Natelkka (Nikki) Frye
Cataracts, Detached Retinas
Nikki Frye walks through the world experiencing all of her senses in ways she never imagined before losing her sight. Her heightened awareness coalesces in her heart, where her feelings of love and peace have bloomed as her vision has faded.
“How has blindness affected my life? I still feel like the same person, but how I move in the world is different. And the things that are important to me are probably different, and my goals were different, more materialistic I think.”
“I do feel a more openness towards other people, like when I meet them initially, there isn’t a sight for me to almost take a picture of and see if there’s something in there that is like that picture that I saw of a person. So what I’m trying to say is, I don’t put as much judgment out on people. I think that living as a blind person has made me a lot more accepting. I feel people’s hearts first.
She fights the prejudices and misunderstandings of the sighted world, wanting nothing more than to be accepted for what she sees in her heart, not through her eyes.
“I was thinking about how other people see a blind person. And I do notice how people talk to me, and a lot of times it may sound like they’re talking to a child. Or they talk a lot louder. Or they found a pity in their voices. I just want to say, I’m still the same person. I’m a whole person. I haven’t lost my education. I haven’t lost any of my mental ability.”
Nikki is a massage therapist in East Point, a profession that allows her to use another sense, touch, to reach people.
WHAT NIKKI SEES
Beginning from the right side, there is a dark gray field that is smooth and not grainy. As it moves to the left it becomes a lighter and lighter gray. A large swath of gray, lighter than the background it covers, sweeps all the way across at an angle like a brush stroke. The top of the swath is smoother than the bottom which is jagged, like the hairs from a paint brush. In the far bottom left peripheral corner is a small circle where images break through. It’s somewhat foggy and easier to see colors such as red and orange. It can reveal the feet of people nearby or other things low to the ground.