Life can pull the wool over your eyes sometimes…
Ok, a lot of times…
Things get in the way of us seeing things clearly…
Maintaining a clear vision… And a clear path toward achieving it.
One of the things that blindness has fallen on in my own life…
Is the inability to see my own beauty.
In fact, I used to hate myself…
Not just how I look… But who I am.
And I think that stems from a mindset of lack, limitation, and allowing others’ perceptions to influence me…
Specifically, the perception I have about myself.
In transparency, I’m totally blind…
And I hope you don’t write me off because of that…
It didn’t always used to be like this.
In fact, my vision was pretty crystal clear. It was outstanding.
But that’s not why you shouldn’t write me off…
My seeing before isn’t what gives me leverage or contributes to my human capital, my value, or my beauty…
I never needed glasses… And even the smallest of details caught my eye…
Further impressive was my superior sight at night.
I would often ask my friends in high school or thereafter…
“How can’t you see that?”
It didn’t make sense to me how I could see so much profoundly better than my friend… Just because the lighting changed.
But that profound competitive advantage was nothing more than a thought…
That awareness, that knowing, and even that unknowing of why we were different didn’t change how I felt about them…
It didn’t change my mind about what was possible for them… Or who they are.
It’s just who they are.
Then, the lighting really changed… When I lost all my sight.
I lost that competitive advantage.
I lost more than that…
I lost everything.
Yep, total darkness, blackness, a void of vision.
I woke up like that in the hospital one day…
One day in mid-May of 2004. I just turned 21.
Things went darker and downhill from there…
Not my sight. That was long gone…
It was my vision… And my ability to see the beauty inside myself.
And for what some saw… And thought… Was possible.
It sounds so cliché…
Even as I listen to my screen reader read the letters and words as I type them out…
The irony… The clichés…
I lost the sight I needed to see the beauty inside myself…
And to truly understand the old saying.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I never really knew what that meant… But I do now.
And I was never really that beautiful…
I was never really that attractive…
You could see it at times on the outside…
But the buck stopped there.
I recently spent the weekend before Thanksgiving with my family nestled up against Saguaro National Monument in Southern Arizona.
Talk about beautiful…
I know this landscape very well.
It was here where I lived when I turned 21…
It was all here in front of me…
Where I was living while I waited to get shipped off to boot camp…
It was where I was living when the accident happened.
It was here, where I would also recover physically…
And mentally become aware of the hideousness inside me.
I am a forgiving person… And I forgave myself…
Kind of.
I got motivated. I took steps forward. I changed my perspective.
I changed my perspective about what’s possible for me…
I changed my perspective about the arc of my life…
I changed my perspective of what I was going to do with it…
But I never changed my perspective about how much I hated myself.
I hate myself.
It took a long time to get where I’m at today…
And even when I look closely in the mirror…
I can see that beauty mark…
I can see the imperfections that make me so perfect.
I can see that very unperfect smile…
That drooping part of my chin where nerve damage pulls it down like I had a stroke…
I can see the uneven ripples in my forehead where the skull implant is set…
I can see the much lower left cheek bone because that’s the best the plastic surgeon could do…
I see the skin grafted scar lines on my face that make up an “eye lid…”
And I can see how that lid can’t quite shut.
I can see the scars that run from that eye down my face…
The network of other scars across the left side of my neck and head…
But I also see something else…
I see those dimples and cute nose…
I see my right eye.
The changing hazel hues from bright green to grey…
But when I look at that right eye…
The only eye I have left…
I look into the darkness, the blackness of that pupil…
And here, right now, I want to believe there’s something good in there.
I want to believe that there’s something in there. Something. I don’t know what…
Just something.
Maybe something beautiful.
I don’t know… But from what I understand…
It’s in the eye of the beholder.
What are you holding on to?

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