Posted on

White Cane Day Celebrates B&VI People

White Cane Day Celebrates Featured Image Description is in the body of the post.

White Cane Day Celebrates B&VI People

“The white cane is more than just a mobility tool for blind and vision impaired users. It is also a badge of strength and boldness. It allows us to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum.”

~Bold Blind Beauty

White Cane Day celebrates the achievements of blind and visually impaired (B&VI) on October 15 every year. It also reminds people of how the white cane is an important tool in helping the B&VI live with greater independence.

We are extraordinary. We are able to see the world through a spectrum few get to experience. No matter where we fall on the blindness range we have developed skills from self-care to independent living that allow us to take full advantage of our remaining sensory systems. Among our ranks are poets, ballerinas, teachers, composers, models, pianists, writers, singers, social workers, psychologists, photographers, artists, fashion designers, lawyers, physicians, athletes, chefs, yoga instructors, astrophysicists, chefs, and the list goes on. We chose to soar and continue to thrive beyond physical limitations because we understand there is always a way.

White Cane Day Celebrates Featured Image Description:

Bold Blind Beauty template with fashion icon Abby to the left of the text. Abby is walking with her white cane in one hand and handbag in the other. The image and text are white with a black background. She wears a stylish dress and heels and is sporting her signature explosive hairstyle. 

Posted on

World Sight Day | A Road Well-Traveled

World Sight Day | A Road Well-Traveled featured image description is in the body of the post.

This road is where I had the most magical, moving epiphany of my life. 
You see, I had just been declared legally blind, turned in my license and quit work. Yeah, it was what you’d call a Shit-tastophe. But my legs still worked, so they were my transportation and I’d walk this road every day.

~Jennifer Dutrow

Today is World Sight Day and what better time to share this lovely piece written by my friend Jennifer Dutrow? What I love about this post is how Jen clearly demonstrates the power of choice and helping others, no matter our circumstances. Enjoy! 

World Sight Day | A Road Well-Traveled

I took this picture (featured image) in 2015, and I’d be lying if I said I’m not still brought to tears by it. This road is right behind my house. A country road for sure, since there are no lines. A road traveled often by horse and buggy people.

This road is where I had the most magical, moving epiphany of my life. 
You see, I had just been declared legally blind, turned in my license and quit work. Yeah, it was what you’d call a Shit-tastophe. But my legs still worked, so they were my transportation and I’d walk this road every day. 

Consider the road my state of mind at that point in time. The green field on the left was the life I had grown…work, family, success, purpose. The barren field on the right was what I thought my future would be without sight. Unless…unless. 

Unless I realized that life doesn’t end when my sight does. Unless I realized that my life is whatever I make it. It was on this road, on that day in 2015, that I decided to make that barren field green by staying active, learning all I could about fitness and nutrition, and making it my mission to help anyone I could to make their lives as incredible as possible.

World Sight Day Featured Image Description

As Jen described, the photo is an empty country road with lush green grass on one side and a barren field on the other. In the background are rolling tree-laden hills and the cloudless sky is a picture-perfect azure blue.

Connecting With Jennifer:

Posted on

Trading Car Keys For A White Cane

Trading Car Keys Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Thought of you today when meeting with an independent living specialist. I told her of your post when you finally grabbed “the cane” 🙂 She gave me some raised dot stickers to put on the kitchen appliances so I know which button is which. As much as I hated to admit it, I needed some help. Please know you are so inspiring and your insights and humor are appreciated. 

~Melissa Welch

Trading Car Keys For A White Cane

Image description is in the body of the post
Stephanae’s Mirror Selfie

October marks 10 years since I gave up my driving privileges. My last day of driving began like most days as I went through the ritual of preparing for work.

With laptop, handbag, and car keys in hand, I headed out the door to my sexy silver Jeep. Not an impulsive person by nature, I bought this SUV when I began having vision problems with my good eye. The Jeep purchase was one of the best impulsive decisions I ever made with no regrets. Heck, I even had a silver trench coat to match―no one could tell me nothin’ when I was behind the wheel.

On that crisp fall morning, I got in the Jeep, put down my belongings, slipped on my shades, started it up, and with music blaring pulled off. I swung by to pick up my colleague, best friend and carpooling buddy. Midway to the office, I matter of factly said to her: “I can’t drive anymore.” There were no theatrics, tears, or tantrums, it was time.

The Numbers Were In My Favor

When I look back at how my blindness evolved I can honestly say I knew. Even when the doctors were so sure I’d never end up where I am today, I knew. I remember bluntly asking each of them if I would go blind the answer was always “no you won’t Ms. McCoy.” 

Nothing that happened to me was supposed to happen, or at least that’s what the doctors said. When my first macular hole was diagnosed I was told there was a 95 to 99 percent chance my sight would be restored. Odds of it happening in the other eye was also very low. 

What kills me to this day is up to the point of that first macular hole I had the best vision of my life. Sure, I was using readers but my distance vision was corrected to 20/15. When I wore contact lenses my sight was so good I felt like I could see through things. Maybe it was a sign of things to come? 

Fear Of Blindness Blocks Progress & Independence

During the height of my sight loss, I was seeing no less than two or three eye doctors monthly for several months. A snowball effect of related and unrelated issues began cropping up. Cataracts, a torn retina, glaucoma, uveitis, not to mention how bizarre my vision was. With blank spots in my vision, people’s faces were disfigured to me and everything was distorted. 

Still, my retina specialist maintained his stance that he could “fix” me. After four years of back and forth, I’d had enough and went back to Cleveland Clinic. It was at this last appointment I found out I was legally blind and no more could be done for me medically.

My acceptance of being a blind person didn’t happen overnight and on many days I was a miserable mess. I think my doctor’s fear of blindness hindered me from a smoother transition i.e. low vision rehabilitation. He was opposed to me learning how to use the white cane and I allowed him to project his fear onto me. 

Blindness Isn’t Always Obvious

Trading Car Keys for A White Cane Image description is in the body of the post.
White Canes

When it comes to blindness we’ve been so conditioned to believe that people who are blind have no sight whatsoever. The societal expectation is that we all wear dark sunglasses and have vacant stares. For many of us who were born with sight, once we lose it some of us can still do things like making eye contact. It should be noted while we ‘appear’ to make eye contact, many of us can’t see faces or facial expressions.

Since my remaining sight is next to none, I need to use a white cane to navigate the world safely. I read books by listening to them, magnification and screen readers allow me to use my cell phone and computer. Thanks to technological advances there are always workarounds and adaptations to allow us to sustain our independence.

When I began Bold Blind Beauty it was to bring awareness to blindness in the hopes of changing perceptions. So many people who cannot see won’t disclose it because of shame or fear and this needs to change. Eyesight without a doubt is so precious, yet it shouldn’t be the determining factor in who we are as people. Blindness is another way of seeing.

The opening quote to this post was written by one of my followers and it is a reminder of why I do what I do. Some may think trading car keys for a white cane isn’t a fair trade but when independence is on the line I beg to differ. 

The turning point for me was understanding I had a choice in how to move forward in life. I could give up or give in and embrace my blindness. Today, I accept being a blind person, and wouldn’t want to trade places with the person I was for anything.

Trading Car Keys Featured Image Description:

Photo is an image of a black key fob with a car keys and two other keys.

Stephanae’s Mirror Selfie

In this photo, I’m wearing a black “Ready To Conquer” Tee-shirt. Fashion icon Abby is to the left of a checklist “Handbag, Heels, White Cane.” Directly under her and the checklist is the slogan: “Ready to Conquer”

White Canes

This photo is part of my collection of white canes. These three are different colors/types: slimline black, slimline gold, green, gold & white cane with a rolling marshmallow tip.

Posted on

Dating Tips: Wrong In All The Right Ways

Featured image description is in the body of the post.

Rejection is a tough thing for a young lady to swallow. Especially not knowing any other blind women in my life. If I could go back and talk to me then I would say “find yourself a role model.” 

Amy Wilson

Dating Tips: Wrong In All The Right Ways

Stereotypes are bizarre right? And if you have been blind longer than a day you know what I’m talking about. As a young twenty-something, I learned this the hard way when it came to dating.

Twenty-Something Amy Wilson

My first experience was when I was hanging out with this good-looking guy. We got along great so naturally, I thought a relationship could happen. Man, was I wrong! As soon as it came out of my mouth he turned me down flat and was rude enough to tell me why–because I’m blind! WTF?!?

Rejection is a tough thing for a young lady to swallow. Especially not knowing any other blind women in my life. If I could go back and talk to me then I would say “find yourself a role model.” I wish I could say it got better as I got older but no.

Now anyone who knows me knows I am a confident person for the most part. I’m outgoing and make friends easily but rejection isn’t easy for anyone.

Rejection Of A Different Kind

Fast forward about ten years later. Married, baby, then divorced and several hundred miles away from family. Talk about putting on your big girl panties And I thought my struggle was real when I was younger and by myself. haha!

Dating was a little different but still the same. Now I just do it online. Online dating is a beast of its own and has good and bad qualities. But here we go again and how do I tell them I’m blind?

Tip: when meeting people online, meet in an area that you are conformable with and know how to get around. In case you need to run away. lol

This time around I was rejected for having a kid, being divorced, my crazy friends and then it happened: The “you’re blind.”

Amy & Son
Amy & Her Son

After two or three of these incidences I went on a rant to a friend of mine. He told me that “blindness and beauty didn’t go together.” His words floored me. Was he right?

Now with my normal overthinking, it came to my attention that disabilities in general, are considered to be an ugly thing. I think this is one of my biggest reasons for loving Mary Kay. Even though Mary Kay is a part of the beauty industry, I learned at my first event the company appreciates all shapes, sizes, and disabilities.

But here are some things I learned from those interesting dating experiences.

  1. When you are rejected because of your blindness it says more about them than it does you. You can look at it like you dodged a bullet too! lol
  2. Taking selfies for your online dating profile is tough and it takes a lot of practice.
  3. There is someone out there who will accept you for you. Pre-warning: you might have to kiss a few frogs to find them though. lol Lord knows I did.
  4. Society’s truth is not your truth.
  5. You are amazing just the way you are. Each person is a little wrong in all the right ways. So stay true to you.

Final Words Of Wisdom

Now if you’re single, put on your confidence, a dash of sex appeal, and be a little wrong in your right way.

It has taken me over twenty years to come to the realization that I love being wrong in all the right ways. So if it takes you some time to realize your awesomeness it’s all good. There is a whole other world waiting for you on the other side.

Featured Image Description

Two birds are huddled together on a tree branch looking lovey dovey.

Additional Images:
  • The first image is a younger Amy with a big smile on her face. She is wearing a denim jacket and a silver statement necklace.
  • Sweet photo of Amy hugging her son, both of them smiling and wearing jackets. 

As usual, you can find me on Facebook or join my Facebook group: