By Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.
On December 23, 2013, the life Tiffany Adams once knew was never the same again. After a tragic car accident that left Tiffany a double amputee, she had to find her purpose in life again. Prior to her accident, she was a stylist and a wardrobe consultant, and was very fortunate to have clients all over the world from celebrities, to everyday individuals with everyday careers.
However, the accident really took a toll on her as the limb loss caused “significant disruptions” in many aspects of her life. “I found myself really shutting down and going through depression,” expressed Tiffany. After the accident, she felt as if she didn’t understand life and her purpose anymore. She had many feelings of shock, anger, and frustration, which are normal feelings to have in those initial feelings of grief. She further stated, “I saw myself in a place of isolation and lack of control and facing a ton of challenges. I was feeling a sense of hopelessness.”
Even though she was devastated about her loss, she had a choice to make. She could either drown in sorrow or find meaning and purpose in life again. Slowly, she started to pick herself up again. It wasn’t easy, but she knew she had to “see the sunshine again.”
After she started feeling better, she became involved in the amputee coalition. This helped her to move towards accepting her new life. She stated, “Until you accept where you are and who you are in life, nothing is going to fall in place. After I started working towards acceptance, I started wanting to get up, get dressed, and put on my make-up.”
In addition, Tiffany slowly started to create goals that she could work towards. She mentioned rehabilitation was very influential to her recovery and helped to find a way to maintain optimism. One thing that Tiffany would like people to take away from her story is the learning of how to deal with challenges, and how people can become better through those challenges. She made it known that in order to do that, you have to understand purpose.
Fashion is something that has been purposeful in her life. She expressed, “Fashion for me is much more than clothes. It’s a way of life. It’s a megaphone that articulates words that people can’t say.” She further illustrated that fashion “reflects every culture as it allows you to express yourself without conviction, and to create different feelings.” Fashion was Tiffany’s escapism. It is what healed her and what helped her through her dark time. “I want people to understand that when you have a creative mind, there are so many different ways to find healing and hope, and to be able to gain purpose in life,” she expressed.
With a new feeling in life, she started a nonprofit organization in 2018 called Saint Tiffany’s, which was to “house her fashion advocacy and travel endeavors.” What started her advocacy work was going out and doing things, which led to her realizing there were more challenges to being a disabled woman. These challenges included, things not being easily accessible, or doors not wide enough for people in wheelchairs, or places not providing a ramp. She thought to herself, “this has to be a struggle for everyone who is disabled.” These challenges helped spark her interest, passion and concerns for her advocacy work.
Therefore, Tiffany has many goals she wants to achieve. She made it known having goals to work towards, particularly during recovery is imperative. One of her goals is to provide support through awareness so people with disabilities have the same opportunities and rights as everyone else in society. She stated, “They require independent support to ensure that they are able to live their lives to the fullest extent. This can be achieved by: receiving the right health care, access to facilities and the community, a social life, employment and educational opportunities, housing, and the ability to make their own choices and needs and opinions known.”
Although her advocacy is targeted towards disabled people, Tiffany wants to help everyone. Her mission is to continue to advocate, share, and motivate individuals who are having challenges with life to continue to seek therapy, counseling and seek those things that will allow freedom and allow you to experience your true journey.
In addition, she wants people to understand the importance of reaching out, advocacy, love, and hope. “My goal is to research and to find ways to build awareness through these different organizations, and through my organization, and to work with individuals who are also on board to help rebuild lives so that they are able to see the best potential way of life and way of living again.”
If you are interested in learning more about Tiffany, you can visit her website at www.saintiffanys.com.