If You Really Knew Me: The Life, The Lessons and The Legacy - I Didn't Know I Couldn't See
“It’s not what I have been through in my life that defines who I am, it’s how I got through it that has made me the person I am today.” Unknown
I DIDN’T KNOW I COULDN’T SEE
I’m sure that you have heard of “BC” and “AD” – where “BC” stands for the English phrase “Before Christ” and “AD” confusingly comes from the Latin phrase for “Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord or the Year that Jesus was born). These terms refer to the point in time where our calendar was created and how time is now measured.
Well, I have another way to think of time – “BG” for BEFORE GLASSES, and “AG” for AFTER GLASSES!
I don’t remember a lot of my “BG” years – maybe it’s because they were my earlier years and I was so young. But, I think that much of that time was a blur because it was “blurry”! I didn’t know that I couldn’t see. I walked around in a blur – squinting to see, but I thought that what I was seeing was what I was supposed to see. I didn’t know that my brothers and sisters, my cousins and other family members, my friends (and probably even our dog) could see things clearly. I can remember when I was small that everyone would gather around the big console TV in the Living Room – all of us kids were on the floor right in front of the TV. I was always in the front – I thought because I was the youngest, but it was probably because I was getting close enough to see what was on the screen.
It’s almost like the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know”. I didn’t know that it was supposed to be different or better. That was clearly my “BG” experience!
Then, I went to school. I didn’t go to kindergarten, so my first experience in a school setting was in First Grade. I remember going to school on the first day and I knew I was missing something. But I didn’t know what it was. I saw the teacher at the front of the room but I couldn’t tell what she was doing. She was holding up big cards but I couldn’t see what was on those cards. It looked like blobs to me. Squinting didn’t help. I could hear her. I could answer the questions asked, but I couldn’t see what she was pointing at. I couldn’t see her writing on the board. The teacher finally asked me if I was having problems seeing. That was my first realization that I was having problems seeing. She sent a note home to my parents letting them know that I needed my eyes checked.
I even remember going to the eye doctor. I was excited. They were going to help me see! The eye doctor examined my eyes. He made me pick which letters and pictures looked clearer, “Better 1, or Better 2”, he said, over and over again. He gave me some sample glasses to look through and I could see! Shortly after that visit, I got my new glasses! This was my first day of “AG”- After Glasses!
My life “AG” was awesome! I could see all kinds of things – leaves on trees. Details on people’s faces. Colors. Now everything was clear! Would my entire life be different though? Would the vision change open new doors for me? Well, maybe from a vision perspective, it would be better. But not all of my “AG” experiences were enlightening!
I’ve experienced my share of ups and downs. I can even remember that some of the negatives were the result of my “AG”, life-changing tools – my glasses. Those glasses often got me teased. I liked BIG glasses! I liked PINK glasses! Or BLUE glasses! They were THICK glasses! I often got called “Four-Eyed” or “Coke Bottles” or “Blind Bat” or “Bookworm”! And as a result, I became somewhat introverted. It’s a good thing that even at a young age, I was strong willed. I didn’t let that bother me and I kept to myself and read my books. I LOVED my glasses and I loved the world that they had opened up to me! Come venture into the world of new chapters that began as a result of a “BG” to “AG” experience!
When I think about my “AG” experiences, they took me through the majority of my life but there were some twists and turns. When I was a young adult, I was able to transition from glasses to contact lenses. So for a while, I was “au natural”, feeling naked, to not be wearing glasses. Then I qualified to get laser eye surgery, so a more permanent way to be without glasses. But even that wasn’t permanent. As I began to age and my eyes began to age, I had difficulty reading the small print. And then it got more difficult reading the large print. So, I went back to the ophthalmologist and got prescription reading glasses. My “AG” experience had come full circle!
As I think back on that “BG” to “AG” life cycle, I can’t help but compare it to other aspects of my life. Just as I didn’t know I couldn’t see, there are things that I experienced that prior to experiencing it, I didn’t even know what I was missing. As I reflect on my life “AG”, I think about lessons I’ve learned as they were made visible and that I was “BLIND” to. Many of those “AG” experiences were “eye-opening” and every one of those “AG” experiences could be viewed as a new beginning. Did those “AG” experiences open doors for me and change my outlook on life to the possibilities ahead?
Well, if you really knew me, you would know. But, if you want to know me, keep reading