So I go to the retina center, and I saw what must be the kindest, most professional physician I have ever encountered. This was the man who would tell me that I do in fact have the dreaded Retinitis Pigmentosa, and that at best, I have 10 years before I'm left with only the ability to recognize light sources and general shapes with my best eye. My left eye will give out and be "legally blind" within 5 years. You know what my first thought was as I sat there in that white, crisp room? I thought, "how'am I gonna paint?" First thought. No shit. I mean, a million others flooded me, and I worried about how The Wifester would handle the news, or how the hell am I going to use my degree and DESIGN, when I can't friggin see?? I keep adjusting the color on my monitors. I even bought new monitors. Still cant get a good, clear image. I finally realized that it's not the hardware. It's me, my hardware. The doctor asked me if I was understanding what he was telling me, and I said to him, "Yeah, so I need to paint all that I can, like now." He gently patted my shoulder and he said to me, "Yes! Make all the art you can every day. Travel. Go everywhere you ever wanted to go just as soon as you possibly can. Don't put it off. Do it now, and enjoy your vision while you have it."
That was not a conversation that I ever thought I would have. I'm still trying to absorb it.
So today, I had to go in for my Visual Field Test. This shows us how much of my peripheral vision is affected. The way I understood it, you are considered "legally blind" when your visual field in your better eye is less than 20%. My best eye has a visual field of 10%. I didn't know I was so blind. I can still see! I can! OK, so you can sneak up on me pretty damned easily. Granted. And sometimes if you toss something my way, it's likely to hit me in the face, sure. I can't deny that...but I really can see...some stuff. Which has me seriously contemplating my art. I mean, I know what it looks like to me, but now I'm questioning how you see it. Holy crapola! I've been so proud of some of these pieces, and have been showing them off and uploading pics of them to facebook...and you know what, I realize now that they probably aren't nearly as good as I thought they were! Maybe I'm NOT a good painter. Maybe my About Me shouldn't boast "artist, blogger, poet, saint". But you know what? Screw that. I love to paint. I love to be creative. Even if every single thing I've ever painted is shit, I have enjoyed doing it, and I'm not going to stop. So if my art gets funky, and crazy abstract, and you are wondering what happened to the Marilyns and Joan Crawfords and mermaids and cityscapes that I've been doing, you'll know now that it's just that I'm going to have to adapt to my ever narrowing visual field. Man! Today sure has been a downer.