Number five of my "25 before 26 Memoirs" challenge was actually not one from my original list. I chose this one at random after striking out with not one, but two other choices from my original list. I just couldn't get into them.
This one though..I was definitely into.
From Nicole's WEBSITE: "At nineteen years old, Nicole C. Kear's biggest concern is choosing a major--until she walks into a doctor’s office in midtown Manhattan and gets a life-changing diagnosis. She is going blind, courtesy of an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, and has only a decade or so before Lights Out. Instead of making preparations as the doctor suggests, Kear decides to carpe diem and make the most of the vision she has left. She joins circus school, tears through boyfriends, travels the world, and through all these hi-jinks, she keeps her vision loss a secret.
When Kear becomes a mother, just a few years shy of her vision’s expiration date, she amends her carpe diem strategy, giving up recklessness in order to relish every moment with her kids. Her secret, though, is harder to surrender - and as her vision deteriorates, harder to keep hidden. As her world blurs, one thing becomes clear: no matter how hard she fights, she won’t win the battle against blindness. But if she comes clean with her secret, and comes to terms with the loss, she can still win her happy ending.
With the raw emotion of Wild and the humor of Bossypants., Now I See You is an uplifting story about refusing to cower at life’s curveballs, about the power of love to triumph over fear. But, at its core, it’s a story about acceptance: facing the truths that just won't go away, and facing yourself, broken parts and all."
Just a few things:
1. I couldn't and don't ever want to be diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease.
2. Nicole and I should be best friends. She's funny as hell.
3. Life is hard to predict.
The entire time I read this book, I kept thinking - "what would I do if I was diagnosed with an eye disease?" Does that ever happen to you? Something awful happens to another person, and you immediately wonder how you would handle the situation - if you could handle it. I think it would be really hard (as it would for most people) for me to lose my vision.
I love to read. To paint. To take photographs.
I love color and texture.
And faces. Faces are important to me.
How would I cope with it all being gone at once?
I guess you never really know until you're in the situation.
What I really appreciated and loved about this book was Nicole's never-ending gumption. Yup, I used the word gumption in 2015. Want to know why? She was stuck, at the tender age of 19, with a shit hand of cards. Being told that you're going to lose one of your core senses - the thing people rely on the most - that..sucks. She met it with ferocity. I'm sure there were moments of pure and utter sadness. Of lose and crying out to the Lord saying why me? She's human.
But she never lost the idea that she could have a life. That she could "carpe diem".
And she won. Not in a literal sense - because, in fact, her vision deteriorated, as they said it would..but throughout the first part of her story - way past the date when they said she would completely be blind - she saw. She saw things, she did things - she won. And honestly - why wouldn't you want to have a friend like that? Or be that.
This one wasn't exactly flowing with quote-ables. It's just not..but one part that stood out to me was this: "I reasoned, it was better to get to my destination, no matter how miserable, than to keep waiting to arrive.."
This, stood out to me for a reason other than coping with an incurable disease. I think we, as humans, spend a lot of time "waiting to arrive". We don't move towards something because we are afraid. We don't take jobs that will move us out of state. We don't say yes to the date because he's safe, or "not my type". We don't. We stay - in waiting. We sit in our comfort - stew in it's luxury - instead of moving. Taking a step forward is sometimes the hardest thing in the world. And then you do it, and you take another. And another.
Forcing ourselves to do one thing or another (the "taking of steps") is what, in fact, make up a journey. A miserable, joyful, retched, complex, meaningful journey that makes us human and happy and whole. It's better to get there.
Get there, and don't wait.
You should read this one because:
1. Nicole is funny as hell.
2. Feel good, carpe diem, grab life by the
balls horns stories remind us that we're alive.
3. It's pretty damn inspiring. (maybe that one also goes under #2, but I'm giving it it's own number!)
I like adventure stories. I like hearing what people have done and how they got to a certain situation, because every story is different. It makes me thankful. Either thankful that I haven't gone through what they've gone through - or the opposite, that I have and I've found a kinship with someone.
I may not have an eye disease or anything close to it, but reading this book has inspired me to take a few risks and go on a few adventures. Thank you, Nicole.