The Color of Reciprocality

Connecting at the Junction

Standing in a three-quarter pose with left hand on left hip and right arm leaning against my counter.This morning when I was walking Mollie (my furkid), a small group of people walked by on their way to their daily destination. I knew who they were by the sounds they made so I turned towards them, smiled and waved “good morning,” to which the one young lady waved in return.

After our brief interchange I began thinking about communication and how our disabilities can play a pivotal role in how we connect with one another. It also occurred to me that I probably never would have given this aspect of communication another thought had I not lost my vision however I am grateful for this bit of enlightenment.

If you’re introverted you understand how uncomfortable social situations can be when you meet new people. I can tell you from first-hand experience there have been times I literally would have preferred the floor to open and swallow me whole as opposed to putting myself out there – it’s a downright scary predicament.

Body language and eye contact speaks so loudly but when you can’t see it becomes a whisper at best, and mute in the worst case scenario. The same could also be said of audibly communicating without sign language or speaking directly to a person who is deaf, blind, nonverbal or a combination of these three.

 Lost in the translation

I’ve always been fascinated with the complexity of communication and how people understand one another. When we all speak the same language and share common characteristics, for example culture, the odds of our understanding what we are communicating greatly increases.

However when we encounter a person who doesn’t speak our language what do we typically do in an attempt to get our point across? Out of habit I do this even when I’m talking with my friends and that is, pantomiming or gesturing wildly. But what about the person in this same situation who has no arms? Just something to think about.

Frontal standing pose looking as if I'm getting ready to sit on my counter stool.

Communication in the digital age has significantly increased the likelihood of being misunderstood not only because of the oodles of acronyms on all social platforms, but even the way we look, speak or write can have a major impact on what we are trying to convey. Just turn on the TV or look on the web and there are many instances of someone saying something that was intended to mean something else entirely.

The Method of Delivery

Intention is at the heart of communication. What is the objective you hope to achieve?

I began this post by talking about the group of what I think are young people (this is just a guess because I can’t see them) who happen to be deaf/mute. Though I do not know sign language, the universal gesture of hello, a simple wave of the hand along with a friendly smile, is my way of saying “hi, how are you, have a great day.” When I get a reciprocal response I’m assured that my message was received and understood.

When I’m getting ready to go to an event or just a simple outing I take great care in how I’m going to present myself. I do this for two reasons: 1) I need to feel good about how I look and 2) I want to project an “I care” attitude to others.

Why should I care what other people think of how I look? Because how I dress is partly a reflection of how I feel about people.

Being unkempt would certainly be an indication that I don’t care about myself but it also says that I don’t have much respect for those around me. When I used to take public transportation and would see regulars getting on the bus to go to work looking a hot mess, I got irritated.

Though there is a segment of the population who really don’t care how they portray themselves, for the rest of us, people do notice. Now I’m not suggesting that you break out the Sunday’s Best, rather I am proposing putting a little thought into the message you want to transmit through your appearance.

Standing frontal view leaning against counter.

In the pictures included with today’s post I’m communicating my *Ahem* vitality (admittedly I am not a colorful person but I have my moments) by wearing a vivid orange top with white capris and orange slingbacks. I topped the look with my white Nike ball cap and a few accessories then I was good to hang out with one of my gal pals on a recent Saturday afternoon.

The sheer, lined, crepe top is almost halter-like with braided straps and button keyhole closure at the back of the neck. Since the top is flowy I opted to wear it untucked over the rhinestone-embellished (at the outer hem) capris.

The toe of my slingbacks is orange, accented by thin purple straps. I also wore a black and silver pendent necklace, silver cuff bracelet and silver drop earrings.

Bright colors and whites  immediately lift my spirits and make me feel more energetic. If you want to get noticed or lighten your mood, just add a pop of color, be it a top, bottoms, dress, shoes, or accessories.

So what are you communicating today? You can respond by leaving a comment or emailing me directly at boldblindbeauty@gmail.com.

Have a fabulous weekend!!

“I nod to a passing stranger, and the stranger nods back, and two human beings go off, feeling a little less anonymous.” ~Robert Brault,

Author: Steph McCoy

Hi I'm Steph, a businesswoman, style setter, blogger, and abilities crusader who breaks the myth that “blind people can’t be fashionable.” “It’s about walking boldly with confidence, transcending barriers and changing the way we perceive blindness”

23 thoughts on “The Color of Reciprocality”

  1. Hi Stephanae, communications is an interesting topic, even how we dress says so much about our selves. I’ve come to realise that and started to invest more in how I look, and at the same time minimising my clothes. I have discovered that I really need to limit my choices and keep it simple to be any good at this. Interesting too about non verbal communicating. I had the amazing experience of bushwalking with people who are deaf last year. At one point we hit a cross road and there was much confusion. Everyone stoped to check their maps. There was much pointing and shoulder shrugs. Mean while, completely unknown to them, a bike rider was approaching. Ringing his bell several times so they can move out of his way. As you could imagine they heard nothing. As he passes them, he starts to yell at them. Not very nice things. With an angry face to match. (it’s the yelling that took my attention). He took much offence to them, thought they were rude and inconsiderate, yet it was purely innocent. Fascinating topic and you’ve covered so much in one post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dina, Thank you for stopping by and commenting. As I mentioned to you on your post yesterday I find communication fascinating and like the situation you mention here with the bike rider, I too would have probably lept to the wrong conclusion because like other disabilities, you can’t really tell by looking at a person that they are deaf. Since going through my issue with the loss of vision and meeting so many other people with a range of disabilities I’ve learned so much and try as much as possible to extend more grace to people before coming to a conclusion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I miss colour so much and love to dress in bright colours when I can, but so often my lack of vision of what I look like going out into the world, it’s just as easy to resort to dressing in black. I don’t know why that is.
    I believe even those with little to no sight want to make their first impression a good one because judging at first sight
    😉
    Well, it is the way the world works. I try really really hard to put thought into what I wearr, but often I have little to work with.
    As for the body language part…I hate that. I look at people when speaking, but waving has always felt odd to me.
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like colors as well but I resort to black and white because that happens to be my favorite combo (always was).

      You are so correct in that even people with little to no vision care about their appearance. This is something I’m very passionate about because as we know the beauty industry ignores us. I understand that we are in a minority but as I’ve said in other posts we are the largest minority in the world and growing. We are the only minority group where anyone can become a member at any time in during their lifetime. Of course the way the numbers hash out even in thi area women outnumber me, so these companies are really missing out on a huge market.

      As for body language I really don’t give it much thought unless someone is pointing in an attempt to gie me directions, at that point I just remind them that I can’t see wshat they’re doing. As far as a wave if the person is close enough (like the young lady in this post) then I can wave. But any further away and it’s lost on me but again I don’t stress over it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Steph I love your… erm… vitality 😉 orange becomes you.
    When I communicate I try hard to make sure that not only am I understood, I try to place myself in the other person’s position to understand from their view, makes me seem almost psychic sometimes ^_^

    On Reciprocality, I have been reading up a theory about there being pieces, pieces of ourselves in other people and the more we interact with, and better understand others, the more we understand who we are the more we understand others, going round in circles to some epiphany. (but thats a fancy way of saying I have no idea what comes after)

    ~B

    Ps what is the colour of reciprocality (things that keep me up at night)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey B. thank you for the compliment. I agree with you on putting yourself in the recipient’s place when writing. Yean and I like the theory you mentioned on reciprocality, sounds sorta like circular reasoning. As for the color of reciprocality I’m almost certain it’s orange 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Communication is essentially difficult because every head is a world. When I dress to leave the house, I try to present a pleasant picture for others, albeit in my own style.My dress communication is designed to be subtly colorful. Your outfit is like that. I always wear a hat or a turban because my hair is a problem. A year-and-a-half ago, my daughter developed blindness in one eye and cataracts in both. She has been slowly adapting to not being able to see and being able to maintain her balance when walking. Communication for her is changing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Patricia, thank you for stopping by. Yes, dressing in one’s own style is so important. Hats, turbans and in my case wigs are awesome assessories. Last summer I wore my floppy hats more (this summer has been a little cooler and wetter than in summers past.

      Sorry to hear of your daughter’s vision situation. It’s so tough adapting. It’s been 6 years now since I’ve been legally blind and most days are good but then I’ll have one of those days that sets me back a pace. Thank goodness those days are few and temporary. The communication thing I will continue to struggle with except for when I’m in front of my computer. I wish the best for your daughter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, there are so many things that can be taken more than one way. I am not skilled in the use of acronyms or any of the figures of speech that many who are thirty years old or younger tend to use. Even though I a friendly and relaxed person who can be even witty when speaking in person, my writing, however, is somewhat formal, and at times might give people the impression that I am stuffy. I really don’t like coming across that way, but still, if I had to choose between coming across as either stuffy or flippant I would rather come across as stuffy. Does that make sense?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes it makes sense. I think stuffy is the safer route because sarcasm and the like is very difficult to pick up in writing. I’ve always been more of a business writer which made this blog a real challenge because I want to sound personable not automated.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. How warm and welcoming you look. I don’t think the population that doesn’t care about appearance understands how important first impressions are. And though, we as a society, shouldn’t judge on appearance, we all do. It’s a natural reaction. When you first meet someone you can see their personality or character. What you see is what’s presented visually…then the rest follows suit.

    Liked by 3 people

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