The Incident: When I think about what makes me unique there are plenty of attributes I could name off that makes me different from the next guy. At the end of the day though if you asked a close friend of mine what makes Sterling Price Stephens unique they’d probably tell you, “he’s only got one eye”.
It all started when I was four years old. I was attending my local pre-school and it was a normal day just like any other. Running around on the jungle gym and being a child with no worries in the world at all. When my two friends asked to play a game, I said, “sure, which one?” That’s when one of the kids started pulling the bungie cord that tightened the pants around my waist. Like most young children would in that situation, my other friend started pulling the second cord (monkey see monkey do) and almost instantly they let go of the cords at the same time. One flew right into my groin area causing me to bend over in pain putting my face directly in the path of the second retracting cord. The Lights went out in my right eye instantly.
The Diagnosis: Over the course of the next 8 years of my life I was in and out of specialists all the across the globe. Searching for someone to salvage the damage. Surgery after surgery nothing changed. By the time I was 12 I had just about as many laser eye surgeries as years in my life. Things were only getting worse as I started developing a symptom called photophobia. A discomfort and pain in the eye that results from any sun exposure. The condition was getting bad to the point where I couldn’t walk outside without shielding my face. I was probably the only kid in sixth grade that enjoyed indoor recess and rainy days more than kicking the soccer ball on the sunny field. So to combat this when I was 12 we decided to remove the eye and replace it with a prosthetic (fake) eye. A big decision but at 12 it came too easy. In the heart of sixth grade I took a month off from school to have my eye removed and replaced with a fake one. I will forever probably say it was the best decision I’ve ever made. It changed my life.
The Authenticity: So when asked what makes me unique? I would say my authenticity. Growing up as all the other youngs boys played sports I was busy going to doctors and recovering from surgeries. So when I did eventually play sports in middle school I was never that good, hand eye coordination was awful and I had no experience being an athlete. Sports were just one aspect of life I missed out on during the developmental years of my childhood. So It wasn’t until I was in high school when I realized I wasn’t normal that I became exceptional. I was never anything special trying to salvage my childhood post 12 years old trying to fit in. I could fit in, but I was never normal, never will be. By the time I was 16 I knew that and that’s when I became the best version of me. I no longer tried to be something I wasn’t and instead was quite different but people appreciated it. Some may think Im arrogant, too confident, or too straightforward but I just tell people the way it is. So growing up without an eye I would say has made me the most authentic version of my self possible. Im unique because you aren’t getting anything but Sterling Price Stephens, anything but normal.