21) I am grateful for my sense of sight because…
I didn’t always have it like I do now. I had poor vision, could barely see clearly a foot in front of my face. I lived in glasses and contacts, got used to dry eye and headaches, all the usual run around for those of us genetically blessed. But when I hit my mid 20s I was eligible for Lasik. Your eyes stop changing around 24-25 so professionals are willing to do corrective surgery when you reach that age. I can’t remember what the specific year is. It’s been a while. So instead of Lasik I opted for something called PRK. The difference is with Lasik they make an incision and lift a flap of tissue to get the laser in to the deeper level of the eye. With PRK it’s more like they use the laser as a sandblaster, no incision, and they wear down the outside of the eye through to the lower levels.
Lasik has a quicker recovery time but actually has more health risks in the long run, like glaucoma. PRK had a much longer recovery time, is more painful, but has better results long term. It was miserable. Literally, aside from breaking my neck and back, the most pain I’ve been in. It’s like someone is rubbing sandpaper on your eyes for a week. I could barely see, I was exhausted, I couldn’t get around by myself, my wonderful Aunt had to guide me, but oh, oh oh oh oh was it worth it. Now I have 20/20 vision and I feel like Hawkeye. I can’t even remember what it was like before. I am so incredibly lucky to be able to experience the world with my own two eyes in such a clear fashion. The only lingering issue is a little blurriness at night when there are bright lights, like on cars, but other than that I can see everything. It’s amazing.
Having gone from shitty sight to amazing sight, I am so grateful for the experience and so impressed with how the world looks. Sometimes I just look out our window because I can see. So much of our interaction with the world is through sight. Being able to read street signs clearly makes driving much, much easier. Even with contacts I couldn’t read them any more. I am grateful I get to see the ones I love and their beautiful faces. I am grateful I get to see my dogs and how freaking adorable they are. I couldn’t have played with S’s baby on Skype yesterday if I couldn’t see her cute little reactions.
There’s another interpretation of the word sight that I think is also applicable. The ability to “see” people and things for who and what they are is a tremendous gift, if difficult to achieve. I am also grateful for my level of insight to my own psyche and of those around me. I’ve always liked to analyze people, to study them and see how they work. In that regard, I am also thankful for inner sight.
Today I am still nervous about Christmas and still overwhelmed about my acceptance to school. Having something new and positive to talk about does take a lot of the pressure off. Part of why I don’t like spending time with people right now is that I feel like I don’t have a lot to say. I’m not doing very much except exploring how to get better at being a human. But now I can talk about plans, hopes, dreams. My family would accept whatever version of me that I brought to them, but I’d like to bring a semi-interesting and bright me. I am feeling better. Getting into school is the first good thing that has happened to me since I got married last summer. Everything before and after that was just one emotional catastrophe after another. I think I got a little boost of confidence. Let’s see how it goes.
Here’s another reason I am glad for sight: cute animals
My next prompt is: 22) “I am awesome because…” Now write a list dedicated to the awesomeness of you. All of your achievements, successes, talents, skills, quirky interests, qualifications, best experiences and proudest moments. Big and small in no particular order, just write them down, Going right back to when you were a child.” I won’t share that here because it’s not particularly relevant to anyone but me, though I will say this was an incredibly difficult prompt to begin because I am not accustomed to examining the positives in my life. In my memory they dull in comparison to negative moments. Therapist calls it my negativity bias: those thoughts are much stronger and sustained than positive ones. But this is why exercises like this prompt are so crucial, because it is so important to rewrite the good moments in your life to solidify them in memory and awareness, at least when you are down or when you have a negative brain like I do.
For instance, I had a very weird interpersonal experience in a mental health chatroom last night where, I thought I was just talking and trying to help and got ganged up on and told to STFU. My perspective of the world seemed to be completely different than theirs. I didn’t understand. It was very rude. There’s no reason to tell someone who’s trying to help to STFU. But the actual incident isn’t the problem, it’s my reaction to it. My negativity bias is in full swing: it’s a bad experience, therefore I must be bad, which outweighs everything else that’s been positive in the last few days. My brain is in a war. You suck, you did everything wrong, you should never go back, give in to their perceived hatred (I can’t tell you what they really think only that they ganged up on me and were very rude). I have a few options: never go back to that site, go back and talk it through with people, or go back and ignore that it happened and let myself move on. The trouble is when something happens like this my brain is like a dog with a bone, it just won’t let go.
So I went back to the chatroom, talked to the people there about it, and had a positive experience. This is starting to outweigh the negativity, but the people who were attacking me aren’t there. That’s ok. At least I went back and I didn’t let the emotions win.