Clear Sighted

I had an operation in 2008 to repair a damaged retina in my right eye. Apparently there was a small tear in the upper corner which caused some bleeding so they had to re-attach it to prevent hemorrhage. They also removed the silicone oil that was used to glue the retina back into place when it detached itself the first time in 2001.

This was my fourth eye surgery over the course of 10 years, each one more complicated than the last. I’ve had lens implants and cataract removals and massive retinal  detachments that I wasn’t really surprised when the inevitable happened. My right eye finally gave out and is now completely blind due to optic nerve damage.

Naisip ko, napagod na rin siguro.

If it sounds terrible and depressing don’t worry. Even I’m surprised at how well and quickly I’ve accepted being literally half-blind. Physically I’m still adapting to it but I’m hopeful the discomfort and disorientation will pass with time. It’s true that not seeing the right side of life makes you stumble. Choz! :p  And not having peripheral vision is a bitch! Especially when shaving your right armpit!

But I figure other people have it worse so it’s been relatively easy to shake off the blues before it even gets a chance to set in.  Going to the gym and consuming SkinnyCow Fat Free Ice Cream has helped tremendously.

I tell myself I’m lucky because I still have one good eye. I’ve named her George. I figured we gotta be really good friends now and I tell her everyday to stay strong. But I’m realistic enough to know that given my lifelong streak of bad luck in the health department, I can’t really count on George being there and staying alive as long as I am. She’s not functioning as clearly and I feel her strain from compensating for her dead twin. And George  has had her fair share of battles (having undergone 1 of the 4 surgeries mentioned above) so I’m just  thankful she’s still there.

But while knowing I can lose George in much the same way I lost her sister is sobering, it is also perversely exciting at the same time.

It occurred to me that given the situation, I can either be depressed or…enlightened. I chose to be enlightened (because I just like my jolly) and in some strange way I see things  more clearly now with one eye than when I had both. Suffice it so say my sighted-existence has kicked into high gear.

I wanna see as much of the world as I can…I wanna read as many books, see as many sunsets, watch as many films, write as many things…I wanna LOOK at everything and just SEE SEE SEE as much as I can, whenever possible, as soon as possible. I wanna let my one eye eat and drink its fill so should I lose it too I can let it go without too much bitterness or regret. 🙂

 

Hay. I miss my right eye something fierce though. My used-to-be-perfect vision represented not just being able to read a menu in a restaurant without trouble, or recognizing a friend standing 10 feet away (you have to come closer now at least 5 feet), or having peripheral sight so you don’t bump into people at the mall or feel tense when crossing the street.

It reminds me of a time in my life when clarity meant something comforting because what was clear and certain was simple, and what wasn’t didn’t induce you in a state of fright; who you were was visible, and wasn’t a question upon which rode enormous stakes, and the things that you believed you could be were not just dreams but actual possibilities. Or even if they were not, you believed them to be. I am stunned by the realization of how jaded my vision has become. It SHOULDN’T take  much effort to see and believe without cynicism. It just shouldn’t. I’ve heard people refer to it as growing up. Well–I don’t accept that. It has nothing do with growing up. I should know.

2007 was a seminal year for me, my closest circles are aware, as life goals were checked off and I chased a few dreams. All storytellers will agree, no journey-quest would be complete without at least one glorious tale of an epic battle fought. Mine was more…epic than I was ready for. I had the dragons flying overhead, the demons waiting at the gate even treachery threatening within the ranks of my own Tolkienan army…but we held. I held. And sorry but I must say–kicked some serious Orcan ass.

This active pursuit of purpose may have necessitated these unexpected battles, but I have no complaints. I’m grateful. Not only because it allowed me to experience the incomparable sweetness of a prize so hard-won but also because it introduced me to a person I haven’t  seen in a long time.  A person who was still strong enough to fight the good fight, still foolish enough to risk everything for conviction and still not grown-up enough to compromise integrity. Being rightly blind to all obstacle, this person risked everything and in the process gained everything.

I had no idea how much I needed to know and remember that she was still there. Because now more than ever, I’m determined to push the envelope of fearless yet again.

I still see the path clearly, and I’ve never needed my eyes for that. But certain events in recent history have forced me to rethink and reevaluate the manner by which I’ve been looking at where I was headed.

Losing half my sight has clarified my vision, being half-blind took off blinders I didn’t know were there.
And by necessity I’ve become braver in a way I wasn’t before.

A good kind of — uncaring.

I can’t see everything but I can see clearly, clearer, now. 🙂

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