Oh that’s just great!
So, did I just spend more than two hours with the people at my Wednesday evening writing group with my left eye turned?
Did they notice, when I was reading my piece I’d written at this latest read-through and just couldn’t help staring at it and at me, for all the wrong reasons, as I was reading aloud to them?
Did they see that something was off about my left eye when I first arrived, but were too uncomfortable or polite to bring it up?
What would they even understand about artificial, prosthetic eyes or what would they say to me about it, even if they had the nerve to say anything at all?
That is the risk I take whenever I go out in public.
I can wake up, rub my eyes like we all do, without even realizing it and the left one will turn. I can put my face underneath the shower and the motion of the water stream can turn it. I just never know. And then I feel something is off, but forget to ask someone I trust before going out into the world.
So, I only see out of one eye now (since 1996), obviously. The other is a definite conversation piece, when politeness and necessity cause myself or others to mention it at all.
How to explain this?
Over in the UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) have started a social media campaign which is quickly spreading around the world on Twitter and alike.
So many people with a diagnosed visual impairment face suspicion on whether they’re really even blind at all or else just faking it. I don’t get that often because it isn’t often that I hold a book to my face and look like I’m reading. Some people with low vision can read the screens of their phones or a large print book, newspaper, or magazine.
Can you imagine what it must feel like not to be believed on something so vital as sight or the lack thereof?
Well, I try to explain to people sometimes, myself, what exactly I do see. Believe it or not, that is not an easy question to answer, but I thought I would take part in the RNIB’s attempt to make it known what vision loss encompasses.
The lady in the promotional YouTube video at the beginning gets it right. For me, more and more, it’s like a fogged up window. No more clarity, the kind glasses once provided. No definition of my surroundings. I see more than simple light and dark, shadows or movement, but more vague shades of what was once there.
I can no longer tell you how many fingers you’re holding in front of my face, so don’t even bother asking.
“Is that a stop sign ahead of us, out there to the left?” I ask a boyfriend,, as we sit waiting to cross the border from Canada into the US.
“Yes. You could see that?” he asks in shock.
I don’t know how I saw it. I am baffled most of all. Nine times out of ten I never would have picked that detail out.
I can no longer pick out lit up street signs. The names of stores in a mall were, at one time readable to me as I sat with my grandfather on a bench, but now I most likely wouldn’t see any such thing.
Last week I chose not to take part in the weekly prompt for
Actually, it was before I’d decided I would take part in #HowISee and yet it involved the fact that the stream of consciousness prompt was “art”.
I was feeling angry, as I sometimes get, that my vision has declined so much as to make seeing colour impossible. I yearned for the days of my childhood, those good old days when I was always creating visual art of one kind or another.
Of course, there are many forms of artistic expression. I write stories and essays and blog posts. I am learning the violin. I am writing song lyrics. I am creating art every single day still.
But I saw that there was colouring book day, an official day this past week, from what I read. I wanted to draw, to colour again, but I couldn’t and the prompt just reminded me of everything I can no longer do.
So, now I try to explain, keeping my anger and bitterness in line, how I see, what I see. The explanation isn’t so straightforward. My examples may be weak to anyone who is not seeing through the “eye” I’m seeing through.
and here we have it.