“Having been diagnosed at the age of 4 with Stargardt’s, I have known my whole life I was going to grow up to be “blind.” A lot of things have surprised me about vision loss along the way, but the thing that surprises me the most has nothing to do with vision at all. I have learned that I must speak up and advocate for myself. The most surprising thing along my vision loss Journey, has been how it’s helped me find my voice!”
Generally speaking, people seem to be fascinated by the capabilities of blind and visually impaired people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked who does my makeup or pulls together my outfits.
Sometimes I feel the questions are a test where my answer will prove or disprove my level of sight. As I’ve discussed many times on Bold Blind Beauty, blindness is a spectrum condition.
The number of people who are completely blind is roughly around 10 percent. What this means is the majority of blind people have some residual sight which varies greatly from person to person. Our remaining sight is severe enough to impact day-to-day living and requires adaptations.
While Niki received her diagnosis at a very young age, she has to acclimate to declining levels of sight. Recently she decided to take Basic White Cane Training to maintain her independence and she shares her journey on Instagram.
Blind Beauty 62 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Niki is on the cover in black and white. She is sitting at the entryway to a barn on a wooden step. Beside her are decorative corn stalks with a couple of Halloween pumpkins. In the entrance behind her are stacked bales of hay. Niki’s outfit is described under additional images.
Blocks of text superimposed on Niki’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”
In this color photo of Niki, she’s dressed for fall. She’s in a cream-colored jacket with tan pants and fashionable brown boots lace-up boots. Her look is completed with a burgundy/cream print scarf tied loosely around her neck.
This photo of Niki in the same outfit described above is a closeup of her sitting in the back of a blue truck bed. Whisps of wheat/blond hair frames her pretty profile.
“So many times I want to quit!! But TODAY is the day to begin! This song has brought me through so much these last years. We all have it in us to succeed but often we have to dig deeper than we ever thought possible.”
I cannot say enough good things about the pretty lady I’m going to introduce you to today! I’ve been following Ginger Anderson’s health journey on Instagram and she’s one of the reasons I chose a healthier lifestyle.
Ginger is a wife, mom, knitter, all around powerhouse, oh, and did I mention she’s also legally blind? Earlier this year Ginger began her journey to a healthier lifestyle with a simple decision to just do it. She knew she was in a bad place and also knew she needed accountability. So the next logical step was to find a program to suit her needs. The journey hasn’t been a walk in the park and what I like about Ginger is her transparency about her challenges.
In Ginger’s Own Words
Y’all I am in tears right now!! I am legally blind and I see through a tunnel that is about the size of a quarter and in that tunnel my vision is very distorted and cloudy. I told myself that I couldn’t do the #shiftshop Shop program or #provinggrounds because of my vision and the chronic state of vertigo-like symptoms but you know what??
When @happyhealthyhumble shared Saturday morning before her speech about mindset, that little voice inside me said Ginger you CAN do this!! And I DID it!! It was hard, lost my balance quite a bit, and modified as needed. Tears of joy right now!!! Thank you Amy!!! And thank you @thechrisdowning.
The following video “Today Is Your Day” by Shania Twain is the song Ginger refers to in her first quote:
Blind Beauty 61 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Ginger Anderson is on the cover in black and white. Her hair is styled in a fabulous asymmetrical pixie cut.
Blocks of text superimposed on Ginger’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”
Selfie of Ginger with streaked brownish/blonde hair at a craft show. I neglected to mention that Ginger has one of the prettiest smiles and it can be seen in all of her photos. She’s wearing a black top and her makeup is flawless.
Six-panel collage of Ginger in various stages of exercise. She’s decked out in black shorts, black sports bra and gray tank with a white headband.
“Losing your vision is like using the Yellow Pages, you just have to let your fingers do the walking”
I once had 20/20 vision but began to lose it from too much pressure on my brain and optic nerves. The condition that occurred around 2007- 2008 was Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension which caused scarring on my optic nerves. During this time, I was working as a graphic designer and had no idea what to do.
A graphic designer’s main asset is vision and mine was failing. So, there were several years where I didn’t know how to cope with my newfound “disability.” It subsequently caused me to go into a great depression.
Eventually, I learned to use my hands and fingers to get by. I began to try crocheting and cooking again which I loved to do before my vision began to fail. What amazed me was how quickly my fingers knew what to do even though I had a hard time seeing the stitches.
My crocheting was BETTER than it was when I could see because my fingers were now able to keep perfect tension on the yarn! Now I create lovely crocheted blankets and beautiful fashion wraps with perfectly even stitching. Cooking was a bit more of a challenge but after burning myself a million times I got better. Now I move around my kitchen like I have perfect sight.
Setbacks, Surgeries & Seeing A Way Forward
In 2012 I had a series of failed surgeries that left me unable to do anything for the entire year. After 5 lumboperitoneal (LP) shunts that had to be revised or replaced I eventually got a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. The VP shunt didn’t fail but I was still terribly depressed.
To handle my depression, I began making YouTube videos showing what it’s like to see through the eyes of someone with 20/400 vision. At the same time, I started taking online classes at Colorado Technical University. I did so well in school they wrote an article about me for their website to inspire others to get an education. Both outlets helped me deal with what was happening in my head. These activities, made me feel I wasn’t doomed to spend the rest of my life in the dark feeling bad for myself.
I eventually graduated with an Associate Degree in Business Administration and went back to earn a Bachelor’s in Digital Marketing. My education helped me to grow my Instagram account and I landed a job as an account manager in Denver, CO with a merchandising company. Working made my depression much better as I had previously felt I may never be able to work again. I excelled in this position and managed to juggle about 1000 accounts during my 2 years in this fast-paced position.
Creativity Spawns A Positive Mindset
My YouTube channel is my source of fun because I love to be able to create and edit my own videos. The fact that I can edit my own videos despite my vision issues is a great source of personal pride. Not only does it make me feel better it helps to educate others on what it’s like to live seeing through my eyes. I haven’t been making as many videos as I’d like because life is so busy, but I have plans for my channel coming soon. You can check out my Through My Eyes series on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/ksmith228.
I also began writing music again and have completed several albums. One of my songs, Evangeline, has earned an honorable mention and stellar review from Music City SongStar. Creating and learning are my main passions and I wouldn’t have made it through the dark days without them.
I am currently taking time to focus on my creative endeavors and am the brand ambassador for 2 separate eyewear companies. Protecting your eyes from the sun is imperative and I wanted to make sure I represented companies that are attainable for all.
I represent Nora NYC which is a higher end sunglass brand that has very fashion-forward styles. I also represent Piranha Eyewear which is an affordable sunglass brand that offers classic and fashion-forward styles to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. You can find out more on these brands from my Instagram account @kelsonearth.
Blind Beauty 60 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Kel Smith is on the cover in black and white. The word that comes to mind when one looks at the dark-haired beauty is sultry. In her photos, she always manages to pull off a glamorous vibe like Hedy Lamar or Marlene Dietrich.
Blocks of text superimposed on Kel’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”
In this closeup of Kel’s face, her eyes are closed and her head is angled towards her shoulder. Her eyebrows are beautifully arched and she has flawless winged eyeliner paired with a light shade of lip color.
A collage of four different poses in which Kel is wearing a black & white striped v-neck top. She’s paired the top with a black & white houndstooth tam. Dark red lip color looks great against her red fingernails.
Kel looks so stylish as she stands in front of a red brick wall with one foot propped against it. She’s wearing a green fedora, chunky cream sweater, dark pants, and taupe suede boots. Aviator sunglasses complete her fabulous look.
Kel’s face is slightly tilted to the right and her straight brown shoulder-length hair frames her face. Her arched eyebrows open up her face to show off her beautiful green eyes. She’s wearing a gray top with her left shoulder slightly exposed.
I will not pretend that losing my vision was not difficult and will not be difficult. However, where there are difficulties there is an adjustment, transition, and adaptation.
Woman On The Move, Krystle Allen of Eyes Like Mine Inc., is an advocate, entrepreneur, beauty contestant, and trailblazer. All about empowerment, Krystle lives by a philosophy of seeing barriers as opportunities to use ingenuity to breakthrough. Bottom line, she believes even with challenges anything is possible.
Blind Beauty 59 Featured Image Description:
Featured image is a new faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty.
Headshot of Krystle in an off-shoulder sparkly top is on the cover is black & white. Her dark hair is draped over her left shoulder and she is wearing a statement necklace
Blocks of text superimposed on Krystle’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”