Learned Blindness

When I think about how hungry I thought I was that day, after having missed just one meal, I feel ashamed. Because I never once worried about the hunger Sookie must have felt when—day after day, week after week—her mother failed to return.

While her mother was in the Monkey House, I still saw Sookie every day, but somehow I learned not to see her as well. It was difficult, at first, to pretend that things were normal for her. Then, perhaps because pretending so relentlessly begins to blur the distinction between invention and reality, it became easy to believe things were normal. Practice formed a new pattern, a new way of seeing.

In avoiding her mother’s absence, I became adept at ignoring the obvious regarding Sookie. I stopped noticing how pale and gaunt she became, how circles blackened her eyes, how her hair—wild and uncombed—inched past the approved school length. I forgot what she was supposed to look like.

Fox Girl by Nora Okja Keller

Perception of Beauty

It turned out that Sookie did not need Pond’s Cold Cream to cover up her ugliness. Her ugliness turned into beauty without her having to do a thing. She didn’t grow into beauty with womanhood—her boyishness developing into lush curves. Her body stayed long and thin, what the old grandmothers still call unlucky. Her skin didn’t lighten with age; her face did not grow into her overly large eyes. In fact, she looked much the same as an adult as she had in childhood. There were times when we were grown that I saw her as I did when I was younger, and was shocked into remembering that she was as ugly as she always was. And I would be reminded that what had changed was not so much how we looked, but how we looked out of our own eyes, our perceptions of beauty and of ourselves.

Fox Girl by Nora Okja Keller

Fire Insight

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Fire logic is the logic of insight, of seeing in symbols and stories and events more meanings than an entirely sane person could see.

Earth Logic (Elemental Logic) by Laurie J. Marks

Dark Byways and Glittering Motorways

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…that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafés were for everyone else.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Mom Only Sees Her Little Princess

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But when Ma looks at me she doesn’t see a human whippet—five-three me with scruffy dark hair and a chest as big as a keg, with a wasp waist and the legs like an Olympic sprinter. And the fangs, don’t forget the fangs. Mongoose fangs, which was what got me my nickname—Rikki. My real name is Miranda. Nobody calls me that except the teachers at school. Rikki or Miranda, Ma just sees me as her little princess, her miracle joker baby.

The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown (A Tor.com Original) by Carrie Vaughn

Fault Assumed and Stories Told

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A person who lacked a family was assumed to be at fault, and so most vagabonds made some effort to counteract this social disapproval by concocting ornate tales of family tragedy or betrayal that made them look like victims or heroes. However, Garland did not know enough about Shaftali families to be able to conduct such an elaborate pretense, so he always declared that his past was too painful to talk about. For nearly five years, that approach had kept people from prying, but it also had kept them from even considering offering Garland a permanent home. He was lucky to have this temporary position…

Earth Logic (Elemental Logic) by Laurie J. Marks

Comfortable Ignorance

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Morningdale. There were other things at that time. That awful television series, for instance. All these things contributed, contributed to the turning of the tide. But I suppose when it comes down to it, the central flaw was this. Our little movement, we were always too fragile, always too dependent on the whims of our supporters. So long as the climate was in our favour, so long as a corporation or a politician could see a benefit in supporting us, then we were able to keep afloat. But it had always been a struggle, and after Morningdale, after the climate changed, we had no chance. The world didn’t want to be reminded how the donation programme really worked. They didn’t want to think about you students, or about the conditions you were brought up in. In other words, my dears, they wanted you back in the shadows. Back in the shadows where you’d been before the likes of Marie-Claude and myself ever came along. And all those influential people who’d once been so keen to help us, well of course, they all vanished.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

 

Concerns Are a Barrier

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However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children, their spouses, their parents, their friends, did not die from cancer, motor neurone disease, heart disease. So for a long time you were kept in the shadows, and people did their best not to think about you. And if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren’t really like us. That you were less than human, so it didn’t matter. And that was how things stood until our little movement came along.

Here was the world, requiring students to donate. While that remained the case, there would always be a barrier against seeing you as properly human.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

 

 

 

Police Vans Feel Guilty

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Officer Dewey has to call in a van for Beastie. I ask if maybe we can get a ride in a SWAT van, just to see what that’s like, but no, they have a regular white utility van. Beastie rides in the back. The trip goes a little faster than the one uptown. That doesn’t change how weird it is, riding in a cop car. We have to keep convincing ourselves we haven’t done anything wrong and we aren’t being secretly taken to a jail somewhere.

The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown (A Tor.com Original) by Carrie Vaughn

Seeing Things In a Whole New Way

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Wise Old Owl said, “Pete, you don’t need magic sunglasses to see things in a new way. Just remember to look for the good in every day.

Pete The Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by Kimberly Dean and James Dean