At the height of my vision problems, the world looked a lot like this:
It was all shapes & colors. Blurry. Undefined. I was missing a lot.
My right eye had a “floater” smack dab in the middle of my field of vision. It was as if i was trying to look through one of those clear, plastic projector slides that had the same image as what I was seeing, but somehow lagged behind and would catch up to the real-time image. My left eye, typically my best eye, shouldered a lot of the load and when it went from clear to blurry, that’s when everything changed.
Without definition coming from my left eye, I was legally blind. Blind.
Unless it’s unclear, doing much of anything without being able to see is… umm… difficult. I couldn’t drive, so I took the train around town, just to be busy. But then I felt too scared to even make the walk to the station and definitely to cross the street, so I stayed home.
I spent a lot of time at home. A lot of time with myself.
Existence was miserable at first. I was keeping everything to myself – nobody knew that my sight was so bad, that I was so scared and unsure and was barely holding it together. I felt stuck. I couldn’t even enjoy a book or play games on the iPad. Sitting outside meant squinting against the sun and disappointment at missing all the birds and sky. That’s just in my nature, to keep everything bad to myself. (Probably a shock, since I can be loud and talkative. The substance of chatter matters.).
It was I and Me; who I am to myself and who I’ve learned I am from others. There was bound to be a showdown.
Who I was and how I was perceived were incongruous. I was hurting, but nobody knew. I was imploding and understood why, but was painfully aware that it looked bad from the outside – the disconnect between I and Me, between myself and others, was frustrating.
But an inkling crept under my skin – I knew this pattern, I knew this feeling, and I knew the disconnect between my inner truth and the way I interacted with the outside world was big and up to me to reconcile.
But all it took was for me to open my mouth! All I had to do was be open and truthful, even when it meant an admission that I was struggling, and it gave others (1) an unguarded look into my life, and (2) the opportunity to be their unguarded, good selves.
I tried to be so hard when softness was really the key. Lao Tzu came to mind immediately.
Soft is strong. And up is down, right?
Once I sought help, softened up, it came. Hospital, doctors, getting to the core of my medical health. Jelaine had been helping me to the best of her ability, because I hadn’t expressed how bad things were. And once she knew the extent of my situation, she was right there, taking her “good” above and beyond the “bad” that was happening. Whoa, she didn’t leave me when I was weak.
In fact, when I became more and more expressive with everyone in my life, the easier we connected. When I stopped being afraid of BEING who I am, which required I get in touch with that part too, barriers fell down and new paths opened up. Before, I was scared of my unfiltered self; then I realized it was because what I thought would come out was bad.
I had been acting out of fear, expecting bad, setting up a barrier when there was no threat, for so long that I thought I was the hardness.
As my vision returned, I became more aware of the things I had missed. It put Life into perspective in amazing ways. The outline of trees against a sunset – I could see it again, but it was like the first time! Smiles, sweet moments between people, Izzy growing into a dog, meeting up with friends – I had been missing those with my eyes and missing them even more in my “heart”!
Taking the time to appreciate the good around me was transformative.
I found good when I looked for it in myself. What’s inside me is joy, sunshine, love, enthusiasm, happiness, compliments, passion, friendship… THAT’S my unfiltered self. That’s what I have inside. And that’s how I want to live and who I want to be to others.
Before, I was tight-lipped about my feelings, good and bad. Now, knowing my tendencies, I am conscious about expressing appreciation, sharing enthusiasm, and coming from a kind place if problems arise (just another manifestation of looking for the good in situations). When I am conscious of bringing good to the table, more good can come. You reap what you sew…
It’s almost magic – calling attention to the good makes it grow exponentially. When I found my goodness, I could live it. And others have mirrored it and shown their goodness. I’ve gotten updates from friends dealing with MUCH worse health issues than I am, just sharing their situation, and I’m glad to be there for them. By softening up and sharing myself, struggle and triumph, I can make others feel safe in sharing their lives. And, hopefully, it then spirals up and out to more and more people!
Remembering the good. Finding the good. Acknowledging the good. Appreciating the good. Sharing the good. And, most importantly: Being the good.
When my body made it so that I had to face everything inside (the harsh, and then the beautiful), everything changed. The good came out.