Our senses are in a state of decay

awWhen I wake up in the morning, I frown at the lack of sunlight streaming in through my window. I grope around for my glasses.

Ah yes, I am near-sighted and legally blind. By day, I wear contact lens and by night I debut a pair of eye-glasses before I go to bed.

But neither night nor day evokes as much fear in me as do the intervals in between, i.e. the period after I get out of the shower and blindly search around my bathroom for my glasses. It’s when I feel like Velma from Scooby Doo, helpless. My glasses, I can’t find my glasses!

These frantic searches typically last for about thirty seconds before I give up and yell for my sister to come “be my eyes.” 

Everyone is different and experiences these sort of paranoia for other senses as well. If you’re reading this with 20/20 vision, then good for you. *pang of jealousy strikes the heart*

We have some degree of control over our senses. Some aspect is hereditary; everyone in my family is near-sighted. But it matters only as far as you let it, and your control over it dictates its hold over your life.

It’s not something that we’re taught early on. Sure, our parents tell us off for watching too much TV or turning up our music too loud, but we brush it off until we can feel it ourselves.

When you’re not wearing glasses and looking around at your blurry surroundings, you vaguely remember what your sight was like a decade ago. You silently will your eyes to focus in on the small text on the spine of a textbook on your shelf, but…nothing.

When you’re sitting in the car, you are surprised to find that you have to crank the radio up six notches instead of five, as it used to be a year ago. It scares you to know that your mother, thirty years older than you, complains about the volume at four notches.

You can remember your delight at sound in your first few years of life. You could lie awake at night listening to the little creaks your house would make, or the people whispering in the next room over.

It’s sad to think that maybe you only sleep sounder because you’re perpetually tired and because you can perceive fewer sounds to keep you awake.

It’s a visible, tangible decaying of your senses and they crumble little by little. Your prescription worsens just a little bit on every eye-doctor visit.

That’s life, isn’t it? Senses slowly fade; your joints grow creakier and achier with time.

I’ve read that some soldiers, when they survive an explosion, lose their sense of taste, or feeling in their fingertips.

How scary it is to me, imagining never being able to taste chocolate buttercream frosting, to only feel its slippery texture coating the roof of my mouth. The crunch of tortilla chips loses its appealing sensation when you can’t react to the grains of salt.

So what about those out there that have impaired sense? What if you’re blind, deaf, or disabled?

I’m not proud to say this, but younger Catherine used to look down on disabled persons, shuddering at the thought of not being able to enjoy her favorite TV show (Wizards of Waverly Place) or music (the Black Eyed Peas).

Today, it’s different. I’ve heard that losing one sense only amplifies the others, so I can only imagine the sharpness and acumen of someone like Helen Keller.

Not being able to experience one sense doesn’t warrant someone’s pity, and can easily make you grateful for what you do have.

These sort of reflections make me appreciate what I can do; I want to take better care of my senses.


  1. Writer Of All Things Light

    I could hear about 35% of sounds, until last year, when I regained (through medical help) now hearing up to 85% of sound. Suddenly. So suddenly, it was almost too much to adjust to. What an experience! It has so totally changed my whole world… both negatively and positively, though I’m happy it happened. So I can relate to this post about decaying senses and how change affects your life. Interesting post.
    Congrats on getting pressed, by the way.


      • Writer Of All Things Light

        I was responding to the Our Senses Are In A State Of Decay post. I don’t remember the Lack Of Dialogue post, I’ll have to go back and read it. Ever see the movie At First Sight? The main character is blind, then surgery gives him back his sight, but he can’t adjust. It’s like that. When you don’t hear much for many years, your brain “forgets” what sounds go with what. The sudden overwhelming barrage of sound is agonizing, and you can’t turn it off. You don’t realize how much sound there is in the world. No such thing as a quiet place or home. I would describe a sound to my husband who would then tell me what it was, so I could connect it to the source. Like thunder. I described the sound and my husband said, oh, that’s rolling thunder. Or leaves blowing across the concrete and making scratching sounds. All very traumatic for a few months. But I’m glad I hear it now. I’ve adjusted.


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