“White Cane Rules of the Road kicks off with a card (printed in large type for low-vision persons—and in braille for blind persons) as part of an information packet about boldblindbeauty.com. The card was designed as a high-level overview to inform the public on the variations of the White Cane Law throughout the United States.” Continue reading
The white mobility cane—a badge of strength and boldness. It enables us to do most anything. What would we do without it?
Bold Blind Beauty
Indicating a person is blind or visually impaired, the long thin white cane is more than just a tool for its users. It’s a way to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum. But a white cane can also mean different things to different people.
For the blind and visually impaired (B&VI), a cane can be an incredibly useful tool. It grants us a significant amount of freedom and mobility depending upon our ability and level of sight loss. But it also can have much stigma as we deal with acceptance of blindness, particularly by someone who is recently blinded.
When I was given my first cane, I admit I was devastated. I realized that I had transformed from being a woman who had sight to a woman who became blind. That was tough. Suddenly, I was viewed by society as a person with a disability, not a whole person. But now I love my cane—and beyond just its functionality.
My cane represents more than just my blindness. It has become a part of me, a part that is loved and accepted by anyone who truly loves and accepts me. Even my sighted friends love it, as they see my ability to accept and adjust to my situation. Without judgment or marginalization, they appreciate how I can function just like anyone else.
Blinging Out The White Cane
But wait, there’s more! I’ve always loved fashion and style, so I asked, why can’t I use my cane beyond its role as a mobility device? Why can’t it help express my inner sense of being, much like my hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, and jewelry? Why not personalize it to make a fashion statement as to who I am as a woman?
As a mobility tool, a cane, of course, needs to be reflective and visible, particularly to drivers. But there’s a lot you can do to “bling out” a cane, without jeopardizing its functionality and safety features. For example, there are canes with handles and tips in a variety of colors such as neon blue, green, pink and orange.
There also are canes where the shaft is a matching color instead of white and red. But you need to go with an overall color and style you are comfortable and feel safe with. Our recommendation would be to bedazzle portions of the cane such as the handgrip, the section just below the grip, and the strap—an easy solution to creating a personalized fashion statement.
To express my inner self, I decided to decorate mine. Here are some tips and ideas for those who are still new to having a cane, since it really helps with the self-confidence—at least for me.
Don’t add too many decorations (to prevent them from being a distraction)
Use materials that are reflective and will adhere to the cane
Use removable décor in case they become a hindrance
Decorate for holidays, events, parties, and just for fun!
Here are a few ideas to add some swag to your staff of independence:
Braille cane charms
Bling hung on the strap
Colorful reflective duct tape
Holiday décor – ribbons & banners for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s, Easter, St. Patrick’s, July 4th
Sports, e.g. Super Bowl Sunday, World Series, Olympics
Music – instruments & clef signs
Now with a little bling and glitz, my cane tells a story about me—a whole person beyond just my blindness. And since we’ll be together for a long time, I plan on having lots more fun with my cane. So, bling out your cane and enable your inner fashion sensibilities—and be a bold, blind and beautiful woman!
“Failure to understand why I use a white cane on your part does not constitute an explanation on my part.”
Originally published on April 28, 2017 and lightly updated.
If you fear using a white cane because of what other people think, fear no more. Do this for you and no one else! Accepting your white cane offers you the irrefutable gift of independence.
While the stigma of the white cane still persists, there are increasing numbers of people opening up about blindness/sight loss. Having conversations about the topic of blindness helps to not only increase awareness but also empowers those affected by it.
Managing Bold Blind Beauty has enabled me to connect with so many others who are thriving with their blindness/sight loss. Sharing stories of our featured guests continues to stoke the flames of my passion for advocacy. Breaking down barriers, focusing on abilities, and pushing for inclusion by connecting sighted and non-sighted people is key.
If you’ve been following me for some time now you know that blindness is unique for each individual. There is no one way to ‘look’ blind and thankfully technology is helping to open doors previously inaccessible to us.
I’m now 58 years old, still don’t ‘look’ like I’m blind and there is no need to prove this to anyone. Today, I boldly use my white or colored cane depending on my mood. There was a time when foolish pride and worrying about what other’s thought kept me from doing what’s best for me —no more. Nowadays when I fall it’s no longer a joke, it actually hurts. So to keep from stumbling, I use my white cane and I’m ALL IN!
There is no shame in having a disability or using a white cane or other mobility device. So SHINE ON!! Get out there and LIVE life💖 You got this!
“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.”
I am posed standing in this photo (a collage of three images) with my white cane. My outfit is a black tee, black leggings, black crisscross heels, gray long hooded vest.
Another tri-collage where I’m standing with my white cane against my counter in the living room. This time I’m wearing all white (jeans, cami, open shirt) with beige block-heeled lace-up sandals. A silver cuff bracelet, statement necklace, and earrings complete the look.