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Blind Beauty #69 Kay Haines

Blind Beauty 69 Kay Haines Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Blind Beauty #69 Kay Haines

“I was diagnosed in 2014 with Stargardt’s disease, registered severely sight impaired (blind) within a month of diagnosis! Day-to-day is a struggle, I am a mother of 3, doing everything I can to help raise awareness of this disease.”

~Kay Haines

Kay Haines was recently featured as a Woman On The Move here at Bold Blind Beauty. Today’s post shared with her permission from Instagram is so relatable to me on several levels:

  • First, it was shared on February 28 which was Rare Disease Day
  • Second, her diagnosis came out of the blue
  • Third, before being diagnosed she’d never heard of her eye disease

While Kay and I have two entirely different rare eye conditions, we share some similarities. The major parallel Kay and I share is our mutual desire to build awareness of blindness. She went on to say:

“Before I was diagnosed I never heard of it, I was also never aware that you could be registered blind and still have some vision. I set up this page (Instagram: @me.myself_and_eyes) to help raise awareness for both the disease and what means to be blind! I hope by sharing my journey I can educate others but also be a support network for someone.”

Blind Beauty #69 Kay Haines Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. The closeup cover photo of Woman On The Move, Kay Haines is black & white. She has long dark hair framing the right side of her face. Blocks of text superimposed on Kay’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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Losing Sight Helped Me FindBalance Amidst Extremes

Losing Sight Helped Me Find Balance Amidst Extremes featured image description is in the body of the post

Losing Sight Helped Me FindBalance Amidst Extremes

I’d long forgotten what we were arguing about yet remembering the word he flung at me stung.
Things got heated between us early one morning as my brother was driving me to work in my vehicle. Since driving had become difficult because I was losing my eyesight, I had voluntarily given it up.

As you might imagine turning over the car keys was not an easy thing to do. In Trading Car Keys For A White Cane, I talk about what it was like having to do so. Anyway, being relegated to passenger status, then ending up in a screaming match, in your own vehicle? Well, that’s just all kinds of wrong. I can laugh about it now but in the heat of the moment, I was beyond furious. So angry in fact, while the tears stung my eyes I wouldn’t cry and I didn’t say another word.

‘Judgmental,’ he said. Me, judgmental? Seething with anger and the need for a private meltdown, I lunged out of the Jeep and rushed into my office building. A lobby, elevator bank, and 11 floors later I arrived at my destination. It wasn’t until I was safely in the ladies room where I allowed myself the luxury of crying. Of all the words in the world, why would he call me judgmental? More importantly, why was I so upset about it?

If it Looks, Swims or Quacks Like a Duck

If you’re at all familiar with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator you are aware of the 16 different personality types. I’m an INTJ short for Intuitive, Introverted, Thinking, and Judging. Yup, there it is, that word ‘judging.’ At the risk of being totally transparent, I’ve always known this was a personal character trait or flaw perhaps? Being in my head is an awfully lonely place to be because I tend to operate on many ridiculous assumptions. For example:

  • Chaos does not compute. Structure is my friend and I wrongly assume that others will abide by my standards.
  • Nonsensical madness like the ‘poke’ feature on Facebook. Can someone please explain what this is for? Or chain letters or worse yet chain messages. My assumptions in these cases are baffling because. Why?
  • Being on time is being 30 minutes early. ‘Nuff said.
  • Rules that make sense (refer to the second bullet) are designed to keep us safe and efficient. Rules that don’t make sense need restructuring (refer to the first bullet). So why in the name of heaven would anyone blatantly disregard the 20 items or less in the express lane? The assumption here? Yup, you guessed it― criminal.

So I may be a teensy weensy judgy but in my defense, I:

  • Create order in chaos
  • Whatever I do, I do it to the very best of my ability
  • Special projects allow me to joyfully tap into my workaholic persona
  • I’m really good at creating a plan, a backup plan, and a contingency plan for the backup plan

The Toilet Paper Roll Test

Which do you prefer over or under?

Through the years I’ve been told I’m intense, quirky, obsessive-compulsive, and opinionated. Just a mere few years ago for any given situation, in my mind, it was either black or white. There was never an in-between or gray area. And balance? Well, balance never really fit into the equation because some of my views were distorted.

To some degree, when I began losing sight I started seeing things more clearly. Learning that blindness isn’t black and white helped me to understand that many of life’s circumstances share a similar philosophy.

Today, I’m still quirky, intense, obsessive-compulsive, and judgy, it’s who I am, however, I’m also more open-minded. Blogging and social media have enabled me to meet so many people who have such compelling stories it’s opened my eyes.

Today, I’m more mindful than ever that while we are biologically the same, each of us is unique. Even though we may share similar situations how we react to them is personal and requires patience and understanding.

Today, I purposefully seek balance and am getting better at living in the moment. So how’d I do in the toilet paper roll test? Growing up in a strictly ‘under’ household when I would happen upon a roll that was ‘over’ I was done. I mean who does this? And why?

It wasn’t until one of my sons came to live with me for a minute that I was put to the test. Apparently, he rebelled against his upbringing and became an ‘over’ person. For a while we’d battle with the toilet paper roll, then one day I just gave up. And you know what? Nothing happened. There wasn’t a meteor strike, an attack of the body snatchers or zombie apocalypse and the best thing? The toilet paper still worked!

Today, I can proudly say I’m an ‘over’ person and proud of it! Releasing, released me and allowed me to experience a freedom like none other.

Losing Sight Helped Me Find Balance Amidst Extremes Feature Image Description:

The graphic is a simple black and white ekg with the outline of a ballerina in the center of the jagged lines.

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Amy Kavanagh | Blind Beauty 65

Blind Beauty 65 Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

Part of my problem was that I just didn’t identify as “blind.” Even though I was born with a visual impairment, I didn’t think of myself as disabled. Everyone always went on about sight loss, but I’d never had it in the first place! It was my normal.

~Amy Kavanagh

Amy Kavanagh | Blind Beauty 65

Selfie description is in the body of the post.
#1 Amy Selfie

This part of Amy’s quote “I just didn’t identify as blind” speaks volumes to me. Her words take me back to a time before I received my first pair of eyeglasses. Granted, even though I was myopic (severely nearsighted), the difference between me and Amy was my eyesight back then was correctable to 20/20.

The situation of seeing versus not seeing is one of the most baffling aspects of blindness. Back in the day, when a person was defined as blind we generally understood it to mean they couldn’t see anything. Today, we know that greatly diminished, uncorrectable eyesight can severely impact a person’s day to day life. For those of you who wear corrective lenses when you aren’t wearing them do you notice a difference in your sight?

I can relate to Amy only from the perspective of ‘my normal’ (nearsightedness) wasn’t a problem until my sight was corrected. In other words, ‘normal’ was blurry vision because ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know.’ Before my eyes were corrected I didn’t know I couldn’t see.

As I read and reread Amy’s words I wonder how many people don’t identify as blind because it’s their normal. When we add in the stigma associated with blindness it takes this thinking to another level. For years, because Amy was living her ‘normal’ she didn’t take advantage of tools and training that could have made her life easier. I’ll tell you what though, I’m happy she came around because today she’s a fearless activist. Her #JustAskDontGrab campaign speaks to respecting the personal space of people with disabilities.

Blindness is complex. People are complex. If there were one lesson to come out of this post it would be we all ‘see’ differently (literally and figuratively). I think we run into problems when we measure our circumstances against others.

Blind Beauty 65 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Amy Kavanagh’s image on the cover is black & white. This photo is a head and shoulder shot. Amy is sat in front of a wall with the BBC logo on. She is wearing big headphones over her bright pink hair and she’s smiling and looking at the camera.

Blocks of text superimposed on Charise’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”

Additional Image:

  1. This photo is a selfie. It’s a sunny day, with trees and blue sky in the background. Amy is smiling looking at the camera in large round sunglasses. Her hair is blond with bright pink hair fading from the top. She is wearing a black t-shirt and badge, the badge shows a pair of sunglasses and reads, medical necessity not fashion accessory.

Connecting With Amy:

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Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences

Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences Featured Image is described in the body of the post.

Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences

Improving Humanity By Respecting Differences Featured image description is in the body of the post.
Me In My Favorite Color Combo

Today I saw one of the silliest Tweets I’ve seen in a while. The Tweeter has a blind relative which in turn makes them an authority on blindness. Their knowledge of blindness was so impressive I was shocked to learn I can’t do all the things I’m doing. Well fry me in butter and call me a catfish!

Please forgive my sarcasm. I actually felt a little bad for the Tweeter because the Twitterverse tore them apart. Me? It wasn’t worth my time responding

There’s actually some truth to the whole wisdom and age thing. I know this to be true because things that would have previously set me on fire just aren’t worthy of my attention. It’s not to say that this person’s opinion didn’t matter it may have had it been expressed as such. However making wild assertions that blind people aren’t capable of this, that, and the other, well, what was the point?

One of the benefits of belonging to a marginalized group is it gives you a broader perspective. I happen to belong to a few:

  • African American
  • Female
  • Over 55
  • Blind
  • Short

Even though I belong to these groups I’ve never thought of myself as marginal. This doesn’t mean that I’ve always been treated equally to others, who aren’t among these groups, but I digress.

One Of A Kind

What I have a hard time understanding is how we can’t see that each of our experiences is unique. Let’s say you and I share the same medical condition yet one of us couldn’t function like the other what does that mean? I give you a hint: nothing.

The word ‘unique‘ is defined as “existing as the only one or as the sole example.” So if each of us as individuals is one of a kind why do we continue to compare ourselves against one another? Why can’t we just embrace ourselves as who we are and be done with it?

Please correct me if I’m wrong here but I thought as a species, humans are the same on a biological level. However, the beauty of being human lies in our complexities. If siblings from the same background turn out to be polar opposites what does this mean for the rest of us? 

None of us knows everything. I think if we could slow down, listen a little more, and respect one another we’d be a little better off. One thing I’ve learned in recent years is to approach life and people with an open mind. I remind myself that no two people in the same situation are going to react the same way. And you know what? That’s okay. 

I believe now more than ever that to improve humanity we must change the way we perceive one another. 

Improving Humanity Featured Image Description:

Two transparent bluish human skeletons on a black background with anatomical features (brains, intestines, etc.) 

Additional Image:

A throwback tri-collage of me standing in front of my counter with my white cane. I’m wearing a black & white striped v-neck sweater with a black pencil skirt (with gold accents). I’ve paired the outfit with black suede knee-high boots, silver statement earrings and a pixie cut wig.