Through manic eyes

The world looks like a photograph. I can’t concentrate. I’m out of breath with excitement; I’m itching to paint, to write, to think. About a week and a half ago, I felt my months-long dull mood begin to lift. Maybe I smelled some cut grass, or maybe I tasted a mulberry, or maybe the breeze cut through the hot sun just so–I don’t know what caused the shift, but it was tangible. Stunned, I leaned against the stone half-wall surrounding the park, and stared wide-eyed at the scene before me. Fluorescent (pink! green! yellow!) children armed with water-guns squealed and raced around parents lounging in lawn chairs next to their picnic blankets in the gold-flecked shade of the ginkgo biloba. Each blade of grass stood out, quivering in the breeze that hugged the tree branches and ruffled the leaves. And oh gods, the leaves! Layers and layers of leaves on branches that pierce the electric sky. I’m sure I can almost touch them, if only I stretch a little.

The moment was brief, and as I continued to walk, I couldn’t remember what it was that I had felt, that I had seen. I dug around my head, peering around corners, probing my mind–the depression seemed far away, but so was that beautiful moment when I saw the world transformed. I tried to see it again, but the trees just looked like trees again. The colors weren’t muted as through the veil of depression, but they weren’t glowing either.

Since then, that sensation, and the elation that comes with it, has returned. It comes in waves; it’s not constant. Nor do I want it to be–I want this feeling to last (despite the potential disadvantages), to prolong it as much as possible, so I’m going to savor it if I can, sip it slowly like fine wine, not gulp it down. I want the comfort of a warm buzz, not uncontrolled drunkenness, and I definitely want to avoid the hangover that follows a crash.

When I first got prescription glasses, I thought the world looked like a photograph: I had gotten used to my blurred vision, and relied on degrees of blurriness as a means to judge depth. Since a camera is not myopic, and captures distant objects as clearly as nearby ones, my corrected vision felt like a camera. When I finally got contacts, the doctor told me to look up at the leaves. She explained, “I know you’ve worn glasses already, but this is different. With contacts, you can see everything.” So she told me to look at the leaves; that I would be able to see all of them, not just a green clump atop a tree.

I’ve worn contacts for years now, and have grown used to clear vision; my depth perception caught up and the world began to look like the real world again, not like a high-definition photograph.

But it suddenly struck me–that’s what it’s like to look through manic eyes–like putting on contact lenses for the first time.

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