By the time I was 5 my parents finally discovered something was wrong with my vision. My vision was that of a Vincent Van Gogh painting, an illusion of the world. Kaleidoscopes of color blend in vibrant hues. Figures become distorted and misshapen into unrecognizable silhouettes. Edges soften and suddenly details are harder to depict. But how would I have known something was wrong. Because, like the artist, this is has always been my vision of the world. This is how I always saw it. My distorted figures and bleary colors were all I’d ever known.
Strangely enough, as a child I loved art. There was always a euphoric kind of freedom that came with art. My sword was a paintbrush, and my shield, a canvas. It was the only time I could show people what I saw, what my world looked like. The smears and blobs of paint merging together to create a masterpiece only I could see the beauty in. My perception of beauty was different from the worlds. From my broken eyes I saw a different kind of beauty.
They say, ‘Ignorance is bliss’, and that I can attest to. Never in my four years did I believe my imperfect vision was a bad thing. Nor did I know it was imperfect.
We were in the car. My mother and I, when she first discovered that my sight was a little off-kilter.
Coupled with my mother’s discovery, the next week I went in for my first eye appointment. Evidently enough, my scores were a little faulty. This kickstarted my rigorous training to correct my sight. Eyedrops and ‘activities’ were given to me as a start. One of the activities consisted of a string with 3 beads on it. Red, Blue, and Black. I had to focus on the red bead as it was brought closer and farther away. The doctors said it would help strengthen my eyes to achieve perfect sight. The eyedrops were given to me when I was both awake and asleep. Both of them I grew to hate with a passion.
A color that overpowered my now strained and tired hazel eyes. Their usual glimmer gone. The color that seemed to always be lurking in the back of my mind. An aching heat that formed at my temples.
My tears. That when they fell, made it hard to focus. That brought me back to blurry, hazy vision. Afterwards, I’d usually cry and beg my mom to never let me do those again. Yet the next day I’d repeat the cycle. Like a bad song on repeat.
The color I wish I saw more often. Even my nights were disturbed by the saltiness of eye drops and tears. When the pain of focusing was too much, I’d close my eyes, wishing I could be met with the peace and serenity only black would provide.
No longer did art matter to me. It hurt too much to focus, and the colors caused my eyes to become more sore than they were before.
To help distinguish the words in my books, I was given glasses at the age of 8. Second grade.
The color of my teachers shiny apple. My sharpened colored pencil. The color of the words written on the board.
My favorite color. The color of my freshly painted picture in art class.
Printed words in my books. The color that would smear across my vision as I raced down the page. Absorbing every word.
No longer did it hurt to focus. Soon I was able to read quickly and efficiently. The flare for art accompanied my new found vision, and things seemed to be going well. No more eye drops. No more activities. My once sore eyes were ready for the vibrancy and joylessness of the world again.
In time, my eyes exceeded the need for glasses. For once my naked eyes were able to see the world for what it truly was. How beautiful it is. The sharp and spirited colors, the distinct edges of silhouettes. This is how I now see the world. My view of the world is always changing, with every day I enter it. My painting always changing, my picture sometimes hazy, sometimes clear. No day will I ever view it the same way.
The photograph halted them for life
In that moment
The fast moving feet
All of it stopped
For a minute chicago is peaceful
Its racing heartbeat slowed to a gentle thud
There is a quiet beauty
In a stilled moment
The power of one lens
Captures 3 million lives
Forever locked in the pixels of 2005 Canon
The city I remember will change
In this photo
It remains the same
The same colors
It halts this ever racing city
For an instant
I know 2 am.
I know it front and back
In and out
Backwards and inside out
When the night is its weakest
Ready to surrender to the dawn
I know it’s silent screams
Its tip-toe steps
Gently weaving through every street
I know 2 am.
Its writers who can’t sleep
For poets to bleed their hearts
Broken souls to ache
Safe within the enveloping darkness
Only 2 am can provide
It covers things
That when morning comes
Aren’t as beautiful
I know 2 am.
I know it’s delirious laughter
The memories that I fell in love with
From another time
Thoughts whispered to the wind
Confessions masked by the aphotic sky
It knows me
Inside and out
Front and back
Dissolved into the walls of my room
My torn pages
Of frantic letters and forgotten ideas
My broken heart
And broken soul
It knows my laugh
As it knows my cry
Knows me better
Than I may know myself