See the world through my colorblind eyes

Most people believe that colorblind individuals have a view of the world that resembles the left side of this photo.
Photo Credit: Alex Nedelcu
Most people believe that colorblind individuals have a view of the world that resembles the right side of this photo. However, most people suffering from colorblindness can see the same colors as everyone else, but differentiating between them is the issue. 
Photo Credit: Alex Nedelcu

Ever since I was a grade schooler, I knew that there was an issue with me viewing colors. Buying colored pencils at the beginning of the year was always the worst part of back-to-school shopping, primarily because I could only identify the exact shade of about ten of the sixteen colors. After a test with an eye doctor at the age of eight, I was diagnosed with colorblindness.

Based on recent studies, approximately one in every twelve men and one in two hundred women suffer from colorblindness. The disease is caused by anomalies in the X chromosome, but some diseases (such as Parkinson’s) can also cause a person to become colorblind, as can accidents that damage the brain’s vision centers.

Upon visiting with my doctor, he said that my eyes had trouble differentiating between certain colors, even though I could still see them. Examples include red and pink, blue and purple, green and brown, yellow and green, and the most dreaded color of all, fuchsia (which I identify as a mythical color).

[vision_pullquote style=”1″ align=”center”] …the world looks like a framed painting fresh out of Jackson Pollock’s abstract art exhibition. [/vision_pullquote]

Instead of art being an enjoyable class as art is to most elementary schoolers, I constantly bothered my nearby classmates with questions such as: “Can you help me find the blue?” and “What color is yellow?” My middle school art teacher even went through the trouble of trying to reteach me the difference between primary and complementary colors, to no avail.

Asking for help would not be such a struggle if the people I asked did not interrogate me with a questionnaire ripped from the pages of “Living in Color” magazine. Classmates and adults would ask me if I was color blind, which made no sense because I told them I was about two minutes before they asked.

Outside of the ridiculous questions I had to endure, being colorblind has ripped the joy of coloring books from me. Even though I have fun with the process of coloring, friends always point out that I messed up horrendously upon completion. Below is a collage of my finer works, all completed on a return plane ride to Vegas after a recent Washington D.C trip.

Apart from the difficulties of coloring books, other everyday activities are also a struggle. For instance, I’m constantly being pinched on St. Patrick’s Day because my so-called “green shirt” is yellow. Another problem is that my little sister, who just learned the colors a few grade levels ago, constantly berates me for not being able to help her out with her coloring projects.

Among other issues that only color blind individuals would understand is the timeless question of “How does the world look to you?” Of course, I reply by saying the world looks like a framed painting fresh out of Jackson Pollock’s abstract art collection.

In reality, the world does not look much different to my eyes compared to the “normal” view of others, but how would I know what a “normal” view is? I see skies of blue (occasionally gray), trees of green (and brown), and red (pink) roses, too. Sadly, I cannot see rainbows in their final form, and all I make out of ROYGBIV is the G, B and V, leaving me with a half-completed rainbow hung up in the sky.

My favorite question relating to my special eyes is “Don’t you want to see all the colors like a regular person?” While looking at all the shades in the world sounds like an enticing opportunity, I would not change my sight for the life of me. I have always been about living in a unique way.

And what could be more unique than seeing the world through my colorblind eyes?