An inspirational online commUNITY that empowers blind and visually impaired women to celebrate beauty, fashion, and style—Bold Blind Beauty connects sighted and non-sighted people. We invite you to peruse our site!
“Living abundantly is not only possible for blind persons, I feel it is almost a better way to live. I feel we perceive the world in a deeper, richer, and more profound and meaningful way as sightless persons.”
My life is full of daily adventures and discoveries of the world in a whole new and different way:
It is an opportunity to show the world we are a beacon of hope as we communicate with everyone around us. We are a diverse bunch of “whole people” who do most everything our sighted friends can, and often more. We’re people who’ve gained new skills in using our other senses to experience the wonderful world we live in.
Living Abundantly Featured Image Description:
A white, teal and gray boldblindbeauty.com template uses the ‘Abby’s Corner’ image. Abby, sporting her signature explosive hairstyle is sitting cross-legged in her PJs (gray bottoms & white top with a gray collar). She is using her teal Abby logoed laptop with a headset/microphone and her white cane is propped up next to her.
Are those who are ‘legally blind’ able to hold a job? And if so, what fields would you advise them to enter?
This is a question I’m deeply passionate about. Yes, people who legally blind or partially-sighted can hold a job, so can people who are totally blind. The idea that people who are partially sighted or totally blind cannot hold a job is a myth. In answer to what fields? I don’t feel qualified to give advice in this area except to say, ‘find your passion and pursue it’. No one is an expert at everything! With the exception of being a driver or pilot, sight or lack of sight has nothing to do with being able to hold a job.
You have been so successful that you are generously helping others with advice on mixing and matching items in their wardrobe. Can you expand on that?
We cannot simply look at a person and think we know their story. We are complex creatures and there is so much more to us than mere appearance. My desire to change perceptions is why I share what I know, with respect to style, from personal experience.
No doubt you need help to get to appointments, social functions, and gatherings, shopping et al. Do you have designated drivers? How do you feel in losing your independence and having to depend on others?
As far as independence, I refocused my thinking to what I am able to do vs. what I could do prior to my sight loss. For me, this boils down to choice and I choose not to view myself as dependent. Everyone is skilled or deficient in some manner and I choose to promote my strengths.
On Being Legally Blind Q&A Image Description:
White Q&A text and white question marks sprinkled throughout are on a multi-shaded navy blue background.
Reflecting back really helps to put life in perspective. Like many people in my age group, my memory is fading and I struggle daily. Because Alzheimer’s runs in my family, it’s important to me to get as much done as possible. Looking back helps me to see how far I’ve come and confirms the path I’ve chosen.
The following lightly edited article was originally published to VisionAwarea few years back when I became a Peer Advisor. If memory serves it was probably around the time I began Bold Blind Beauty. While many things have changed since this article was published, overall I’m pleased with the progress to date.
Stephanae (Steph) McCoy
Eight years ago, going blind was not on Stephanae (Steph) McCoy’sbucket list. Since life threw her this curveball, however, how was she to continue her plan to change the world? Life produced the formula: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) + Life-Altering Event = World Changed!
Steph, always a little quirky, began with picky eating and excessive hand washing. Her behaviors progressed to extreme cleaning and a driven purposefulness that would make the TV character, Monk, weep. After losing most of her eyesight, Steph credits OCD for making the situation bearable thanks to many regimented routines. After developing macular holes, cataracts, glaucoma, and becoming legally blind, Steph is still striving to change the world by:
Serving as a Low Vision Committee Member and Chair of the Publicity Committee of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind
Member of the Committee for Accessible Transportation (paratransit service)
Fundraising Committee Member of the Golden Triangle Council of the Blind (GTCB)
Led a team in raising over $10,000 in donations to finance research for Foundation Fighting Blindness
Campaigning for an international low vision awareness effort
Publicly speaking at various organizations on a range of vision loss issues
Because Steph is a single-minded, determined, advocate, and conqueror, it made sense that she would find a way to face losing her vision head-on by promoting low vision awareness and creating an open dialog to dispel societal myths on blindness and visual impairment. Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Steph’s vision is to educate and alter the mindset of how people view others with disabilities, and to that end, she is changing the world, one conversation at a time.
A Look Back Image Description:
A selfie of me wearing a long-sleeve white tee with a gray vest and a Low Vision pin. I’m also sporting one of my favorite black asymmetrical wigs, the hair slightly covers my left eye. My makeup in this photo is mainly eyeliner and lip balm. A small section of my red couch is behind me as is a standing floor lamp.
“Shame was the reason I decided to describe myself as ‘blind’ versus ‘visually impaired’ because it was important for me to accept the word ‘blind’. Once I did this I was able to get a grip on my fear and move forward.”
I’m not sure why I felt shame when I lost my eyesight but I think it was closely tied to my personal biases and lack of understanding where blindness was concerned. In walking through the process of sight loss and facing my shame/fear head-on I was able to move forward.
Do you Face Everything And Run? Or Face Everything And Rise? Fear can motivate or repress and your response is a matter of choice.
Choosing To Rise:
The first step is doing an honest self-assessment. Like following a map, unless you know yourself, you will get lost.
The next step is to set short and long-term goals.Goals should always be written, periodically reviewed, revised and once they are met, new ones should be set.
The third and final step is to stay the course.When you get derailed, get back on track and keep pursuing your dreams. Do not let anyone, tell you that you cannot succeed.
When it gets down to it the choice is up to you. You decide how to navigate your path to success.
Image: Abigail (Abby) is in the background of the text with her white cane and handbag.