How Selma Blair’s Canes Support Me Too

B&W picture of a woman with short hair, a cane in her right hand and her left hand in the air, frm the back, text reads "how selma blair's cool canes support me too, "

Though an MS diagnosis forced her to rely on mobility aids, Selma Blair’s canes are stylish as hell. Her embrace of her new challenges, and finding fashionable, cool canes that “fit right and look cool,” has meant so much to me as someone with chronic pain who still gets embarrassed about mobility aids sometimes. But as Blair said, “It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style.”

Representation and Inspiration

Let’s talk about representation,  something that has always seemed like it… wasn’t for me.  I’m a white, upper-middle-class kid from the suburbs, and none of my issues are immediately visible. I have an assortment of mental health problems and ADHD and you can’t see that either (well, except for all the fidgeting and doodling). My physical disabilities– fibromyalgia, migraines, a fucked up spine, a sprinkling of CPRS– are usually invisible, except when the pain forces me to use a cane or a wheelchair.

B&W pic of selma blair on a vanity fair red carpet in a ballgown with a black cane, facing the camera but looking and waving over her shoulder at the crowd of photographers

While I celebrate the idea of people wanting to see themselves represented in the world around them, to be able to get Share-a-Smile Becky’s wheelchair inside the damn Barbie Dream House, it’s just never felt like it applied to me. Representation for my invisible pain would be, um, an action figure lying in the corner of a music venue, using her purse for a pillow, trying to last to the end of a set. That’s not a fun playscape. Not a lot of smiles to share there.

I don’t keep up with fashion and celeb culture and red carpet anything. I don’t have cable television and I literally can’t even tell you the last award show or red carpet I watched. It’s just not a part of my life. But then i saw Selma Blair’s cane on the red carpet of a 2019 Oscars party– she wore this this absolutely stunning, silky, floaty, flowy gown with it, and the combo blew me away.

Picture of Selma blair, side profile, wearing a flowy purple, pink and blue dress with a cape billowing out and a really cool cane. Photo by by mark seliger 
Blair posted, “When my life flashes before my eyes, I want this portrait by @markseliger to be front and center.”

Staying Sexy: Cool Canes Edition

Selma Blair stands in 3/4 profile wearing a black one-piece bathing suit and holding a black cane with a tan handle

The cane didn’t distract from the outfit: this amazingly cool cane fucking MADE the outfit. She rocked it head to toe. And as somebody who really struggles with staying sexy and staying myself past whatever mobility aids I may have it was incredibly inspirational.

Disabled but Still Sexy

In my experience mobility aids desexualize you. Dating is hard, whether your disabilities are visible or not. For instance, I can walk around as a moderately attractive person and see people check me out or flirt with me… but put that butt in a wheelchair and any potential interest just evaporates.

For more about dating with chronic pain and dating with invisible disabilities, click here!

Which is one reason I’m truly thrilled to see her embracing the cool cane as an accessory that can be sexy. (Or not, as you choose, just like everything else.) As Blair said, canes should “fit right and look cool… It can still be chic. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice style.”

B&W photo of Selma Blair wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie, and black cane
Image by Cass Bird for Vanity Fair

Getting Personalized Support

Selma Blair’s cane at the 2019 Oscars was patent leather, monogrammed and featured a pink diamond. “I have met so many people on Instagram who have said that they were always ashamed of their cane,” said Blair. “You want to still be part of the living, not a shuffling person people get out of the way for because they’re queasy. A cane, I think, can be a great fashion accessory.”

It’s doubtful it’ll be as cool as Selma Blair’s cane, but are a ton of cool canes on the market (and so many other awesome products that make life with a disability easier). But there’s a lot of ugly, cheap crap too. It takes people like Blair being loud and proud about their use of and need for awesome canes to help convince businesses that there’s a market for them. Not all of us have designer friends who will monogram our canes for us! But we still want to look awesome going out on the town.

Limping towards acceptance

So thanks, Selma, and keep on kicking ass. We need more examples of head-to-toe outfits where a cool cane is a plus rather than a minus. She didn’t plan to be here, like all of us, but she has tackled her challenges with grace and drive. By being open about her diagnosis and struggle, she has done an incredible service to those of us with invisible disabilities.

Sometimes the best support is seeing the details of someone else’s fight. Cane or not, we all need someone to lean on. Blair’s story may help prop you up during a bad time! Sorry, sorry, I’ll stop using cane puns, but in all seriousness: Blair’s story is deeply inspiring, and I am truly grateful that she has chosen to publicly share such a personal journey. Seeing Selma Blair’s cane not ruin an outfit but make an outfit means so much to me. I’ll close with a quote that I find really inspiring:

Picture zooms in on a view of Selma Blair from behind, using a cane and holding up one arm. Text reads "Selma Blair on Disability ( "I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don't know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best. - Selma Blair

In researching this post, I discovered that Blair has filmed a documentary about her struggles, titled “Introducing Selma Blair.” I can’t wait to see it! Here’s more info about it; Blair also recently posted on Instagram to introduce the project. Do you like disability-related documentaries? Check out my post on Murderball and how it changed how I thought about so many things.

Black and white image of a woman with short hair and a black dress, one hand spread in the air and the other leaning on a cane. Text reads "How selma blair's cool canes support me too,"






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Hopefully this site will help you avoid some of the BS I’ve experienced over the last 20 years seeking treatment for my chronic pain, invisible illnesses & mental health challenges. Maybe it’ll even help you think about disability in a new way! But at the very least, I hope you learn something, and I hope it helps you feel less alone.

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