#TBT MyBlindStory: Blindness + Style = Confidence
Below is a revised version of an article I wrote for BlindNewWorld back in 2016. I really appreciate looking back as it gives me an opportunity to see how far we’ve come. You can check out the original article here: #MyBlindStory.
Losing Sight Opened My Eyes
Before I lost my eyesight, I thought blindness meant total darkness. I was wrong. The range of sight loss/blindness is enormous and differs greatly from one person to the next.
Sight loss is a major life-altering event and it takes some time to adjust. Thankfully, acclimation and acceptance are not only possible but we can also learn to thrive. With few exceptions, the things we loved and excelled at are still integral to who we are at our core.
Transitioning from having sight to blindness is a process aided by Personal Adjustment to Blindness Training. This training eases our transition by teaching us new ways to do everyday tasks.
Since my love of personal style began when I was young, sustaining it through sight loss was a necessity. So learning new makeup and styling techniques helped me to increase my confidence despite blindness.
Being able to keep up my trademark polished image which contributes largely to who I am as an individual was huge. Little did I know when I began blogging that I would connect with so many other fashionable blind women throughout the world. Life lesson—style is not limited to those with sight or who are able-bodied.
Inclusion and accessibility are major issues of concern in every area of blind individual’s lives. As a sub-group within the largest minority group of People With Disabilities, blindness is a small segment. Even so in the US alone, there are about 21 million adults living with sight loss.
I think the misguided belief that ‘blind people don’t care about their appearance’ is a prominent reason behind our lack of portrayal. Looking at the beauty and fashion industry it’s not surprising to see so little representation of blindness. While we are making inroads to inclusion we can do better. For this reason, a growing number of blind fashionable women are blogging and vlogging on a range of beauty related topics.
Bold Blind Beauty, believes “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” and as such, we needed a stylish icon to represent blind women. Abigale, the fashion icon, is a chic image that evokes power, independence, and confidence. She is a woman on the move stepping forward with purpose as she navigates the world with her white cane.
Bridging The Gap
Expanding perceptions by connecting sighted and non-sighted communities are one of many ways we help to end fear and stigma associated with the word ‘blind.’ To extend our mission of “improving humanity by changing the way we perceive one another” we incorporated an online boutique. “Shopping With Abby” promotes powerful motivational slogans on all our merchandise (e.g. Relax! It’s Only a Cane).
Once, an eye doctor told me “it would be a tragedy to learn how to use the white cane.” However, I believe the real tragedy is the shame many people feel when losing their eyesight. Empowering visual images that exude positivity will change hearts and minds towards blindness.
MyBlindStory Featured Image Description:
A professional headshot of my asymmetrical hairstyle with burgundy highlights. The muted Coral Cutie lipstick topped with a peach colored gloss provides a nice contrast against the gray backdrop. I’m wearing a black dress and black tuxedo jacket trimmed in faux leather, silver statement necklace, and silver drop earrings.
- Image 1 – I’m standing with my white cane wearing white jeans and a gray cold shoulder sweater with tan lace-up sandals. I’m also holding a silver bomber jacket over my left shoulder.
- Image 2 – In this photo, I have my white cane and my outfit (capris, tank, sneakers & hoodie) are in shades of gray.
- Image 3 – Here I’m posing with my white cane, blue jeans, black cold shoulder short sleeve tee and cream pumps.