“Failure to understand why I use a white cane on your part, does not constitute an explanation on my part.” ~Steph McCoy
If you fear using a mobility tool because of what other people think, fear no more. Do this for you and no one else!
I’m 56 years old, I don’t ‘look’ like I’m blind but because I don’t ‘look’ it doesn’t change the fact that I am. Nowadays when I fall it’s no longer a joke, it actually hurts. So if using the white cane keeps me from stumbling, I’m ALL IN!
There is no shame in having a disability. SHINE ON!! Get out there and LIVE life💖 You got this!
“Our culture of reality TV and aggressiveness leads to some strange personal interactions. When you wield a white cane, you never know what you’re gonna get.” ~Susan Kennedy, Adventures In Low Vision
Sadly, there’s a lot of truth to Susan’s quote when using a white cane or any other type of mobility tool for that matter. Yet we press onward, in spite of. Never let anyone or anything prevent you from pursuing your best life!
Image: Susan is in the grocery store standing in front of her grocery cart with her white cane in her right hand.
“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: “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers” with a sexy midi dress, black shoes, handbag and the most important accessory – the white cane.
Back when I was a youngster through my high school years, there were many days I wished I could just disappear. I was a prime target for bullying in school because I was so quiet, shy, and afraid, and after school homelife wasn’t much better.
Thankfully time, distance, and many therapy sessions later have muted most of my childhood memories. There are however triggers from time to time that take me back to a specific situation.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know the primary focus of this blog revolves around style as it relates to blindness. However as I’ve said many times we are so much more than how we appear which is why I weave stories of my life into my outfit posts. Today’s memory partially revolves around the brightly colored fleece sweatshirts in the attached photos (more on this in a minute).
For years I thought I was different because I grew up in a dysfunctional environment however I’ve come to understand my main issue was unworthiness. In adulthood my codependency evolved into a strong desire to strive for perfection and to always be in control.
While my need for control had its own set of issues, when it came to someone I cared about being threatened my lioness instincts kicked-in. One of my bullies found this out firsthand when he decided he was going to pick on my little brother, to this day I still have the scar to prove it, I chased the creep down, unloaded on him and didn’t realize until afterwards that I skinned my knee.
Through protecting my younger brother my inner crazy was unleashed. So it only made sense when one of my other bullies thought she could still push me around, I channeled the crazy and from that day on the bullying ceased.
If I thought discovering I had a lioness instinct was huge imagine my surprise when, in my last year of high school, I finally found a way to become accepted. Prior to 11th grade if I wasn’t in school or studying, I was sleeping. Sleep was my way of escape so it really wasn’t a revelation that being introduced to alcohol would bring out a Steph I didn’t know existed.
For the first time in my life I was outgoing and fun to be around. Finally, I could become the person I always wanted to be because alcohol relaxed my inner turmoil. I now had a social life and was one of the kool kids.
When I began having children it was time to get serious and I remained true to my childhood vow that life would be different for them. I was unafraid to show them affection and would hug, kiss, and tell them at every opportunity that I loved them. I needed them to know they were valued, wanted, and more importantly loved. I would have fought to the death for them however while I loved them like crazy, I was strict because of that whole codependency/perfectionism thing.
Looking back now I can see how I’ve become so intense and how losing my eyesight would push me over the edge. In order to move onward after a life-altering situation like sight loss at some point you have to succumb to the circumstances.
So what does all of this have to do with fitting in? The answer in three words: The. White. Cane. When I first began using my white cane I felt like it was a beacon. I stood out and at times felt uncomfortable but I had to keep pushing through because as I saw it I had two choices: give up or give in. I chose to give in because giving in meant that I was going to accept my situation and learn to work within the parameters set before me.
In today’s photos I decided since I stand out with the white cane I might as well go all the way and wear bright, attention-getting tops along with my little granny boots and coated jeans. These fleece sweatshirts are two of three (third on is displayed in Mix and Re-Mix) that I got for $6.00 each at Kohl’s. Following and in Alt-text are descriptions on the photos.
Outfit #1 – fluorescent coral fleece sweatshirt, black-coated jeans, black lace & faux leather lace-up booties with a kitten heel and a multi-colored fringed scarf (in shades of burgundy, brown & white) tied like a loose neck-tie. Accessories are lacy diamond-shaped dangling earrings, silver bracelet and rings.
Outfit #2 – This outfit is exactly the same as outfit #1 except I’m wearing a bright peach colored fleece sweatshirt.
Outfit #3 – This outfit consists of the same jeans & booties but I’m wearing a gray & white striped tee and a black boyfriend blazer cuffed (cuffs are black & white plaid). Accessories are a long pendant fringe necklace, silver and gray beaded stretch bracelet and the same earrings as in outfits 1 & 2.