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“I am a stoic without virtue!”
- Once upon a time, there were two sisters. A little fairy flies into the window of the older one and asks: “I will grant you your wish, but your smaller sister will get it twice!”
- And how does the story end? - asks my kindergarten teacher during the class presentation
- The older sister thinks for a bit and shouts: “Dear fairy, poke out my eye!”
I have never really been in any kind of confrontation. My disability, even though it is perceived as mild by others, still allows me to have things my way. Well, it depends on what I really mean by saying it. I don’t take blows for doing it my way as Frank Sinatra sings. My world has only shades of grey, this is my birthright, to just recognize a spectrum of black and white colors.
People say I have it easy. That my disability is not too significant to hinder me, but I still get all the perks. What they don’t think is that every day I feel the emotions of the rain, the rare day everyone gets sad, saying that the gloom outside leaves them no mental energy to do anything - this is what I experience in my dreams and reality. While life is not necessarily divided into good or bad with no in-between, my cognitive perception forces me to think only in those terms. Then the light intensifies and the brightness is supposed to make me happy, but it just gives me a sense of false hope that one day it will be different.
The new day is a fresh start. When the sun appears, people get energized, wake up and live another day. I react to the rising sun with a sharp pain in my eyes. I can’t see colors and when I try, thinking that looking at the light may show me something new, it just burns. I have to look away until it gets darker until it gets easier.
Painting is one of the ways how I try to re-conceptualize colors from whatever other people see into what I see with my broken eyes. No one ever likes my paintings, but as long as I have the strength to continue, it doesn’t matter. At this point in time, this is the distraction with the most value for me. I draw a small house in a mountain area with birds lying around on the grass.
- Death must be a metaphor for death.
- No, it is just that everyone expects the birds to fly.
- Is it wrong to live up to the expectations?
- I am not a bird.
I try to be the victim they say! I could have marked the colors with labels, to please the aesthetics of others. The colored aesthetics of the more considerable margin is not worth satisfying! Can they not recognize that we exist on different esoteric planes? I don’t care if they decide that my plane is lower than theirs, I just want them to admit - there are more ways to perceive the world. Their view is not the only way! The reality planes are not skyscrapers, where you aim to be at the top, they are parallel lines in the empty space, where silly notions like up and down don't exist.
I finish drawing, wait for the bell to ring, pack my bag and leave the room. The moment I am outside, I get surrounded by smiling faces. That hit in my face defines me. I feel pride, obeying the standard definition of the man. No one goes after me, I just leave and from now on my individuality is established. I am stoic without virtue. I defy the conformity, and like a real rebel, I get punched in the face, because I am different. No one gives me the freedom of self-expression, even though it comes from my inability to understand colors, not any innate need to present myself as unique. They think it is a choice, but am I really a rebel if I never had other options?
My personality is fundamentally recognized through my disability. Everything that I do, is perceived as an outcome of achromatopsia, but if I am already identified through it, why am I unable to express myself along this recognition? It makes my life a test of limits. I want to be strong, to show that the pain people inflict on me is not something that damages my value as a human being. I want to be allowed to behave according to my physical condition. I hate my monochromatic vision, but I have to stand by it.
- You poor victim.
- I just have something to say, and I have to say it.
- Have you actually said it then?
- There is never the right audience. And never any applause.
What is my value then? Is it an outcome of my essence being filtered through the commonly accepted framework of standards that can’t be applied to me? I turn around, and I see - expectations, benchmarks, set of activities I need to fulfill. Many people behave according to them. Some defy them and get punched in the face. Punish me, universe, I want to be some!
But I am not a rebel I want to be, because no one keeps outlaws on such a short leash. The majority would instead put the straps on subjects within their reach. It is far more comfortable than to rise against something that gives effortless resistance. What am I even talking about, I am not doing anything that would allow me to make such statements! Nothing forbids me to say it though, on paper.
People don't allow the non-conformity in its slightest gestures, and we are those people! We recognize disability as an excuse to be different. I never wished for it and doubt that someone else has. It is so pathetic to see someone complain about the lack of oppression and discrimination they face in their lives. When everyone has a pass allowing them to live a privileged life and not feeling obligated to express the soreness of such existence - how can someone maintain authenticity? No one can.
I ignore the played out empathy towards me by practicing art. Sadly, every shape I create is always treated like teachers in the schools. Everyone gives some regards to them, but what they really do is showing off pretentious respect for an old job. Thankfully being color blind is not obsolete, but it certainly falls in the “quickly disregarded” category.
The grey color has more to it than I can see with my faulty eyes. Leaves can't be red, they should be green, and the clouds are like the milk I drink. Why don't people like me deserve our own interpretation of the colors? If it is different for us, why do we have to live pretending to see it the conventional way, even though others are already aware we are lying to them? They are comfortable accepting this lie.
People always point out this abstract concept to me. For them the colors are routinized. Everyone enjoys them equally, they are around on all occasions. They hold no value because they don’t carry the sense of uniqueness. Indeed, how can something be unique, if everyone can enjoy it to an equal extent? Big thanks to historical value! I fear without our subjective definition of "Higher age is directly related to higher value" - there will be no artists left on our planet or at least the ones that can afford a living.
Why do we put price tags on colors? By themselves they are nothing, yet when some old public figure draws an elephant we politely give them a piece of advice to stay quiet, so they can take our money quicker. Are we paying for the sense of beauty creatively expressed on a piece of blank paper, along with the hard work it is required to create this artwork or is it merely our attempt to put the value on something that belongs to everyone? What if the whole art industry is a notion of devaluing colors and creating new value on something tangible that can eventually be sold?
For me, the colors are as abstract as the faith in God for agnostics. I can't reject them, because it is a commonly accepted fact that there is something more than black and white, so the only reason why I even consider believing it - because everyone else does. This generic person I am talking about doesn’t allow anyone to go against his or her beliefs. But the standard definition states that the faith and individualistic truths are shaped by society and culture that surround people through their lives! So should we really jump to the authenticity of the individuals without discussing the predetermined ways and our exaggerated perception of existence?
Long sentences and little sense, the world is our perception of it, so if everyone realizes that all of our perspectives are simply exaggerated self-expressions to get attention, there will be no more individuals left to shape it. The individuals have to get attention and have to show that they don’t want it to save our planet!
Imagine a kid that is deeply loved by her parents. She always finds herself sad and lonely, not knowing how through her actions she deserves this unconditional love. She sees the answer that she is loved solely due to the fact of her existence. Then she tries to show off her essence through the harmful habits like smoking or wearing a dress higher than a knee level. The dark events stick more to the minds of people. They act according to this mindset, but whenever they do things that already follow direction forced by the environment - they will never be truly free.
Because being free means expressing the opinion that is indeed yours, so pretty much if you live by “love thy country” sentiment, you can make the conclusion yourself. Do you love it because you have nothing to compare it to, of all the memories this geographical border holds, of the people living within 50-kilometer range, or do you have visa issues? Maybe it’s your leash that really keeps you back. This leash never hurts my eyes, it is black, designed to be looked at repeatedly by all types of people.
The biggest issue is the relativity of our actions. A child in the school will never understand that the dominant traits of a person are devalued because of the overuse. They judge themselves by the perception of the crowd. Some people choose to mix their conservative mindsets with progressive unorthodox behaviors, but what they do is pretend that they want something to change, while dreaming of routine. We are afraid to be seen as simple, but this is the only thing we want to be. So the solution is to present yourself as a complex character because you want your routine to be seen unique, but maintain its simplicity.
I don’t understand the need for validation. We should all be satisfied with the little things we accomplish because without polishing the inside - you will give up the second no one is around to see your result. People that judge others by their comical appearance are trash that can’t comprehend a person’s true nature. I believe that comical appearance can be substituted with anything, and the statement will still hold value. As an oppressed individual that is never in a position to judge, I am not willing to give them the extra opportunity.
Asking me why don't I draw blue skies is similar to asking someone in Africa if they are hungry for dinner. It intentionally puts me at a disadvantage, into the small groups of people that are different based on their less common physical outlook or perception. I either miss something essential every human possesses or every person on the planet is united to lie to me. I lose in all of the cases.
But what can a genuinely oppressed individual do? What can I do? Give a monologue at four years old that my inability to see any colors should not exclude me from the groups? That different treatment isolates me? Maybe every ten-year-old should stand up and scream that they take pride in their difference, but there is no pride in being treated differently. My mother was right when I was asking her for advice to become more likable. She told me:
- The ideal person is not the one who needs fixing, this person is a mirror, which reflects what others say.
- So my father is not ideal?
- Nice guys like your father are the most dangerous people. They hide their weaknesses behind their fake attitudes of absolute commitment, while the truth is - he is dishonest on the fundamental level. His personal perspective is the perspective of people, observing his actions.
I often get the reply that reads "You can only find the perfection in the graveyard." When I do, I mentally start digging the hole for this person and thinking about covering my tracks. It is just a reactionary defense of humanity that there is nothing for a mere person to seek. We give ourselves too much credit. We are blank papers with written words "Waiting to be distracted." My mother distracted herself by divorcing my father, presumably dishonest ideal person.
He is a passionate photographer and many times in my life I thought that I could have saved the marriage of my parents. I could have proven that my father is not perfect by showing the images of young girls he was taking at the school at the end of our street. I haven’t talked to my father in 5 books, and I plan to read a lot more very slowly, so let’s not mention him again.
Enough about this kid, let's talk about today’s me. I live inside 4 walls without any ceiling. They are very high, making them impossible to climb, but low enough to give me a sense of false hope. Like Arnold, I pretend that I look at the stars every single night. At least that’s how I want people to think because no one is interested in knowing how much the sunlight hurts during the rest of the day.
Remember the guy that spent 8 years in prison for nothing? No one talks about him spending 20 years as a jerk. We choose what we find to be the most interesting and define the person according to it, based on our subjective judgment of goodness. People describe me as "the guy that doesn't see any colors" and treat me accordingly. I want people to see me like this guy from an old cartoon that had a glass ceiling and looked at the stars before falling asleep.
Complaining and imagining things are not exactly on the cover of the magazines. Our demand stands only for blind entertainment, where people on screen can complain and imagine. Everyday I consume: verbally, emotionally or physically - I will always choose a meaningless thing. I don’t want to look at the mirror one day and judge myself as I really am. I brush my teeth so that people don’t smell my bad breath. I fix my collar so that people see that I take care of myself. We do it for the others, but where is this fine line where I can make a conscious choice to start doing things only for my own sake? That is the most complicated part of being a human, knowing that you are your most significant threat to happiness, but also the only way to reach it.
What I concluded is that people always prefer someone else influencing their subconsciousness. We are too afraid to accept the responsibility of our choices and the inevitable freedom we have as human beings. We choose to reject our authenticity and hope that someone will be able to distract us. We make a conscious choice to avoid the weight of our decisions because by choosing to look at the same app for the hundredth time we intentionally devalue our responsibility to live meaningful existence in this meaningless world. We say to ourselves "I am one of the millions" or "Everyone does it."
The truth is that no matter how much the person tries to make a loud statement that her choices are merely tools to complement life, at some point reality is going to hit her. This person will learn that the decisions are the primary basis of existence and their weight and value cannot be reduced.
Only when we face our true selves, we understand the need to stop being human livestock, fed with information for the benefit of the ones that live authentically. We always choose distraction. We redefine, reshape, repurpose it, but at its core living under the influence of the one percent is against our responsibility to be free.
I love watching old movies, where the attention was kept with every available tool, not only through fast-paced digital imagery. Still, I experience societal pressure to go and pay for the tickets to the movie, which was created to stick to our minds for the shortest possible time so we would be eager to see the sequel right after we see the title screen.
I understand all of those things, but I end up waking up, seeing and doing the same things I always do. I know all of those things, and yet so many words are already written, but I am still in my room. Or in the version that I want it to be.
I lied about my room. It has a ceiling like every other mediocre room. In fact, my personal space is a box with a door which can't be locked. I don't even have any windows. I was fighting with this limitation for a long time, but there is nothing worse than accidentally looking in the mirror to see the reflection of the sun aimed directly into my eyes.
Sunny bunnies are very sneaky and always find their way to me. I am glad there are more than enough poachers to get rid of them. Why do we hate them? I don't believe that no one ever wished to have ivory in their rooms. These mean adults bring joy for those people that only experience it through spending.
I have to visit Dr. Linda today. My mother forced me to see her, due to the hallucinations I experience. At least that’s what she calls it. Everything is equally real to me, I am not going to touch a stranger to check her existence. Therefore I talk and learn. It doesn’t matter to me if the encounter is real in the eyes of others. As long as it is grey and I see it - it is real.
I put the gift for my mother’s friend in the backpack and leave the house. My mother doesn’t want to see Triss after some weird incident with a dog, so I have to stop by and give her this gift. It is her first anniversary, but I have never seen her husband. Maybe he is on the Great War like my classmate Bill’s father.
As I walk along the street, I see a bus stop next to my home. A weak old lady is sitting on the bench, with an impatient stance of the waiting person, looking like nothing. Her eyes don't move away from the timetable list. What a waste! Her eyes allow her to see the world in its pure form, and she agonizes over something beyond her control. If there would be no numbers in the whole world, this lady would still stare at the blank piece of paper with the same outcome.
I never feel sorry for old people; why would I ever do such a thing? Their age allows them to experience real freedom. Their perception of the world never fades, only their willingness to interpret it for what it is. Their limits do not longer exist, because living above the average death age already gives them the mental edge to experience something new, not hiding from the brick that will fall on the head one way or another. I am old; therefore I exist. That's how it goes. Dying before your national average is very unhealthy, but if you spend too much time to do everything to stay above this statistic, you would exist longer than the person who died in his 30, but you would have a way harder time accepting it.
Interestingly most of the people in my city are darker shades of grey. I wonder whether I live in Africa or very clouded England. It doesn't matter - both of them have bus stops. When I look at the old lady's eyes - I can't see anything but black spaces. She must be wearing glasses. I heard that black represents nothingness, the absolute absorption of colors, so why would you want to hide behind it? It must be serving as a reminder of the imperfection of her life. I don't really see how can something be perfect or imperfect. It seems like everything is just a fragile balance between the two.
Whatever shape the world takes or whatever interpretation we give it, it all remains grey, a mixture of good and evil. If there were a specific thing that would serve as an icon of goodness or badness, we would be able to finally live in the black and white world, but you: religious preachers - devalued it to such extent that we use only one human to define goodness and abstract entity to define badness.
Like all of you, saints and priests, this old lady stopped moving, her past captured her, and the memories from there seem calm and unrepeatable. It is true that to understand life and ourselves better, we need to analyze our past, what we should and could have done. However, there will be nothing to think about if there is no desire to move forward. Why do we want a life, where anyone can predict your schedule when you are home? Cook, watch TV, complain or pray, go to bed.
We are social creatures, craving for new experiences whether they are blank or meaningful. If we aren't willing to pursue anything in our lives that we define as significant, then there will be way too many grandmas going to grocery shops and waiting for the buses. I am terrified of the scarcity of products we are going to face. There will be no more hospitals, elderly facilities, and schools - just grocery shops and bus stops.
I must look pretty down to the strangers around me. An adult in a suit with a lame pipe asks me:
- Are you alright?
- I want the bus stops to be less depressing!
- What do you mean?
- I am tired of the people that look at the same bus schedule every single day, expecting something different. There is only one bus here!
- Does she always wear these glasses?
- You should know by now that the world is not really what it looks like. Her head might be directed towards timetables, but she looks at you. She looks at both of us. And the only things that she sees are a disabled boy and a well-dressed man. She can make her own conclusions, but she already lived long enough to have an excuse to think of something dirty. Have you?
- You think of perception, I think of the essence.
I don't know how I ended up in a cafe. My stupid thoughts deserve a tasteless coffee. I have never been here before, even though it is in a small building before the doctor’s office. This is not the type of local architecture that has the charm of a small town. More of a parasite on its skin. I heard some rumors about the owner of this place. People call him Fat Mike.March 27, 2019, 6:01 p.m. 2 Report Embed 1
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