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Makeup Perfection & Vision Loss

The Continuing Conversation

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I received the BEST surprise on Friday. After spending all day at a very informative and productive networking event it was such a pleasure to come home, get warm & toasty, go online, open my inbox and find a hidden treasure.

“I featured you on my website today under my Friday Friends column.” Was the lead-in sentence and of course I recognized the sender’s name so it was off to their site to check out the article.

Amy Bovaird, author of Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith, liked a post I wrote for VisionAware so much that she decided to share it with her readers – Thank you Amy!

Friday Friends: Spotlight on Stephanae McCoy begins with a brief history on my sight loss then it goes into how women who are blind or vision impaired can be fashionable. The response from some of Amy’s readers was so kind and supportive I wanted to share it with you today.

If you’re human and I can only assume you are or you wouldn’t be reading this post, depending on your age, you’ve probably been through some stuff. One minute we’re merrily skipping through life then all of the sudden BAM…a significant life-altering event has occurred.

While the recovery period is not the same for everyone, broadly speaking it could be said that during the initial aftermath of said event your body goes on autopilot (I think this is a built-in safety mechanism for our protection during the adjustment period). Once the haze has lifted and we fully recognize what has happened to us we react with the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Again, depending on individual circumstances, the recovery period can be short, long or indefinite. If we are able and willing to make the choice to get through the after-affects of severe trauma it’s at that point we make use of any resources at our disposal to do what we need to do to keep going.

None of us are immune to disability or unfortunate situations that may arise in our lives. It becomes a matter of how we respond to these circumstances that determines our being able to move forward.

It’s important that we look at people as unique individuals who are capable of achieving our hearts’ desire. For some of us who have disabilities this may be more of a challenge but not impossible. The most difficult obstacle we face is breaking through the preconceived notions of others.

When many people experience a painful, life-changing event, though it may take time to adjust while learning new skills and techniques of doing what we used to do, we are fundamentally still the same. In my case I took pride in how I carried myself and my appearance with makeup, dress. Since losing my sight these things have not changed as they are integral to who I am however the way I achieve the end result had to be modified.

The Elephant

Photo of elephant sitting on his hind legs taking a shower under a waterfull. looks like he's having a grand time. Found on Pinterest via Buzzfeed
Found on Pinterest via Buzzfeed

People are afraid of going blind, it’s a fact that has been proven time and time again in numerous studies and surveys. Losing vision is scary.

No longer being able to see yourself during personal grooming, applying makeup, getting dressed then heading out into a world who doesn’t understand how to approach you is scary. But here’s the good news – you can adapt and go on to live a fulfilling life.

Though vision loss impacts every aspect of our lives, letting go of the need for self-imposed perfection, and opening ourselves up to new perspectives can go a long way in the healing process.

In the area of makeup, I initially decided I just wasn’t going to wear it anymore because trying to apply it was too difficult (can’t you just hear me whining?) I think this was more a matter of   a lack of control because it was like I was having an adult temper tantrum. “I’ll show you Steph, since using this makeup is too hard I’ll just quit” (picture an image of me with closed fists, arms crossed, and my best sulking face and that was my stance).

Once I got through this nasty pity party period I did several things:

  • Evaluated my processes and products, eliminated what wasn’t working and tweaked what was doable.
  • Up until last year since I couldn’t manage liquid eyeliner I just  used pencil to line under the eyes. Now I use pencil on the lids as well.
  • Stopped using foundation for a few years then began using mineral makeup, to now using a sheer liquid that blends so easily I don’t have to worry about streaking.
  • Stopped lining my lips although I think I can begin doing this again.
  • No longer use mascara on lower lashes (tried this on a number of occasions and I always end up looking like a panda – no biggie)
  • Stopped using blush
  • Went to a cosmetologist to help me with developing a personalized makeup routine

Today, my makeup technique is nowhere near what it used to be but then again neither am I. Oh sure, I’m still my harshest critic, stubborn, judgmental, and nitpicky but I’m also, a smart, resourceful, introspective, problem-solver who is still learning. I’m glad to say that though I still strive to be the best me I can be, letting go of the all-consuming perfectionism has been liberating.

Always remember – when you feel good, you look good.

“Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.” ~Albert Camus

12 thoughts on “Makeup Perfection & Vision Loss

  1. What mineral make up did you use, and then what sheer liquid did you settle on? I am thinking of getting my eyeliner permanently applied, and perhaps my lip liner as well.

    1. I’ve actually used Sheer Cover and Bare Minerals and between the two I liked the Sheer Cover best. The liquid foundation I settled on is called Buxom Show Some Skin Weightless Foundation. I love it because it’s so light but it makes my skin feel so good. The other thing I like about it is it’s SPF 30. I was thinking about the permanent eyeliner as well but I’ve not gone past the thinking stage. Several friends of mine have had it done and they swear by it.

  2. I so loved reading this post!! I too, take pride in the way I carry and present myself to the public. I still have good central vision so I can apply makeup without trouble, but I want to still look and feel good/confident even when my lack of sight makes it more difficult. Thank you for writing this post!

    1. Hi Virginia, your welcome and thank you for coming by and reading the post. I hope you had a chance to visit Amy Bovaird’s site, I completely forgot about this article and will more than likely tweak it to republish.

      1. Yes! I’ve visited her page and I’m loving it!

  3. It is amazing how the body and mind adjusts given time.. Working out what works for us and what does not .. Helen

    1. Wow I completely forgot about this post. It really is amazing how mind and body work together and how we can adapt to a new way of life. I was not a happy camper when I began losing my vision but I had to make a decision to remain where i was or move forward. I will respond to you other comment tomorrow morning when I’m back on my computer. Thank you for following me back Helen. 😀

  4. Today I came across a post on an author’s Facebook page. It was a question she was asking her readers, a sort of what would you rather type of question. She asked: “Would you rather live without sight or without the ability to speak?”
    I immediately stayed to read, curious what the answers would be, and I was a little shocked to see that nine out of ten said they would much rather be unable to speak because they could always learn sign language or write down what they wanted to say, but that they couldn’t possibly be without their vision.
    I must admit this made me sad to read and to realize. I guess I can understand. I added my own thoughts to the post and I said that while I do understand, not to take being able to easily communicate for granted. A lot of them, being on an author’s page, they were huge fans of reading and a lot of them answered, as to why they couldn’t be without sight, because they love to read so much.
    It’s really such a huge fear for society, the thought of going blind. It makes me feel so separate from the rest of the world when things like this hit me, when I see them so obvious as in the responses to that question on Facebook.

    I know, for women, the thought of not being able to wear the makeup most of them depend so much on is a scary thought to them, the thought of stepping out into the world if you can’t see what your own face and appearance look like. I just wish sometimes that this wasn’t such a harsh reality and truth.

    Just thought I would share, as something when I read this post made me feel like I could relate the two thoughts. Maybe I did a bad job at that.


    1. Thank you for your reflective response Kerry. You didn’t do a bad job at all as this is where awareness begins. Without knowing the context in which the question was asked, my first thought was that it’s rather broad and I have to wonder what is the author’s motivation in presenting the question. Is it curiosity, research for an upcoming book, wanting to get people talking about this topic, is it personal or something else?

      It’s somewhat easy to answer a theoretical question when one is on the other side of the question being asked isn’t it? If given the choice between two purported negative situations, based on our understanding of either one, human nature dictates that we’ll go with the one we think is easier to bear. I did not comprehend how debilitating back pain could be until I experienced it and even then my pain could have been totally different from the pain of someone else.

      In regards to the author’s question, keeping in mind that most people think of the word “blind” as being totally without sight, I can understand why people answered the way they did. Until I began the journey into losing my vision I couldn’t wrap my head around how I would make it though. When I learned the vast range of vision loss, terminology such as low vision, blind, legally blind, vision impairment, etc. I too operated on the assumption that blind meant completely without sight.

      Going through rehabilitation then orientation & mobility training to learn new techniques and strategies for accomplishing day-to-day tasks, connecting with other people who are blind or vision impaired and volunteering for organizations who empower this demographic has helped immensely. In addition conversations like what we’re having right now, though we may not realize it, help to dispel some of the misconceptions around blindness and vision loss.

      When you get a chance can you provide the name of the author? I’d like to leave a response as well. Thanks again Kerry.

      1. Summer’s Book Blog
        She said there was nothing behind her asking. I thought it could be book research too.

      2. Great. Thank you Kerry.

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