“You don’t have to be great to start making videos on YouTube, but you do have to start making videos in order to be great!”
~Sam Seavey, The Blind Life
3 Expert Tips For Aspiring Blind Videomakers
One of my favorite pastimes is binge-watching YouTube videos. Each time I find a YouTuber who catches my attention I always come back to the same question: how? I mean seriously, every time I attempt to make the simplest of videos it becomes an all-day project. And to make matters worse it always feels forced and I choke.
Luckily, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite YouTubers, Sam Seavey of The Blind Life. During my conversation with Sam, I asked him for a few tips to improve my video making skills. This is what he sent for Bold Blind Beauty readers. Enjoy!
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
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
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.
@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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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:
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.
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.
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.
“‘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.”
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!!!
Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this article I’ve significantly changed the way I approach my work. However, while I no longer use some of the tools mentioned in this post, I kept them as a resource others may find helpful. ~Steph
5 Confessions Of A Blind Content Creator
Okay, so I have some confessions and now’s as good a time as any to come clean. As some of you may know, I joined forces with an amazing image consultant, Chelsea Nguyen, and together we’ve launched a digital magazine. We ultimately envision developing an accessible online platform where people across the disability spectrum can collaborate, create, and publish professional publications.
Now that my workload has practically doubled I’ve been asked what it’s like and how I do it. I thought the best way to proceed forward would be to go through my workflow and share some helpful tips:
This blogging business is hard! Don’t misunderstand, I’m not whining, although if I do say so myself I’m pretty gosh darn good at. When I say “good at it” I mean whining not blogging. Not that I’m bad at blogging but I’m better at whining when I put my mind to it.😆 Seriously though, whining is not the purpose of this post.
When I first began blogging the major concerns from my point of view were content creation and time. If I thought developing fresh content was stressful I didn’t fully take into consideration:
managing the website
connecting and engaging with fellow bloggers
and social media, just to name a few tasks.
It was so exciting watching Bold Blind Beauty grow. With growth came greater responsibility:
not nearly enough time to visit my favorite blogs (because there are many and yes, I have a list)
curating relevant content to share on social media is ongoing
connecting with, scheduling and following up with featured guests is also ongoing
sometimes no matter how well I plan things go awry
additional features on the back end of the website make managing it a little more challenging
as the blog grew so did I as in age, as a result, the way I work has changed
growth on social media channels means more connecting and engaging with more people
Upgrading to WordPress Business Plan provides greater flexibility ie plugins, an e-commerce solution, access to instant help, and more. On the other side of the upside:
it’s more costly
even more, time to update and sustain the site
learning to use new plugins to make life a little easier
because of confessions 1, 2, and 2, there’s even less time to engage with my blogging buddies
Since so much of what we develop as content creators are visual, this can make things a bit challenging. Limited eyesight compounds the issue yet there are many adaptations and workarounds we can use. But what about design elements? More importantly, how do you keep it all organized then post to multiple social media channels?
Canva, a web-based design platform is so easy to use a person without any design experience can create nearly anything.
Sendible is a social media management tool that lets you schedule and post to multiple social media platforms. Yes, even Instagram so no more emailing images to upload to Insta on your cell phone.
G-Suite like the name implies is a suite of Google products (docs, sheets, calendar, contacts, Gmail, etc.) With G-Suite you can create set up email based on your domain, i.e. smccoy@boldblindbeauty vs. email@example.com. All of my images are grouped into general subdirectories like events, logos, products, quotes, and selfies. These directories are further broken down by more specific topics. For example in my boatload of quotes folder, there are advocacy, authenticity, empowerment, fashion, funny, etc. related quotes.
Trello is a project management tool consisting of boards, lists, and cards that I use to keep myself organized.
Sales Navigator Lite for Gmail extension allows me to see what contacts are on LinkedIn. This enables me to send them a connection request directly from Gmail.
At my age, I choose what’s beneficial for me. Since my eyes glaze over whenever I hear the word “SEO,” Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress has been a lifesaver.
Summary of Confessions:
While the work I do can be incredibly complicated and time-consuming it is by far the most rewarding I’ve had the pleasure of performing. The amazing feedback I get from people all over the world is more than enough compensation. An additional bonus is meeting all of you and featuring some of you here on Bold Blind Beauty.
Do you have any tips or tricks to share that make your life easier? Please do tell. ~Steph
Featured Image Description:
The photo is a blank checklist with a pen laying on it on top of a wooden desk.