Ahoy! I know it has been a minute since the last time I posted and that is because I didn’t feel like writing. No, I wasn’t “too busy” or anything like that – just did not feel like it. But now I do, so here we are.
Also, happy holidays!
Anyway, allow me to tell you the story about how I became partially colorblind. This is a story that I often use to open with on first dates (used it on my first date with my boyfriend actually), a story that my friends won’t stop laughing about and asking me to tell other people, and a story that is so “wtf” that it’ll make you feel better about yourself. Since I’ve told it so many times, I’ve perfected the art of sharing it in a humorous and timely manner.
Here we go.
I was not born colorblind. I am self-inflicted partially colorblind. This is made even more interesting since I’m a girl and only .5% of women are colorblind versus 8% of men. And I must begin this by disclaiming I was not the brightest child. Just to name an example, in elementary school, I used to draw pizza on pieces of paper and eat it and tell everyone that it tasted just like pizza. So yeah, I wasn’t very smart (somehow I’m now getting a masters degree though).
You know how when you look at a bright flash of light then look away and you see color blobs in your vision? Well, those color blobs were my imaginary friends. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of real friends, but I was a “go go go” type of kid and for the fleeting moments someone wasn’t entertaining me, I took my entertainment into my own hands. During long boring car rides, I would stare at the f***ing sun then look away to play with my imaginary color blob friends. My mother (bless her heart) would yell at me to stop staring, but that would make my rebel-self want to stare at the sun even more. Ergo, all that staring at the sun made me partially colorblind.
Yes, this can actually happen and this is why you shouldn’t look directly at a solar eclipse.
I was probably five years old when the majority of the eye damage took place. It took my family and I five years to figure it out – long after I had stopped staring at the sun. We found out when we painted our cottage a dark purple and I was absolutely convinced it was grey. That lead to an eventual doctor visit that diagnosed me as partially colorblind.
The technical term for my visual impairment is Solar Retinopathy. Solar Retinopathy occurs when you literally burn your eyes by staring at the sun. These burns are called retinal burns and they can cause permanent or temporary loss, distorted, and/or altered color vision. In my case, I inflicted myself with permanent altered color vision. My entire color spectrum is impacted by these burns. In essence, I see a “duller” version of the entire spectrum and I have trouble discriminating between colors that are close in shade. I do have memory of colors in their full vibrance though. So as a child, I made myself color blind for the rest of my life…cool.
Seriously I’m not making this up. Check out this link for more info: https://www.preventblindness.org/solar-eclipse-and-your-eyes
Now whenever I tell someone that I’m colorblind, they instantly start pointing at everything in the room and start asking “what color is this…what color is that…yada yada yada”. It’s a game that I’ve been playing ever since the diagnosis. My biggest struggle comes when I have to pick out clothes or a nail polish shade. I usually just ask other people to do it for me.
Being colorblind may seem like it sucks, but it does have some perks. For example, I was playing in a soccer scrimmage in high school and each team had a different colored pinny on. I accidentally passed the ball to other team and I blamed it on my inability to discriminate between the pinny colors. The thing is I could definitely tell the difference, I just wanted to save myself the embarrassment. Petty? Yes. But effective? Absolutely.
However, my sight is starting to improve thanks to advancements in technology. For Christmas last year, I received a pair of Enchroma Colorblind glasses. These glasses look super hipster (too hipster for my style) and they correct my red-green spectrum vision. I always whip them out when someone is presenting a graph that depicts different categories through color shading or when I’m going shopping or watching a movie.
Moral of the story: don’t stare at the sun. Remember my story so you can tell your kids not to stare at the sun and tell them if they do, they won’t be able to see the rainbow anymore. I always tell people this story because it’s pretty hilarious, so don’t be afraid ask me any questions.