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.
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.”
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.
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
Taking selfies for your online dating profile is tough and it takes a lot of practice.
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.
Society’s truth is not your truth.
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.
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:
“Inspiration porn is harmful to society and people with disabilities for two main reasons. First, inspiration porn encourages “ableism,” which defines people by their disability and classifies them as inferior to those who are nondisabled. Second, inspiration porn distracts us from looking at the real issues.” ~Joy Thomas
As a member of the homo sapiens species, I am in awe, and to some degree saddened, by our differences. In awe, because I can’t comprehend how no one is a carbon copy with over 7 billion people on our planet. Likewise, I’m saddened because it sometimes feels like we place a greater value on which groups from which we come.
Except for my membership within people with disabilities (PwDs), I don’t know what it’s like to belong to any other majority group. Being an African-American female over age 50 with a disability places me in several marginalized categories of humans. I’m saying this to let you know that I have experience in what it’s like to be ‘different’ on many levels. While I won’t be considered acceptable to everyone, I do not and will not consider myself less valuable than another human being.
“Broken Crayons Still Color”
As human beings, we are complex and our world is massive. It makes sense that we would bond to those with shared commonalities. Additionally, it makes sense that our individual biases could prevent us from widening our circle.
When we qualify or compare our station in life to another person from a place of being better it’s problematic. While broken crayons may still color, as humans who are we to determine who’s broken? So please, when you have a moment check out Joy’s article on Crixeo.
Station in Life Featured Image Description:
A close-up view of a single dandelion plant with several seeds floating in the air. The plant is set against a clear blue sky background.
“Long after your final patient has gone home, somewhere somebody’s life may be falling apart due to the conversation you had with them earlier that day.” ~Fern Lulham
Editor’s Note: The following article was written by an amazing motivational speaker I recently met. When Fern Lulham was born her parents were given devastating news about their precious newborn.
Dear Doctor Choose Your Words
What is the scariest thing about an operation? Is it the pain you might experience? Is it that the procedure might go wrong? For many people, it is the idea of putting their life into the hands of a doctor. Of course, not all operations are life-threatening.
Not all operations carry with them the risk of death. However, every single operation will involve a threat to their patient’s well-being. And this threat does not just apply to operations.
In what other contexts do you have contact with your patients? Every consultation brings this same hazard. Every appointment presents this same danger. And every single conversation you have with a patient puts their life firmly in your hands.
When we go through a medical process, doctors are legally obliged to inform us of the potential risks. And yet there is one very important risk which is not considered; something which can be just as lethal as the surgeon’s knife. It is our doctor’s choice of words.
Words, when placed into the hands of doctors can be deadly. To patients, their words equal truth, their opinions are facts. Their diagnosis is final and our future is whatever they say it will be. I want each and every one of you to know that you are incredibly powerful people. You might not always feel like it, but for most of us patients, you and your words are everything. Always remember this. You and your words are powerful.
And with that power comes great responsibility. When you are talking to a patient, what are you thinking? Are your thoughts with that one patient in that one moment? Do the words you choose tell that patient that they are not just one more name on your seemingly endless list?
Words & Trading Places
I would like you to think for a moment. I want you to remember a time when somebody has said something which has really stayed with you. A small collection of words which days, months, even years down the line, you can still hear ringing in your ears. How do those words make you feel?
They may be angry words of disappointment or disgust.
They may be the words of a bully at school.
They may be the encouraging words of a friend.
They may be the advice of a parent.
Such words can have a huge impact on our lives and on the way we feel about ourselves. And isn’t it surprising how we can still hear them as clear as day as if they have just been said to us just a moment ago?
Have you ever left a voicemail message and felt self-conscious about the way you sound? Your sudden awareness of the structure of your sentences and things not sounding the way you intended. We do not think about this until we know what we have said can be replayed and listened back to again and again.
When I am speaking to an audience, I am very conscious of the words I use and what impact they are having. Why? Because I know that people are listening. What we don’t think about is that people are always listening. They are listening particularly carefully when it is their doctor who is speaking to them. And everyone carries around a means of recording that information and playing it back at will in their minds. Everything you say is being mentally recorded and, believe me, your patients are replaying it over and over and over again.
I know this because I do it myself – for hours! Entire evenings after the hospital visit before, have been dedicated to going through these conversations with a fine tooth-comb. Long after your final patient has gone home, somewhere somebody’s life may be falling apart due to the conversation you had with them earlier that day. For them, it does not end when they leave the hospital. Words which concern them, words which terrify them, words which they don’t even understand. Words which haunt them for who knows how long…
When I was only a few weeks old and first diagnosed with a visual impairment, my parents were told: “your daughter will never see.” Can you imagine how that would make you feel as a parent being told this by a doctor? Devastation. Hopelessness. Fortunately, he was wrong and I can see – not much albeit – but I can. Even if I couldn’t though, I’m sure you can think of words of hope and encouragement which may have helped my parents then and which may have helped me hearing my story years on.
These days, I go to the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. My parents and I have left that hospital feeling just about every emotion known to man. We’ve had good news, bad news and every kind of news in between. The reason my parents come with me, even though I could easily tell them what happened when I got home, is to hear the exact words which are spoken. We have all come to trust that from my consultant, Mr. Samer Hamada, regardless of the stark medical facts, there will always be words of confidence, compassion, understanding and, most of all, of hope.
The Power Of Hope
This is the thing we crave whenever we are told of my progress. To know that even if things are not going to plan right now, it doesn’t mean they never will be. To be assured that even when there is not an immediate solution, the potential for a solution is always there.
Mr. Hamada speaks with such passion about his work and is so enthusiastic and excited about developments being made in medical science. This is hugely infectious and makes me strongly believe that he truly wants to make things better for me, as much as I would wish it for myself. It is inspiring and encouraging and gives me a reason to keep going, even when my world is uncontrollably getting darker all around me by the day.
So to all doctors, I say, please think about the words you choose and the way they are spoken because, to your patients, words can really be the best medicine.
Balancing Words Featured Image Description:
A representation of the medical profession, this photo includes a stethoscope, pen, and open laptop on a white background.
Fern is a pretty brunette with bangs and hair length just beyond her shoulders. She is wearing a white tank top with a chunky silver statement necklace.
In this photo, Fern is standing at a lectern at a speaking event. She is wearing a dark-colored cold shoulder dress with a silver necklace and ankle boots.
Fern is posing in this photo wearing a sparkling lacy red dress with her consultant, Mr. Samer Hamada.
Nancy (Fern’s golden lab guide dog), is so adorable as both are seated on the floor. Nancy’s paws are on Fern’s shoulders as she gives her human an affectionate kiss. They are both wearing party hats (Nancy’s is pink and Fern’s is green).
“The less we see with our eyes the more we see with our hearts.”
We really don’t know what we don’t know. To people with sight, it seems unlikely those who cannot see can appreciate beauty, yet it’s true. Being able to experience the world with and without eyesight provides a unique perspective. Since losing my sight my life is more meaningful and my view of the world has expanded.
In the early days of my sight loss, I obsessed on what I lost and my future seemed so bleak and uncertain. However, when I connected with members of the blind community my life took an unexpected detour. Instead of a desolate and dull present, I’m living a life with purpose and passion.
I continually meet some of the most fascinating people one of whom I get to introduce you to today. The first time I met Kathy Keckwas at a Pennsylvania Council of the Blindstate convention. Recently I spoke to Kathy to see if she would be interested in collaborating on a special project.
Kathy of Loving Touch Connection is the artist who creates the braille on Bold Blind Beauty’s coffee mugs. When I spoke with Kathy about creating braille phrases on our mugs if it’s possible she was more excited than I. What I love most about Kathy’s work is her passion to create beautiful pieces for those who cannot see. In my opinion, the tactile component is a feature that can boost any artwork to be appreciated by all.
How did you come up with the Loving Touch Connection idea?
On many of the glassware pieces, I use a special glass paint to outline and accent the designs for more detail—this is a thicker paint which creates a raised outline around the design. One night about seven years ago, I was having a glass of wine in one of these types of glasses, and it suddenly occurred to me, that this might be something blind people could enjoy—to be able to “see” with their fingers a design of flowers, birds, etc. — it was like a message from God giving me so many ideas. To not only do artistic designs with the outlining but also to put messages in braille on the glassware. Such as coffee mugs with a message like #1 mom, have a great day etc.
I went online, to see if there were any other types of products like what I was thinking of, and there was nothing with raised-dot braille and artwork. I did a little bit of research on braille, and came up with a technique of applying words in raised-dot Braille to the glassware.”
Could you tell us more about your products in general and the Loving Touch Connection line in particular?
Loving Touch Connection line of products are raised-dot braille messages on wine glasses, martini glasses beer glasses, Salt and pepper shakers, spice jars, Glass canisters for the kitchen countertop for coffee tea sugar etc. And treat jars for the guide dogs treats. All of the pieces have raised-dot braille and the word in script (unless a customer requests otherwise). Designs are colorful and always have a raised outline around the design.” ~Kathy Keck
When Will The Braille Mugs Be Available?
The braille coffee mugs will be on the site as soon as I can get them synched with Shopping With Abby. ~Steph
Exploring Beauty Through Touch Featured Image Description:
To the left of the handle is the slogan “Blind Chicks With ATTITUDE.” in braille.
Image #1: The Abby trio and the slogan are to the right of the mug’s handle. Directly under the trio is the slogan: “Blind Chicks With ATTITUDE.”