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Embracing Disability Through Self-Expression

Embracing Disability Through Self-Expression featured image description is in the body of the post.

Embracing Disability Through Self-Expression

I’ve always loved fashion and style. So when it came to my white cane I thought why not use it beyond its intended role? Why can’t it help express my inner sense of being, much like my hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, and jewelry?

~Abby
Abby & Gold Cane

Hi Everyone, Abby here! It’s been a while since I’ve last spoken with you. The boss lady (Steph) has me going hither and yon all while working behind the scenes. Today though, I want to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart―embracing disability through self-expression.

During my business trip to the UK, I met up with my friend Vicky (Victoria Claire) to accompany her to Dublin. As an Ambassador for Retina UK, Vicky serves to help people living with sight loss understand life is not over. She shares her message of hope through the 3 A’s―acceptance, adaptability, and accessibility.

Depending on the severity, acquiring a disability at any time during our lives can be a soul-crushing experience. There are a plethora of articles about the fear of blindness and how people feel it would end their life. It’s no wonder when we find ourselves in this very situation we balk and some of us give up. Granted, working through sight loss is a deeply personal ordeal and getting through it can be an ongoing process.

When we lose our eyesight it can feel like a small part of us is dying. Our whole world shifts and like a baby learning how to walk and talk, we have to learn to adapt. Sustaining a part of ourselves that’s familiar yet tweaked to our new life circumstance becomes a lifesaver.

Customized Colored Canes At Home & Across The Pond

For me, I’ve always loved fashion and style. So when it came to my white cane I thought why not use it beyond its intended role? Why can’t it help express my inner sense of being, much like my hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, and jewelry?

While there is some debate on using customized or more specifically colored canes, my canes are an extension of me. I believe what makes blind and visually impaired people stand apart from other cane users is our technique. Our canes are used to help us navigate by probing to let us know if there is an obstacle in our path. 

So it was fabulous meeting up with Vicky, both of us with canes in hand (hers black and mine gold). Both of us noticed a significant difference in how we were received by those around in our respective countries and Dublin. 

Here in the U.S., with the explosion of mobile devices, it seems like people aren’t really attentive to their surroundings in general. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Research Note “2016 pedestrian fatality count (5,987) is the highest number since 1990.”

In the UK when we were making our way through the airport people seemed to be oblivious to us using our canes. However, when we arrived at the Dublin airport the attitude was very different. It was immediately recognized that our mobility canes were for the blind.

Freedom To Express Ourselves

The hotel we stayed at was very lovely and had good lighting in the room, along with contrasting colors in the bathroom. We visited the Jameson Distillery which was really great and we also spent a lot of time walking. The River Liffey was well paved with decking and a nice and flat walk area for us.

When we went to the NewsTalk Radio Station Studio, they couldn’t have done enough for us. The conference, held in a large and well-lit conference room was very organized. Overall we had a great time in Dublin and I for one cannot wait to return one day soon. Vicky said it best:

The world can become a much more accessible place, somewhere we are all free to express ourselves and we are not stuck in a limiting space.

While I cannot speak for Vicky, I believe she would agree with me that those who choose to use the standard white cane rock as do we!

Embracing Disability Featured Image Description:

A futuristic image of a 3-D wire-frame female body rising through clouds with arms raised above her head. In the background, a silhouette of a mountain range can be seen peeping above the clouds.


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Sky | Blind Beauty 56

Blind Beauty 56

Sky | Blind Beauty 56

“Some people might have taken the news of going blind as the end of the world. Most would have given up and thought their life was over. Well, it did the total opposite to me.” 

~Sky

I think Sky’s words in today’s post are especially meaningful with October being Blindness Awareness Month.

Did You Know?

The World Health Organization estimates that there are over 285 million visually impaired people, 245 million with low vision and 39 million totally blind people. Sixty-five million people have cataracts — and in the U.S. alone, over ten million people have retinal diseases that deteriorate peripheral and night vision. One of the major causes of blindness is uncorrected refractive errors causing blurred vision, leaving people unable to clearly see images on the retina. (source: nationaltoday.com)

I found strength and determination I never believe I had before sight loss. I have become the person God always knew I was. Becoming blind has saved my life. I see things differently literally. Having a great sense of humor is also a plus.

“Strength and growth come
only through continuous
effort and struggle” 

~Napoleon Hill 

Blind Beauty 56 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a new faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Sky’s image on the cover is black & white. She is wearing a white lace embellished top and has a floral head wrap tied in a bow on the top of her head.

Blocks of text superimposed on Sky’s photo are: “Bold–She Keeps Pressing Onward, Blind–She Has Deeper Insight, Beautiful–She Sees To The Heart Of Others.” “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.” “Makeup Trends for 2019–How To Maintain A Flawless Look”

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“I am blind. I am beautiful. I am fashion.” 

Just in time for October’s Blindness Awareness Month:

Custom Limited Time Only #AbbyOnTheMove Design and a few goodies have arrived! Many thanks to Jennifer Barrile for creating this vibrant artwork!

A whimsical image of a blue cityscape with Abigail walking past and the hashtag #AbbyOnTheMove on the bottom. www.abigailstyle.com
Artwork by Jennifer Barrile

#AbbyOnTheMove Pile of photos with five friends posing with Abigail Style merchandise.
A few of my friends!

A white short sleeve tee, white tote bag with black handles and a grey sweatshirt all decorated with a whimsical image of a blue cityscape with Abigail walking past and the hashtag #AbbyOnTheMove on the bottom. www.abigailstyle.com
A few new pieces.

Have a nice weekend all!! 😘