Women On The Move Featuring Eileen Robinson
Eileen Robinson, aka The Blind Gypsy and one of Bold Blind Beauty’s lead beauty advisors is from South Africa. While we haven’t met in person, before we spoke live I felt like I already knew her. Her writing style is so authentic and energetic it feels like you’re having an actual conversation. Enjoy!
A Young Old Soul
I’m an old soul living in a world full of people who wish to be younger, I am embracing my old age, being 30 is the new 21 my dears. My favourite music is from the seventies and the eighties. My mother forced me to listen to old school music when I was a little child and I grew in love with it. Thanks, mom, you rock.Queen is the absolute best band ever (go listen to them, you won’t regret it). Their music motivates me and is literally my life anthem song, as Queen sang loud and proud “Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball. Don’t stop me now” These words describe me perfectly.
Growing UpI grew up in a happy home (for the most part, remember, no family is perfect, they are all full of interesting folks). I was the eldest sibling and had two younger brothers. My folks are still together today, a whole 33 years, sheesh, well done Mom and Dad! Growing up, we always had animals, chickens, cats, dogs, rabbits, doves, fish, snakes, Bearded Dragons, guinea pigs and lastly my little brothers, hehe, I’m kidding. I grew up loving and respecting all things great and small. After I finished school, I studied bookkeeping and credit management. I love numbers, they are so interesting and when the books balance, then that’s just one of the best feelings in the world. My career has always involved numbers, pretty nerdy right? Oh well, someone has got to do it. Life carried on, I planned on having children before I reached the age of 30 (back then I thought 30 was ancient, little did I know what curve balls life throws at you) needless to say the only kids I have are all covered in fur, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as Bon Jovi sang “It’s my life and its now or never”, clearly I love my old school music right. Quotes from songs for days.
Subtle Clues To Eileen’s Impending Sight LossI have always struggled to see in the dark for as long as I can remember, I didn’t think it was an issue, as many people would say they were “night blind”, so I assumed I was “night blind” too. I was 28 when I realised something was not right with my eyes, I was sitting on my bed, waiting for Netflix to start up. At the time I was quitting smoking and had one of those Vape Goodies (it was completely black, black is my favourite colour) I was sitting on the bed and looking down at the bedspread and looking, just looking for the Vape. I couldn’t see it. What the hell? I knew I had put it down in front of myself on the bed. I frantically started patting the bedspread (like a little kitty trying to have fun with your sheets when you are making the bed) eventually I found it, it was where I had put it, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Joh, I need glasses, is what first popped into my mind. However, being a typical person, I put off the optometrist appointment for about a month or so. I had accustomed myself to just patting my bed if I “lost” something on it, I had accommodated to my bad eyes. Which is not on, if you feel uncomfortable with your eyes in any way folks, go to the optometrist, they are there for a reason.
The day I booked an appointment with the optometrist I was going downstairs and all the steps seemed to mould together into one colour, again WHAT THE HELL. That’s when I decided, enough was enough, you need glasses girl. So off to the optometrist I went. He did the regular tests and confirmed that I did need glasses, however, he wanted to refer me to a specialist. Huh. Why? What’s wrong? All these funny questions went through my mind. Believe it or not, going blind was not one of those thoughts, the irony. So yet another adventure to an eye specialist. I felt welcomed there, it was a place that felt warm and friendly. My name was called, my turn to hear what the optometrist was going on about. The one thing I love about my specialist is that he doesn’t beat around the bush. He told me I had a rare degenerative eye disorder (which I was born with, it’s not contagious, don’t worry folks) called Retinitis Pigmentosa. I literally just sat there in my chair and stared at him. Seriously, all I needed was glasses, now I found out I would probably go blind. I was upset hey. So angry, I said I would much rather be deaf blah blah blah. What an ignorant fool I was.
“Making Visual Impairments beautiful. I have Retinitis Pigmentosa. Loud, Proud & honest. Just a normal gal living in this world. South African.” ~Eileen Robinson
Emotional Trauma Of Sight LossThe next couple of months were very rough. I cried a lot like so much I thought my eyeballs were going to dry out. I was angry, lashing out at my family and friends. My fiancé was my rock though, listened to me, I was also a stuck record, kept saying the same things repeatedly, “why me? This sort of stuff happens to other people” silly things like that. Anything bad that would happen, for example, knocking a glass over, kicking my toe on the corner of a couch etc. I would blame my eyes and get all angry over again. My fiancé reminded me often, even people with sight and no eye issues do the same, he reminded me that I am just a human who makes mistakes like everyone else and to let the anger go. It took some time before I eventually took his words to heart. I started to get out of the dark hole, it was not an overnight transformation. It took time to be happy with myself again and to start loving myself again. I had a great support base, for which I am eternally grateful for. I was surrounded by people who loved me regardless of my eye issue and the clumsy situations I got myself into.
To be honest, this Retinitis Pigmentosa was a blessing in disguise. I stopped being a vain woman, stopped judging a book by its cover and got to know a person for who they were. The world is a beautiful place and it’s what you make of it. Most of my RP stories are hilarious, I once laughed so hard that my chair actually fell off the balcony. I was seated way to close to the edge and it was dark (the balcony was 2 metres high above a flower bed) I was in the chair when it went over the edge. All I remembered was what my father said, tuck and roll (as I didn’t want to break my neck) all I could hear was my friend laughing, I got up off the ground, dusted myself off and laughed till I cried. Good times. Full of bruises though. Each bruise is a story and a conversation starter to be honest. I am ALWAYS covered in bruises.
“Ignorance may be bliss, however when you have a degenerative eye disorder it’s not. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is killing my eyes slowly but my heart and soul have never been more alive.” ~Eileen Robinson