The Continuing Conversation
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.
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.
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