Meet a Bold Blind Beauty and a Deafblind Mother: VisionAware’s Blogroll Spotlight

It’s time for some VisionAware blogroll love once again. As I explained in my introductory “blogroll love” post,

… the VisionAware “blind bloggers” collective is a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center. You’ll discover outstanding writing – and not only about blindness issues. My favorite bloggers are people who happen to be blind – and have much to say about the simple act of being deeply human.

This week, I’d like you to meet two talented and thought-provoking bloggers whose subject matter ranges from fashion and beauty to living well with deafblindness.

Bold Blind Beauty

Stephanae (Steph) McCoy is the spirited fashionista who blogs about fashion and beauty at Bold Blind Beauty: Style Concepts for the Visually Impaired:

My name is Stephanae (Steph) McCoy, the Blind Style Blogger. Welcome to Bold Blind Beauty, a place where we can talk anything style-related. As blind and vision impaired women, we can face seemingly insurmountable challenges. I believe that style should not be one of these obstacles. After all, we too can be Bold Blind Beautiful and stylish fashionistas!

Of course, as a red lipstick maven, I’m understandably partial to Steph’s “Makeup Mondays” feature. At first glance, Life’s Lessons, Lemonade & a Little Liner, one of my favorite makeup posts, seems to be discussing the ins and outs of eyeliner application; however, upon further reflection, Stephanae’s words reveal a deeper and more poignant truth about the universal human condition:

I was desperately downcast and despondent. It really doesn’t get any worse than this. When my good eye became suddenly defunct, yes, I was understandably upset. My whole world became a state of confusion.

Stephanae McCoy

Applying eyeliner, especially liquid eyeliner, is not for the faint of heart. In my early days of attempting to apply liquid eyeliner my hand would literally shake as the tip of the brush would near my eye. It took some time, but once I perfected my technique, in a flash I could do both eyes with one hand tied behind my back.

That cliché, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” didn’t work for me when I lost my vision. As a matter of fact, it was during my first crack at what used to be my makeup regimen that had I possessed a few lemons I would have thrown them down to the ground, stomped them, and then put them in the garbage disposal for good measure.

For a woman who would never consider leaving home without makeup, I was now faced with a major life decision: continue down the road of self-pity or, and this is huge, go without.

I chose self-pity because, quite frankly, I was good at it. I mean, I couldn’t see, couldn’t put on my “face,” so the solution was to wallow in it and wallow I did. But as all good things must eventually come to an end, so did my little pity party.

Learning to do my makeup again within the constraints of my vision loss was a bit of a challenge. A few familiar products just needed minor tweaks, and others I had to replace.

Using the pencil liner under the eye was easy; however, the liquid liner I was accustomed to gave me serious grief so I gave it up. It’s been about five years since I’ve gone without liner on my eyelids. While I feel comfortable without it, in my last Sephora order I bought some eye pencils to give it one more try. To my delight it works!!! Yay!!! I’m back!!!

You can also find Stephanae on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Confessions of a DeafBlind Mother

Tracy Stine is a frugal homemaker, thrifty crafter, amateur cook, and author of the blog Confessions of a Deafblind Mother:

My name is Tracy Stine, I’m a Deaf, legally Blind mother, and this is my story! I’ve been Deaf and legally Blind since birth. I have two children, a boy 14 and a girl 12. I’ve been married for 15 years. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, now living in Oklahoma for seven years.

Here you’ll find my stories as a Deafblind woman and mother, my views on life, fun videos, helpful information, and inspiration. My goal for this site is to educate people on various disabilities and showcase their accomplishments; help those “newly diagnosed” and their families with coping, skills, and resources; and just have fun with crafts, cooking, and family humor.

Because I greatly admire Tracy’s writing, I found it difficult to select a favorite post; however, In Between Worlds, in which she talks about feeling “stuck” between two worlds (deaf and hearing), participating in both, but not fitting in either, resonated with me:

In the Deaf world, I sometimes felt different. Not exactly an “outcast” because I was never shunned, I was welcomed in to an extent. Since English is my first language and I didn’t learn ASL ’til I was 12, I still signed in “English Grammar.” I also could not really follow signing that quickly because of my low vision.

Tracy Stine

But I was never part of a clique one way or another. Don’t get me wrong, I had lots of friends and such, and when everyone’s in their groups, I wander from group to group, chit-chatting and all. But when there are group plans to head somewhere, I’m sometimes forgotten behind.

In the Hearing world, I can lipread well, speak well somewhat (you tell me, you’ve seen some of my videos), but pretty much on a one-on-one basis. If I’m with one person, I have no problems. The problems start when you throw in two or more people. First I’d have to find out who’s talking (usually by that time, they’re done speaking), sometimes I have to go over where they are (if sitting around a room), or I just sit and try to just concentrate on one person (which is like listening to only one side of a phone conversation).

Maybe it’s a combination of being an introvert and my fear of “imposing” on people. The fear that people are put out and inconvenienced if I ask for help, whether they’re Deaf or not. I’m always ready early so the other party doesn’t have to wait – they’re doing a lot just going out of their way for me already. I’ve been scolded by Randy, “What time is your ride?” “Ten o’clock.” “It’s only 9:15 and you’ve got your coat and watching the door? Sit down and relax!” Irrational? Maybe, but I can’t shake it.

The “world” I’m most comfortable in has been the online world. Chat rooms, Twitter, Facebook, have been my quiet domain for years. I even met Randy in an online chat! Think about it: No one cares about me being Deafblind, I can keep up with everyone chatting, and I don’t have to impose on anybody!

You can also find Tracy on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Talk To Me

If you’d like to be added to the VisionAware blogroll, just leave a note in the comments section.