About Us

This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Out of Hibernation

To all of our beautiful readers, I apologize for the long period since I have last blogged, but I have been in hibernation. These last couple weeks I have been consumed with school work, my internship, and my new job. Well, don’t get too excited for me, my new job is only one day a week, but I guess it’s a start, right? So, piggybacking off of my sister’s recent post about Wal-Mart, I have another interesting story that I want to share with you. Like my sister’s story, this one also involves an incident at Wal-Mart. Well, it all started when my Mom and I went shopping at our local Wal-Mart when we were approached by a male shopper. The man stopped his basket and asked my Mom how old was I (Remember the blog when I talked about how some people do not talk directly to me, but instead to the person to whom I am with, well this was one of those situations). In response to the man’s question, I replied “I am 25.” In a shocked response, the man told me that I do not look like I am 25 and then he went on to ask me how much could I see. I answered his question and thought that was the extent to our conversation, but I was wrong. The man ended the conversation by saying “God bless and good luck kid.” I have to say that was one of the strangest interactions I have had from a perfect stranger. However, although the interaction was bizarre, I am use to strangers coming up to me when I am out in public. In fact, I could probably write a book on the various interactions I have had since the loss of my eyesight. With this said, since I have lost my eyesight, I have wondered if any other blind/visually impaired individuals have had similar situations to mine where strangers have approached them. If any of this sounds familiar, we would love to hear from you about the similar encounters you have experienced!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Wow it has been a busy, busy, busy month! I have been working diligently to get stuff for Beautifully Blind Inc. together...it is coming along! We have an awesome web designer Nicole Williams, she is making sure that the website is screen reader accessible...check her out at www.nicolewilliams.info; our website should be up soon, we will keep you posted! I think everyone will enjoy it! Beautifully Blind Inc.'s mission is to bridge the gap between the sighted and visually impaired. Through education and resources we hope to help in leveling the playing field in social and professional arenas of life. Thank you to those who have posted comments and have shared your lives with us, you help make us more determined to push towards our goal! Robin will be graduating next month and I will be guiding her to the stage to get her degree...I'll be wearing the entire cap and gown get up so I'll blend in with the rest of the graduates!!! Some random person guided her when she received her bachelor's; not as special as sharing the moment with someone close to you! I'm so proud of her! She also begins her job as a group counselor...I am making up some adaptive forms for her to use with her computer, so the writing part of her job will be taken care of. She is so blessed to be employed by such great people; people that are open minded, non-judgmental and willing to give her a chance...they see Robin for the young lady that she is and do not define her according to her disability. Hopefully more people will learn to have this attitude. So for those of you out there that work with Robin...you know who you are....YOU ARE WONDERFUL!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Hello my name is Robin and yes, I am visually impaired. However, my impairment does not make me any less human than you, so treat me accordingly. There have been times when I have felt like saying this, and a lot more to some people that I have come across because they either have treated me as though I was invisible or incapable of understanding what they are saying. Since I lost my eyesight, I can’t even count the number of times when people have talked to the person I am with about issues pertaining to me, instead of asking me directly. This can be frustrating because I am capable of answering for myself, and the person is taking that right away from me. It is a sad fact, but I don’t think that this issue only affects blind/visually impaired individuals, but a lot of other disabled people as well. For example, I was at our state capitol, and I heard a wheelchair bound man talk about how he felt like a third class citizen because of the way others have treated him. The man went on to talk about how some of the medical personnel would talk about what to do with him to his wife, as though he was not a person. Whenever I am with my mom or sister, they challenge this type of treatment by saying, “You can ask her yourself, she’s right here." When hearing this statement, many people realize their mistake and try to correct it by either apologizing or simply asking the question again, but directing it to me.
Educating others is important because if their mistakes go without being challenged, then they will keep committing the same actions without thinking twice about them. On the flip side, it is also good to acknowledge other’s positive actions because it can enable them to be aware and continue to better assist people in the future. When we go to a store or out to dinner where the salesperson/waiter is in tuned to my needs, then my mom, sister, or I will praise their efforts. When anyone, especially service personnel takes the time to be helpful, then it shows me that they care and value me as a person.
Another frustration that I have come across and will be discussed are friendships. Along with losing my eyesight, I lost some of my friends, which was heartbreaking at the time. I never would have thought the people to whom I called my friends, would abandon me because of a situation that was out of my control. When things like this happen, I try to remember what my dad tells me, which is "Don’t be so quick to call everyone your friend because your true friends will stick with you through the thick and thin." For those of you who lost friends due to your blindness/visual impairment; just remember that you are a great person and those people are not worthy of your friendship.
In addition to some of my friends, my peers treated me differently from sighted students by not asking me to be in their study groups and/or not talking to me in class. I actually had one incident in class where one student physically went to everyone in the classroom and asked them to be his partner, when he got to me; he kept going and asked the person sitting next to me. When this happened, I felt really sad and alienated because I wanted to be treated like the other students. Some people feel that because I am visually impaired, I cannot do the same things as them. Another example is when one day my mom decided to play matchmaker and introduce me to this one guy on campus. Well, according to the student, it turned out that we had already had a previous class together, but he never said anything to me. When asked by my so honest mom why didn’t he talk to me, he gestured to the fact because I was blind. My mom educated him by saying, "Just because she is blind that does not mean she can’t talk to you." Let’s just say that I went on to have another class with him and he made it a point to say hello lol! The fact of the matter is that in our society, there are still people who will be clueless and/or mean when it comes to interacting with people who are different from them. One way to deal with these types of people is through education and awareness. However, even through education, some people may not want to change, and then you must treat them with a grain of salt because you are a beautiful person who deserves to be treated with respect.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Gonna Toot Your Horn...

Robin is shy when it comes to talking about herself and at times doesn’t give herself the credit that she deserves, so I’m going to toot her horn for her! I’ve watched Robin for 25 yrs and not once have I heard her complain, she takes it all in stride and tries to find ways to overcome whatever obstacles she is faced with. At times she thinks she’s a burden because there are some things she can’t do by herself and needs help, but she doesn’t realize that she is in no way a burden, she’s an inspiration. I love the fact that she asks me to drive her somewhere, because I like to see her get out and do things as she did before she was blind. The only thing I don’t like about driving her places is that she is a passenger driver! Imagine that, a blind passenger driver lol! She’s always telling me to watch the road (she says she can tell which way my head is turned by the sound of my voice) and she really gets on my husband for driving too fast! Other than hearing her criticism on our driving, we don’t mind taking her where she needs to go. Robin has dedicated her life to helping others. Her dream is to become a grief counselor and help those who have suffered some type of loss. She has taken what seemed to be a negative and turned it into a positive. Through this experience she has lost some friends, (but good riddance because they weren’t really friends), and she has gained some genuine friends. She’s learned that each chapter of her life that she closes there is something new and wonderful waiting to be unfolded in the next. Unfortunately, some people don’t take the time to get to know Robin to realize how fabulous she is. I often wonder how much we all are missing out on by prejudging others and building up misconceptions and stereotypes. I’m sure there is some fabulous person that we look over on a daily basis that we’ve never taken the time to get to know because they are different from ourselves, whether it’s a disability, race, religion, social economic status etc. I challenge anyone reading this to take the time and find out about someone not like ourselves…I’m sure you’ll find the greatness in them and realize they are not that much different. Until next time…stay open minded!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Place of Employment...

As graduation approaches, I am finding myself saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new. I am getting ready to embark on a new journey of the unknown. There is a big world out there with a lot of opportunities, but also disappointments at the same time. I constantly find myself wondering if/when I find an employer; will they be receptive to my situation? When I say receptive, I mean an employer who is understanding, patient, open to change, and most importantly has the ability to believe in me as an employee.
Unfortunately, there are preconceived notions that people have about various groups in society, such as blind/visually impaired individuals. With this in mind, there is this heightened pressure to prove others wrong and debunk the stereotypes. According to several studies, employment rates among blind/visually impaired individuals are low, due in part to employer’s attitudes. One way to set an example is by continuing to believe in yourself; mind over matter. I truly believe that our way of thinking impacts our actions, which helps determine the outcome. I know the process can be frustrating, but when one door closes, another opens. For example, my first internship was a complete stressful situation because I did not feel supported by my supervisor. I felt that there was not a lot of openness to change or modification of task completion, which left me feeling out of place.
Eventually, I left that internship and found myself without a placement. It took several months for me to find the right internship, which proved to be the best choice. But, when beginning my second internship, I was nervous because of all of the negative experiences that I had my previous placement. However, despite my nervousness, I had a mission to show the people at my new internship that I could do the work in a sufficient manner. So far, I am in my 11th month of being at my second internship and am about to close the door on this chapter in my life, so I can open a new one. My request to you all, sighted or blind/visually impaired individuals, is to not give up and keep believing in yourself because you are a unique person who deserves nothing but the best in life. Plus, not only are you a unique individual, but you are also an inspiration to others around you. You never know who is watching you and in admiration of your daily actions!