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SEEING CLEARLY, by Christopher T. Monnette

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Seeing Clearly

A deeply moving and courageous memoir, Seeing Clearly is the story of one man’s journey of self-discovery as he grapples with progressive vision loss.

At age 54, after emerging from one of the darkest periods of his life, Chris Monnette is diagnosed with neovascular macular degeneration, an incurable retinal disease that slowly robs him of his eyesight. As each cell in his macula dies and his vision diminishes, he is forced, literally and figuratively, to see the world through different eyes.

Raised in the shadow of an emotionally stifled father, Chris learns early on to mirror the belief that vulnerability equals weakness, a philosophy reinforced during his time at the Virginia Military Institute and as an officer in the Marine Corps. Blind to his own emotions, he goes on to build an outwardly successful career–one that masks a deeply unstable life marred by infidelity, divorce and the painful fracture of his family.

As his field of vision shrinks, Chris’s sense of self blurs around the edges. Once an active person who loved to fly airplanes, ride motorcycles, and ski, he becomes increasingly dependent on others for even the most basic tasks and is left with no choice but to embrace the vulnerability he has so long avoided. In doing so, he is able to take ownership of his mistakes, find true intimacy, and create a life of abundance on the other side of fear.

A piercingly honest meditation on the emotional legacy of stoicism, Seeing Clearly is much-needed proof that being a man and being vulnerable are one and the same.

Meet Chris

Over the years I have been called: father, husband, brother, friend, Marine, entrepreneur, corporate executive, photographer, and writer to name a few of the labels that I care to repeat here.

In 2013, I added a new label - visually impaired. Like more than 11 million Americans, I was diagnosed with macular degeneration - a chronic, progressive, and irreversible disease that has slowly robbed me of my central vision, the narrow part of my vision that is responsible for reading, seeing vivid colors, and recognizing faces. The loss of the latter is the most painful, by far.

I was scared about what that might mean for my future. The vulnerability that comes with a visual impairment wasn’t something that I was emotionally ready to accept. I started writing about my journey as a way to explore my own emotions about the challenge I was facing. Along the way, my view of the world has changed both literally and figuratively.

 

My goal for my memoir, Seeing Clearly, is to share my experience with both my growing disability and the blessings it has brought me in terms of self-discovery.

My hope is that you will find something in my story that will challenge the way you see the world as well, because with out challenge there can be little change.

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