The song, Debo partirme en dos (I have to split myself into two) by the Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez came into mind two months ago when I realized that I may have to have a double life: one with VT and the one where I pretend like my vision is not an issue. I got so tired of explaining myself only to be met with incredulous stares and stupid questions that I figured that hiding the truth might be a better option than being open and honest.

This song is about a musician in Cuba whose concert might be cancelled and who is often misunderstood. I am assuming Rodríguez is making reference to the Communist government of Cuba censuring his work. But it resounded in me and still does resound in me because I also feel that I am better of censuring myself and having a double life. Given that many strabismics in VT experience double vision which they have to learn how to split, this song touches more than one chord with me.

Below are the original lyrics in Spanish, the English translation and my comments in red in English.

Here’s the video with Spanish subtitles:

No se crean que es majadería.
Que nadie se levante aunque me ría.
Hace rato que vengo lidiando con gente
que dice que yo canto cosas indecentes.

Do not think that is nonsense.
Nobody is getting up even though they are making fun of me
It’s been a while that I’ve been arguing/fighting with people
who say that I sing indecent things.

Don’t think my vision issues are nonsense

I have been explaining my disability to the incredulous for years
But they think that I am full of crap or am making stuff up

Te quiero, mi amor,
no me dejes solo.
No puedo estar sin tí
mira que yo lloro.

I love you, my love,
Do not leave me alone.
I can not live without you
See that I am crying.

Don’t abandon me or disrespect my limitations

Can’t you see I’ve been crying about this a lot?

¿No ven?, ya soy decente:
me fue fácil.
Que el público se agrupe y que me aclame.
Que se acerquen los niños,
los amantes del ritmo.
Que se queden sentados los intelectuales.
Debo partirme en dos.

Don’t you see? I’m already decent:
It was easy.
The audience got together and cheered for me.
Let the children come,
lovers of rhythm.
The intellectuals can stay seated.
I have to split myself into two.

Can’t you see? I’m really not a weirdo.
I get a lot of media attention in my professional life.
I do a lot of presentations to people who like music

I have to split myself into two: the one who struggles in VT and the one who can’t talk about it to others because they don’t understand or respect me

Unos dicen que aquí,
otros dicen que allá
y sólo quiero decir,
sólo quiero cantar
y no importa la suerte
que pueda correr
una canción.
Unos dicen que aquí,
otros dicen que allá
y sólo quiero decir,
sólo quiero cantar,
y no importa que luego
me suspendan la función.

Some say here
others say there
and I just want to say
I just want to sing
it doesn’t matter
how successful this song
will be

Some say that here
others say that there
and I just want to say
just want to sing,
and never mind that
later my concert will be cancelled.

I’ve got double vision and a double life

One eye goes here, another eye goes there.

I just want to be myself!

I just want to do this therapy and see in 3D dammit!

I don’t care if you understand my eyes or not, just respect that I am where I am, even if I fail.

Yo también canté en tonos menores.
Yo también padecí de esos dolores.
Yo también parecía cantar como un santo.
Yo también repetí en millones de cantos

I also sang in minor keys.
I also suffered from these pains.
I also seemed to sing like a saint.
I also repeated in millions of songs

Oh, hell how this has made me sad
I’ve suffered from a lot of side effects of VT
How many #(@&@(& times do I have to tell people that I am partially blind? When will they respect where I am?

Pero me fui enredando en más asuntos
y aparecieron cosas de este mundo:
«Fusil contra fusil», «La canción de la Trova»;
y «la era pariendo» se puso de moda.
Debo partirme en dos.

But I was tangled up with more issues
and things of this world appeared:
‘Gun against gun, “” The Song of the Troubadours”;
and “the age was giving birth” became fashionable.
I have to split myself into two.

I am still trying to have a life, a job and be successful

Yo quería cantar encapuchado
y después confundirme a vuestro lado
aunque así no tuviera amigos y citas
y algún que otro favor de una chica bonita.

I wanted to sing hooded
and then confuse myself at your side
Even though I wouldn’t have any friends or dates
and a favor from a pretty girl.

I wanted to hide (It’s hard to hide that you’re in VT when you have tape or prism stickers on your glasses.)
I am losing part of my social life

No voy a repetir ese estribillo.
Algunos ojos miran con mal brillo
y estoy temiendo ahora no ser interpretado:
casi siempre sucede que se piensa algo malo.
Debo partirme en dos.

I will not repeat that chorus.
Some look at me with the glow of an evil eyes
and I fear now that someone will misinterpret me
almost always, people think something wrong
I have to split myself into two.

I am sick and tired of explaining myself
People look at me as though I’m from another planet when I tell them about VT
I am tired of the erroneous interpretations of my health on the part of others
I have to split myself into two and hide what I am really experiencing


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