Last May, I had a surgery that was projected to give me back sight in my right eye, and I also started this blog. I chose the name “Sudden Sight” because overnight I could see better out of my eye, whereas losing sight in that eye has given me amazing insight in so many other aspects of life. I am human, and therefore lose perspective at times, but overall I have come out of this experience with a wealth of knowledge and experience that many people never even have the opportunity to obtain.
I am sad to say that it seems the surgery did not go as planned. The sight in my right eye seemed to improve at first, but has since reverted back to how it was before the surgery. Looking through it is like trying to see through wax paper. And while this last surgery did provide more comfort, it also took away some of the nicer aesthetic aspects of the scarred eye. I now have far fewer eyelashes, and the eye on whole is much more red. Hopefully the redness will go down over time, but it will always look scarred, my face probably forever disfigured.
People tell me all the time how lucky I am and how beautiful. My friends often treat me as though nothing is wrong, except to tease me about being a terrible driver. On the one hand, it’s nice to forget about it sometimes. It’s nice to feel normal, to be treated like this never happened. It’s nice to forget some days that there is a piece of me that is starkly different from everyone around me. But on the other hand, it’s incredibly frustrating.
For three and a half years I have woken up every morning and gone about my day in pain. Some days it has kept me hiding under the sheets in a dark room just trying to go back to sleep, and other days (especially more recently) it has been manageable enough to where I hardly notice it. The physical pain has become more of a pesky nuisance than a debilitating hardship, but it remains nonetheless. I still have to take medication four times a day (which is actually a nice respite from previous rituals), and I put in eye drops at least every two hours. Some of that medication has to be kept refrigerated, further limiting my ability to just hang out and do what I want with my life. Not to mention the constant doctor bills mean I have to work full-time at a job which offers benefits while going to school, keeping me busy and stressed. So while I enjoy getting to hang out as though nothing about my life is different from those around me, it is simultaneously frustrating that things are so different.
At times, it is especially difficult with older people who tend to act patronizingly. I want to tell them, “I know what it’s like to be so riddled with pain that I can’t move, I know what it’s like to have 20 pills to take a day, I know what it’s like to visit doctors twice weekly, and I know what it’s like to have something so incredibly alter your life overnight that your whole world becomes muddled, so don’t write me off as some young nothing.” And yet, as much wisdom as I have gleaned from this experience, most of me is still only 24, struggling with the same frustrations and immaturity as other 24 year olds. It’s as if my life has become this giant balancing act. On the one hand, I want to move on with my life as though nothing happened and just be normal. On the other hand, I can’t stand acting as though nothing happened because everything has changed!
In a way, I think we all live a double life like this. We all have moments in our lives that shape us, but we can’t constantly tell the world about them. Beyond my hospitalization there have been several difficult events that forever shaped my life, and yet many of them are also events that I wouldn’t talk about to any average Joe on the street. We all have emotional scars which separate us from our peers and make us beautifully unique. In fact, each of my tattoos is symbolic of something that has changed my life. The only difference with this scar is that I wear it on my face, making it the center of my attention even when I wish I could forget it.
Freshman year of college, I had a dear friend Adam who used to say, “Be nice to everyone you meet. They are fighting a battle you know nothing about.” It’s true. We all have lived through things that have proven difficult for us. When people try to minimize their problems, I tell them not to because each problem is important because it’s ours. I’ve spent more time in the past few months trying to listen, and I’ve found that so many of my loved ones have incredible histories. They are each fascinating and life-changing in their own respect.
Humanity may be a horrid race, but we are an enduring one. We have seen great tragedy and lived to tell the tale. We are, each of us, an amazing melange of our pasts and the pasts of all those with whom we’ve come into contact. It’s hard to remember, especially wearing my greatest scar on the thing people look to first – my eyes, but it’s everything I’ve lived through that makes me beautiful, and it’s all my flaws that make me “normal.”