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Uncertainty, Imperfection & Sight Loss

Uncertainty Featured Image Description is in the bodyof the post.

Uncertainty, Imperfection & Sight Loss

“I think it’s important to remember things aren’t always as they seem but rather how we want them to appear.”

Have you ever felt like you don’t know what the heck you’re doing? Confession, most of my days are filled with anxiety and quiet as it’s kept, a good portion of it is centered around my lack of eyesight.

Sometimes I feel so out of my depth and overwhelmed I can hardly breathe. It begins deep in the pit of my stomach and rises to my chest. My neck and shoulders are tense and hurting. Thoughts are racing through my head and I can’t focus. Again, for the umpteenth time, I wonder am I losing my mind?

Feeling small, unimportant, unworthy, and afraid, I continue to push through because god forbid I don’t meet my unrealistic expectations. The negative self-talk is a never-ending loop that I try to combat with positive affirmations. Sometimes this technique works but when it doesn’t I end up drained, depressed, and defeated.

Limitations, Struggles & Competency

For most of my life confidence seemed elusive to me. As a shy introvert, insecurity and fear of not being accepted ruled the day. Being so socially awkward is one of the reasons why I worked so hard to achieve perfection even though I also believe perfection’s unattainable.

At the height of my career, working in a profession I loved, I finally achieved the confidence I sought. I enjoyed working (maybe a little too much) and loved challenging myself to improve. Constantly going beyond my comfort zone was scary yet welcome and helped me grow as a professional.

Then along the way, I lost my eyesight and uncertainty began to take center stage. No longer being able to trust anything I can see wreaks havoc on my life day-to-day. To compensate for my lack of eyesight I try to cover my fear by wearing a cloak of confidence.

What’s so frustrating to me is straddling the fine line between being competent while living with a disability. I find it ironic that while I had limitations before I lost my sight, they weren’t so much of an issue. However, if I admit certain aspects of life are harder because of my disability this isn’t understood. To some degree, I feel like I have to be superhuman when I didn’t feel this way before sight loss.

Silly as it may seem, one of my hardest struggles is asking for help. “Asking for help” is my kryptonite which plays right into the whole “superhuman” thing.

Throwing Change Into The Mix

Early in my sight loss journey, I was fond of saying I was the same person I was before. This isn’t true. Oh, sure I still share some commonalities as I did before losing my sight but I am different.

For one I’m considerably older and there are new obstacles in my path. My body and mind don’t work like they used to and I have to constantly improve my problem-solving skills.

Sight loss has forced me to let some things go. Perfection has truly left the building. No longer can I be overly concerned about those things I can’t see because frankly, it’s too tiring. Yet at the same time, it’s weird because I’ll swat at what looks like a bug, bird or some other flying unidentifiable object only to find it’s a floater in my eye.

Depth perception is an issue especially when I’m riding in the front seat of a car. Since I can’t judge distance but can see moving vehicles I’m a nervous wreck. Not to mention the driver is on edge while I shriek and jump at the thought of an impending accident.

The truth is no matter how hard I try not to focus on my sight loss there is nowhere I can hide from it. It is always there and with it is the constant uncertainty of what’s going on around me.

Frequently on Bold Blind Beauty, I talk about perceptions and how we look at others. I think it’s important to remember things aren’t always as they seem but rather how we want them to appear. Just because it looks like I have it all together doesn’t mean I do. Since losing my sight most everything I do takes considerable time, effort and it’s certainly not easy.

While the tone of this post isn’t my typically upbeat tone it is real. Transparency is and always has been very important to me and this also means being vulnerable.

Have a nice weekend everyone!!

Featured Image Description:

Mirror selfie wearing a serious expression. I’m wearing white faux leather moto jacket over a black off-the-shoulder top with attached choker, thin long necklace.

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Jennifer Dutrow | Blind Beauty Issue 37

Blind Beauty Issue 37 Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Jennifer Dutrow | Blind Beauty Issue 37

“My sight loss was a gift in disguise. After mourning the loss like that of a family member, I came to realize that my disability gives me power…to teach, encourage, inspire, and lead. I will never regret my sight loss.” ~Jennifer Dutrow

Everyone needs a hero and I’m so happy Jennifer Dutrow is one of mine. I’ve followed Jen’s fitness journey for some time now and this woman is an inspirational beast! What I like most about Jen is her authenticity as she works to get a healthier lifestyle.

Jen’s workouts are intensive and she brings it: the good, the bad, the ugly. She shares her struggles, keeps pushing through, and is getting some fantastic results. Her message is always on target and she shares important life lessons about self-care. I’m actually learning to think differently about what I eat remembering my body needs food for fuel. Breaking an unhealthy lifestyle isn’t easy and it won’t happen overnight but watching Jen keep herself accountable is comforting.

Like all the Blind Beauties featured here, Jen is thriving through her sight loss. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is stealing her eyesight but not her spirit. If you are looking to invest in your health follow Jen on Instagram at @fitchickwiththestick. 

Blind Beauty Issue 37 Featured Image Description:

Blind Beauty faux fashion magazine cover. Jennifer is outside in bright sunlight smiling for the camera. She is wearing a hot pink knit beanie and a pink jacket. There are multi-colored dots on the frames of her oversized sunglasses which coordinates nicely with her outfit.

Blocks of text superimposed on Jennifer’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others.”
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Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions

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Three Fail-Safe Solutions for Sensible Portions

Summer is almost here and if you struggle with controlling your food portions today’s post has some excellent tips. This post by Lisa Salinger of Blind Alive was originally published on March 12, 1017.

“Portion Control!”

Does the mere mention of the term make you cringe? Controlling portions is difficult for everyone, but I believe it is even harder for people who are blind or have low vision. I’m here to give you some helpful tips so it doesn’t have to be such a chore. When faced with a situation where you are not sure how much to eat, there are three basic things you can do.

1. Do it Yourself

When you are preparing your meals at home, you have a great deal of control over your portion sizes. Though it may be tedious, I find it helpful to weigh and measure my food. I find an ice cream scoop with a lever especially useful for this purpose. The lever makes getting the food out an easier and quicker process.

You’ll want to confirm this is the case with the one you have, but generally, a level scoop contains one-fourth cup. You can also buy scoops for making cookies that are great for easily measuring condiments or smaller amounts of ingredients. I have a scoop that measures one tablespoon and is ideal for nut butters.

If you want to get the entire family involved, you can also buy serving spoons designed to measure in one half, three-fourths, and one cup sizes. I also have a few fourth or half cup containers with lids that are great for storing individually sized portions of snacks.

  • Don’t know how much of a specific food you should have?
    You can consult sites like My Fitness Pal, and Calorie King, which also have their own smart phone apps.
  • Just getting started?
    You might want to consult a nutritionist to learn about the amounts of various foods that might be best to eat.
  • Additional resources:
    • Contact a state agency or Association for the Blind. These agencies can connect you with a rehabilitation teacher to teach you how to weigh and measure your food.
    • Many of the catalogs with products for people with low vision sell talking kitchen scales and tactile measuring cups. To find serving sizes and calories in many packaged products, check out Directions for Me, which has an extensive database of foods.

2. Ask for Help

Though it takes some time to figure out portion servings when I am at home, the real trouble starts when I eat elsewhere. In those cases, I find I need to ask for help.

I might ask the server at a restaurant to suggest a meal that is on the smaller side, or I might order from the Senior Citizens’ menu. Generally, portion sizes at restaurants are nearly twice the size of what we need, or what we would eat at home.

If I can’t easily tell with my fork or a carefully placed finger, I may ask questions like, “Is that a half or a whole chicken breast?” I’ll also sometimes ask the server about how many ounces the entrée is if I haven’t already found that information on the menu. I often ask for a small to-go container to be brought with my meal. I try to save roughly a third to a half of what I’m having for lunch, with the exception that if they are separate, I eat all my vegetables with dinner.

3. Let it Go

Sometimes, you are eating at someone’s home, and maybe the food is unfamiliar. Or maybe it’s a buffet, and the order of the day is a dab of this and a bite of that.

Sometimes, the best you can do is to make the best choices you can and move on. While this shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence or give the rationale to be completely unrestrained, there’s also no point in obsessing over those things you don’t know and can’t change.

If you’re spending time with people you care about, let that be your focus, not how closely you stuck to your goals. If you choose more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats, then you have a bit more overall leeway.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you are controlling the portions and making the decisions that will aid you in living your best and healthiest life.

If you have more suggestions for making portion control easier, please let us know. You can comment on our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, or subscribe to our informative chat list.

Featured Image Description:

The image is silverware, napkin and white dinner plate with a small portion of a chicken salad centered on the plate. A silver sauce-boat containing salad dressing is above the plate.

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Moms Around The World

To Moms Around The World

Moms Around The World

A quick shout out to moms around the world. Happy Mother’s Day!

From Bold Blind Beauty

Interesting Tidbit:

Did you know the woman responsible for Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, lived to regret it? Today’s Mother’s Day is a far cry from its original intended purpose. Before her death in 1948 Anna fought against the commercialization of the holiday. The article in National Geographic provides an interesting background on the holiday.

Featured Image Description:

A greeting card with a cuddly brown teddy bear. The bear is holding a plush red “Love You Mom” envelope with a heart on the flap.