The Leaf Phenomenon

There’s this common thing that happens to some people when they get glasses for the first time, I like to call it: The Leaf Phenomenon. I’m sure many of you know exactly what I’m talking about, but I’ll go into detail anyway. You get your glasses or contacts on for the first time, and already things seem sharper, more detailed, but then you go outside. Suddenly the trees you have spent your whole life walking past are made up of thousands of INDIVIDUAL LEAVES.

What once was a giant green blob now has so much movement and exquisite detail. It’s as if everything in the world has changed, but that’s not exactly true, is it? The only thing that has changed is how you are seeing it through your new lenses, lenses that have been designed to correct what was once wrong. You can walk around trying to get used to it for days in awe, shrugging and telling people, “I couldn’t see, I didn’t know.” Even after a short time, taking your glasses off for a few moments makes you wonder how you were ever able to function without them.

It’s funny how memories like that can work their way to the surface when life creates a similar scenario. I ran into this type of situation during this season as I was becoming free from the fog and chains that held me. I had been living my life a certain way, only aware of the big green blobs, not knowing that there was something I was missing. Not only did I begin to see the detail of what I was looking at, the truth of who I was and what I had, but I began to see the days that had long passed, days when I was unkind and manipulative, digging myself further into isolation. Honestly, it’s hard to think about the girl that I was, about that time, and not be filled with anger.

What I can see now is not something I would trade for anything. The fog has been lifted and I am able to see people and things as they are, and not what I thought they were. Knowing what I know now, however, does cause a pang of regret. It’s a sense of responsibility for my words and my actions that I feel like I should have been able to control.

As someone who finds comfort in the confines of her own mind, it is not a comfortable reality to know that I can’t always trust my thoughts. It has always been my understanding that when chaos surrounds me, I can find peace and truth within myself. Now, when I am sad or upset about something, I feel a degree of fear, fear that I’m slipping back into how things used to be, that my progress is falling away.

My doctor uses a kind of “depression quiz”, where you answer questions on a scale of 0-3 and total it up to get a feel of how you’re doing. I’m only supposed to do it every couple of months or so now, but I find myself doing them when I start to feel the fear. It takes going through all the questions containing actual symptoms of depression and seeing that I don’t actually feel the things listed to see that what I’m feeling in that moment, sadness, frustration, anger, is just a natural human emotion. I have to use real quantitative data to tell myself that normal people would be sad in that situation too.

I have these memories of before, and I want so badly to go back in time and give that girl a pair of my new glasses so maybe she wouldn’t do so much damage. I don’t have that option though, so I’m stuck with this feeling of responsibility for everything I was and said and did. It makes me want to go with a heavy heart to the people who were there and tell them, “I’m so sorry. I couldn’t see. I didn’t know.”

I guess it’s all a learning process, and knowing that the only way out is through. I had to go through that to get where I am now, and I’ve got a ways to go before I’m on the other side. As slow as this season has been, I know that it is getting better, I’m headed in the right direction, and for now, that is enough.

Over and Out,

Kennedy Kenton (3)

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