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Blind Beauty 73 | Rachael Storey

I think feminism and sexuality have the potential to be complicated when you have a disability. Know that being blind doesn’t stop you from creating something that is visually beautiful, sexy, and strong.  

~Rachael Storey

Blind Beauty 73 | Rachael Storey

#1 - Blind Beauty 72 Rachael Storey image description is in the body of the post.
#1 – Rachael Storey Practicing

Rachael Storey’s quote is a call to action for all of us regardless of our abilities or disabilities. Changing the way we view ourselves and others is the first step to breaking down barriers. For me, her quote is a personal reminder to continue broadening my viewpoints.

The idea that a person with a disability is broken, or cannot live a fulfilling life is outdated. Why can’t we just accept that ‘we’ (abled and disabled) are valuable beings as we are?

Rachael, a talented para-pole dancer, aerialist, and adventurer is an amazing example of someone living a limitless life. She’s also challenging us to change the way we think about people with disabilities and their capabilities.

Losing Sight Opened Mind

One of the most difficult lessons I’m still learning is how to broaden my thinking. What I find interesting about this concept is how it correlates to my blindness. As a natural-born myope (nearsighted person), I’ve always had blurry sight and could not see objects in the distance. Thankfully, for most of my life, corrective lenses fixed this problem by bringing my vision into focus and allowing me to see further.

Since I was keenly aware of how myopia (or my eyes) worked, seeing objects up close made sense to me. On the other hand, I never understood how hyperopia (farsightedness) worked. I mean, how can someone see in the distance yet not see close up? Just thinking about this theory would make my head spin.

Sailing through life with corrected vision was my normal. Never in a million years did I think I would lose my sight. I’d simply continue getting a new lens prescription every year, or so I thought. When I began having issues that threatened to steal my sight I wanted nothing more than to hold onto it. I couldn’t imagine life without sight, it was all I knew.

#2 – Rachael performing on a trapeze

Correcting Myopic Thinking

You may have heard the term myopic being used to describe a person who is narrow-minded. This type of individual cannot metaphorically ‘see’ beyond their point of view. It’s really sad when you wake up one day and realize ‘you’ (meaning ‘me’) are this person.

Before I lost my sight, I thought blindness was all-encompassing darkness—to me, it meant no sight. I was wrong.

Connecting with so many people from all around the world has opened my eyes to so many things. I no longer believe in the ‘one size fits all’ approach to anything. Especially where people are concerned, we need to expand our thinking. Placing our limitations on anyone regardless of ability or disability is unjust. I like the following quote from Rachael’s Facebook page:

The basic stigmas of disabilities, more specifically visual impairments, lead to the misconceptions about what we can actually do. The truth is even without a disability everybody learns at different paces and in various different ways. What works for one might not work for another.

~Rachael Storey

When it comes to facing our personal biases it’s not a one and done type situation. It’s a constantly evolving process that requires us to first acknowledge our prejudices. After acknowledgment then we must actively work daily towards positive change through awareness, understanding, and finally acceptance.

Blind Beauty 72 | Rachael Storey Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Rachael’s image on the cover is black & white. In this photo, Rachael is upside down on a hoop suspended in the air. Blocks of text superimposed on Rachael’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”

Additional Images:

  1. Rachael Storey Practicing – Rachael is practicing on a bright pink pole. She is upside down with her arms extended below her head as her body arcs almost in a ‘C’ formation.
  2. Rachael Performing On A Trapeze – This is a black and white photo similar to the featured image. In this picture Rachael is doing a upside down pose with arms outstretched.

Connecting With Rachael Storey:

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Blind CrossFit Athlete Is Empowered & Unstoppable

Blind CrossFit Athlete Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

Today’s Woman On The Move, Kimberley (Kym) Dekeyrel, was recently featured as a cover model on the March edition of CAPTIVATING! An edited version of the following article also appeared in the magazine however we have some exciting news to share! It’s amazing what this woman has achieved in two years after a major lifestyle change.

Blind CrossFit Athlete Is Empowered & Unstoppable

I want to show visually impaired people they can do anything. At the same time I’m showing my children there are no excuses not to be your best. At 37 I am the blindest I’ve ever been, yet I feel more unstoppable now than ever.

~Kym Dekeyrel, Woman On The Move
#1 - Kym, her husband and two sons photo description is in the body of the post.
#1 – Kym, her husband & 2 sons

My story of vision loss began before I can even remember. My parents received my diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) when I was five years old. I can only imagine their devastation when they were told their bright blue-eyed daughter would most likely be totally blind by the age of 18.

Without hesitation, they began to prepare me for life and I started learning braille and taking mobility lessons weekly. I learned cane travel and carried around ridiculously large print books all throughout school. Yes, I was made fun of. No, it wasn’t easy being the kid with the weird orange glasses that couldn’t go out for P.E. But my parents placed me in dance lessons and it became everything to me. I was a natural performer and never felt like the blind kid when I was in the spotlight.

Even though I was the poster child for RP, I was an anomaly to doctors. My vision loss didn’t progress like typical retinitis pigmentosa. I lost my central vision first and was left with scattered islands of peripheral vision. Because of this, I honestly never felt like I was understood by other visually impaired people. I wasn’t in denial of being blind, but when you mourn the loss of your vision your entire life it simply becomes a part of your day-to-day challenges.

Life’s Detour After Devastating Diagnosis

#2 - Kym and her husband photo is described in the post.
#2 – Kym and her husband

So my life carried on. I went to college and earned my degree in dance and kinesiology. After graduation, I went to massage school then later met my husband at my first job at a doctor’s office. It was about this time that life punched me in the gut with a diagnosis of lupus symptomatic of rheumatoid arthritis. The agony I suffered for three years made being blind seem like a walk in the park.

By this time, I had one son named Cooper and knew I couldn’t live a life worth living if I could barely move. After doing research my husband put me on an extremely strict diet that saved my life. Within six months of changing my diet, I was back on a treadmill and ready to have our second son, Easton.

I never returned to dancing but two years ago my husband brought me into a CrossFit gym, I was terrified. How could I do anything if I could not see anything? But by the end of my first class, I knew I had found my new passion.

Now, I am trying to become an empowered representation of the visually impaired in the adaptive CrossFit world. I want to show visually impaired people they can do anything. At the same time I’m showing my children there are no excuses not to be your best. At 37 I am the blindest I’ve ever been, yet I feel more unstoppable now than ever in my life. Being blind is hard, but if you live by faith and not by sight anything is possible.

CrossFit Games

CrossFit photo of Kym is described in the body of the post.
Kym doing her thing

@KymPossibleXoXo as she’s known on Instagram, found out last week that she qualified for the adaptive CrossFit games in July. Her Instagram exploded when @CrossFitGames shared one of her competition videos and get this, it’s been seen over 350K times!

I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive a message from Kym with her news. She even said that while we “technically” haven’t met, she was so excited to share this with me. And of course, I was probably just as excited to hear it directly from her.

The adaptive CrossFit games are held north of Toronto and Canada during the country‘s largest Functional Fitness/CrossFit Festival of the year. Over 1,000 athletes of all levels will participate but Kym is the first blind athlete to be invited as a part of the adaptive athlete division.

As having a visually impaired athlete in the competition for the first time, Kym is nervous and excited to educate the adaptive CrossFit community on how to best adapt movements for blind athletes. We are excited to stand by her all the way! We encourage anybody who would like to support or sponsor Kym through her journey to contact her. You can reach Kym directly via email at kymdekeyrel@gmail.com.

Like her Instagram alias, Kym is showing us that anything is possible.

Blind CrossFit Athlete Featured Image Description:

In the featured photo, Kym is doing what she loves, working out in the gym. She is squatting while holding 90-pound barbells straight over her head. Her workout ensemble is a black tank top with gray and black leggings with geometric shapes and pink sneakers. Kym’s long blonde hair is in a ponytail.

Additional Image Descriptions:

  1. Kym, her husband and two sons, Cooper and Easton, are posing together as a family. Mom, wearing a black dress, and dad, in a blue polo shirt, is standing behind the boys.
  2. Kym and her hubby are standing together looking sharp. Date night perhaps? Kym is wearing a sleeveless plum colored dress with taupe dress shoes and her husband is in a suit. He is holding his jacket over his right arm.
  3. In this photo, Kym is in mid-shot of tossing a big ball against the wall at the gym. She’s in the same outfit as in the featured image.
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#BlindMKLady Hashtag Evolution

I'm Blind Why Should I Wear Makeup image description is in the body of the post

#BlindMKLady Hashtag Evolution

“‘You are not less of a person for using a white cane.’ This takeaway was life-changing for me; the cane doesn’t define you, it’s just a tool. After hearing this I became a different person and people noticed.”

~Amy Wilson

Hello Bold Blind Beauty Readers, 

Some of you may know me and some of you may not. Before I explain what this post is about, I will give a short introduction to who I am. My name is Amy Wilson, a middle-aged thirty-something midwestern woman.

For over 25 years I’ve been defined as legally blind and never considered myself a special or unique flower. Although, I’ve accomplished many things in my life that some say are exceptional. In fact, in the last few weeks, close friends have told me I need to improve my self-promotion skills.

I’m so bad when it comes to talking about myself. My husband is the same way—humble is the name of our game. Not my son though, he is the show off of the family. Each person in my wonderful family has their own disability. I only say this to tell you there is a lot of stuff going on in our household. 

The #BlindMKLady Hashtag Breakdown…

1. Let’s begin with why I chose to include the word ‘blind’

First, saying visually impaired makes it too long, lol, just kidding. In the world we live in, you are ‘blind’ to the sighted community even if you have residual sight. On the other hand, to the blind community, you are ‘sighted’ if you have a little vision. How does that even make any sense? So am I blind or not?

For over twenty years I hated when people would call me blind, I would go on the defense right away. Do you know where that got me? Nowhere really.

Being called a blind person bothered me so much I wouldn’t even use a white cane. So if I have ever shoulder checked you I am sorry. According to my ex-husband, I did it a lot but in 2015 that changed for me. I can remember it very clearly as I met people who I now call family. And you would never guess who they were? Yes! Other blind people!!! 

I mean I had previously met blind people, but these people didn’t let their blindness define them. Adding to this, was my takeaway ‘you are not less of a person for using a white cane.’ This takeaway was life-changing for me; the cane doesn’t define you, it’s just a tool. After hearing this I became a different person and people noticed. I no longer had a problem walking around with my white cane. If anything I think I strutted a little more. 

2. Classification of Being ‘Blind’ 

Last year I heard a speech that changed my viewpoint on being classified as ‘blind.’ It talked about how people put you into categories and how as blind people we do it as well. The point made was, ‘why are we segregating ourselves within our own blind community?’ Whether you have no vision or just been declared legally blind, guess what? You’re blind! Now let that sink in.

I know from personal experience it’s hard to take on the blind label. It’s especially difficult when you are new to blindness. When I heard that speech I made the decision to stop saying “I’m visually impaired” and just say “blind.” By doing this, I’m letting society know that ‘blindness’ is not just the ‘totally blind’ but me too. 

I’m blind so what? I’m still a Rock Star! No way am I a rock star but I think you get my point. And maybe you just have to listen to the P!nk song—”So What.”

3. What’s A MKLady?

The other part of my hashtag speaks for itself as I am a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. I love the company, Mary Kay. This is actually my second time being a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. 

My first time, with Mary Kay I was not confident in my blindness at ALL. I let it get in the way of having my own Mary Kay business. This time is totally different. I got great advice right from the start. If they can’t handle the fact that I am blind then they are just ‘not my people.’ Simple right?

‘Not your people’ can be used in so many different areas of our lives, even with family. Be confident in who you are, no matter what!!! Do I have regrets in my life? You bet, but I don’t dwell on those things—you can’t change the past and the future is tomorrow’s problem. However, you can focus on now.

Knowing Who I Am

I view myself as the #BlindMKLady and wouldn’t have it any other way. And I am not the only #BlindMKLady out there either. I’ve met other MK ladies and am personally building my team of blind and sighted ladies. My goal is to be the first blind Mary Kay Sales Director. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me. My goal is huge even for a sighted consultant. If you want to assist in helping me achieve this goal let’s chat. 

No matter what your goal is in life don’t let something like being blind hold you back. Blindness does not define you. You define you. Put your big girl panties on and make stuff happen. If you want someone to cheer you on, contact me, I will be your cheerleader. 

Be Bold, Be Beautiful and most of all be true to YOU!!!

Yours Truly, 

Amy Wilson, #BlindMKLady

You can find me on Facebook as Amy Wilson or my Facebook group called Wilson’s Wildflowers

#BlindMKLady Featured Image Description:

Closeup photo of Amy looking fabulous with her wavy brunette hair framing her face and sunnies on top of her head. She is wearing a blue/black floral dress with a v-neckline.

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Blind Beauty 72 | Jenna Faris of Safe Space

Blind Beauty 72 | Jenna Farris

Blind Beauty 72 | Jenna Faris of Safe Space

“Most people view blindness as a massive barrier, an insurmountable mountain that can never be climbed. I view blindness as an alternative path, one with perhaps more obstacles, but also more triumph.”

~Jenna Faris
Jenna and Susie on Beach
Jenna and Susie on Beach

My grandmother was a genius when it came to reading people. It was one of many traits she had that I secretly and not so secretly envied. As I got older and remarkably wiser (for a teenager) I would often disagree with her assessments of people. Thankfully, with more advanced years, I continued to gain wisdom and had to admit she was almost always right.

From where I stand today, I think I’ve always had the same ability as my grandmother I just didn’t recognize it. Learning to trust my gut where people are concerned was a process aided by a healthy dose cynicism. In the social media I believe cynicism is a requirement to protect oneself online.

When meeting someone new for the first time, I’m very particular. If a person just messages me a simple one-word greeting I typically delete then block them. While it may sound harsh, this is one of many rules I use to gauge people I choose to interact with. Could I possibly be blocking people who are legitimate? Sure, but with well over 7 billion people on the planet, I simply move on.

A Safe Space

According to Internet Live Stats at the time I wrote this sentence, there were 4,185,806,809 internet users in the world. Skeptic that I am I would need more research to determine if this is a reliable source but I digress. If there is even a remote possibility that these stats are even close to accurate, that’s a lot of people. The world is a huge place and the internet has given us the ability to connect where it wasn’t previously possible. When you add in the speed of information being transmitted by many of these people, well, this is another story.

While I tend to think there is danger lurking around every corner every now and then even I’m pleasantly surprised. Last week, for example, a young lady named Jenna Farris contacted me through our Facebook Page. The way she introduced herself was so outstanding she automatically set herself apart.

Upon visiting her blog Safe Space, I was immediately impressed with her philosophy through her tagline:

“Where everyone is welcome to participate”

When I read her introductory post “This is me ” I was done! Before I go any further I’d like to encourage everyone who reads today’s post to read “This is me.”

Jenna and I exchanged several comments then emails and I’m so honored to introduce you to her. You’ll be hearing more from Jenna as she’s agreed to be a Woman On The Move and I can hardly wait to share her story with you. This young woman is a phenomenal person and one my grandmother would love!

Blind Beauty 72 | Jenna Faris Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. The black & white image of Jenna and her guide dog, Susie sitting on sandstone, are on the cover. Blocks of text superimposed on Jenna’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”