normal vision

by Kristen

One July evening years ago I sat on the couch reading through pamphlets about the risks and possible side effects of Lasik surgery. I’d decided to have the procedure and had met with the surgeon, but to be a responsible almost 19-year old adult I read every word and looked at every picture.

And then I laughed. I looked at my mom and asked, “Why would they say halos around lights are a possible side effect?” Holding up the sample picture I said, “That’s what lights look like.”

I believe the ensuing conversation went something like this,

“What do you mean ‘that’s what lights look like?’

“I mean lights look like these pictures—why would they call it a side effect?”

“That’s what lights look like to you?”

” . . . yes . . . ”

And then we were standing barefoot on the front-porch bricks looking at the streetlight in front of the neighbors’ house, which indeed looked just like the halo-ringed light in the picture.

Apparently there was nothing normal about what I normally saw.

After Lasik the halos got bigger. Headlights on cars became one giant Cyclops staring me down. But as the weeks passed they started shrinking, and then one day I saw halo-free lights.

I used to assume I was like everyone else. I thought I saw life as they did, so it never occurred to me to question it. As I get older I tend to do the opposite. I assume no one else could possibly see what I see . . . struggle with what I struggle with, feel this way or think this way. So instead of keeping halos to myself because I think everyone sees them, I don’t bring them up because I’m afraid no one sees them.

And yet, every time I take the risk and mention what life looks or feels like from my place on the porch the resounding answer isn’t, “you see halos?!?”; it’s, “you too? I thought I was the only one.”

It makes me wonder . . . what else do I accept as normal, that isn’t? What else do I accommodate that I might not have to? What else—in light that is true—will change shape?


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