Picture This

Alyssa - Roland, Iowa
Entered on December 18, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Our eyes are cameras. They continually absorb information about the world, capturing moments and storing memories in snapshots while they imprint the realization of our errors. Occasionally we choose to live with our eyes closed. With closed eyes, we can never be let down because there is never any clarity. It’s easier because we are able to pretend. Pretending lets us hear what we want to hear and allows us to escape the realities we do not want to face. We must uncover our eyes. This is what I believe.

Time is a smooth flowing continuum. It cannot be paused. It cannot be rewound. Each day we live we become a day older, maybe a day wiser, and witness a day’s worth more of the universe around us. Hours pass, and our eyes are constantly taking in something new. They are what ignite our desires. They let us see beauty, loneliness, and understand emotion. The world isn’t always full of things we want to see, but we cannot be afraid of seeing what we do not know.

As a freshman, walking through the opaque doors at the entrance of Ames High School, my eyes were closed tighter than ever. Beyond the second set of double doors existed a world of unfamiliarity. Swarms of faces I could not put with names zoomed past me. My body relentlessly absorbed the blows of passersby as I wedged myself down a one-way hallway in the wrong direction. I tried hopelessly to navigate against the torrential onslaught of backpacks, which were now my enemy.

I was lost. I didn’t want to open my eyes. Seeing what was in front of me only terrified me more. I didn’t want to know if I was under surveillance by other’s eyes. I wanted to be blend in and be invisible. In reality, I knew I had to open my eyes and expose them to their new surroundings. It took courage to allow myself to see.

After that foreign first day of high school, I have never walked through those doors with closed eyes again. It is now my last year to walk the high school’s hallways and my eyes are focused. Snapshots of memories have accumulated. With my camera, I see laughter, frustration, and the eyes of the people who see me, seeing them. We don’t have to be afraid of seeing what we do not know. Seeing allows for understanding, and understanding allows for appreciation. It takes courage for everyone to see, but it is something we must do. Let’s uncover our eyes.