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Too Sighted To Be Blind

Too Sighted To Be Blind

It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve written anything for Bold Blind Beauty. I’ve been so consumed with all the other aspects of this site it’s been overwhelming. Things like updating policies, products, and people to feature, have taken so much time my choices are limited.

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Stephanae

One of the things I seldom talk about is how I adjusted to living with blindness. Next month will be 10 years since I gave up driving and began adapting to losing some of my independence. During that time my left eye was unusable and my “good” right eye had these massive floaters. 

I used to think floaters were these tiny specks that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. As a high myope (severely nearsighted) I remember seeing my first floaters when was very young. But the ones I had 10 years ago were different. They were solid black clouds that constantly moved to obscure everything in my line of sight. Imagine driving and suddenly you’re unable to see street signs, traffic lights, people, and vehicles on the road–it’s scary.

After I stopped driving I’d have to wait until January 2009 for what would be my last vitrectomy (macular hole surgery). During a vitrectomy, a gas bubble is injected into the eye. This particular surgery was a little different because my surgeon was going to remove those annoying floaters as well. 

Seeing Yet Not Fully Sighted

Veering off topic for a minute, if you’ve never held your head in a downward position for 4 weeks or more, you haven’t lived. Yes, this was what I had to do each time I had a vitrectomy. And let me tell you the first few days after each surgery my neck was on fire. I had to do this on four separate occasions and each time I was ALL IN. 

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Hey! I’m Walkin’ Here Tote & Ready To Conquer Tee

To help people understand what it might feel like to be blind there are various simulations from blindfolds to special eyeglasses. If I could point to one experience that prepared me for blindness it would be vitrectomy recovery. While I could see peripherally and downward, being unable to look up when I went for follow-up appointments was a strange feeling. Sort of like ‘you can see, but you can’t.’

Anyway, during this last recovery period, my retina specialist found a leaky blood vessel at the back of my right eye. Though an injection of Avastin stopped the bleeding, I’d find out later I was legally blind.

Too Blind To Be Sighted

To this day, none of my doctors can explain how the first macular hole evolved into the series of issues that stole my sight. Back when it all began the possibility of me ending up where I am today was highly unlikely. Going from healthy eyes to glaucoma, a torn retina, cataracts, uveitis, and blindness still seems like a dream. Yet each day I awaken I know it’s real. 

My blindness is the reason why I advocate for inclusion, accessibility, and equity. No one can know what going blind feels like until you’ve experienced it first-hand. Even then, when one or more of us share the same condition our sight is different for each of us.

The one thing this whole experience has taught me is to be more open-minded. I realize I know so much less than what I thought I knew and I’m learning more every day. There are so many conditions people live with and there really is no room for assumptions. 

I am blind and I look like I can see. It isn’t easy being too sighted to be blind yet too blind to be sighted. Even so, I will continue breaking down barriers in the hopes for a judgment-free world. One where blind and visually impaired individuals are doing what they love and are equally represented in all areas of life.

Featured Image Description:

In this three-quarter profile shot, I’m wearing a teal colored sleeveless sporty dress with a hoodie. It looks great with my Bold Blind Beauty braille teal wristband. Photo credit: Jana N. Williams Photography

Additional Images:

  • I posed with my “gold” white cane and wore a black tee with a white tote bag. The tee has an image of fashion icon Abby. To the right of Abby is a checklist Handbag, Heels, White Cane and directly under her and the checklist is the slogan: “Ready to Conquer.” The bag has black handles, features Abby, and say “Hey I’m Walkin’ Here!” Abby is front and center above the slogan
  • In this picture, I’m standing in front of a gorgeous red door at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Since there was a wedding in progress we couldn’t get any shots in front of the building so we found this magnificent red door with these tactile black knobs. 
  • The mug’s design includes fashion icon, Abby (in trio format) who are to the right of the handle. Directly under the trio is the slogan: “Blind Chicks With ATTITUDE.” To the left of the handle, the slogan is tactile braille.
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Figuring Out Foundation

Figuring Out Foundation featured image description is in the body of the post.

Figuring Out Foundation

“You can layer these foundations. For example, start with CC Cream for a great primer and then add a liquid foundation for more coverage.” 


~Amy Wilson
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Let me just start off by saying foundation is a struggle for most women, and for us blind beauties wow. So I thought I would do two things for you today.

  • One, talk about what types of foundations are out there.
  • Second, discuss where to apply it so it doesn’t look like a mask.

Let’s get some of you off the foundation struggle bus. Lol! I am going to start with the easiest and work my way up to the tougher ones to match. Now I admit I am totally biased on this one because it’s my favorite., it’s CC Cream. The CC stands for complexion corrector.

This CC Cream is a powerhouse. It does multiple things for your skin all at once: it moisturizes, primes, sunscreen and of course foundation. This product blends to match your natural skin tone and it’s the easiest foundation to match for anyone.

Other Types of Foundations

Mineral Powders

Mineral powders are a popular one. They are great for light coverage. Many different companies make mineral powder. They typically come in circular containers. You shake some of the product onto the lid and apply with a powder brush.

Tip: Investing in a set of quality makeup brushes will take you far and take your product even further. I know by using my brushes I lengthen the use of my foundation and other products. I can recommend different brushes you may want to use.

Now let’s bump it up to some more coverage for that beautiful face.

Timewise Liquid Foundations

Mary Kay has what we call our Timewise Liquid Foundations. These have age-fighting ingredients included in the foundation. It comes in two different types:

  • One is matte-wear for those ladies who have combination to oily skin. This formula won’t make your face as shiny.
  • The second one is luminous-wear for a skin type of normal to dry.

Tip: Checking the foundation on your jawline is the best way to find your match. Remember Mary Kay consultants will let you try these before you buy. We want you to love the products, satisfaction guaranteed.

Medium Coverage Foundation

There is a Medium Coverage Foundation which gives your face 8 hours of coverage. Its been described to me that it can give you that airbrushed look.

Cream to Powder Foundation

Finally, there is Cream to Powder Foundation. From my understanding, you can either love or hate this one. For myself, having a normal to dry skin type this one sounds nice. I am sure if you have really oily skin this one could be frustrating.

Wow! That’s a lot of information about foundation. I hope you find it helpful.

Tip: You can layer these foundations. Example start with CC Cream for a great primer and then add a liquid foundation for more coverage.

Application

Now let’s talk about how to apply foundation to the face.

  1. Start in the middle of your face and blend towards the outer part of your face. You can apply in your T-zone (this is your forehead and straight down the middle of your face).
  2. When getting to the jawline, make sure to take the foundation to your neck. If you stop at your jaw it can look like you are wearing a mask and that’s not good.

Alright, I will wrap it up and wish all of you a fresh and fabulous day!

As usual, you can find me on Facebook or join my Facebook group:

Bye Beauties!

Figuring Out Foundation Featured Image Description:

The image is assorted black makeup brushes on a white background with a zippered case.

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This photo is a bottle of CC cream next to several swathes of different shades of the product.

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I’m Blind Why Should I Wear Makeup?

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I’m Blind Why Should I Wear Makeup?

“Mary Kay Consultants give a weekly class for free where you can try the products before you buy anything.” 

~Amy Wilson

Why Makeup?

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I have spent over a year as a Mary Kay Consultant and am often told by my fellow blind community that “I don’t wear makeup and don’t understand why I should.” Well, let me explain from my point of view why makeup. I will break it down into a couple of points.

  • First, makeup is supposed to be fun and playful.
    • Women for years and years have used makeup to be more playful, like wearing a red lipstick for example. Now we have purples, blues, pinks, and so many more colors. Same for eye and cheek colors. Don’t over think it like I used to.
  • Second, makeup is a learning process.
    • You will not become an expert overnight; be patient with yourself. I spent years doing the same thing when it came to what makeup I used.

If you’re not comfortable, take a class or talk with a Mary Kay Consultant; maybe me lol. There are assorted videos and training available online and in-person. Mary Kay Consultants give a weekly class for free where you can try the products before you buy anything. Free training by people who are trained by the best although I’m biased. Lol

The Finishing Touch

My biggest point for “why makeup” is the finishing touch. Just like when you wear jewelry, a hat or other accessory—I know I love my purses—you are finishing your look with makeup.

Recently I was volunteering at an event with other women. The first couple of days I had parents coming up to me thinking I was in charge and I thought it was strange. Then I realized my image spoke for itself. I looked more professional and polished than the women who were running the program. This experience taught me that no matter the situation you are in, your finishing touches are important. As blind women, we may not think it matters but I promise you, it does. The world is looking at you whether you want them to or not.

Just remember transformations and learning don’t happen overnight. Life is a work in progress and any woman on the move knows that. Stay fresh and fabulous Bold Blind Beauties!

Why Should I Wear Makeup 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.

Image 1:

Amy is standing with her white cane at the Mary Kay 2018 Seminar. The lighting in the convention center is casting a purplish glow. Amy is wearing a black jacket and skirt with a white blouse. The jacket’s lapels are adorned with red flowers.

If you want to learn more about me or what I do you can connect with me on:

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Marieke Davis | Blind Beauty Issue 43

Marieke Davis Blind Beauty #43 featured image description is in the body of the post.

Marieke Davis | Blind Beauty Issue 43

Marieke (mah REE kah) Davis has a two-fold overriding philosophy that guides her life:

  1. Art should be inclusive, not exclusive, and

  2. Art should have an educational purpose that facilitates human understanding.

In today’s Blind Beauty Issue 43 you will meet Artist, Marieke Davis. Marieke’s passion for changing perceptions shines brightly through her extraordinary artwork.

Sight Stealing Diagnosis

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Diagnosed with a massive brain tumor (pilocytic astrocytoma) at age ten, Marieke underwent three surgeries and 15 months of chemotherapy in the course of ten years. Although she has been intervention-free since her last surgery in 2011, she is permanently visually impaired with hemianopsia (half her field of vision in both eyes), and so uses a white cane to compensate for her lack of right-side vision.

Her love for creating art and for telling a good story took on a therapeutic objective after her diagnosis, but soon became intertwined with her pursuit of narrative art—art that tells a story. This pursuit was further developed when she enrolled at Arizona State University, (ASU) where she first tried her hand at Pop Art and discovered that the small frames used in comics and graphic series accommodated her visual impairment very well. She graduated from ASU last year, summa cum laude, with her Art major and minors in English Literature, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Creative Writing.

In the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program, Marieke experimented with various artistic techniques and mediums—emulating classic art masterpieces, such as depicting herself in the manner of Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele” and imitating Alphonse Mucha’s Art Deco style in her “Women of the Apocalypse” series, dabbling in intermedia, as shown in her objet d’art piece, “Sight of Hand,” in which she ironically decorated her first white cane with plastic “googly eyes” and attached a decorated plaster hand at the end of the cane to illustrate to the fully sighted that the feel of a white cane enhances sight for the visually impaired/blind, and creating unique jewelry—while almost setting her bangs on fire in the process!  

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Finding Artistic Expression

Ultimately, her artistic exploration led to her most comfortable means of artistic expression in graphic literature and comics. It was while she was teaching herself how to create the Prologue and first chapter for her series, Ember Black, that her ASU Disability Resources liaison revealed to her that her daughter is also a visual artist; however since she is completely blind, she has never been able to see her work. That got Marieke determined to provide an audio companion to her graphic series, in an effort to extend her visual art to the visually impaired. The audio version—complete with voice actors, sound effects, and music—along with the printed graphic version earned her the Audience Choice Award in the First Annual ASU Herberger IDEA Showcase, and she is currently working on Chapter 2 of Ember Black, thanks to a grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

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Image 3 Life Is Blurry

Concurrently, Marieke publishes “Life is Blurry,” an autobiographic, online comic strip created from the perspective of a “visually impaired visual artist”—such as she is—with the purpose of educating the able-bodied world through the most effective means she knows: humor. The strip was inspired by Alison Bechdel’s graphic autobiography, “Fun Home,” and was developed in her Women’s Studies course, “Chronicling Women’s Lives.” Excerpts from the strip earned Marieke a 2017 Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts VSA Emerging Young Artist award, and her entry is currently on a national tour. Eventually, Marieke would like to compile her comics into a complete graphic autobiography, but in the short-term, she hopes to have “Life is Blurry” become a nationally syndicated comic strip. Just as people of color strive for artistic representation, people with disabilities want to be represented in the arts, particularly in popular culture.

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Image 4 Life Is Blurry

Past & Future Panel Presentations

Last year, Marieke presented a discussion panel, “Creating Ember Black,” at the Phoenix ComiCon, and this year she presented a panel, “The Philosophy of Rick & Morty,” and a lecture, “Introducing ‘Life is Blurry’ and Other Comics Created By and About Disabled Artists” at the Phoenix Comic Fest.  She hopes to premiere Chapter 2 of Ember Black next year at the Phoenix Fan Fusion after her grant project is completed in March 2019.

See Marieke’s artistic and literary work on her website, mariekedavis.com, “Life is Blurry” and Ember Black, Vol. I on her Facebook page, Life is Blurry by Marieke Davis, and Ember Black by Marieke Davis.

Blind Beauty Issue 43 Featured Image Description:

The image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Marieke is on the cover looking stunning in her black wrap dress. She has long brown hair cascading over her left shoulder and her bangs frame her pretty face.

Blocks of text superimposed on the photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

Additional Images:

  • Image #1: In this photo, Marieke is standing outdoors with her white cane in one hand while she rests her other hand on a wall. She is wearing a dark paisley print dress with a scoop neckline.
  • Image #2: Marieke is standing next to two of her pieces displayed on easels holding her white cane in front of her. Her red dress is sleeveless with a square neckline.
  • Image #3 Life is Blurry comic strip: Two panels, Reality vs. Stereotype, shows how society views blind people. On both panels, a woman is standing at a corner crosswalk with her white cane. In the left panel, she is polished. The right panel shows the same woman as beggar dressed in tattered clothing, with dark glasses, holding a can. Her speech bubble says “Change? Spare some change for a blind beggar?”
  • Image #4 Life is Blurry comic strip: This strip has four panels with two cosplayers talking with one another.
    The conversation:

    • Dracula cosplayer: “Wow! So, you’re blind? Are you supposed to be Daredevil?”
    • Maria: “I’m the Silk Spectre. Y’know… from Watchmen? I’m also not totally blind.”
    • Dracula cosplayer: “Still, shouldn’t you be Daredevil? You’d probably relate to that character better.”
    • Maria: “I like Daredevil, but he’s not exactly realistic… lots of people don’t get that.”
    • Maria: Blind and visually impaired people aren’t super-human. And we don’t need to be super-human to be super. I mean, I’m good at hearing cars, but that’s about it—“
    • Dracula cosplayer: “LIKE DAREDEVIL?!”
    • Maria: “I’M NOT DAREDEVIL!”

Connecting With Marieke Davis On Social Media: