Hello. My name is Dr. Joyce Knudsen and from the time I was small, people in my life were very negative towards me. I wasn’t a good student and I was “labeled” as lazy, stupid, and “she just doesn’t try.” I didn’t know why I could not see the board, but I wanted to be popular and be like the other children at my school. So, I pretended to be like everyone else. If someone showed me something, I would look at it and say, “Oh, how lovely.” But, I couldn’t see it –not unless it was right in front of my viewing area –straight in front of me. I knew I could see depth or to the side. For years, I felt different but, at the same time, I always knew there was a purpose to my life and I needed to follow it, no matter what someone else was telling me about myself.
When I married, I told my husband about my eye challenges. At the age of thirty-two, I went in for eye surgery to see if the doctor could make my eyes straight. They had a tendency to move to the right and that made me self-conscious. The doctor said it wouldn’t help my vision, but I may be able to look like my eyes were in the middle. The operation made my eyes look perfect, so now it was even easier to “fool” the people I knew by pretending to see.
It is a challenge daily for me to look at steps so I don’t fall; it is a challenge to read a menu or a newspaper, but I can see and decided at an early age to follow my dreams. It was frustrating because I wanted so much to learn and was highly theoretical and everyone was always discouraging me.
At the encouragement of a wonderful school counselor, at the age of 23, I earned an Associate Degree from a Community College and given a grant. There were nine people in my family and money for college just was not “in the cards.” At this point in time, I proved to myself that I was not stupid or lazy. I just had to find a way to communicate with instructors about how I could learn.
Ever since I was young, I always enjoyed putting clothing together, doing people’s makeup, and cleaning out their closets. From there, I worked as a model and actress and then taught modeling and acting. I decided in 1985, after working in many facets of the Image Industry to join an association devoted to Image. I joined AFIC at the time. In 1988, AIC and AFIC combined to form The Association of Image Consultants, International (AICI) and I have worked my way up to becoming the very first AICI-CIM (Certified Image Master). It is the highest level of achievement in the Image Industry.
Oh, and did I tell you that when I was thirty-six, I went back to school to get a bachelor’s degree in communications, then a master’s degree in business administration and then a Ph.D. in Human Services (Psychology). All this and I was already 52! Now, I have started a school for Image Consulting and Life-Coaching.
Who were these people who told me “I couldn’t do it!” These were just their “opinions.” I learned that “opinions” are not fact. When someone says something to us, we need to ask questions, “Is this accurate?” “Is this validated?” If not, we need to ignore these types of comments. What right did they have to take away my dream? NEVER allow anyone to take away your dreams. You can be anything you want to be. You have to believe in yourself.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Walt Disney (told he had “no good ideas!).”