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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How Do We See?

The question I pose today is a simple one. How do we see? I am not seeking the scientific explanation. I remember some of what I learned years ago in school about corneas and pupils and lenses. There were details about the optic nerves and things like light refraction, retinas, rods and cones, color perception, and all sorts of beautifully complicated things that transmit objects and colors to the brain.  As amazing as all of this is, I don't think it answers the question of how we see. 

What made me think about all of this was the realization that some of the good decent women that I know may only be good decent women in their own minds. These good and decent women seem to have formed a cult of the body. They want to look good and young and healthy, and they want to be surrounded by other women who are the same. They freely share their opinions of what people should eat, what size they should be, and how much they should exercise. Their weight and size have become banners that they wave in other people's faces.

Some necessary statements here. I am overweight. I am trying to be healthy. It is an ongoing challenge. I am also trying to be a good and decent person. When I think about these other people, I have to wonder. When they look at me, how do they see me?

It's entirely probable that the way they see me is very far from who I really am. They may look at me and think that here's Katrina again, and boy, is she fat. And look at her shoes. And that dress! How old can that thing be? Does she even know how to wear makeup? And maybe she could curl her hair once in a while? Oh, and her legs look so disgusting!

That's the problem, isn't it, when we see and judge one another based only on what our eyes see, and what we believe to be important? Yes, I am fat. I'll use the word and take its power away from you. I am trying to get healthier. It's difficult to get sufficient exercise when you are often in pain. No, I don't wear lovely high-heeled shoes any more. The discomfort they would cause me is too great. Yes, my dress has some miles on it, but it is clean. I could probably get a new one, but I'd rather spend the money on important things that we need. 

I do indeed know how to wear makeup. I sold it for years and did many makeovers for people of all ages. I just do not feel the need to wear a mask to try and impress myself or others. My face will never be anyone's idea of beauty or even prettiness. Nothing will change this, especially not their insults. My hair is healthy and is its own natural hue. I wasn't raised by a girly-girl, so all of that styling and whatnot is just not second nature to me like it may be to you. As for my legs - I am just grateful that I still have them. A doctor once told me that because of the problems I have with them, they might be amputated before long. Yes, they are discolored and sometimes swollen. But I'm still walking.

I want to go to these women and tell them that they are deceived by only looking at themselves and others with their eyes, but I am a coward. I want to tell them that if they judge me by my appearance, they will never know the person that I am inside. I weep for the losses they are unaware of in their lives. So many beautiful friendships could be nurtured with wonderful people if only they could see with their hearts. 

If we spent more time seeing with our hearts, there would be an entirely different world in front of us. The person who has a fat body and no makeup and ugly legs ending in casual shoes might be able to tell you stories that enthrall and enrich you. She may be able to cook you a meal that makes you wish she was your mother. Her heart may be so full of love that she will always treat you as if you were part of her family. 

The truth is that what we see with our eyes is merely a shell. Sometimes it is a front that others wish us to see, prettied up with all sorts of finery. Sometimes it is like an old penny, worn down by the years and no longer shiny. If we see with our hearts, maybe we can learn the true value of what is inside. Maybe we all need to ask ourselves, from time to time, how we see.