The eyes are not to be trusted.

The focus is off. The lighting is imbalanced. It’s too dark in some spots, too light in others, and indistinctly blurry, tricking the eyes and the brain into believing that there’s something wrong with me, making me blink to clear my vision.

An image made of imperfections is one that I want to hide. I can do better, I should prove that I can do better by only and always doing better. I have to halt my thoughts. I open the image, I force myself to look at the imperfections, to see past them.

I start to find things I like in spite of them.

I notice that I like some of the imperfections, the errors, the blur, as part of the whole. This imperfect photo I’d rather not show to anyone. The only one I can focus on.

Looking through the uncomfortable feelings that come from examining a flawed image I’ve unintentionally created – in my mind’s eye it wanted to be more – I see the pieces of myself. Those are my ornaments, chosen over the years, each one with its own history. Those are multi-coloured lights – the ones that my children prefer, bright and colourful and irrational. I would have limited it to one, at most two complementary colours, but they want them all. This is our tree. My tree.

Snowflakes appear in the light – an illusion created by a toy filter held in front of the lens. It only works on a few; the rest turn into blurry brightness. Imperfect. Unworthy. Meaningless.

The brain is not to be trusted.