I learned early on at school that everyone doesn’t see things in the same way. One day, Sister was in front of the class showing us a book of multi-colored pages. Everyone in the class was shouting out “seven”, “onion” “umbrella”, etc.
I just couldn’t see where they were seeing all of these things. Sister calmly approached my desk and told me in a stern voice to tell her what I saw. She turned every page in that book, but I never saw a picture of anything. The kids in the class thought it was funny and they laughed.
A note went home to my parents and I was taken to the eye doctor. The doctor casually announced to my mother that I was partially color blind. I knew my Dad was partially color blind, but I was told that only men were color blind. This condition would remain with me for the rest of my life.
I was happy on the one hand that it didn’t show, so nobody knew about it unless I told them. On the other hand, it would limit my ability to do certain jobs and would definitely influence my idea of color.
When I was young, my Mom picked out my clothes, but as I got older, I wanted to express myself and this caused problems. I could never tell if the color was pink or tan and as far as buying makeup was concerned, I was told repeatedly that I looked like Bozo the Clown. Pastels drove me crazy, because I could barely see any color. They were so light, I wasn’t sure what color it was. I picked out colors that looked good to me, but Mom was always saying, no, that doesn’t look right. I began to think that I could not function without another person’s opinion and that lowered my self-esteem and self-confidence immensely.
Buying cosmetics was even worse, because I had to buy 2 shades darker or lighter than my skin tone, because I couldn’t see the exact shade of my skin color. Then I had to apply the cosmetics really thick to make sure I could see the color on my face and by that time, you could see my colorful face from down the street.
I came to a crossroad. Either I fight this thing to the end, which I did for a while, but lost the battle in the end OR take up this challenge and get around this problem. Find a solution.
After several years, I got tired of taking someone with me every time I went shopping, so I decided to confront this condition. I did some research and found some helpful tips. The color black absorbs color, so if holding up black clothing to the light no shine will show on the fabric. Holding up navy blue clothing will produce a slight shine and that’s how I can tell the difference between black and navy blue.
I now keep my shoes in their shoe boxes and mark the boxes with the type of shoe and color. I never have to run to the window to try to determine which color they are. By keeping organized, I always know the color.
I wear “true colors” – no pastels and no light colors, so I don’t have to worry about matching anything. I always know what color I’m wearing. I have the confidence to mix and match my clothes and shoes.
I found out that I can never drive public transit, work in chemistry or interior decorating, which I don’t want to do anyway. I do have night vision, so I can see shapes and figures in the dark. This comes in handy, when I think someone is walking through my yard at 2 in the morning or if I have to drive at night. I don’t see color, so shapes stand out much more to me and my eyes don’t strain from trying to see in the dark. I really see very clearly in the dark!
I still think fireworks are great and I enjoy a colorful autumn foliage. I see it through my eyes and I think it’s beautiful. I realized early in life that this was something I had to live with and deal with. It was something that people couldn’t see, but it would show itself every time I tried to buy some clothes or makeup or anytime color was involved.
After I did my research, I realized that I could overcome this problem. In a way, I’m thankful for this condition. I learned to think, have patience with myself and other people, but most importantly realize and accept that everyone doesn’t see things the way I do. They see things differently and even though I will never see it as they do, I can acknowledge our differences and maintain good relationships with other people.
At the age of 5 years old, I learned one of the first things that a Virtual Assistant has to know to be successful. VA’s have to know how to communicate with others and listen to other’s points of view, even if they don’t think it’s correct! That’s how I assist clients to overcome their business problems and issues.