Earlier this month, CBS This Morning re-aired an interview featuring a painter who has quadriplegia and a learning disability. Chuck Close, one of our nation’s greatest painters, turns his love of art into a form of inspiration. A unique characteristic of Close’s disability is that he has face blindness, which means he has difficulty recognizing familiar faces.
After watching this story, I began thinking how we can turn our troubles into triumphs. It reminded me when I was tested for color-blindness as a young child. Even though it doesn’t have anything to do with my spinal cord injury, I was diagnosed with red-green color-blindness. The trick that helped me learn the colors was to read the name of the color on the crayons and markers (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!). I’ve trained my mind to recognize those colors without any problems.
Additionally, my attraction for photography has enabled me to strengthen my photographic eye and has allowed me to take pictures of flowers, greenery and other images. Close mentioned in his interview that he is better able to recognize a face once it’s flattened, such as in his paintings. Despite the adversities, we, as human beings, learn to overcome the challenges and create innovative ways of getting the job done! Close says, “Never let anyone define what you’re capable of by using parameters that don’t apply to you.”