Caning Confidently | Emilee – Miss Teen Personality Ontario 2021
If you’ve been following Bold Blind Beauty for a while you may be familiar with some of our Ambassadors. Today it’s an honor for me to introduce you to the youngest of our Ambassadors, Emilee Schevers. In the piece that follows Emilee shares her story of confidence and using the white cane.
Emilee is a natural leader who’s also a passionate advocate for those with disabilities. She created Tru Faces an online platform to tell the stories of amazing people living with disabilities to increase awareness and representation We are so fortunate to have Emilee as one of our Ambassadors as she brings so much energy and talent to our team. Enjoy her story! ~Steph
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”~Maya Angelou
One of my most noticeable character traits is without a doubt my confidence and ability to put myself out there. Believe it or not, I wasn’t always confident. I used to be so self-conscious about what others thought of me, who was watching me or how I was being perceived, especially when I started using my cane in high school. All of my friends were now seeing me use a cane for the first time. What were they thinking? Why is she using a cane now? She didn’t need a cane before.
I was born with a genetic condition that has caused me to be legally blind, with no colour vision and extreme light sensitivity. I am thankful that my vision has been stable, but my understanding of my own needs and how my disability affects me continues to evolve every day.
To this day, I have won two provincial pageant titles and several recognition awards, none of which would have been possible without CONFIDENCE. When I competed in my first pageant, I was so intimidated by those around me who seemed to have so much experience and knowledge about pageantry. I soon realized that for most of them, it was their first time too! They were perceived this way because they were simply owning who they were and embracing themselves. This would turn out to be the biggest lesson learned from my pageant experiences.
For me, confidence started with understanding. I didn’t learn the name of my eye condition until I was 14! I researched my condition to understand how it affected my eyes and why I saw the way I did. From there, I was able to explore my needs and what I needed to be successful.
After I understood my visual impairment, I was able to accept it. When I accepted my disability, I stopped caring about what others thought and feeling like I had to explain myself to them. All of a sudden, it wasn’t about living up to the expectations of others and what they thought blindness was, but creating my own definition and living outside the norm. My disability wasn’t something that defined me but EMPOWERED me to be confident as I went through life.
Emilee’s White Cane
Truthfully, when I started using a cane, it made me feel “more disabled”. It made me feel as though I was losing my independence from travelling without a cane, when in reality, it was giving me my freedom. This was such a hard concept to wrap my head around and I had so many mental roadblocks on my journey.
Hearing stories about how others used their cane as a part of them was so eye-opening. That was when I added a firey pink strip to the end of my cane and an “E” key chain with a pom-pom. I was able to take a typical mobility aid and turn it into something that reflected my personality while still serving its purpose. It wasn’t just A cane, it was MY cane.
With my newfound confidence, I started using my cane in my pageant submissions and to my surprise, that was when I won. My cane brought out my confidence because I was INDEPENDENT. It was clearly reflected in the way I walked and presented myself. While this process was not linear or easy, I am now able to walk as though I am strutting the runway every day.
I would encourage others to embrace their disability, differences, and what makes each of us unique, and use it to empower them and others as they go through life. Our differences are truly what make us beautiful. Walk with confidence every day and show off your best self to the world because you deserve to be seen.
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- The header is a photo of Emilee walking down a sidewalk using her cane.
- Emilee walking down the middle of a road wearing a dress and a sash that says “Miss Teen Personality Ontario 2021”