My Life Through Spectacles This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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In fifth grade I got my first pair of glasses. I vividly remember sitting in the cold, leather chair of my optometrist's office, anxiously waiting for Dr. Ling to bring them to me. I had picked them out a week prior, their frames bright red and their prescription strong. Finally, they were presented to me. I waited until I was outside to open that bright pink case displaying the brand name “Candy” in large gold lettering. I closed my eyes and slipped them onto my face, their bent ends fit snugly behind my ears. I opened my eyes to a world of clarity. I could now see every single detail of a nearby tree, and each driver in every passing car. I was so bombarded by my regained sense that an instant headache formed, though nothing could dampen my euphoric mood. I could finally see.

Fast forward six years and I find myself in a similar situation, anxiously waiting for the unboxing of yet another pair of spectacles. This time, however, instead of allowing me to see individual leaves on a tree, they will let me see each leaves’ pigment. I learned that I was colorblind about three years earlier, more specifically that I have a red-green deficiency, and ever since I had suffered from the daily interrogation of  “What color is this?” from my peers. In middle school my vision declined significantly and my prescription skyrocketed. My deficiency also worsened, leading to the tragic mismatching of many outfits in middle school. In 2015 a company called Enchroma released a line of glasses that could supposedly fix red-green colorblindness. Naturally I was very inclined to buy a pair, the only issue was their price tag. At a steep price of $349, I would have to wait and save up until I could get them.

After many hours working at my local ice cream shop as well as being drooled on by the plethora of children I babysat, I had finally scrounged up enough money for the glasses. Eight business days later I took my unopened Enchroma box to the Gardens; a small museum surrounded by greenery and local flora. I sat on a stone bench covered in moss and surrounded by tall, fully-bloomed chrysanthemums. The aviator style frames were tinted with a red hue, jarring me six years into the past, sitting in a chair as an anxious fifth grader once again. I nervously stared down at a pair of glasses that could change my life indefinitely, though at the same time fearing that they would not work. I pushed all doubt aside, took a deep breath, closed my eyes once again, and slid them on. I opened my eyes and they stung almost immediately with oncoming tears. Never had I seen color full of such saturation, then it was gone. It came in flashes, comparable to that of The Giver. My brain could barely comprehend what my eyes were perceiving. Over time the longevity of those flashes increased and eventually I was living in technicolor.

I dedicated myself entirely to my goal and in this I learned that I can always achieve what I set my mind to. It felt as though that was one of the most pivotal times in my life, and, in that moment, I cried. I cried tears of pure and utter bliss, for I had just been welcomed into a world I was excluded from my whole life. A world of color.

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