lip stick need to be called “A day in the park” or “love me do” (names chosen randomly) and not just say: Pink/ light pink/ dark pink/ fuschia etc. ? You may ask, ” Yes, but you do not see it’s pink, so what you going on about woman?” Well, yeah, I don’t see it’s pink but I know what pink goes with!! The same goes for nail varnish. Once again, I ask for help, or buy egg yellow eye shadows and end up returning them.

Food Shopping

It is very difficult to go grocery shopping cause I cannot distinguish if the fruit or vegetable is too ripe. I have bought loads of green bananas. I never know if potatoes have turned poisonous or not (you are not supposed to eat them when they are green. It’s actually a miracle I haven’t had potato… poisoning yet).

Reading Magazines

Loads of magazines, newspapers and even books choose to write a text on a background that clashes, making it extremely or almost impossible for me to read. Black on red is the worst!

Going to the bank

You know the electronic display that shows priority in banks? I cannot read that. I take a ticket, wait in a line and then ask a person to help me and tell me what number is next. Do you know how many times I missed my turn back in the days when I felt embarrassed to ask for help?


I don’t drive. I think I will have a problem with road signs more than actual traffic lights. I have never tried to learn to drive. Never will ( I don’t think this is cause I am colour blind. I think this one is more cause I am too scared cause of general eye sight problems).


Following any type of instructions that is based on colours is hard. Take out the lilac book, follow the green line, open the pink door (which is the ladies room). And then there’s the tube. I never travel on the London tube alone. So many colours mixed up on a little map. OMG.

Pie charts/ graphs

Yeah…. um… nope.

People’s reactions

Now this is very interesting. There are different types of reactions.

  • They ask, “Really?” Nah, not really, I am just pulling your leg cause being colour blind is haha funny (sorry for the sarcasm but arghhhh). There are actually some people who when I tell them I cannot tell the difference between colours, their first response is, ” Really? So you can’t see this is red? What do you think it is?” Then they start showing you stuff saying, “And this? What colour do you see? What about this?” : (
  • Yellers. I don’t know why, but I have come across people who start speaking louder to me when I say that I can’t see colours. I was buying eye shadow the other day and when I told the makeup artist I needed help with the colours she immediately raised her voice. I think that she thought I could not hear well, as well. This has happened many times. It’s weird. Dunno why it happens. : O
  • The helpers. These people are my favourite. What would I do without the? These are the people who take the time to give details about colours, if they suit me, if it’s a nice colour or not. Sometimes this can become a bit overwhelming cause they go into details about whether it’s a navy or royal blue (that is never an issue for me. If it’s blue, it’s blue).  I am really thankful to all the people who throughout the years have given me help!! : D

For 39 years I have lived without ‘seeing’ colours. I manage fine. Does it make my life difficult? Yes. Impossible? No. I ask people for help and they help. If no one can help me, I admit, I give up. I just don’t care. I don’t see any harm in knowing your limits and being OK with that. Being colour blind does not hold me back. I would like it if people/companies/organisations  were a bit more considerate though. I have purchased goods that had the colour printed on it, just for the sake of it, as a way to show my support to their support!

As far as teaching is concerned, I have found ways around it. I will be back with a post that will focus on education and colours.

Isihara test. Picture taken from here

Ishihara test. Picture taken from here. You should be able to see numbers. I don’t.


Feel free to comment in the section below. If you, too, are colour blind, please share your story with me.  All comments are welcome : D Thanks for reading!!

Till next time…..


8 thoughts on “Walk in my red (?) pumps, will ya?

  1. Hi Joanna, that was such an interesting post ! You’re right that spreading awareness is needed as I’d never really thought about the extent of the impact it could have on the day to day routine of a sufferer. As always, you demonstrate that life goes on, but still, I agree that more awareness is needed. As a teacher, I could definitely do with more on this. I look forward to your follow up post.
    Reading you made me think that we probably all have something about us which creates challenges in our daily lives. Interestingly, the image of ourselves we decide to put out there rarely reflects that.


    • Hi Hada,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.
      I thought about whether it’s a good idea or not to go ahead and publish something that is borderline personal. I then thought that it is a problem that affects my teaching (from time to time) and my daily life. Then I thought that the worst case scenario is that no one will read the post. Writing it was quite liberating though, so I went ahead and published.
      As you said, everyone has challenges. Some people go public and other don’t. I went public to raise awareness, especially since I read much more about it on the colourblind awareness org website. There are students who are challenged. I feel challenged. That’s why I am speaking about it. I will tell my story and will follow up with more info on how to help our students.
      Thanks again for reading : )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Joanna, your post was really interesting, and I very muuch empathise with some of what you talk about above (not the make up…honest!).

    My main problems over the years have been similar to yours, as, for example, clothes shopping has sometimes been an issue. Not most of the time, as generally I have ‘worried’ about the colour clothes I wear, but sometimes not knowing what tie works with a certain shirt has been a frustration.

    I also like you don’t drive, but do feel that I would worry too much about what colours I should be seeing when out on the road.

    One really interesting point you make is about names colours are given. Frankly I think it is a crime that companies can replace the colour of a shirt with a phrase! That is one thing I will look out for more, and will definitely contact these companies if I see it myself in the future.

    I won’t go on too much more now, just leave you with one little story of my own. I used to play snooker, a game full of colour, with yellow, blue, pink, red, & black balls, etc, most of which I didn’t have a problem with. However, in an interesting twist, two other coloured balls, green and brown did cause me problems.

    Well, actually it was the brown and reds that I would struggle with, and would frequently commit a foul going for a red, when actually it was the brown! If I remembered I could ask the referee, but if not, it would be a foul, as well as puzzled looks from most other players!

    I’ll leave it there, as I could go on & on! In fact, I have set up a website with a blog that I will contribute to more as I get more confident, so I’ll send you a link soon, promise!

    Keep up the good work Joanna, and with the help of Colour Blind Awareeness, we can get thingsto change!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi David,
    Thanks for reading, all the support and commenting of course.
    In the make up industry loads of companies change the names of colours to phrases!! I think they think it makes the product more ‘attractive’ or something!!
    Never played snooker, I do get how that can be challenging! I have played UNO loads of times though. I have my own deck of UNO cards. I labeled all the cards one day with my mum, so now I don’t get confused and I win :p.
    You should make a blog, and yes, do please send me the link when you do.The colour blind awareness org is what inspired me to be a bit more public about the whole thing. Let’s see what will happen in the future : )
    Thanks again!!


  4. Hi Joanna! Thank you for this inspiring post and being so candid about your condition.
    I’m not colorblind, but I’ve struggled with ADD for as long as I can remember. Thought these two are distinct conditions, I know what it’s like to grow up feeling a bit different.
    Interesting that you have your own deck of uno cards. I can’t play that game, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi T.,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I am happy you liked my post. I don’t know if it is inspiring, but I am trying to raise a little bit of awareness regarding challenges people face in life. I can see from what you wrote that you too have your personal challenges. I think they make us who we are. We gotta find ways around em 🙂
      Damn that UNO :p who would ‘ve thought it’s so hard ??!!
      Thanks again.


  5. Hi Joanna,
    Thanks for sharing more about being colour-blind. As with your other posts, it’s interesting to find out more about it and how it affects your life, because I know it will help us all to help our colour-blind students more in class. I’ve worked with at least two colour blind teachers, and have had students at various times with it too, but always male red-green colour-blindness, which I believe is the most common. Until you wrote about it, I thought it was pretty much exclusively a male condition, so thank you for putting me right.
    T Veigga (not sure of your first name!), I recently had a CELTA trainee with ADD but didn’t know how to support them properly to get more from the course, so if you feel able to offer some tips like Joanna has it would be really useful – I know you’ve just started your own blog because I saw your comments somewhere else!
    Thanks a lot,


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