I’m trying to see things more clearly. I don’t mean in a deep way: I’m not talking about awareness or understanding. I am literally trying to see more. I’m trying to take in more of the world when I’m out and about.
I’ve been walking around with my eyes wide open, trying to see it all, trying to see everything.
My eyes sting some.
I’m keeping my head up when I’m out and that’s new. I’m looking around. There’s even been eye contact. It’s a different way of interacting with the world.
It’s not all the time yet and it’s easier when I’m by myself. Nature is less intimidating than people and there’s a lot to see in forests, too. But I’m trying to look at people more often than not.
I like it, I think. Except when my heart races and I feel like I should flee. The symptoms of an anxiety reaction are not always present but they pop up. I deal.
Here’s a truth about anxiety attacks; they pass. They’re miserable and vomit-inducing but they’re also transitory.
Looking at people provides a focus that helps mitigate the desire to drop my head and abandon the field. I notice things I’ve overlooked. For instance, the little girl across the street got a haircut at some point – her first – and the house down the way now has a red door. I wonder when they painted it? I hope you can’t measure it in years; that would be embarrassing.
I’ve spent a lot of my life not seeing. It has to do with my anxiety, and my eating disorder, and a whole host of other things, the upshot being that when I’m out in the world, I try hard to pretend I’m not there.
I realized a while back that part of the reason I don’t remember names and faces is because I don’t look at people. I rarely make eye contact. None of the identifying information sinks in, none is made permanent.
It occurred to me, somewhat morbidly, that if there was ever a crime, I’d be a hideous eye witness, only able to describe overall shape and appearance from the torso down. I’d even have to guess at ethnicity and hair colour. I function on mostly blind autopilot a shocking amount of the time.
A commitment to seeing changes that. When you see, when you look, you are present. You are in the moment. You are of the world.
My curiosity appreciates it too. I have a whole new arena of questions to explore. What kind of car is that? What colour hair is that? Where can I buy a necklace like that? What’s it like, to have an amputated limb?
And if, while I’m trying to see things clearly in the here and now, I happen to catch a glimpse of something other which I may or may not believe in depending on the moment and whether or not I’m going a little insane, that would be cool too. I’ve always wanted to see a fairy.
Even if keeping my eyes open and up has introduced a burgeoning eye-drop addiction and an amplified need for sunglasses.
Do you observe things closely? Are you attentive? Are you present?