How I See Things

How I See Things
Cartoon-like drawing in shades of dark to medium purple. Eyes with beautiful eyelashes, looking through a pair of glasses.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Who Am I?

Hi! My name is Jodi. I have had vision problems for as long as I can remember. I am positive I had multiple head traumas as a baby. And I know I had 3 severe concussions since 2004 - none of which I got checked out medically. I was in a religion that proudly says, “we don’t go to doctors.” I don’t really want to go into that journey here on this blog. I have written plenty of it elsewhere and I’m tired of talking about that journey. The good part is that I am out of that belief system now and moving on with my life. 

Part of being done with that belief system is that now I am getting the medical attention I have needed my whole life. Catching up with medical checkups after over 40 years of neglect is a lot of work. 

I had heart problems my whole life and never knew it. I had heart surgery earlier this year (in March), and I am getting new glasses that will literally change the way I see the world - in a radical way - this month - in September. 

The laundry list of what’s wrong with my eyes is extensive, in my opinion. I don’t see out of both eyes at the same time. My eyes alternate, back and forth. Because of this, I am constantly getting in to much data and my brain can’t keep up. So, my brain suppresses huge chunks of data and tries to process what it allows through. I literally do NOT see what other people see. I see the world differently. 

I often hear people talking about things, and they clearly understand what they are saying to each other, and I can’t figure out what they are saying. Here is a small example - I used to be made fun of because I couldn’t follow a recipe. Well, try following text on a recipe card when everything moves around and the numbers keep changing, and your eyes can’t figure out what line they are trying to read. I taught myself to cook just by experimenting and throwing things together. I smell spices and things and sort of decide if it’s going to harmonize or not. It’s so much easier for me to do it that way than to try to follow a dang recipe that I am likely to mess up completely. 

So, there have been so many situations in my life where it feels like to me that so many people hold a certain point of view about something they think is obvious. But I walk up to the group and can’t fathom why on earth they think that particular way. I literally don’t see things the way that do. 

I think my dad felt that the best inventors thought differently. You have to think differently in order to change the world. I think my dad wanted to give me the best opportunity to be the best kind of inventor. Thomas Edison certainly wasn’t happy with the status quo - he wanted to light up the city! He didn’t accept things the way they had always been. So he did something radical and invented the light bulb. Here’s a fun thing I like to think about - did you know that in addition to bi-focals, Ben Franklin also invented the bubble machine? Did you know Thomas Jefferson invented that grabber thing, like, you can grab a book off a high shelf above your head? I use my grabber thing to pick up my puppy’s toys off the floor so I don’t have to squat down or bend over.

My dad actually worked hard with me when I was a little kid, too, to make sure I continued not to see the world the same way the rest of the world sees it. (Thanks, Dad.) He taught me to read upside down, backwards and in cursive, before he taught me to read standard print - going forward.

I wrote my name backwards in cursive in all my books. How is that for How I See Things? 

When he married my step-mom, my dad and I would write each other little notes. She could have easily held these little notes up to a mirror. But she told us we could no longer do it. She hated the idea that we might have a secret code she couldn’t read. My dad and I stopped. I’ve grown rusty, but I can still do it. 

One time, I was teaching a classroom of kids about Leonardo DaVinci. DaVinci wrote backwards a lot. He certainly was someone who didn’t think like the rest of the world. I told the kids I could write anything backwards. I wrote a few words on the chalk board, and then one of the kids asked me to write “Supercalifragilisticexpeallidocius” on the board - backwards. I ran out of room and had to start writing on the next line. It took me about 5 minutes. But I did it. That was fun. 

So, I guess what I am saying is that while my eyes have seen differently from everyone else for the vast majority of my life (I’m closing in on 50 now), I also see ideas differently. I am a creative thinker who isn’t afraid to come up with goofy ideas. And, I want this blog to chronicle the way I see the world with my eyes, but also how I see the world with my unique perspective with my brain. 

Oh, also I love color and music. All kinds of music and all the colors. My favorite color, I figured this out when I was 46, I think - is blue. I love blue stripes in particular. But I really do love all colors. And I love just about every kind of music. And, I love my puppy and my kids. I also paint canvasses with acrylic paint. I love bright, vibrant colors the most. 

I hope my journey will help people understand the unique challenges someone may have with a hidden disability of eyesight, and also help others know that there is hope for seeing better if they get the right care, ask the right questions, and go see the right people. 

I will see you later, in the pages on my blog. Thank you for reading. I would sincerely appreciate it if you would also sign up for my email newsletter.

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