Eyes Wide

I used to squeeze my eyes shut if I was scared. Close them and the problem disappears, right? It worked when I was three.

But the problem with not looking when something is frightening or difficult is that you’re living blind. You miss important signals. You run into things. There end up being unexplainable bruises that raise uncomfortable questions.

And when you finally open your eyes, the world as you knew it is gone. The girl in the mirror is unrecognizable. The sunshine of your life has long since burned out. Suddenly, you realize why it’s seemed so very cold.

Maybe seeing is harder than not seeing. But in the end, I’ll want to know. I know myself. I won’t want to look away from something. I will want to remember why.

I don’t want my entire life to be summed up into a single sentence:  I don’t know…I wasn’t really there.

That’s been my mission this year, with myself, with this blog. To remember everything. To open my eyes. To stop shutting myself off and start living. Start seeing. Because the survival instincts I learned at three have carried me all the way to twenty-five. And I’ve made it. I’ve survived. So I can stop acting like I won’t, I think. I think I’ve earned that much.

But when I open my eyes now…when I wake up and force myself to see…I’m smacked with the world as it really is. I’m assaulted with horror and violence and incidents that shake you to the core.

We live blindly because it’s easier.

We turn off the radio, my fellow Walking Dead fans.

Because when you leave it on–open up that window into the outside world and turn your back on the comfort of ignorant bliss–you see that people are terrible. Not all…but many.

And then when it’s someone you knew, there’s this onslaught of questions that barrel into you like gunfire.

What if I’d befriended them?

What if I’d been paying attention?

Would I have seen something if I hadn’t been so focused on getting through it all? If I had merely opened my eyes?

And the big one. The one everyone asks. The one that strikes you hard and jolts ten thousand volts throughout your body.

What if we’re all terrible people?

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2 thoughts on “Eyes Wide

  1. One of the charming things about growing older is the growing realization that everyone is generally doing the best they can at any given time. If I realize that, I try to do better and be more engaged in whatever that is. I am driven by the idea that there is no mastery, only practice. It’s sort of a zen thing, and though I aspire to it I often forget.

    Liked by 1 person

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