How I Shop As a Person Who Is Blind

Before I get in to today’s post, I want to give a very special happy birthday shout out to Helene and Laurie. I hope today is as wonderful as you are. I pray this is a blessed year for the both of you and I can’t imagine life without you two. Here’s to many more birthdays and years of friendship. I love you both very much.

One of my lovely followers told me recently they would love it if I wrote an article about how I shop and pick out clothes as a woman who is completely blind. She wanted to know how I pick out what coffee, treat or tea I would like.

 

When I go shopping, I take someone with me I trust and someone who I know is not afraid of being honest. As a woman with absolutely no eyesight, I need people around me who don’t tell me what I want to hear. If you are blind, I think you should surround yourselves with these kind of people also. One challenge that comes along with being completely blind is not being able to say for myself if something looks good on me or not. Sure, I can think something feels cool but in my opinion you can’t always go by that. Maybe that’s because I grew up around mostly sighted people, and they told me that from an early age so now that stuck with me. I don’t often go by how something feels because I know that’s not everything. Looks aren’t everything and sometimes you want to be comfortable, but it depends on what you’re dressing for. People also judge on how someone looks. I’m already quickly judged on my white cane. I think the hardest part for me, even though I trust the people I take with me, is that I’m going off of other people’s opinions about me. Let’s say I have a boyfriend who is sighted. I have yet to date a guy who can see, but we’ll go with this as an example. Say we’re out to dinner. His sister could say I look beautiful. His cousin could say I look okay but maybe try another outfit. My boyfriend? He could say, “Why are you wearing something like that? Really. Change your shirt.” Not everyone looks good all the time. It’s life. Everybody takes bad photos sometimes and have colors they look better in than others. We’re human.

 

I have heard some people allow blind people to go out in public without matching. This is not okay. Would you go out looking weird? Probably not. As a person with eyes that work, you need to tell the person without sight what colors look good and what ones don’t. If you are afraid of telling them they don’t match for fear of hurting them, change your thinking about that. Seriously. Right now. When you don’t tell someone they don’t match, you’re harming them, not helping protect them.

 

Sometimes my mom helps me pick out outfits but my sister Morgan is really great about helping me dress well. I often ask her how I look and she’ll help me. Sometimes I will FaceTime my best friend Helene and she will direct me on which way to point my camera. She’ll tell me what looks fine and if anything needs to be different. I know, I have such a great friend don’t I? Show her some birthday love. And send some to Laurie, too.

 

I’ll be honest and say sometimes I care more about comfort, but this depends on the situation, of course. Anyone like me who gets cold a lot will understand. I’m talking chilled into your bones cold. I remember Kaylan and Phillips (readers I had in school. I call Tyler Phillips Phillips so people know if I’m talking about him or Tyler from Perkins.) Sometimes Kaylan and Phillips would talk about different outfits people were wearing. Sometimes I would hear Kaylan and Phillips have little conversations during the shift change about what outfits looked good or not. I found this pretty funny to listen to. At college, Mom would tell me what students looked like but being so cold, I really didn’t care. Plus I mean, I wasn’t there to impress anyone.

 

I don’t buy concert shirts much anymore, but when I did, I would ask someone I was with to describe what was there. What color the shirts were, what they said and whether or not they had pictures of the artist or band I liked.

 

I love purses. I have an entire bin full of them! I will ask who I’m with what color they are and what the prints on them look like. I also feel them to see what they look like. Once people get to know me, they know what I like. They can point out bags I should touch. When I go out to eat, I will have someone read the menu. They will tell me about specials or food related to things I like. I don’t drink coffee anymore, but I handle getting treats or tea the same way.

 

I hope you have enjoyed today’s post. Have any ideas I should blog about? Please connect with me! You can find me on Twitter at mirandaloakley, on Facebook at Miranda Oakley or you can leave me a comment here on my site. Whichever you decide, I’d love to hear from you. I see I have views from many places around the world. England, Canada, Italy, Jordan, etc. Please don’t be shy. Whether you like my blog and have posts you’d like me to make, or if you read my blog and decide it’s not for you. I’d like to hear that too because it’s making me better either way.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Best,

Miranda ❤

New Emojis coming to Depict People With Disabilities

Emojis can be fun can’t they? There’s so many to pick from and so many of us, blind and sighted alike, use them in comments and text messages. Yes, even blind people use mobile phones and enjoy the emojis too! Recently there has been articles published about emoji’s coming out depicting people with disabilities. These include a wheelchair, a white cane and more. I personally think this is great. To me, it means people are taking that little (and yet huge) step in thinking about the importance of inclusion. Forbes has a great article about these new emojis below if you want to check it out.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/denisebrodey/2019/02/07/new-emojis-coming-to-phones-in-2019-get-mixed-reactions-from-people-with-disabilities/#5e5ad6e5de7a

NPR wrote a good article I’ll also include below if you want to give it a read.

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/07/692260599/interracial-couples-and-disability-friendly-emojis-coming-soon-to-smartphones

Do you enjoy emojis? Have any favorites you’d like to share? Let me know! I may even respond back with an emoji I like! Please leave a comment on my website, on Facebook at Miranda Oakley or on my Twitter at mirandaloakley

Have any blogging ideas for me? Please reach out.

Have a great weekend!

Miranda ❤

 

How I Participated In History Classes At a School for the Blind

 

Hello!

I hope you’re all having a great week. A couple of my followers reached out and told me they find it interesting to read about how I worked on different subjects at a school for the blind. Today’s post takes a brief look at how I took  history classes during my time at Perkins.

 

My history teacher was awesome. He really was. Some classes he read materials to us and we would have a discussion. Sometimes we would read from materials in Braille. It was helpful for me because my study questions for homework were always Brailled for me to read. Sometimes my teacher would record what we were studying for me on tape. Yes you read that right, back then we still used tapes. He would use tactile maps and guide my hand along to learn where states were located. I had a tactile globe and Braille atlas in public school, but I found learning at Perkins a lot better.

 

Perkins eLearning has a whole lot of great resources on tactile maps you can check out if you are interested.

http://www.perkinselearning.org/scout/blog/tactile-maps-and-teaching-maps-skills

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve never been a good test taker. Every now and then I did well but that was the luck of the draw, really. This was always really annoying because I could do lots of studying, know material inside and out, take a test and my brain would respond like, “What did we learn?” Ah, welcome to some of my school challenges. I was always much better at papers and other projects. Tests and quizzes were brailled and read out loud for me when I needed a question read.

There you have it, a quick look at how I participated in history classes at a school for the blind. Thanks for reading today’s post. Have any blogging ideas for me? Please share them with me. You can find me on facebook at Miranda Oakley, on Twitter at mirandaloakley or you can leave me a comment here on my website.

For those of you following me here in the states, stay warm during this crazy, cold weather we’re having!

Best,

Miranda ❤

How I Use Technology As a Blind Person

Many people often wonder how blind people interact with others online. On YouTube you will hear blind people say that sighted people think they’re faking their blindness. They think there’s no way they can do certain tasks without sight. When I see people talking about this in videos, part of me can’t help but laugh. To be frank, I find it ridiculous and a little funny (as in a little weird) people think other people are faking blindness. I mean do you fake your sight? Why would anyone with a good head on their shoulders fake a disability?

 

How does a blind person text or reply to comments on Facebook and Twitter? Maybe you have wondered this for a while yourself. Many people find those who are blind difficult to get used to, so I’ll help answer a couple questions. I currently use an iPhone with VoiceOver. VoiceOver is built in on Apple devices. It can be found under the accessibility setting on iPhones, iPads, etc. Fun fact: You have the choice which voice you’d like to use with VoiceOver. I chose Alex. VoiceOver reads text on my screen. I can swipe around with my fingers and it will tell me what Apps are on my phone. It will read me emails and text messages. It also reads the emoji’s! I can either type my responses and VoiceOver will read back what I have typed, or I can use dictation. I found dictation has gotten worse with later IOS updates though. Word to the wise, although this is only my personal opinion. I believe when you are writing important emails, never use dictation because it makes too many mistakes. I can also use a wireless keyboard which connects to my phone via Bluetooth. I can use this keyboard to reply to emails and text messages. These methods allow me to reply to people on Facebook or Twitter. I can compose my own tweets or Facebook updates etc. I also have an older model of a Braille display from Freedom Scientific that is called a 40 Focus Blue Braille display. Like the keyboard, my display connects to my phone through Bluetooth. I like that my display allows me to have access to texts and emails (or anything really) right at my fingertips. Wonder why Braille is still important in today’s day and age? Perfect! I wrote a post you can find a few posts back about sharing my thoughts on why Braille is absolutely necessary even with all this great technology. Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

I also use a laptop computer with a screen reader from Freedom Scientific called Jaws. This program does not come with the computer, but once it is installed, I can respond to emails, go on Facebook and Twitter and write documents in word. Jaws also gives you the option of different voices to pick from. So there you have it, a quick little post about some of the ways I use technology as a blind person living in a sighted world. Questions? Feel free to reach out! Are you using any technology? Let me know. Anything you’d like me to blog about? Please let me know.

Thanks for reading my latest post.

Best,

Miranda ❤

 

My Thoughts On Bird Box Challenges and Why They’re Not Worth It

 

My Thoughts On the Bird Box Movie

The Bird Box film,   along with the many challenges following it have been quite a hot topic among the blindness community. If you’re not a member of the blindness community then you are probably familiar with these challenges from the internet. While I think it’s great that this movie is getting people talking about blindness, I think it reinforces typical stereotypes sighted people have about those of us who cannot see. The positive thing here is that even if we are begging those with sight to not participate in Bird Box challenges, we’re still having a conversation about blindness. This movie gives us a chance to show people what blindness truly looks like.

 

In a world where the smallest glimpse of creatures causes insanity, one can easily understand why characters don’t want to see. The plot follows the protagonist, a mother of two children, as they survive their world blindfolded. In order to get to safety, the small family has to cross a rough river filled with lots of temptation to get them to take off their blindfolds. As I mentioned above, I feel as though this movie supports typical stereotypes sighted people have surrounding blindness. An example of this is when the protagonist and her housemates run out of food. One character immediately panics and wonders how they are going to survive without food in the house when they cannot see. This part of the film reminded me of how people view blindness as this terrible thing when that’s far from reality. People losing their sight often think life is over once their vision is gone. Why would we ever want people feeling or thinking that way? I feel like this scene does a good job at making those without sight appear as though they can’t think on their feet. The characters ended up getting food by driving with GPS while they were blindfolded. It may have been difficult, but they could have walked and gotten themselves to where they needed to be.

 

I personally am not a huge fan of this movie, but I like a few points. The mother teaches her kids to rely on their hearing which is important for knowing what’s around you, even in real life. I noticed they would feel the ground and ring bells to find one another. I think they did a good job with this because blind people are always feeling what’s around them. If a blind person cannot find something, sometimes a person may tap the object until they find it. Finally, I liked how the movie showed the characters interacting with blind and visually impaired people. This is great because it shows that blind people are perfectly capable of interacting with sighted people. This may seem obvious to many of us, but sadly not to everyone, so it’s good we’re having this discussion.

 

The Negative impact of Bird Box Challenges

There’s been quite a bit of discussion surrounding Bird Box challenges, and for good reason. They are dangerous and people have been hurting themselves as a result of their poor choices. I’ve read online recently how people have been crossing streets, lighting candles and someone even crashed their car. All of these things were done blindfolded. Doing tasks blindfolded is not the same as doing them as a blind person. Blind people can cross streets, care for themselves and do lots of everyday tasks. The difference here is it takes lots of training for us to learn these things. Sure, we can’t drive, but we have ways around that too. Case in point: On behalf of blind people everywhere, please, do not participate in Bird Box challenges. If you really want to know what not seeing is like, please ask one of us. Many blind people don’t mind answering your questions and if you keep reading you can find some ways to learn more about blindness.

 

Positive Challenges You Can Participate in

If you really want to challenge yourself, start by going out of your comfort zone and try talking to a blind person. You never know, you might make a new friend in the process! A study by Perkins School for the Blind found that Americans are quite uncomfortable around people who are blind. Read the article here.

 

https://www.perkins.org/stories/media/press-releases/study-more-than-half-of-all-americans-are-not-comfortable-around-person?fbclid=IwAR1f7XnjSwUZvwE6hHQr6FvBfrb3xnqfhJ90M3Gcm7tn3911cL9eEFX-JsU

It may be different for you, but we all can benefit from good company and inclusion.

 

Lots of blind people like myself blog about their experiences. There are quite a few bloggers out there! I would suggest following my blog, Ashley over at

https://mobile.facebook.com/shortshadyblog/?refid=17&_ft_=mf_story_key.543630232793400%3Atop_level_post_id.543630232793400%3Atl_objid.543630232793400%3Acontent_owner_id_new.100014392837422%3Athrowback_story_fbid.543630232793400%3Astory_location.4%3Astory_attachment_style.avatar%3Athid.100014392837422%3A306061129499414%3A2%3A0%3A1549007999%3A5815603790657890608&__tn__=H-R

and I would also check out Holly on

https://lifeofablindgirl.com/

 

Those are just a few but like I said there are plenty of blogs you can check out. Everyone connects with someone different, so whether it’s me or another blogger you learn from, what matters here is that we break the negative stereotypes surrounding blindness.

 

Another really awesome challenge you can consider participating in is the blindfold challenge 5K race. For more information, you can check out

https://blindfoldchallenge.org/

 

 

Now that’s a challenge that seems worth it to me! And hopefully to you, too.

 

I would consider learning VoiceOver if you have an IPhone or other Apple product. Look into volunteering at a school or organization for the blind. I know my high school is always looking for volunteers! Check out this Perkins link to learn more.

https://www.perkins.org/get-involved/volunteer/perkins-volunteer-application

 

 

Lastly, I would consider looking into learning about resources like Aira, Bookshare and Learning Ally. You can find information about all three mentioned here in the below links.

 

https://aira.io/careers

https://www.bookshare.org/cms/

https://learningally.org/

 

Those are a few ways you can learn about blindness. Check out Holly’s great post about Bird Box by giving the following link a read.

https://lifeofablindgirl.com/2019/01/09/what-do-blind-and-visually-impaired-people-think-about-the-bird-box-challenge/

(Thanks for the kind mention by the way!) And give Ashley’s awesome post about the movie on Blind New World a read.

http://blindnewworld.org/blog/dont-be-the-bird-in-the-box/?fbclid=IwAR2L4xqTmvHdgEZqtZCi8b5XeJeOo-fp6m68aJ7U9ttPzlBZU9YTt7y_vNI

Thanks for reading today’s post. Have you watched Bird Box? Let me know your thoughts by leaving me a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Do you know a blind person? If you are also blind like me and have anything you’d like to add to this conversation, please reach out to me.

My best to you all. Miranda ❤

Fundraiser by Morgan Boehm : Leaf us in Peace community help

Morgan Boehm needs your help today! Leaf us in Peace community help – We are raising money to provide meal vouchers to federal employees that are being negatively affected by the government shutdown. We aim to provide a meal and a gas gift card to each recipient.
— Read on www.gofundme.com/leaf-us-in-peace-community-he I just donated to this wonderful cause. I hope you will too! Let’s help people who really need it. Hope you’re all well. ❤

Fundraiser by Morgan Boehm : Leaf us in Peace community help

Morgan Boehm needs your help today! Leaf us in Peace community help – We are raising money to provide meal vouchers to federal employees that are being negatively affected by the government shutdown.
— Read on www.gof undme.com/leaf-us-in-peace-community-help

Hey guys! Please check out this important go fund me page and consider donating. The government shutdown has negatively impacted the lives of many people. Leaf us in Peace is a community driven organization whose mission is to spread kindness in a variety of ways. Please consider donating today to help make a difference in the lives of federal workers and their families who are struggling during this time. Thank you and please spread the word!