For years, Heather Sellers could not figure out why she couldn't recognize people she knew on the street. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called prosopagnosia, otherwise known as face blindness.
In "You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know," Sellers chronicles her struggle to cope with her condition to lead her life the way she wants.
Read an excerpt of the book below, and head to the "GMA" Library for more good reads.
We left for the airport before dawn. Dave was driving. His sons, David Junior and Jacob, were in the backseat. I was thirty-eight years old. The landscape we were leaving was like the landscape in a children's book. Shiny new cars beetled to office buildings. Below, the Grand River curved like cursive drawn with a thick silver pen across our part of Michigan. We zipped past bare sun-warm fields on the outskirts of Grand Rapids, down the new highway to the airport, and I snuggled into Dave. I had a strong family feeling. I was eager for him to meet my wild daddy, my dear peculiar mom. Dave was willing, the boys were excited. None of us were awake yet.
Earlier that week, I'd come back to Michigan from upstate New York, where I was working as a visiting writer during my sabbatical year, so we could all go to Florida together. Dave had picked me up at the airport. I saw him before he saw me, walking down the corridor, past the narrow sports bar. Dave always wore running shoes and his walk was a distinctive leaning-forward walk, springy and gentle. I'd noticed this was how fine runners walked: head level, leaning forward. "You're going forward, not up and down," Dave's coach had told him, driving the bounce out of his step and converting it to speed. In college, Dave had been All-Conference. He'd run with Brian Diemer, the Olympic medalist, and Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon. Dave's event was the 10K. Over and above being fast—five-minute-mile fast—the 10K required terrific strength and focus. That pace had to be maintained for a long time, for half an hour. The biggest problem wasn't getting tired, it was drifting, getting lost in the monotony.
Dave had a secret trick. He knew how to make himself see the beautiful cornfields near Caledonia, where he liked to run, instead of what was right in front of him. He could teleport, or bilocate. Dave was confident and sure of himself and calm and humble, all at once. His walk: fast-slow, leaning forward like he wanted to get where he was going while a large part of him was just along for the ride. The entire effect of Dave was hopefulness in running shoes.
I ran up to him and threw my arms around him and stretched up to kiss him; he drew back, pressing me away.
It wasn't Dave. I had the wrong guy.
Dave—my real Dave—came up a moment later; we laughed about my mistake. I was embarrassed he had seen me hugging another man. "So many people here look like you!" I said. "We need to move. To a place with fewer Dutch people." This had happened numerous times before, my mistaking someone else for Dave.
He told me I was funny, and he steered me toward baggage claim.
It had been a decade since I had taken anyone home to Orlando. I rarely visited. The last time I'd seen my parents was three years earlier; the visit had not been a success. My dad could be difficult. My mother could turn on a dime. I'd cut the trip short.