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Tell Them So They’ll Know

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Editor’s Note:

In an ongoing effort to increase awareness on sight loss/blindness, Bold Blind Beauty contributor Cheryl Minnette will be inviting readers into the world of what it’s like to live with severe sight loss. These articles are created with the intention of continuing meaningful conversation while further connecting blind and sighted people. We hope you will enjoy these quarterly pieces that will be published under Beauty Buzz & Blog Biz and tagged “Awareness & Sensitivity.”

Tell Them So They’ll Know

Sunday was a beautiful, but definitely hot, sunny afternoon as the women were taking an afternoon stroll to enjoy the weather and each others company. Although one was sighted and the other has severe low vision, when the two of them got together it was always a guaranteed good time.

It had been awhile since these close friends had some leisure time to spend together just talking, laughing, and enjoying the sights and sounds around them. They were both looking forward to this day to reconnect.

As they ventured along the streets of their quaint little town, they caught up with each other about family and what was occurring with them personally. Turning onto a winding street that was lined with huge shade trees, they discussed how much cooler it felt and chuckled. Having the branches act like a natural umbrella, protecting them from the sun, was amazing. The only thing that could’ve made this any better would have been a chaise lounge and a tall glass of iced tea with a long straw and a sprig of mint.

Moving deeper into the neighborhood they could hear voices of adults and children both near and far. Midway down the block there was an area that opened up into a wonderfully designed park. Upon approach they decided to venture inside, following along the red brick inlaid path that was shaped like a cul-de-sac. There were benches (each a different color), a round fountain with cherubs, and an elevated seasonal garden Which woun in sections throughout the park. While continuing their chattering and laughing along the path, they had lots of company. There were people sitting on various benches; some were chatting, eating, and even meditating. They passed dogs that were being walked, ranging in size from miniature to large. Moms were pushing strollers as their little ones were enjoying the ride. Other children were running, skipping, jumping, and playing, just as you would expect them to be doing.

In the midst of all that was happening around them, there was one little girl that was simply super adorable. She had on a short sleeved royal blue dress with matching laced ankle socks and black patent leather shoes. The dress head three Flower shaped buttons down the front with yellow cuffs on the sleeves. As she skipped around in the grass singing and enjoying herself, her curl filled pigtails and yellow hair ribbons were bouncing with the motion.

The sighted woman said to her friend with severe low vision, ‘Do you see that little girl over there?’ Her friend responded, ’Yes, I see her skipping around over there by the yellow bench.’  The sighted woman said, ‘Yes! She is a real cutie pie.’ The women smiled at each other and continued on their afternoon adventure, completing a lap around the cul-de-sac path, then exited the park and headed back home.

Something To Ponder

In the above scenario, there’s something very important that you need to understand. When the woman with low vision responds to her sighted friend, stating that she can see the little girl, her friend may not be aware that they are not seeing this child in the same manner. The sighted woman sees the child as described in the description above. The woman with low vision sees the child with much less clarity and distinction, but sees her nonetheless. She sees the little girl moving about and notices that she has on a short, dark outfit, with her hair pulled up and away from her face. Knowing the description that her friend has given her, she is able to determine that this is the child she is speaking of. With that being said, she does see the child, but differently. This is why descriptions are so very important to share with someone who has severe low vision. 

Sometimes people are around you so much that they forget the severity of your sight loss. They want to understand what it is that you are able to see, but their mind is unable to fully process it. Certain scenarios allow the opportunity for teachable moments, so take full advantage of these.

As a person with severe low vision, it is your responsibility to bring awareness to the sighted community. Only you know what you can or cannot see. This needs to be expressed to those around you. Whether it’s a friend, loved one, caregiver or someone else in your circle of support, it is up to you to share descriptive insights in order to allow for better interaction. 

When you open your door and allow others to step into your world, it gives them a sense of belonging and comfort. Everyone wants to feel A sense of inclusion and you are the one who can gift them that.

Image Description: 

A graphic containing three vertical photos of two women having fun taking selfies together. To the right of the selfies is text that says “Authentic moments are priceless.”

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Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!

Image is described in the body of the post


Editor’s Note:

In an ongoing effort to increase awareness on sight loss/blindness, Bold Blind Beauty contributor Cheryl Minnette will be inviting readers into the world of what it’s like to live with severe sight loss. These articles are created with the intention of continuing meaningful conversation while further connecting blind and sighted people. We hope you will enjoy these quarterly pieces that will be published under Beauty Buzz & Blog Biz and tagged “Awareness & Sensitivity.”

Initial thoughts…

“Oh no…!!”

“I hope I can do this.”

“A little more variety from the color palette would have helped.”

There are so many beautiful colors in the world, such a vast rainbow to observe. In addition to the many shades, you have your pales, your brights, your darks and your lights. Any color, any hue that you can imagine is some type of blend. So what happens when the color choice is just one? One single color, with no other. No other color to compliment it. No other color to offset it. No other color to contrast with it. How does this single hue appear to you? 

Knowing the Flow and Slaying It!!

Come along with me on a journey that will allow you to gain some mental insight into someone else’s world. Indulge me a moment by closing your eyes as I walk you through a scenario. Are you ready? Let’s go!

All are chatting away and excitement is in the air, electrifying it, as everyone is escorted through the venue. Anticipation peaks as a pair of highly arched, white French doors swing open to reveal the outdoor wedding reception. Immediately you step onto the first of a limited number of oversized white steppingstones, that wind throughout the beautifully manicured lawn. With the sun shining brightly overhead, you may just barely be able to see the tables that are spectacularly decorated off in the distance. 

The first thing you must do is get from point A to point B while trying to appear as graceful as possible. The steppingstones may not be too much of a problem, but look out for those unseen changes in the terrain. A beautiful scene, but not the most ideal place for a blind girl in her stilettos. As the maneuvering continues, all are wondering what will take place when the festivities begin.  

Getting situated at your table and meeting the other table guests is always an interesting process. As you get closer, you hear people marveling at the beauty of the vision before them. There are all-white tablescapes that start with a tablecloth that gently drapes down to kiss the lawn, and chairs that have been stylishly dressed with white chair covers that are snatched with a rear bow and shimmering with crystal and pearl embellishments. As you approach the seating area, the multiple tablescapes appear to be a large white danger zone, an accident waiting to happen. Your mind now begins to race as it is searching and wondering, ‘How on God’s green earth will I get through this?’ Caution becomes the word of the day, as you proceed very cautiously to ensure that minimal damage occurs, but hoping there will be none at all. The challenge here is that, although you pretty much know what should be on the table, you just don’t see it. 

For instance, you may know there’s a place setting, but what type is the question. One must consider what their entire place setting consists of. You know there will be silverware, but the number of pieces is the variable, since there may be between three and eight. Did you know that in this setting the reflection from the sun can cause silverware to disappear, as they can appear to be white? Having a clear item on a sunny day like crystal stemware adds another layer of challenges. You know it’s there, but where and how many is what you need to figure out before they are inadvertently knocked over. 

Note that without any contrast, sun or no sun, everything on the table can blend together as one. So with the place settings, silverware, and crystal stemware, rounding out these tablescapes are large green and white floral arrangements in a tall crystal vase, which is set upon an octagon-shaped mirrored centerpiece. White pearl strands are swirled around the table with crystal accents sprinkled all around.

With this scenario, I’m sure you can understand the pitfalls that would be challenging for someone with severe vision loss and contrast challenges. Is the scene beautiful? Yes, it is. Could it become a tragic scene? Yes, I could. Can one acquire the skills to move through this scenario with poise and grace? Yes, one most definitely can!

These are some of the things that one has to process and work through as part of their day to day life style.

On the one hand, if you are sighted, this monochromatic display may be a breathtakingly picturesque sight to behold. On the other hand, for someone whose visual challenge deals with contrast and severe vision loss, having this tablescape could be like walking a bull through a China Shop. The bull may not demolish the shop, but some damage will definitely occur.  

Give us your thoughts as you comment below as to what you became aware of, what you would like to know, and what you were able to relate to. Your insights and expressions are appreciated.

Believing you are capable
is the first step, But
taking action is the ultimate step.

~Cheryl Minnette

Image Description:

A pair of silver wedding bands tied together with white satin ribbon on