Inspiration in Cyberspace
“I just wanted to thank you for writing your blog posts. I learn a lot from you and you are an encouragement to me. I am also visually impaired and seeing you being so confident with how you dress and that you are not afraid to use your cane is an encouragement to me. I think you are a great example of what visually impaired people can do and you really give me hope for myself in the future.” ~J. Ruiz
After reading the email I got a little emotional because it made me feel so good to know that other women who are vision impaired are being encouraged by my blog. As a lifelong advocate supporting positive change for people with disabilities, I never imagined that one day I too would acquire a disability and would need to advocate on my behalf.
On Being You
What defines you? When asked “so tell me about yourself,” what do you say? Do you know who you are?
So many of us allow others to define who we are by what we have or don’t have, how we look, what we’ve achieved, our circumstances, our mistakes, and it has to stop. We are not labels.
A while back I listened to a podcast about a 25-year-old young man who found out when he was 12 that he was going blind. He finds the loss of eyesight so distasteful that he’d rather people think he’s a bumbling moron (he used a worse descriptor), because of his missteps, than to admit he cannot see.
There is no shame in losing your sight, there is no shame in any disability or using the necessary tools of independence. Whether you were born with a disability or you acquired one later in life, you are still you and there’s no one else like you in the world. No one else can fulfill your purpose.
Disabilities aren’t easy, life isn’t easy but you have a choice. You can lay down and allow others to label you or you can dig deep down inside of yourself to find the courage to rise.
If you saw my last post “Taking Control Of Personal Finances” the photos in the post are of me with my white cane. Since almost all of my pictures are taken indoors I debated whether or not to include the cane as I do not use it in familiar places like home, when walking my dog, and favorite haunts.
Ultimately I decided going forward to use my white cane in the hopes of achieving three things:
- to inspire people who have vision loss with the courage to use their own
- to lessen the stigma associated with the white cane
- to change people’s perspectives on how people with vision loss appear
It wasn’t until after my last post that I realized I still have a few pictures taken (pre white cane) that I wanted to share with you. Below are brief descriptions (also in Alt-Text) on each of my outfit combinations.
- First Outfit: Black & white striped tank midi dress, blue denim vest, pointed black flats with ankle strap, black stretch cuff bracelet, silver & black pendant and silver hoop earrings.
- Second Outfit: Blue cuffed skinny jeans, white button up, almond toe pumps (red chunky heels) with criss-cross ankle strap, silver cuff bracelet and 2 inch silver diamond-shaped lace-like earrings.
- Third Outfit: Gray pencil skirt, white button up, pointed blue suede slingback heels, hammered silver tiered statement necklace with connecting geometric shapes, silver braided cuff bracelet, silver hoop earrings with 3 alternating mesh balls and crystal rings.
Going forward, since I never leave home without it, my white cane will pose with me in my photos. I am not ashamed of the cane.
When feeling and looking good come together, the natural outcome is confidence. Have a great day! ~Steph