The sky shimmers with a life affirming blue that penetrates my soul to the core. I cannot stop looking at it.
I Physically turn my head to the sky to drink it all in, but it is not possible. It goes forever, and my thirst for it is unquenchable.
I wonder if it has always been like this?
This blue I mean.
This actually actually bright bright bright blue blue…
I try to think back to the last time I saw it, yet I cannot remember a time when it didn’t have a grey tinge to it. Although I never noticed it as such. But now that it is gone, I don’t quite know what to do with myself.
The grey as it turns out, has always been apart of me. In fact, the more I think about it, the further it reaches through my memory.
That grey ever creeping creeping sneeking and blurring the edges of things. Dulling down the colours, and steeling the details like a stealthy jewellery theif.
. However I could never read between the lines to recognise what that grey actually was. And it is only now, being on the other side of it, that the brevity of the situation is beginning to hit home.
I mean of course I knew I was missing out, But given I had never known anything else, I never quite understood as to just how much natural creativity is expressed through the visual medium. I never understood why sighties always rave on about it, yet fail to notice, or put the same stock into other sensory mediums. However, I think I am beginning to comprehend what kind of distractions they have to deal with in this regard and I imagine that just as my grey was my normal, that this comparative crispness and vibrancy I am now experiencing, is theirs. So it occurs to me, that maybe I have never been missing out at all, but rather it is they. Because if they only see the flowers, rather than smelling them, then how can they really embody and internalise the natural environment in quite the same way? Seeing seems somehow more separate from the hearing, touching and tasting, I think, as I look look look. I mean maybe I am just not used to it, but there seems to be a line between it and me. However, when I hear the birds, smell freshly brewed coffee, or taste some delicious produce, it seems to be a part of me. Whereas this seems to be a part of something else. Something far bigger than my body, but far flatter than my inner realm.
To my mind and let’s face it, my very very limited understanding of this particular sensory experience; , the art of sight appears to encourage and almost infer a me and an other scenario. Which when I think about it more closely, might explain why sighties like to divide things into simple segments. Be it blindness, or any kind of difference between them, and their collective sameness, and the other. Whatever the other may be. Which absolutely makes sense, that if sight, being the most dominant medium in life creates a form of separation, then isn’t that going to permeate every part of a person’s psyche… Which then leaves me wondering how am I going to intergrate this into my historically insular universe of low vision/no vision?
No wonder I find myself avoiding the situation all together. Talk about one for the too hard basket.
But has the sky really always been like this? I continue to question over and over again, as I try to get a handle on my new reality.
How is that even possible?
This crazy penetratingly beautiful blue?
How do sighted people not wander around celebrating this kind of blue like Julie Andrews on the top of a hill every single day?
I mean if they were too busy ogling the sky instead of watching where they were going, that would make sense. Well now it would make sense. A week ago however, it would not have mattered the reason for someone bumping into me. I would not have cared that the sky was a beautiful blue. I would not have understood I would not have wanted to understand. Because wanting it, would have hurt. Wanting it would have been a risk. Wanting it would have meant I had to admit just how invested in the outcome I actually am.
But this, this is amazing!
I am desperate to call my friend Liz, and tell her about it, but I do not.
I am reluctant, because what if it makes her sad.
Not that I think it would, but what if it does?
What if it makes a tiny part of her sad, because it is unlikely to be a part of her future. Then is it unfair for me to talk about it?
Her condition is different to mine. And although there are zillions of dollars going into research into it, the break through is proving illusive.
I know what an extraordinarily privileged position I am in, but gratitude and consciousness do not protect a girl from loss.
What if I lose it by the very act of speaking it?
Would it make me sad if the roles were reversed, I wonder, remembering how much it used to hurt a decade before when I was single, and someone would announce their pregnancy, or try and tell me in that patronising way that of course I would find someone. Just as long as that someone wasn’t them, or anyone they knew but yes, yes of course I would have a family one day. Just not today. However to me that seemed so far out of the stratosphere of possibility that the very mention no matter how based in ignorance or fluffy pink intention would be like a knife to my heart. …
I soak up the mid-afternoon autumn sunshine from my back step, and wish that the grey gum would get out of the way.
Doesn’t it know I am trying to look at the sky?
Move big tree, move! You’re blocking my view, I say aloud.
I try to nudge it with my will. But it just stands there stoically, oblivious to my thoughts and words.
I don’t know what I am expecting; for it to just say oh ok Megs, sorry about that, I’ll just shimmy a little to the left…
I am so enchanted, that yes, a part of me is hoping that the tree will do just that. I mean it wouldn’t surprise me. Because isn’t the world wonderful?
Oh my God, imagine if trees did really talk, I giggle to myself.
Or would I be so ridiculously happy for her that I would cry with joy, because now I had a friend who would describe everything to me in a way that no one else could, because she gets it.
Would it bring tears to my eyes like when I hear those medical breakthrough stories of successful kidney transplants, cochlea implants, walking again, and general beating the odds? Because they make me happy.
But this narrative masks me from the more confronting truth of the situation.
What if I felt like we couldn’t relate anymore.
Even though we have always said that we are friends regardless of our blindness, and not because of it.
What if the real reason we are friends is because of it.
What if she thinks I can no longer commiserate with her over the shittiness of the situation. Or laugh with her at the absurdity life throws us.
Clearly This new way of being is causing somewhat of an identity crisis. I don’t quite know how to relate to myself, let alone anyone else.
I feel like a stranger in my own soul.
The sky is so blue I tell my husband, and he laughs good-naturedly in response as though it is a normal everyday occurrence.
But there is no way this can be an everyday occurrence I decide as I continue to marvel at the blueness of it all. A blue that just goes and goes and goes. Drawing me up like a magnet until I am overwhelmed. I want to look away, but I cannot look away. But I want to look away… It is too much. Just too too much for me to understand.
But it wasn’t like this yesterday, I think. Or the day before, the day before that, and the day before that…
In fact the more I think about it, the more sure I am that there has never been a more lovelier bluer sky in the history of the world.
God painted this one just for me. And he only put it up this morning. Who knows what was there previously, but my mind is trying to tell me that it wasn’t this. It couldn’t have been this.
Seriously, that is the only way my brain can make sense of it, so it is the story I am running with. Because anything else is just too big and hard to believe. Even though of course I am running a simultaneous train of thought that tells me my brain is full of shit, and this is ridiculous.
If anything this experience has taught me, just how much crap our brains churn out on a daily basis. I mean the stories we tell ourselves? No wonder the world is so mixed up. I swear to God 99% of the time, it is just a load of rubbish. As in seriously. Chatter chatter chatter, bla bla bla, la la la, lie lie lie… It is insane. Creative yes, but definitely insane. Insane because most of the time we don’t question it. Most of the time we actually believe what we tell ourselves is real. When really, what if it isn’t? What if there is a whole other truth that we are not listening to. What if the realness doesn’t come from our inner narrator’s tongue, but in the quiet spaces in between. What if it is in between the tick tick tock of the seconds, and not the seconds themselves?
But surely, if that big blue expanse were there before now I would have seen or sensed or smelt it, I continue to argue with myself. Surely, I would have just known.
How could I have not intuited such beauty if it had always been.
Seriously, has it always been like this?
I can’t get my head around it.
It seems so close, but so far away. I keep reaching up to touch it. As though that will help me make sense of the sight. Because touching things has always helped me, understand the world around me. But even when I jump, or stand up on a chair, it is out of my grasp. So all I can do is look at it. But looking doesn’t seem enough.
I want to stretch up and wrap myself in its glory like an acrobat rolling and twirling gracefully in a silk rope.
The colour blue.
How do you explain the colour blue?
I have no answer for this question. But I have no answer for anything at this point. All I can do is look.
I always thought the sky was more of a light grey blue like a baby blanket.
This is a brilliant brazen bluey blue that cannot be rivalled.
Surely there cannot be a bluer blue.
All this colour has reminded me of a bargain I made with the universe awhile back:
If I am lucky enough ever to see, I will travel the world to see everything.
Umm, how am I going to finance that, punches through my pondering like a careless oaf without any idea of the intrusion it has caused.
Oh but who cares, it isn’t like I can fly yet anyway, so there is still time I justify as I turn back to the spectacular blue.
It wasn’t like I really thought this was ever going to happen when I made the wish.
This is my first proper colour. I am so excited. Actually, I am beside myself. My skin itches with a scratch I cannot soothe.
Colour colour colour, it is more than what we dared to hope for, yet here it is.
Is it ok to have this?
Is it ok to want this?
Is it ok to need this?
Is it ok to receive this?
And most most most importantly, is it ok to celebrate?
Yahoo yahoo yahoo…
I chicken out of calling Liz, and ring my mum instead; because I know, it will make her happy.
Calling her is simple. My seeing will make her happy, my not seeing will make her sad.
The sky is bluuuuuue I announce as she picks up the phone.
I still have to tell someone because telling mum isn’t enough.
Sure, she is excited, but I need more. I need someone to hunker down in the delight with me. So less than five minutes later, I call Liz and confess everything. All my doubts, all my worries, and my sheer overjoy at the blue. I tell her because I know she will understand. She will remember the blue. And my reunion with it will be like a reunion for her also. And sure enough, it is. She is just as happy as I am about the blue.
I want to tell everyone.
Blue blue blue blue blue blue blue!
It isn’t so much about the sky, but the colour. Or rather, it is about my relationship with colour. It is about how I use it in my everyday life. It is about how I navigate, orientate, and express myself with it. It is how I justify, vilify, and explain myself to others. In other words, it is one of the few building blocks I have to build a bridge between me and the world. It is a highly prised tool I employ to relate to people and have them relate to me.
Which is part of the reasons I felt so lost and isolated when I no longer had it at my disposal. I felt as though one of my prized possessions had been taken without permission, and I had been given nothing in return.
But still I am afraid this might not be real.
I am afraid that if I tell the world of my good fortune it will run away.
I am afraid of the judgements of others.
I am afraid the blindy community will lynch me for it. as in literally.
But what I am really afraid of, is being caught between two worlds again and not knowing where I stand.
I am afraid of my youthful self. The one who was so miserable that even with the fabric of time between us, it still hurts to think about her.
What if I go back to that.
Because in my mind, if I can now see what I could see then, don’t the two go together?
I practically shout it from the rooftops. Blue-sky, blue sky, blue sky… I tell anyone who will listen, and anyone who won’t. I am aching to share this newfound beauty with the world. But still I don’t know how to squeeze it into words on the page. Still I worry about what people think, and where I will now fit therein.
It is as if I have been given complete make over on the inside, and I don’t know how to wear it.
Does this new space really belong to me; I keep asking myself with almost every step.
How do I explain to people that it is going to take time for me to adjust? And that often I am overwhelmed and exhausted. How do I explain this is nothing like what they imagine. It does not fit into a linear progression. Or sit neatly in a series of black and white boxes that can be specifically labelled and compartmentalised like files in a storage cabinet.
Sighties are always doing that when it comes to vision. And I get it. Because of course they would. They don’t know. Quite naturally they would think when I answer their curiosity regarding what I can see, they assume it is exactly how they would see it. The same colour hue, the same level of detail, and the same comprehension. However, it is not. It is far from that. Where they see pattern, I see a block of colour. Where they see a smile, I see nothing. Where they see text, I have no idea… And on it goes. I will never be able to read an eye chart, see someone wave from across the street, read a standard paperback, or drive a car. But what I do get is some sort of functional vision. And although one person’s function may be another person’s failure, I am taking it.
This is a big win!