Perception

“Steady Now,” ©Aryana B. Londir, Digital Photography

Perception

…to become aware through the senses….

OK, how do we begin to understand those words?  To become aware. Does it start slowly, innocently, subtly? Does it wash over us like a cool breeze, a warm beam of sunlight, an aroma? Or does it hit us hard and heavy, like a lightning bolt out of the blue, a thunderclap, a sonic boom?

I have been a visual artist for over twenty-five years. How is it that some of us see color in different ways? Physiologically, we are pretty much the same. Engineered with similar parts, but yet, we see things differently. Some don’t even see color…. never have, never will. Prevalent primarily in men and mostly inherited.  Why? Do they not need the skill to see color? Wouldn’t it help men in battle or as hunters? Some never see at all.

Some people become ill in a vehicle, boat, airplane, yet others never do.

Some never hear the beauty of Mozart, laughter, the sound of your loved one whispering sweet nothings in your ear.

And we certainly taste things differently. I cannot stand the texture of beans in any form. Squishy, murky, slimy. Not to everyone. Some people hate the texture of melted cheese, saying it’s rubbery. And what about the texture of a great crunchy carrot, French fry or bread crust?  

Then of course is our perception of the world based upon where we are; lying down, seated, standing up. Moving or stationary. Babies are now raised in forward facing sacks carried by their mother’s chests as infants; in the past, infants were wheeled around. A different view of their world.  How does that impact their development?

Personal experiences alter our perceptions as well. The color of the light, the types of trees, vegetation or the lack thereof…. the kind of house we were raised in. Small town, large city. Climate. Large or small family.

I have experienced a great deal of loss in my life. (This is definitely not a call for sympathy or attention; merely fact). I came to see things on a temporary basis, and to not trust or believe in the “future,” although I knew it on an intellectual basis.  My perception, therefore, is different from many I know. They know stability, constancy, a feeling of belonging.

I never really have. I was adopted, and the arrangements were made prior to my birth. I knew from the time I was able to understand it, even though I didn’t. I just knew I was.

My uncle died when I was eight; my maternal grandmother shortly thereafter. My paternal grandmother when I was about ten. I never knew my paternal grandfather; he died shortly after I was born. My maternal grandfather when I was about thirteen. My father when I was eighteen. My father died when I was barely eighteen. I loved him so much; my mother was really tough, and he was so funny, handsome and accepting. I was coming home for Christmas vacation, and he died that morning. I didn’t know until I was picked up at the airport and told just prior to arriving home. Never got to see him again or say good-bye.

Is that a lot? Never really thought about it until I talked with others about their lives, their families.  I guess it is.

I recently wrote about the loss of a man I loved. He chose suicide.  I never experienced that first hand, and I sincerely hope none of you do. It’s heart wrenching, heartbreaking (yes, now I know what that means). My perception of the darkness in a mind changed.

Detachment has always come easily to me.  Is it a blessing or a curse? 

Sometimes I long to make connections, other times I have no interest in investing time in what I believe will end shortly anyway, so why bother? I am not a cold heartless woman, not at all. I care deeply about my friends, their lives, their successes and failures.

So I perceive the world the way I do, and each of you perceives the world the way you do. Some seem never to skip a beat; others struggle each and every day they take breaths.  Some go back and forth.

Which one is it today? 

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