“For those of us who want to continue living our lives independently, there are some things that we have to push through. And I think the major thing that we have to push through are societal misconceptions.”~Stephanae McCoy
Table of Contents
As a battle-scarred SURVIVOR still fighting to show up, my team convinced me it was time to share my Woman On The Move feature. So over the weekend instead of shooting a scripted video, I showed up by turning on my camera and simply began talking. The video isn’t perfect but then neither am I and after the recent news I received I’m comfortable with the outcome.
For the past several years I’ve noticed some changes in my thinking patterns. To give you a little background both my grandmother and mother died from Alzheimer’s Dementia. So after my mother’s death in April I finally scheduled an Alzheimer’s baseline test with a neurologist. The diagnosis I received was Mild Cognitive Impairement (MCI). So next steps are a brain scan, sleep study, and a battery of other tests.
While I am typically a private person, I also believe in being transparent especially when my work is impacted. My diagnosis isn’t a surprise to me and it’s a relief as I now have an answer. Like anyone else, I have no idea what the future holds but for now, I’m going to keep learning and growing in an effort to establish new neural pathways. My only request for you is to please don’t give up on me. Thank you! ~Steph
Beyond Sight Magazine Cover
Sight Stealing Macular Holes
Hi, I’m Stephanae McCoy, the founder of Bold Blind Beauty, an advocacy platform that demystifies blindness through storytelling. So my blindness journey began in 2005. It spanned four years and it started with one singular macular hole.
That macular hole over a four year period had evolved into a number of eye issues, totally unrelated that left me with no central vision. I have glaucoma which attacks my peripheral vision, and I now have vision that can only be measured by finger counting or hand waving since I can no longer see the eye chart.
Creating Bold Blind Beauty
So why did I create Bold Blind Beauty? I created Bold Blind Beauty because I wanted to share my story with other people. I thought that perhaps like me, women specifically, um, might feel a certain way after losing their eyesight. You know, I was challenged with having to learn how to use the white cane and then actually use the white cane because I didn’t wanna do that initially.
I didn’t feel confident, my confidence took a serious nose dive. I wasn’t able to apply some of my favorite makeup products the way I used to, and I had to adapt to that. There were just so many changes that happened in my life that I felt that I cannot be the only person, and I wanted to share that with other people.
In addition, I also wanted to, as an Abilities Crusader I wanted to change how people perceive blindness and people who are living with blindness. Many people think that blindness is just not seeing, not seeing anything, when in fact blindness is a spectrum and no two people who live with the same eye condition see the same way.
So once you meet one blind person, you have met one blind person. All of our stories are different, and one of the things I think that many of us share in common is that not only um, do we have resilience, but we also learn to adapt and we keep moving on. Not everybody can do this, and that’s fine, that’s totally okay. But for those of us who want to continue being out here, living our lives and living our lives independently, there’s some things that we have to push through. And I think the major thing that we have to push through are the misconceptions of society societal misconceptions.
It’s true, I don’t look like I’m blind. I look like I can see, but that doesn’t change the fact that I cannot. I can no longer see faces. I can no longer read regularized print, I can no longer drive.
There’s a lot of things that I can’t do. But at the same time, through my journey, I have found that there are still a lot of things that I can do I just have to do them a little bit differently than what I used to. And technology is definitely my friend, at least my friend, when it works.
So, my journey is, my journey. All the people that we feature on Bold Blind Beauty, their journeys are their singular journeys. All of our journeys are different, but again, I think the things that we share in common for those that we feature on Bold Blind Beauty, is a need to really continue living life to the best of our ability and to share those experiences with other people.
I am not inspirational for getting up in the morning and getting dressed and doing those sorts of things that come naturally to me. However, there are a lot of things that I do that I dare say a lot of sighted people probably would be challenged to do. So, and those are, are some of my strengths.
Embracing People Where They Are
And likewise, people who do not have a disability, so able-bodied people, or I like to call them temporarily able-bodied people, they also aren’t able to do every single thing on the planet.
So I really encourage people to open their minds, open their hearts to embrace people where they are. And also to give people a chance to listen to their stories, to understand that their stories may be vastly different from your own stories but that’s okay. I mean, these things, these stories that set us apart and our differences that set us apart are really what, make the tapestry of life just so enriching.
So, as this month’s Woman On The Move, I encourage people to really, try to improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another. That, by the way, is the mission of Bold Blind Beauty, and the way we can achieve that is through, telling our stories one person at a time, and just sharing those positive messages.
Connecting With Stephanae
- LinkedIn: @StephanaeMcCoy
Connecting With Bold Blind Beauty
Like what you’ve read and want to chat about it? Join us in the Bold Blind Beauty Facebook group.
- The header photo is identical to the image used on the Beyond Sight Magazine cover and YouTube Thumbnail. An outdoor headshot of Stephanae leaning on the railing of her balcony wearing a pink ballcap with an olive v-neck tee. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight August 2023 | Women On The Move | Stephanae McCoy.”
- YouTube video description: In the video, Steph is outside sitting under a tree at a picnic table at her condo complex.