When you live a sheltered life for so long and then find freedom, you see the world through a different set of eyes. You have vision that most other people lack.
While everyone else around me ceases to notice their environment, I am consistently amazed by even the most menial things. Whenever I am somewhere I haven’t been before, I have the excitement level of a three year-old child. I look up and around at everything, and take it all in. It doesn’t matter if it’s a burger joint on the corner, a large patch of grass, or a famous landmark – it fascinates me still.
I see the beauty in things that others take for granted. I look up at the sky, at clouds, at the stars. I walk in the rain without an umbrella. I stop and watch the geese walk across the grass with their goslings. I watch the worms wriggle between the cracks in the sidewalk on my walk home from work. I observe the butterflies as they fly so gracefully; they are free, just like I am now free.
I see the beauty in the people around me. The mother on the bus holding her sleeping child in her arms. The man buying food for a friend who is hungry, even though he has no money for himself. The friendly neighbor talking to a hyper young child just to give his mother a short break. All of the people who aren’t afraid or ashamed to be themselves. All of the people who freely offer hugs and encouragement. I see it all.
Before, I had no opportunity to take anything in. The world was scary, because that’s what my mother told me. There was nothing amazing or beautiful to see. In my mind, home was already scary as hell. If the outside world was any worse, I did not want any part of it. I know now that is was my mother’s way of keeping me sheltered. No desire to know the outside = no risk of her losing control.
I looked down towards the ground all the time. If you look down, nobody will see you. No one would be able to see the shame, the pain, the hurt in my eyes. I never made eye contact. I never looked around to see what existed outside of the few places we were allowed to go. I shut myself off from the world.
Now, after 30 years, I am finally experiencing the world for the first time. Yes, I may react like a child sometimes. The simplest things are so amazing to me because I never got to experience them before. It allows me to see the world in a different light, a better light.
Sometimes, I wish others could do the same.