This is one of the most fucked up things I’ve ever thought.
When I was in my senior year of high school, we read a book about literary analysis, and one of the chapters was called something like “It’s Never Just Heart Disease.” I wish I still had the book, but it was loaned to a friend of a friend, lost in the abyss of infinite borrowing. The author was saying that if you give a character a disease, it represents something else. Heart disease is the inability to love; brain cancer is a loss of thought; and on and on it goes. He went on to say how inaccurate this logic would be in understanding illnesses in real life, and that we were at the mercy of science and not a crazed author with a pen in his hand.
When they diagnosed me with the scarring on my eyes (and before I found out how serious the injury actually was, and what it could lead to), for a brief moment I thought back to that chapter and felt illuminated. It’s the moment when you’re reading and a table suddenly represents more than a table, and the bulb in your head is lit up by the realization of what it all means. And with my eyes, I was thankful to have evidence. The things I saw when I was younger- uncharacteristic, sometimes tragic things- were now manifested by scars; and I was flawed, but at least I knew it. It was physical and emotional alignment. If the universe was conscious, it was permission that yes, what happened to me was wrong. Here are the scars to prove it. I was a walking poem, a girl with experiences as easy to understand and analyze as a character from a novel. I was anatomical literature; scarred up, but understood.
I’m scarred because I was misdiagnosed. That brief connection with what I read and what I felt is something I’m ashamed of, because illness is nothing to fall in love with, or feel free because of. When my sight was permanently restored, I didn’t allow myself the indulgence of creating a metaphor, or of saying something stupid like how I could finally truly see again. Maybe there was one point in time when I was constantly searching for answers, but now there is no part of me that wants to ask those questions. Why did these things happen? It doesn’t matter. Even if there was a reason, I’m not sure I would care to know. Science is cold and clinical, and I am artless.