Wednesday Would You Rather: Sight VS Hearing?

My first Would You Rather went up in April, and in it, I took on a somewhat heavy subject. The prompt was "Would you rather live a lifetime of ONLY flatline (boring, ordinary) days, or would you rather live a lifetime of ONLY rollercoaster (always ups and downs) days?" Honestly though, I feel like that was a great prompt to start this series with - it encouraged me to explore what my life has been, and to really look at what I would choose were I given the conscious choice. Would I want the simple life, the ordinary? The ease of knowing what to expect, of knowing what's coming, being able to settle into a routine with only the little things in life? Or would I keep on the path that I've been walking for thirty three years? Would I keep the ups and downs that have brought me such grief and left me with the PTSD I'm still learning to live with? (If you missed that post, click here to read it.) See? Not an easy subject at all - and yet when I really got to thinking through it, the choice wasn't that hard to make.

In the end, I asked my readers to leave other Would You Rather prompts in the comments of that post, and Karen Henderson asked me which I would rather give up - my hearing or my sight? So today I'm exploring life without my sight, and what I'd be missing if I gave it up. And I'll explore life without my hearing, thinking of all the things I'm grateful to have in my life because I can hear. At the end of the post, I'll hypothetically "give up" one of my precious senses - with gratitude that at least for now, it's only pretend.

If I were sitting in a dark room right now, alone and afraid and bearing the weight of the knowledge that the only way I can get out is to choose one of my senses to leave behind, what would I do?

I only have five conventional senses, and my 6th sense/intuition doesn't even count anymore, since certain things in my past have led me to believe it can't be trusted. So with just five left - how could I give up any of them? The human senses are our most precious gifts, and while we breeze through life unappreciative of how possessing these senses so deeply enrich our lives ... how could anyone sift through them and choose one to give away?

If I could give any one, my first instinctive answer would be "touch." I could still type - more clumsily perhaps, but it could be done. I could still dress myself, could still walk, could still function. But then again, without touch ... what would a hug feel like? A kiss? Joey's luxurious curls, Eden's curtain of pin-straight silk? Chance's horsey whiskers?

Maybe taste could work though. I mean, sure, I'd be giving up the pleasure of lasagna and pizza and grilled cheese and fresh salad and still-half-frozen Edward's Pie and ... where was I?

Thankfully, neither taste nor touch were among my options, lest I would give up something that means so much to me by accident.

But there were specific choices - hearing or sight?
Sometimes when I give my kids a choice of something, they can't decide. So they waffle back and forth for a while until I choose for them, and then they instantly know what they truly wanted - which is always whatever I didn't choose. It happens with adults too, because it's human nature to want what we can't have. I've heard it said that the best way to make any choice is to flip a coin - not because the coin will choose for you, but because while that coin is flipping through the air, end over end, sparking light off its metal as it falls, you will know exactly what you most want. That coin coming down brings you face to face with the idea of not being able to choose anymore, and of losing something you love because of that lack of choice. Suddenly, you know.

I flipped a coin, and I was just as confused when the coin landed - there just wasn't enough time to think it through. So what if I stick with my dark room, and pretend the people holding me there have given me until noon? And to top it off (so that I don't let myself get lazy and say something like, "I can't choose, and thank goodness I don't have to"), they've also told me that if I don't choose one of my senses by noon ... then I forfeit them all.

So it's 8 in the morning right now as I write this - that would give me four hours to deliberate, during which time I could write several thousand words in tribute to my senses and how precious each and every one is to me.

But if I don't write this post right now, the girls will be up soon and it may take three weeks to come back and get it done.

So how do I choose?
The thing is, it's easy enough to think about the glories of never again hearing a smoke detector going off because the potatoes roasting in the oven (or the garlic bread) filled the oven with steam, which billowed out and burned my face when I opened the oven door less than 8 feet away from said smoke detector. (Ahem ... no, that hasn't happened to me ...) And it's easy to think of never again having to watch people pick their butts or their noses or their crotches - or for heaven's sake, all three in rotation - while they wander mindlessly through Walmart, clad in cheap knockoffs of the obnoxiously fluorescent but incredibly innovative Chacos and ill-fitting, ill-chosen clothing. (What? Personal experience, you say? Nah ... I'm just guessing.)

But in choosing, I also choose whether to never again experience my children's laughter - or never again look into their eyes.

How about sight?
How do I give up the ability to watch my daughters sleep, with their eyelashes neatly arched along their cheeks, with my bold eyebrows slashed beneath their foreheads. How do I give up the beauty of noticing the things about them that aren't mine (Joey's hands, Eden's mouth, and so many other things), mixed so seamlessly in with the things that are? How do I give up watching them grow, choosing their clothes by looking because I know what sizes will fit? How do I lose the ability to look at them when they get in the car and know whether or not they had a good day at school? How do I never look at Chance's adorable sleepy face in the morning, with those brown eyes only three quarters of the way open and his hound jowls all rumpled with sleep? I can't.

How could I never again watch a flower bloom over the course of a few days' time? How could I never again look upon a rainbow or watch the flash of a storm outside? How could I miss the gentility of butterflies and the fascination of a bunny hopping around in the backyard?

So ... hearing, then?
No! How could I do it? Right this second I'm listening to birdsong from the tree in the yard, just on the other side of the back door to the house I live in. I'm listening to the way the floorboards creak upstairs - a telltale sign that Eden is awake and anxious to come find me, For now, she'll read a little in her bed - giving me five or ten minutes worth of her desperate effort to respect my writing time, until the urge to come hug me and ask how I slept becomes so unbearable she can no longer resist it. Hearing those creaking boards is a warning - Mommy time starts soon, and then it'll be too loud to hear the birdsong anymore, because I'll be listening to the unique mix of giggles and bickering that only my two children can produce.

How could I imagine life without hearing Eden ask me how I slept? Without the way she says good morning, with her high-pitched little-girl voice? How could I give up the rare gift of an "I love you" from my grumpy teen who is already learning to protect her heart at all costs - sometimes even from me?

How could I never listen to music again, never feel the power of words spun into lyrics that wrap around the soul like liquid magic? How could I never again listen to Edelweiss, never again be brought to tears by the beauty of Andre Rieu's violin?

Yeah, you know what?
My first instinct was right (how about that? maybe my intuition can be trusted a little after all?) in urging me to cop out and take the easy road here. I can't choose - I can't sit in that dark room and mull it over, eventually choosing to brokenly abdicate one sense or the other in fear of losing them all. I can't mull over the pros and cons, sifting through the things I love (or don't love) about these precious gifts that give my humanity so much meaning. I can't choose a sense.

I can't choose - and I'm so thankful that I don't have to.

Thanks for the prompt, Karen! For those who don't know, Karen's one of my favorite readers - and she's one of my biggest supporters! And to top that, she's one of my Patreon buddies - she has a Patreon account too, where she shares her love of photography as well as occasional snippets of her daily life. I know this prompt was given all in fun, but I'm grateful it turned out to be such an exercise in remembering to see the blessings in the little things that make each and every day such an experience!
Today's "Featured Favorite Product" is something I love picking up for myself now again - and coincidentally, also a great way to engage all five of your precious human senses. Pair your favorite wine or chocolates (or both?) with this 5-Piece Coconut Essential Bath & Body Collection from The Body Shop and you're in for a luxurious evening (or morning, if you're a single mom and the only time you really have to yourself if when your kids are at school ... is it August yet?) of pampering and sense-engaging relaxation.

$39.00 USD at the time of this post, click photo to purchase from Amazon.

My girls go back to school in the beginning of August, and while I love having them around, I'm so ready for the downtime - this single mom stuff is hard enough, but doing the single mom thing with no co-parent to co-parent with makes it pretty overwhelming at times. I've got this kit high on my wishlist for August!

Quick Disclaimer: Since I am using affiliate links here, remember that if you choose to click product links on my site and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a (very) small commission for referring you. Rest assured that this is at no extra cost to you, but my family and I appreciate your support. (If you'd like to see a list of other companies I'm currently working with, click here.)
So tell me - if you had to give up either your sight or your hearing, which would you rather give up? Take a second to let me know - or even leave suggestions for future Would You Rather posts! I always love the chance to interact with my readers, and I love the way these posts have given me a chance to find and unlock the undaunted woman within myself.

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  1. Okay. You took the easy way out. You have to choose...that was the point of the post and I was so anxious reading it to see what you choose and then...nothing. :( Mine, I thought was easy at first before I read your post. I thought hearing would have been mine as I'm already fluent in sign language plus it would enable me to write and drive, still being independent. Then I got to thinking, but hubby and I love live concerts and I'd miss the music, music that inspires me every day. Being blind would be awful, I've tried it a few times for 'fun' and believe me, it's not fun so with that said, I'd choose hearing because I could still do the concerts but just stand next to the speakers!!

    1. That was why I ultimately couldn't choose one - I'm so grateful for my senses (all five of them), and even the more "useless" ones are meaningful to me. I couldn't give one up. I just couldn't.


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