An Image Of Positivity Changes Perceptions In A Big Way

Logan & The Silhouetted Man

Liz is standing on the left, and Logan standing on her right. They are both dressed up for Logan's chorus concert at school this past May. Her guide dog, Bryce Krispie is sitting in front of her, his nose and face towards the left side of the photo and his rump pointed between her and Logan's feet.
Liz Oleksa, her son Logan, and guide dog, Bryce Krispie

It all began when talking with my 13-year-old son, Logan about this really amazing website and blog of “Bold Blind Beauty,” and the icon that comes along with it all; her name is Abigale. She is a beautiful combination of “Ability” and ordinary brown bird, the “Nightingale.” Abigale is depicted as a classy bold woman, who wears a stylish dress, handbag over her arm, a snazzy updo hair style and proudly walks with her red and white cane, as Abigale is a woman who happens to be visually impaired.

I was speaking with Logan about how important it is to be proud of who you are, regardless of disability, regardless of how we look on the outside because we all have an inner beauty that shines through. It is about how we present our attitude and image of “self-worth” to the world around us. Logan said that it was really cool and an impressive idea to be sending out to everyone, not only people who are blind or visually impaired. He told me that made him think of something, and he would be back in a bit because he wanted to go make me something.

I had lost my sight in September 2012 from Diabetic Retinopathy. Logan had seen how I went from living my life as a person who was sighted and had no self-confidence, to being a person with no physical sight and finally being proud of who I am. I finally can walk in a room with my head held high, knowing that I am enough and that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone except myself. I have always joked with Logan about my loss of eye-sight, that no matter what, I will always be cooler because I can do everything with my eyes closed, so to speak…

Needless to say, about a half hour later, Logan came back to me and said that he had something to share with me. He had taken my positive attitude and combined it with the amazing “Abigale” concept to create an image of his very own. He described it as the following to me: It is a silhouette of a man using a red and white cane, on a pure white background. The man is facing the right of the picture where the black text reads

“Blind people can do anything that sighted people can do. But blind people are cooler because we do it with our eyes closed!”

He told me that he was so proud of me because he knows that whenever someone says to me that I can’t do something because I am blind, my initial reaction is to prove them wrong and say, “Watch me! I may not do it the same way, and it may take me a bit longer, but I WILL do it!!!”

This is such an important message to be sent out, for both Abigale and “the silhouetted man”. Not just for the blind and visually impaired community, but for all people. People as a whole. So many people, disability or no disability, struggle with negative self-image. What people need to remember though is that it doesn’t matter what the outside looks like, but rather what shines from the inside. How can we present ourselves in confidence, self-pride, and self-worth if we keep a negative image of ourselves as a whole? Let yourself be proud of who you are! You are unique and beautiful in your very own individual way, and that inner beauty has so much to share with the world!

Liz  Oleksa aka Her Royal Blindness, who also happens to be the President at Lehigh Valley Council of The Blind has one of the most sparkling personalities of anyone I’ve met and I’m so happy I have connected with her. The loving gesture made by her son is a testament to not only is doing a great job as a parent but demonstrates the content of her character. 

Guest Post: Ashley Morgan

Confidence Is Beautiful, Confidence Is Ashley!

Photo of Ashley sporting a bob hairstyle posing for the camera with a big smile on her face. She is wearing a pretty blue & white patterned crew neck top
Ashley Morgan

Hi, my name is Ashley Morgan. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, and teacher and I am also blind. I was born 3 months premature and only weighed 2 pounds, 1 ounce. The doctors gave me too much oxygen, and it damaged my retinas, causing me to be diagnosed as legally blind.

Growing up, I had no vision in my right eye, and I had very little vision in my left eye. I could see things only if they were very big and close to my face.

My parents made sure that I had a normal childhood. I went to public school throughout my education, and I had all the normal childhood experiences. I went to birthday parties, sleepovers, rode my bike, and roller skated. Most of my friends were sighted, so I was very much a part of the sighted community. Throughout early elementary school, I used a closed circuit TV, allowing me to read and write in print.

At the age of 11, my parents enrolled me in a school district that had a visually impaired program. At that time I learned braille and how to use a long cane. Doors began to open for me upon learning these new important skills. When I entered middle school, I was a dual media learner, using both braille and print.

While in middle school I decided that I wanted to be a teacher of the visually impaired when I grew up. After graduating high school, I went on to college, attending Kent State University, where I majored in Educational Studies and attending graduate school at The Ohio State University, where I received my Master’s in teaching the visually impaired.

Going to college as a young woman who is blind was very difficult, but so rewarding as well.

I learned how to be a greater self-advocate for myself, and I explored my passion for teaching on a deeper level. Once I received my Masters, I began teaching the visually impaired in 2010. Then, during my first year of teaching, I lost the rest of my sight as a result of Closed Angle Glaucoma, becoming totally blind with no light perception.

I’ve held numerous teaching positions in the past 7 years. I feel blessed to educate children who are blind and visually impaired and to educate the sighted community about blindness. I don’t view my blindness as a disadvantage, but rather a gift.

My greatest gift that I can give to someone is knowledge. I love educating children who are blind and I love educating the sighted community about blindness.

It is so satisfying and rewarding to me when I can teach a child a new braille contraction and then watch that child use it in applications. I love working with children to help them use their assistive technology and watch them flourish in the classroom.

My newest venture is being a Younique presenter. Younique is a cosmetics company whose mission is to uplift, empower, and validate women. I believe that I bring a unique aspect to the Younique family since I am blind.

My blindness has allowed me to see beauty in a different way for I believe that our emotions and actions are what make us beautiful.

What really matters to me is not how that person looks but how they feel, their actions, and how they interact with those around them.

What really matters to me is not how that person looks but how they feel, their actions, and how they interact with those around them.

I believe what we wear whether its clothes, jewelry, or makeup can evoke emotions. And it’s those emotions that make us beautiful. I want to be able to help women experience make up with their senses: feeling, touching, smelling, and hearing and not focusing on sight.

I believe that my disability does not define me, but rather has molded me into the woman I am today. I have embraced my blindness. We all have a story to tell, and that gives us powerful connections to others and allows us to sometimes make positive change.

You can contact Ashley through her Younique site at www.youniqueproducts.com/WildHeartAshley

 

Bridging The Gap Through Action

“Tell the negativity committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.”

Description is in the body of the post.
Abigale (Abby)

A friend of mine shared the much-needed above quote with me yesterday in response to my FB post about how much anxiety I was experiencing as I worked on integrating the new e-commerce component into Bold Blind Beauty. Even though I was unfamiliar with this particular platform, I felt it was a matter of transferring the knowledge I gained from setting up Abigale Style to incorporating it here at Bold Blind Beauty.

So imagine my satisfaction at not only being able to put out the following message but I also placed my first order—YAY!!

Effective immediately we are pleased to announce that Abigail Style, LLC will be officially doing business as Bold Blind Beauty. While we are still testing features on the store & no orders shall be fulfilled at this time, you can find us at www.boldblindbeauty.com/shop. Please be patient with us as we work to get things moving smoothly. Thank you!

None of this could happen without the help of my awesome Steering Committee: Holly Bonner, Carla Ernst, Robert Eutz, Sherry Ingram, Lisa Smith, and Amy Wilson. We’ve begun the process of setting up our Strategic Beauty Advisory Board and are very excited about upcoming collaborations. Thank you, gang!

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” ~Confuscious

Have a great Monday everyone!!

A Quick Update

Description is in the body of the post.Good News: The Internet is working.
Bad News: I’m not done yet. If it breaks, my dog Mollie did it. Don’t let her cuteness fool you, she’s a wily one.😂

Description: Older photo of Mollie, a small terrier/chihuahua mix. She has blond curly hair that is totally out of control at the moment.

It’s going to be another heads-down day or two and thankfully I’ve not lost my sense of humor. I just keep reminding myself “I ❤ technology” while simultaneously thinking “it’s out to get me.” 😲

Have a good one everyone. 😘