I can remember a conversation I had with my friend on the playground at primary school about the power of eyes. She said confidently that eyes were the key to people's souls, which is why you should never look a stranger straight in the eye because then they would know what you were thinking and feeling and would subsequently attack you. Now I am well aware that this conversation was accompanied with a heavy dose of ignorance, stranger-danger and an obsession with telling each other scary stories, so I can say with absolutely certainty that I don't believe that eyes are the keys to people souls. I do, however, believe that our eyes reveal a lot about ourselves. They have different outfits for exhaustion, fear, love, sadness, sometimes they clothe themselves in tear juice and other times they sparkle with health and happiness. I love eyes, they are my favourite feature to draw and they are often, in my opinion, the crowning glory of a person's face.

For most of my life I have been addicted to sunglasses. Even as a toddler I would wear them constantly. My friends will tell you that I am rarely without my aviators and I will wear sunglasses for as long as it is acceptable (late spring to early autumn) I LOVE THEM. I love them because they instantly up my cool factor, they hide my naked, make-up-less eyes, they allow me to indulge in people watching without drawing attention to myself and they often save me from conversations I really don't want to have. In the past few weeks my sunglasses have done more than improve my appearance, they have hidden my tears and my bloodshot eyes. Two days after Annie's death I was drinking coffee in my favourite coffee house, Santa Fe and I suddenly burst into tears, everyone immediately started staring at me and I was able to whip out my glasses, shove them on my face and hurry out the door. I walked past many people on the way home and, thanks to my sunglasses, not one of them noticed my pain.

On the morning of Annie's funeral I met Laura in Starbucks. I love Laura for her brutal honesty, she is always ready to listen and to slap me in to shape. That morning she challenged me to remove my metaphorical sunglasses and to be real about my emotions. She reminded me that there is no fast-track card out of grief, that it's a long, painful process and your condition only improves if you make a visit at every stop along the way. Last night I couldn't sleep, so I read through my journal. I was reminded of my conversation with Laura and was convicted about hiding my tears on the way to work that morning with my sunglasses. The truth is I am frightened of showing people my eyes, because it makes me feel naked and vulnerable. I don't want people to see me cry, I don't want to be seen as someone who wallows in their misery, I want to appear happy and together.

But I'm not. Tonight as I write this, I feel completely alone. There is no potential somebody, I have no feelings for anybody, Annie is no longer here and Laura is miles and miles away. There is no one whose image in my daydreams brings comfort and hope. There is just me and my passions tossing and turning in the darkness. Tonight I cling white-kuncked to the only three things that remain once everything has been stripped away: FAITH, LOVE AND HOPE. Faith in an eternal, loving, omnipresent God, love for my friends, family, life and hope for my future. Even though I sit typing this is the cosy solitude of my bedroom, my edges sanded down with my raw emotions so that I am now a circle trying to feel at home in a square, I know that I'm going to be okay. Sometimes I just need to remove the sunglasses and be honest with myself and the people around me.

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