Throughout my life I have often battled with insecurities regarding my self-image. This is partly due to the fact I'm totally blind and have a hearing impairment. Gradually over the years though I've learned to accept myself for who I am.
I protect my self-image by making an effort with my appearance. Unfortunately we are often judged by how we look. Wearing nice clothes and make-up is almost like wearing armour. It helps to protect me from feeling
I usually go clothes shopping with my sisters or friends. They describe the clothes to me and advise me on different outfits. If items of clothing have a similar texture, I mark the label to make each item distinguishable. For example, I might cut the tag in a certain way.
Like many women, I take a while to get ready. Once, I rushed out of the house wearing similar, but not matching, boots. Now I try to allow plenty of time for a last-minute check to help prevent embarrassing incidents like that occurring. I've also organised my wardrobe into sections to reduce stress when I'm searching for something to wear.
I arrange all the necessary materials on a shelf in order of application so my hand knows where to go when reaching for items. I hold my hair back with a headband to prevent strands from getting in the way. I also ensure a sink and a towel are in close proximity so I can wash my hands after each application.
In the past I've asked a sighted person's opinion on what tones of make-up best suit my skin. So now I know which ones to ask for in the shop. I place a small blob of liquid foundation on my nose, cheeks, forehead and chin and then use both hands to blend in the foundation. When applying powder, eye-shadow or blush, I count the number of brush strokes so I know how much make-up I am using.
When applying lipstick I have my mouth slightly open and my lips relaxed. Then I trace the outline of my lips with the lipstick. I always run a tissue over my teeth in case I accidentally smudge some lipstick on them.
I don't often worry about mascara as I usually wear sunglasses. However when I do use it, I twist the brush inside the tube a couple of times before pulling the brush out. I use my little finger to steady my hand and also to let me know how far the brush is from my face. I slowly draw the brush to my eyelashes. Then I blink so that the mascara is wiped off the brush and onto my lashes. I do the same number of blinks on each side.
I try to overcome negativity by being loving and positive on the inside. While I have no power over what disabilities I have, I can control how I live my life. I believe that being happy involves recognising both our strengths and inabilities and accepting ourselves and others for the unique people we truly are.