Fierce Fridays: Helen Keller

Creative Genius at Work

When I originally thought about this idea of Bold Blind Beauty and how I was going to structure the blog, I thought it’d be nice to entitle Fridays as “Fabulous Fridays.” Fabulous Fridays was intended to discuss the whole body, mind and spirit thing but then this morning as I began writing, I thought if I’m trying to get people to see who we are and our capabilities as blind/vision impaired women then why not highlight these very people. So enter Fierce Fridays and I’m not referring to Beyoncé, although I suppose many people would consider her fierce, no, what I’m talking about are the fierce bold blind beautiful women who previously have, or are, making an impact on the world.

Blowing My Horn

Stereotypes and misconceptions abound on how the blind/vision impaired function or live their lives and I think a large part of this is due to our not understanding what the loss of sight and blindness is and how it affects our life. Over the past few years there have been surveys1,2,3 that basically say that people fear sight loss more than cancer, heart disease or stroke. Could it be because we look at blindness as the total loss of vision? Maybe, although as I learned from first-hand experience the range of vision loss is very expansive and most people who have severe loss of vision do have some remaining functional sight. Okay, okay, I’m going to put down my bullhorn and bring the conversation back to Fierce Fridays.

Picture of a woman with yelling into a bull horn.
Nothing like using a bullhorn to get your point across.

What would a Fierce Friday be without Helen Keller who just happens to be one of my all-time favorite heroines? Like many children back in the 60’s I learned about Helen Keller in school and I was just fascinated by her and I’m sure that most of my enchantment was partially because as a child I could not wrap my head around anyone who was blind, deaf and mute being able to attain the heights of success that Helen Keller reached. Secondary to that thought was if someone in her situation could aspire to greatness then couldn’t I do likewise?

Helen Keller portrait, 1904.
Helen Keller portrait, 1904. Due to a protruding left eye, Keller was usually photographed in profile. Both her eyes were replaced in adulthood with glass replicas for “medical and cosmetic reasons”.[20]
Helen_KellerA.jpg
Helen Keller was fierce, she was an intelligent, determined advocate who fought for, among other things, the rights of blind people. One of my favorite quotes from Helen is: “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  ~Helen Keller

1AFB Survey
2“Eye on Eyesight” Survey
3NCBI (Pfizer Survey)

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

Thrifty Thursdays

As I mentioned in my Trending Tuesday’s post on 12/17/13, in days gone by I had little resources with which to work from to achieve the look of a successful professional. So how was I able to put my best foot forward? The answer is simple: hand-me-downs. That’s right, I indulged in some fantastic secondhand clothing given to me by my fashion-conscious cousin and other sources I came upon.

No stranger to secondhand clothes, (hated them when I was growing up) I found to my delight, some great bargains at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, Consignment Cottage and the list goes on. The thing I like most about the era we live in today is the internet because this has made it so much easier to come across great finds at reasonable prices. Sometimes you can even come across really nice items in the most unlikely places. Take for instance the sparkly rhinestone star pin pictured below. I found this pin at a local CVS Pharmacy a couple of years ago for under $10 and it’s a very nice accessory to wear to a Christmas soirée.

Star pin (3-1/2" at widest point), rhinestones sparkle like crystals
Sparkling Star Pin

In addition to previously owned clothing, sites like www.ebates.com offer you the opportunity to earn extra cash on your online purchases. So the first thing I do when I want to buy anything online is I check to see if the store is on the Ebates site (they now have over 1,600 stores that subscribe to their service). “Stores pay Ebates a sales commission for sending shoppers their way, and Ebates uses the commission to pay you cash back.” ~Taken from www.ebates.com. My motto is: if you’re gonna buy it anyway why not get paid to shop? Okay, so maybe this isn’t my motto but you can catch my drift. I love the convenience of shopping online especially in view of no longer being able to drive and then I get the added bonus of receiving a box delivered by FedEx, UPS or some other shipping service. It’s like Christmas every time I receive a package.

Since one of my skills is resourcefulness, each Thursday it is my mission to impart to you tips, tricks and other related information on how you too can save money. You’ll find that you don’t have to spend a million to look like a million and remember the most inexpensive item you can put on right now is your confidence.

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.” ~ Sophia Loren

Wardrobe Wednesdays

Egotistical Me

The ego can take a serious blow when going through vision loss and I can speak to this from my own personal experience. Once I got beyond the initial shock of not being able to see, I had questions like: am I going to go completely blind, how will I drive, will I lose my job, how will I work, am I going to be able to take care of myself, how am I to go on? I wish I could say that these questions and periods of self-reflection on how I was going to muddle my way through this was an isolated incident but it I’ve found that it’s all part of the journey. If the questions weren’t depressing enough, literally looking in the mirror and seeing how distorted my face appeared was enough for me to just throw in the towel. Then that nagging voice of stubbornness in my head kept compelling me to remain patient, settle my nerves and get down to the business of living even if it meant having to (gasp) use the white cane.

Alter Egos

You have to understand that early on I had a vision of myself as a high-powered real estate agent, or attorney and in my vision I modeled myself after the likes of Alexis Colby of Dynasty. Even though in reality I am the complete opposite of the character, Alexis, you have to admit that the woman had style. Pictured below is one of Alexis’ signature outfits in black and white. I just love the hat with the white brim and black crown, likewise the top of the dress with long white sleeves ever so slightly puffed at the shoulder and one long black lapel on the right side with a black bottom. Hmmm…maybe this is why I have an affinity for Cruella De Vil and own so much black and white in my own closet. I’m sure Dr. Phil would have a field day with why I use analogies containing antagonists but I digress.

Joan Collins

Coming to Terms

After putting myself up against this outfit that Joan Collins is wearing the thought of using a white cane just somehow doesn’t mesh, or does it? What I’ve come to learn on this vision loss journey is that the clothes I wear, just like the skin I’m in does not define me as an individual so then why should using a tool that helps me to maintain my independence? Thought provoking isn’t it? More on this topic at a later date.

During Wardrobe Wednesdays I will talk about outfits and styles of particular interest to me. Since I’m still new to blogging and learning to use all the tools that WordPress has to offer, if you remain patient with me perhaps we can all learn together. This learning will include all the technical aspects associated with blogging such as taking pictures, shooting video, tagging, just to name a few. As the blog evolves I’m hoping that we can get to know one another better and build a great friendship.

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Trending Tuesdays

The word trend, synonymous with vogue and style, is oddly enough not one used to include those with visual impairments or other disabilities for that matter. So as I was thinking about various trends, the need to be accepted, and to fit in, I think it’s equally important to use a trend as inspiration to create your own look.

I remember a time in my life not so long ago, as a single mom with three boys , working full time and dealing with the day-to-day struggles of life I didn’t have the resources or the desire to follow fashion trends. What I did have however was a knack for taking what little I possessed and using it to present to the world a persona of one very well put together. Even though in reality I only had a couple pair of shoes (and dare I say it?) cheap ones at that, a black blazer and a few other interchangeable pieces, I was able to achieve a look of a young professional.

Trending Tuesdays, as the title suggests will speak to currently popular clothing, fabric, colors, textures, accessories, shoes, hair, makeup and anything else that should happen across my radar. With Christmas a mere 8 days away (I still can’t believe this year is almost over) now’s the time to be at your sparkling best and you can achieve this with minor alterations. Following is one example of dressing up a pair of jeans to sparkle for the holidays:

Blue jeans with sleeveless black mock turtleneck
Jeans & Mock Turtleneck
Silver hammered metal statement necklace, dangling sparkly ball earrings, sparkly bracelet & black flat with sparkling stone embellishment
Accessories with Mock Turtleneck
Silver clutch
Silver Clutch

I’ve taken dark blue denim jeans and paired them with a black sleeveless mock turtleneck. Add to it a black jacket, black ballet flats with sparkly stone embellishments, silver hammered metal statement necklace, dangling sparkling ball earrings, a sparkling bracelet, darling little silver clutch and the outcome is an instant holiday on the town outfit. One last item to complete the outfit would be confidence with a huge smile.

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ~ Kahlil Gibran