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Issue #19 | Broken, Barriers & Misperceptions

Broken & barriers quote and image description are in the body of the post.

Abigale’s Insights on Beauty & Sight Loss

“Society has a tendency to look at people with visible disabilities as broken. At the same time we look at people with invisible disabilities with an undue amount of skepticism. The real issue is our broken society. Equal access to human rights can only happen by breaking down visible and invisible barriers.”

It’s a serious disservice to use broad brushstrokes to paint people without knowing their full story. Projecting fear and pity onto others from our limited understanding can hurt and devalue people.

Here at Bold Blind Beauty, we believe we can improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another. The way we achieve this goal is by beginning from a place of genuine respect and kindness.

There are many people living with disabilities who are positive, passionate and living their lives with purpose. Likewise, there are many people without disabilities who do not positively contribute to society.

Abby’s Reflections Description: 

The featured image is a gray, teal, and white boldblindbeauty.com template. Abby is sitting cross-legged in her PJs (gray bottoms & white top with a gray collar). Her laptop (with a teal Abby logo on the cover) sits on her lap. She is sitting next to her white cane with a headset and microphone atop her signature explosive hairstyle.

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Stars Are Always Present

"Baily's Beads, On the right side of the moon, orbs of glowing sunlight shimmer off the edge of the moon's black disk. Called Baily's Beads, these final areas of the sun's light appear as glimmering pearls on a wire, made intensely bright by the absence of light surrounding them." ~Eclipse SoundscapesYesterday, for the first time in almost 40 years parts of the US experienced a total solar eclipse. So as millions of excited people gathered within the path of totality it made me think about perceptions; from the way, we perceive ourselves to how we are perceived by others.

Just as the moon eclipses the light of the sun casting shadows and even total darkness on certain parts of the earth, eyesight or lack of eyesight can eclipse the wholeness of an individual depending on our perspective.

Collage of icons representing a range of disabilities, pregnancy, mother & child, arm in cast. Often blind people have insight and clarity enabling us to see to the heart, mind, and soul of a person because we aren’t distracted by light-given sight. On the other hand, when we see a person use a white cane, guide dog, or other mobility devices, this can sometimes color our viewpoint which in turn can block us from truly seeing the whole person versus their disability.

Even during the day stars are always present, we just can’t see them because of the sun’s glare. People are sort of like this in that while we may use different tools to survive or just to live our lives, with or without our tools we are always here, we are whole.

What was your perception of the eclipse?

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5 Common Misconceptions About Blindness

“Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” ~Stephanae McCoy

Optical illusion of a 3-dimensional hollow crate.The following is an edited version of the original article published on The Mighty on July 19, 2017.

When I lost my eyesight I quickly learned that thriving within the sighted world meant overcoming obstacles. Believe it or not, while living with sight loss isn’t easy the most difficult challenges come in the form of misconceptions. Listed below are a few I’ve encountered:

  1. Blindness is a complete lack of sight, total darkness – FALSE
    • The majority of people considered blind have some functional vision i.e. light perception, shapes/shadows, lack of peripheral or central vision, cloudy, obstructed vision, etc.
  2. People who use white canes or guide dogs are totally blind – FALSE
    • The range of sight loss is enormous and it differs from person to person. Many legally blind people who use mobility aids may ‘appear’ to see. The aids are needed for navigating safely and independently.
  3. Legal blindness is when a person can’t see after taking off corrective lenses – FALSE
    • Legal blindness refers to a specific measurement required for a person to receive government benefits.
    • Legal blindness does not define or describe the functional vision.
    • When a person is legally blind, day-to-day living is impacted and their eyesight cannot be corrected by lenses, medicine or surgery.
    • There are legally blind people who do not use mobility aids or self-identify, this is their right.
  4. There is a clear contrast between blind and sighted people – FALSE
    • Many blind people do not ‘look’ like they cannot see.
    • Many blind people walk confidently and are well put together.
    • Many blind people are highly skilled in a number of areas including, law, health care, technology, art, science, sports, politics, teaching, etc.
  5. Blind people cannot use smartphones, tablets, or computers – FALSE
    • Many blind people are extremely technologically savvy. 

Six assorted stones balanced on top of one another to represent balance.While this list isn’t all-inclusive many of us have encountered situations where our lack of eyesight is questioned. If there were one takeaway I would want people to understand it would be this: when meeting a person who uses a mobility device or self-identifies as having a hidden disability take it at face value.

Many times things are not as they might appear and just because we may not understand the situation does not change the fact that everyone—including people with disabilities—are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.

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Style & The White Cane Can Coexist

Beauty, Blindness & The White Cane

"Real Beauty Transcends Barriers" with a sexy midi dress, black shoes, handbag and the most important accessory - the white cane.“But you don’t look blind” Many of us blind/VI ladies hear this quite often, especially if we are stylish and walk confidently with our white canes or guide dogs. But here’s the thing, if someone told you they had cancer to say “you don’t look like you have cancer” would be considered rude. The same holds true for blindness and many other disabilities. Fact is there are many fashionable and attractive women who happen to be blind. The thing that sets us apart is we refuse to let our lack of eyesight prevent us from living life on our terms.

I think it’s important for all of us to remember things aren’t always as they might appear.

“Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions. Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.” ~Libby Thaw

Image: The quote “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” is on an image of a floor length oval mirror. Overlapping a small portion of the mirror is a sexy red midi dress, black heels, handbag and the most important accessory – the white cane.

Have a great day!!

 

 

 

*Image is the property of www.boldblindbeauty.com and www.abigailstyle.com