Learning to See

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

“Do you see now?” The voice rang in my ears as I shook my head for the umpteenth time. My eyes were tightly shut, trying to hold back the tears of anger and frustration. When I opened them again, the world looked to me as it always did; only now the leaves above seemed to be mocking me as they chuckled in the breeze. Why couldn't I see?

I was nine years old, lying under the tree for the third time that week, with my art teacher, Mr. Hayes, sitting beside me. The exercise was starting to feel useless; I was supposed to be learning how to see. “But I already know how to see!” I cried out desperately, hoping that we would go inside and sketch apples instead.

“The way an artist sees,” my teacher said calmly, “is not the same as everyone else. You must learn to see from a different angle, see what’s behind, see the light.” Not knowing what he meant, I turned over with a groan, thinking that I would never learn to see like an artist.

Yet I found myself under that same tree one afternoon, a few weeks after Mr. Hayes had left me on my own to learn how to see. I was feeling more disheartened than ever, but I refused to believe that I was incapable of the simple task of seeing. My eyes strained so hard that tears were beginning to...

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