So indeed, there are days I choose to use my white cane like a sword. I use it to cut away at the misconceptions people have about my capabilities. I cut through the limitations as if they are coiled thick vines, which others place on my dreams.~Catherine Harrison, Women On The Move
Fantasy To Reality
There are days I wish my white cane was a sharp sword, able to cut through the complexities of life coiled around my ankles like thick vines.
Or perhaps if it were a lightsaber that glowed in the dark and could vaporize the enemies of my greatness like fear, self-doubt, impatience and my horrible spelling.
Or better still if I could ride my cane like a magic broomstick and use its power to turn my competitors into toads.
But it’s not any of those things.
My white cane is one of the tools I use to navigate life in pursuit of my dreams.
It not only identifies my handicap but it gives me the freedom to travel alone.
Embracing Tool Crushed Fear
I will admit, I was not too happy about having to use it at first. I didn’t like how people stared at me; I didn’t like “looking blind.” It was humiliating having to re-learn how to safely cross the street using a cane. But after I ran into enough walls, stepped out in front of a car and repeatedly fell down steps I got over my pride and embraced the tool designed to help me.
Now, it takes lots of training and practice to travel by myself without getting lost or run over, and I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes. But the experience I gained through the years has taught me to pay close attention to the cues my white cane gives.
My cane is designed to go out in front of me to find the obstacles, curbs or steps I am not able to see. It is long enough to give me two steps to either stop or change direction.
The metal tip makes a noise as it strikes the ground allowing me to hear the difference between a smooth sidewalk or street pavement, carpet or tile flooring. It’s painted with white reflective material for travel at night and comes in several styles for different purposes.
My cane, however, has one drawback…it only works when I follow, letting it go ahead of my steps. It doesn’t work if I drag it along behind me, then wonder why I ran into a wall or fell down a step. I have to unfold it, put it out in front of me, trust what I hear, respond to the obstacles it finds and never take a step forward without it.
Acceptance Is My Superpower
So indeed, there are days I choose to use my white cane like a sword. I use it to cut away at the misconceptions people have about my capabilities. I cut through the limitations as if they are coiled thick vines, which others place on my dreams.
There are also days I choose to use it as a lightsaber. It is a glowing symbol of my independence, my ability to rise strong and defeat my inner enemies.
And better still are the times I use my cane like a magic broomstick. I learned early on in my training just how much power it has when you swing it in a wide arc…people WILL get out of your way! It makes me feel a little like Moses parting the Red Sea when I can clear a path through a crowded airport.
I am fearlessly equipped to walk (in high heels) with my cane in front because I learned to use the tool that will get me where I want to go.
👠Don’t let fear alter your steps.
👠Excuses will kill dreams.
👠Choose your tool and use it!
Catherine was diagnosed in 1995 with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), only weeks after returning from serving for two years on the mission field in Nigeria, Africa. She has been a national public speaker and article writer for several magazines, sharing her story of learning to walk with strength and faith behind a white cane.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Baylor University and had a wonderful career as an operating room nurse. She is a former ballerina and studied dance at Julliard’s School of American Ballet in New York. She is currently a professional commercial print and fitness model with DMG modeling agency in Dallas, Tx. She is the proud mother of 3 grown sons and wife of Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Craig Harrison. Catherine serves on several non-profit boards and regularly volunteers in her local community.
Her mission is not only to successfully work as a model, who happens to have a visual impairment but also to empower women of all ages to step into their strength, regardless of their circumstances, with poise and courage.
You can find Catherine on:
- Photo credit Julia Wagner at Feather and Root Photography.
- Featured image shows Catherine walking with her white cane wearing a white long-sleeved keyhole dress.
- In this headshot with short blonde hair and mesmerizing green eyes, Catherine is wearing a blue halter dress. The neckline on the sleeveless top is cut to partially expose Catherine’s shoulders.