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What Meets the Eye This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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“The eyes are the mirror of the soul.”—a Yiddish Proverb

Why do we have eyes? The answer seems simple. We have eyes so that we may see the things around us. They are the tools we need to carry out one of our most important senses: sight. Is this the only purpose of eyes? It is logical to believe so. What else is there to say? Each person usually has two of them. They vary from person to person in color, size, and shape. The little black dot in the middle expands and contracts based on the availability of light. They have a five-layered cornea, a retina, and a few other parts that most people cannot name. That just about covers it, right? Maybe so, but I believe there is so much more to the importance of eyes. A person’s eyes tell a story about who he or she is and what he or she has been through. They show sadness; they show absolute joy. They can tell a story of a person’s life and personality. My eyes tell my story. This is not because they are pretty, and this is not because they are unique. I love my eyes because, in my opinion, they reflect who I am, what I have been through, and what I love to do.

In my circle of friends there is the outgoing girl whose huge, dark chocolate brown eyes talk even more than she does. There is the extremely involved, well-rounded, intelligent girl whose eyes contain so many colors that they cannot be placed in a single category. There is the girl who exudes a contagious energy and whose bright, blue eyes sparkle like the ripples in a swimming pool after someone does a cannonball. Then, there is me. The girl whose eyes have a thick, dark blue ring surrounding a pool of striated blues and a distinct sliver of pure green. How does this represent me? My whole life, one thing I have struggled to overcome is my shyness. As a child, I was painfully shy. I would find one best friend and cling to her wherever she went, because I would only feel comfortable in unfamiliar circumstances if I had her there as my rock. Even then, I would often be remembered as so-and-so’s friend, if I was remembered at all. In a sense, I had to find a way to break down my wall of shyness—a metaphor for the dark blue wall surrounding my iris. I am proud to say that over the past few years, I have broken out of my dark blue shell. I am still timid upon encountering new people and new situations; however, now, I see it as more of a humbleness or sense of humility rather than shyness. Beyond my initial timidity, I am a friendly, talkative, and a bit silly at times. The contrast between the dark blue ring, the shades of blues and the random hunk of green in my eyes reflect these aspects of my personality.

The slices of green in my eyes are particularly important to me. Strangely enough, they did not appear until I was a freshman in high school. This change happened immediately after two of the most difficult years of my life. Those two years began with Hurricane Katrina, because of which I was forced to leave my home, my friends, and my life for what I thought would be a three day vacation. Unfortunately, as the storm destroyed my city, my supposed three day vacation became a three month exile. In a matter of months, I was forced to become a grown-up in the body of a sad, scared, and confused twelve-year-old girl. The struggles did not end when we returned home to New Orleans. After about six months, my parents separated; this was somewhat relieving but also extremely devastating. I finally had my somewhat restored, post-hurricane house back just in time for my family to fall apart. If I had to name something I am most proud of, it would be the person that I have become despite any hardships I have faced. The slices of green in my eyes represent this. They are my strength. They are my resilience. They are my most defining quality. They are my superpower.

Lastly, my eyes always look best when they are under bright lights. My favorite kinds of lights are the ones in the theater. These are the lights that beam onto my face as a curtain rises to reveal an excited audience, the lights that transport me to another world, and the lights that make my pupils shrink to their tiniest size revealing a burst of lime green peeking through cerulean blue blinds. These lights are a key ingredient to the magic of musical theater. Musical theater has brought out the best in me. It is what helped me break out of my timidity, and it has been my major outlet in overcoming stress and hardship. Musical theater has taught me not to underestimate myself, and it has given me something to cherish through all of my years. I feel my best when I am under the bright lights performing. It seems my eyes feel the same way.

Eyes are taken for granted. They are so much more than sensory tools. They are portals to a person’s soul. They express how we feel in ways that words could never accomplish. They are a self portrait. In life, there may always be more than what meets the eye, but maybe that is because everything you need to meet is already in the eyes.





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