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Seeing Differently A Message Of Hope For 2020

Fireworks image is described in the body of the post

BEAUTY BUZZ & BLOG BIZ | 2020 A Year Of Vision

Happy New Year Everyone!!

2020 A Year Of Vision Image description is in the body of the post.
2020 A Year of Vision

Built on the premise that “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers,” Bold Blind Beauty was created to empower blind and visually impaired women. In recognition of the year 2020, we are excited to unveil our “2020 A Year Of Vision” Campaign. The focus of the campaign will be on changing perceptions about the disability community and promoting inclusiveness.  

Changing perceptions begins with building awareness and promoting respect for people with disabilities. We plan to achieve the goal of changing the way we perceive one another by sharing our stories and having mutual respect for humanity. In 2020 we are thrilled to present as part of the “2020 A Year of Vision” Campaign: 

Compassionate & Broader Perspectives Promote Acceptance

It seems we must label and categorise to ‘impose order’ over our world, to allocate meaning, to think of things in a prescribed way.

~Robyn Haynes | Big Dreams For A Tiny garden

I won’t pretend to know how or when segregation began as this is outside of my area of expertise. However, as my friend Robyn observes in her post “Star Of Bethlehem” I agree that taxonomies are human-imposed.

As humans we are and simultaneously are not, the same. Think about it, when we strip away our exteriors what are we left with? Sure, many factors go into our becoming the individuals we are and the beauty of being human lies in our complexities. Unfortunately, all humanity isn’t equally valued.

As a nearly 60-year-old minority who lives with an acquired disability, I have some experience in what being different means. Something I’ve noticed; when others who are not minorities become disabled, it becomes apparent how being different impacts their lives. Side note: as a minority group, the disability community does NOT discriminateanyone can become a member. I’ve also noticed that when we experience a national or international tragedy we can come together in shared grief.

Since no one can possibly know what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes it’s our responsibility to be empathetic. Is this difficult? Absolutely it is! Just thinking of all the areas of contention we have with fellow humans is dizzying. And truth be told, some people while we may have to let them go for whatever reason, they are still valuable humans. In “When the corpse is not ours…” my friend and author Jacqueline (A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales) challenges our view of humanity.

“No other “group” has the power to erase and redefine another person’s identity to suit their own bias – to control which areas of society in which others may engage in relative safety.”

~Jambo Robyn | Jambo Robyn Stories about ordinary things

Learning To Respect Differences

Appreciating differences and accepting people where they are is at the heart of humanity. If you subscribe to the idea that humanity is imperfect, respecting differences can begin with embracing our own flaws. So how then can we learn to see differently? Here are a few tips to practice:

  • Gratitude without comparison: Comparing ourselves with one another is pointless and detrimental to our wellbeing. So many of us are overly concerned with being who others think we should be and in the process, we lose ourselves. Being grateful for who you are, begins with knowing yourself. No one can define who you are except you. Self-compassion enables you to wholly embrace yourself and gratitude diminishes the need for comparison. What are your vulnerabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and values?
  • Let go of perfectionism: We’re complex creatures none of whom are perfect. Do not give power to your inner critic. Doing the best we can with what we have is enough.
  • Positivity as a choice: In our increasingly divisive culture it can be challenging to avoid negativity however we always have a choice. We do not have to engage in negative behavior or commentary.
  • Kindness: Being open to the idea that others’ lives may differ greatly from your own is okay. We cannot and should not expect everyone to live as we do. Respecting other people’s right to live and choose how to do so is humanitarianism. Live and let live and above all be kind.

In 2020 let’s do better and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be! I leave you with a song I’ve declared as my anthem:

We Are Here To love | Lenny Kravitz

What are your thoughts on how we can transform our culture and respect one another?

Image Descriptions:

  • The header image contains multicolored fireworks on a white background.
  • 2020 A Year Of Vision: A simple black outline drawing of an eye on a white background. The iris of the eye is a teal-colored female symbol and the pupil inside the iris is a smaller gray male symbol. The eye is centered above the black tagline “2020 A Year of Vision.”
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When Passion Is Palpable One Must Pursue It

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

~Neil Gaiman

Advocacy can occur on many levels from creating a massive movement to a simple blog but it all begins with a passion for positive social change. When I was asked to participate in an upcoming event to bring awareness to the abilities of people with disabilities I couldn’t say no. 

Disability InSIGHTS is a seminar designed to increase awareness of the abilities of people living with disabilities. I will be one of 7 speakers who will share stories of triumphs, obstacles, and breaking down barriers. More on this in a moment.

Typically when we hear stories of people who are on the front lines of social justice the conversation revolves around passion. There is something that ignites the fire within us to create positive change. While it’s true passion has a defining role in our advocacy efforts we seldom talk about another major player—fear.

Working Through Fear

Fear is universal and yet many times when we talk about success fear isn’t a major topic of conversation. I’ve lived a life of fear and a life of overcoming. Losing my eyesight was one of my greatest fears that I never thought I’d be able to accept. However, it was my fear of blindness that in part prompted me to create Bold Blind Beauty. 

Fear was the reason why I declined an all-expense-paid trip to Kansas earlier this year. Even though the opportunity to empower blind & visually impaired youth was seductive I just couldn’t let go of my fear.

The thought of traveling out of state on what would be my first solo flight after my sight loss terrified me. Questions swirled around in my head like:

  • would I know where to go once I was dropped off curbside at the airport?
  • what if the assistance I requested ahead of time wasn’t available?
  • would I have a panic attack because everything I see is indistinguishable?
  • what if I had to use the restroom, would I get lost?
  • would the flight attendants show me to my seat?
  • since my trip connected through another airport what would that be like?
  • what would I do if I encountered problems because people doubted my disability?
  • how would I handle the prospect of being stranded?

With all these questions and more, you’d think I’d be satisfied with declining the trip but I wasn’t. Truth be told I was still unsettled yet I couldn’t articulate why. Thankfully, I was given another chance, this time I said YES! and I went to Kansas.

The Cumulative Effect

The Kansas trip was only the beginning of all the wonderful things to come this year as a result of my work at Bold Blind Beauty. While I’ve been blogging for nearly 5 years I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve questioned myself as to whether this is a fruitful effort. Then last year I partnered with advocate extraordinaire, Chelsea Nguyen, and together we founded CAPTIVATING! Magazine, a free, accessible online lifestyle magazine. CAPTIVATING! provides monthly content about culture and style for people of all abilities proving that inclusion is limitless.

As a result of my partnership with Chelsea, and my work with Bold Blind Beauty I’ve enjoyed these amazing experiences:

Next, in the lineup of this year’s events are:

My trips to Kansas and Utah were sublime. CAPTIVATING!’s award from the Texas Rehabilitation Association was a delightful and totally unexpected surprise. Then filming the behind the scenes story of Bold Blind Beauty last week was extraordinary. 

I’m eagerly anticipating the Disability InSIGHTS Seminar where I can share my tips on the path to social entrepreneurship. This event is being held in recognition of International Blindness Awareness Month and National Employment Disability Awareness Month. It will take place on October, 18 from 11 am – 3 pm at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA. 

Seeing The Beauty In People

I believe everyone has value. I also believe our perceptions of people can get in the way of our ability to appreciate their value. For far too long we’ve looked at people who are ‘different’ from ourselves and immediately leap to conclusions without knowing their story, without knowing them. When we add disabilities (visible and invisible) to this equation we become ‘experts’ in determining their worth and it isn’t fair nor is it right. 

We all have moments of insecurity, uncertainty, and fear. I nearly let my fear keep me from life-changing events where I’ve learned so many valuable lessons. None of this means I won’t ever feel uncomfortable or downright scared. However, when I ask myself why inclusion, accessibility, and representation are so important my passion will continue to help me push through my fear.

Courage is contagious and when we share our vulnerabilities it empowers others. How about you? Can you think of a time that fear nearly prevented you from meaningful achievement? 

Disability InSIGHTS Information:

Featured Image Description:

A closeup view of a blank wooden arrow sign against a bright blue sky dotted with a few puffy white clouds.

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Baring Our Souls For A Vision Of Empowerment

Baring Our Souls For A Vision Of Empowerment

“The one thing you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. The moment that you feel that just possibly you are walking down the street naked…that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”

~Neil Gaiman

My business partner, Chelsea Nguyen, is from Houston, TX and I live in Pittsburgh, PA. And together we are walking down the street naked.

You see, our accessible online magazine CAPTIVATING!, only 7 months in the making, has received an award from the Texas Rehabilitation Association. The award is for our work in representing people with disabilities in journalism. Isn’t this exciting? But wait, there’s more!

At the time we began our Go Fund Me Campaign we still hadn’t met in person. However, if you read yesterday’s post “Empowering Young People to Soar With Passion & Purpose” you know we met in person.

Chelsea and I envision a more inclusive world—it’s who we are. Changing the perception of disabilities and the people who are living and thriving with them is our calling. Connecting and enlightening people of all abilities is our mission.

If you’ve ever wanted to make an impact would you consider helping our efforts? We invite you to check out our story on Go Fund Me. Help us spread the word. Thank you!!

Baring Our Souls For A Vision Of Empowerment Featured Image Description:

The photo is from our June edition of the magazine. The article was written by Ron Graham of HAVIN. It’s about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Cane and Able which consisted of a group of 12 people, seven of whom were totally or legally blind, and one of them was on a motorized scooter. Visit http://www.captivatingmagazine.com to check out the article.

Additional Images:

  • Chelsea & Steph – Photo was taken at DFW. We are posing with our luggage and I have my gold cane in my left hand.
  • Level Up Brochure – 2019 Envision program brochure with the theme: “Connect Engage Act.”
  • The Gang – Max, Steph, Chelsea & Jeremy at DFW. Max and I are both holding our white canes.
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Worldwide Search For Models With Disabilities!

Worldwide Search For Models With Disabilities! same image as the featured image

Worldwide Search for Models Disabilities! YOU could be on the cover of CAPTIVATING!

Today, CAPTIVATING!, a project of Bold Blind Beauty, has launched a worldwide search for models with all types of disabilities. This global social media campaign is being managed by our newest Staff Writer, Rebecca Holland, of Beckie Writes. Continue reading to find out more, especially if you or someone you know has a disability and is interested in being featured on our March edition of CAPTIVATING!

Worldwide Search For Models With Disabilities! same image as the featured image
Our social media campaign is being managed by Rebecca Holland. Find out more on Instagram! 

Do you have a disability? CAPTIVATING! Magazine is looking for cover models for our March issue! Enter for your chance to be featured on our cover.

CAPTIVATING! is a magazine that is breaking down barriers and helping the world to see that all people―especially people with disabilities―are beautiful. We are looking for people of all ages from all over the world with all types of ability levels.

Not all disabilities look the same and we support people with all disabilities, including hidden disabilities. If you consider yourself to be a member of the disabled community, then we invite you to submit your image!

We want to see YOU on our cover! 

Our campaign is focused on Instagram because it has one of the highest engagement rates and is a great platform for aspiring influencers. We would love to see you participate in our Instagram campaign!

It’s easy to submit a picture! Just do the following easy steps: 

  1. LIKE this blog post on Instagram. You can find it here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BtwG0wjHpCT/
  2. FOLLOW @beckiewrites (campaign manager) and @captivatingmagazine on Instagram
  3. POST a picture to Instagram and TAG@captivatingmagazine and @beckiewrites 
    ―bonus points if you’re wearing red and black (our colors) in your picture!
  4. COMMENT on this post and let us know that you’ve submitted your photo! Bonus points if you tag two friends who might be interested in being on our cover as well!
  5. BONUS: Don’t forget to use our hashtag #WeRCaptivating anytime you’re talking about us on social media!

Not An Instagram User? Not A Problem!

If you don’t have Instagram but would still like to participate, you can e-mail your photo submissions to CAPTIVATING! at: editor@captivatingmagazine.com.

That’s it! I hope to see you featured on the front of our March issue! The cover model candidates winners will be selected and announced Friday, March 1, 2019.

More great news!

Even if you are not selected for our March cover, we may choose to feature you in one of our future issues. We will also be selecting photos to share throughout our campaign on our Facebook and Instagram feeds! Even if you’re not selected for the cover, you may still get a shoutout!

Worldwide Search For Models With Disabilities! Featured Image Description:

White text on a red background reads, “CaptivatingMagazine.com | Models with Disabilities Wanted.” Beckie smiles while wearing a red coat and leaning against a bookshelf. She has long dark hair and glasses.