Beth O’Brien is an English Literature student at the University of Birmingham. She is the Editor of Mad Hatter Reviews, a site that reviews books, e-books, theatre, music, and even the odd podcast. Having been born visually impaired, Beth grew up on audiobooks and audio-described theatre, and these loves are still going strong.
She is also a reviewer for Riggwelter Press, and has quite happily picked up a range of jobs that require her to write, whether that be travel articles, student blogs, or website content. She has had her poetry (and the odd short story) published in Foxglove Journal, Nine Muses Poetry, Dear Reader Poetry, BellaOnline Literary Review, Eunoia, Pulp Poets Press, Peculiars Press, Picaroon Press, and Bonnie’s Crew.
When not reading, writing, or listening to an audiobook at double speed, she will most likely be found snacking, drinking tea, and/or planning a trip to somewhere or other.
LIGHT PERCEPTION by Beth O'Brien
I was born a healthy child, with one thumb missing, and the other one ‘free-floating’ which basically means it’s backwards. My left arm can’t turn so it’s palm faces up, but that’s okay because the right one can.
My right eye is essentially blind. My left eye does her best but, really, she struggles too. Especially if you want her to read more than the top two rows of the eye test chart.
I have a nystagmus. This means my eye shakes, like, all the time. I can’t control it and when I’m tired, or stop concentrating, everything I’m seeing shakes too.
My eyes struggle to see in low light, but are also photophobic, so sometimes getting comfortable can feel a bit like a juggling act in strobe lighting.
I have next to no peripheral vision, which means I only see exactly what I’m looking at and nothing around it. If I look at the letter g on my keyboard, I can see the letter g, and h, and that’s all.
My brain works over-time every single day, filling in the blanks with a mixture of logic and sheer guesswork...
this is exhausting.
The woman in the coffee shop stares at the way I hold
the way I trace my fingers around the coffee cup
to find the handle,
and although part of me wants to ask what she is looking at,
I ignore her because I know exactly what,
and I don’t want to hear her answer.
Light Perception pamphlet will be published in November 2019.