Thursday, February 18, 2016

Acceptance and Contacts Experiment

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I posted over here. No excuses, just busy and distracted, like everyone else. Getting back into the swing of writing on the blog has been one of my goals for the new year and I'm glad to be working my way to that goal!

On to the post!

I wear glasses. I've worn glasses since I was in second grade. I was in Mrs. Ohlensehlen's class and I started failing. Two things came out of this: 1) I got diagnosed as dyslexic and 2) I got my first pair of glasses, a pink, wire-rimmed pair that I promptly lost at an Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant while on vacation. My mom was pissed and it didn't get me out of having to wear glasses.

I don't remember getting teased about the glasses, but I think I must have been because I still remember two rhymes my mom taught me.

Men seldom make passes
At girls who wear glasses
(the great Dorothy Parker)

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
If I had two eyes,
I'd be as stupid as you
(No attribution, but a response to the "Four Eyes" tease)

Over the years I've had a love-hate relationship with my glasses. I've had some really terrible glasses, like this enormous red-rimmed pair with blue tint at the top and red tint at the bottom that I wore in seventh grade ("Like make-up," said my mom. Sorry mom, those were awful!). I've stumbled around Halloween blind because I kept getting face paint on the lenses. And, despite being a strong swimmer, I'm timid in the ocean. On the plus side, anytime I don't want to pay attention to something, I can take off my glasses and I'm never self-conscious in yoga (I don't wear my glasses and so don't see the people around me). 

Eventually I settled down into seeing them as a fashion accessory. I pick out my own glasses and they are one fashion piece I never stint on. I gotta wear 'em all the time when I'm awake, so I might as well spend as much money as needed to get the pair I want.

Just because my glasses as part of who I am and I've been wearing them for thirty years, doesn't mean I don't sometimes wonder about the glorious glasses-free life. When I was sixteen, I tried contacts and hated them. They made my eyes tired. My face looked funny without glasses. The final straw was a debate tournament when I'd been wearing them for too long and one ripped in my eye. Getting two small pieces of contact off my eyeball was not pleasant.

Flash forward to aging...

Did you know nearsighted eyes get better when you get older? At least, they are supposed to. All through my thirties, my ex and I would go to the eye doctor. His eyes would gradually get better until now he only wears glasses to drive. Meanwhile, the doctor would tell me that--one day!--my eyes would get better as they got--and continue to get!--worse, and worse, and worse.

I used to joke that my eyes would keep getting worse and then I'd be old enough to need reading glasses and I wouldn't be able to see anything clearly at all.

Sadly, this is not a joke. I'm now in my late thirties and I decided to try contacts again. If I want to wear contacts, then I have to wear reading glasses. In another job, this wouldn't be a big deal, but I read all the time in both my day job and as an author. Worse, in the library, I'm constantly looking up at customers and down at my computer and so something ends up blurry. I'm sure there's a way to master looking over the reading glasses, but I haven't figure it out yet.

None of this is a problem that is unique to me and, in all honesty, it's a minor problem. I have vision insurance, I can afford both contacts and glasses if I need, and it's not like my eyes are causing me to suffer--tired eyes don't count.

The contacts experiment has been a reminder that we're not able to make peace with our bodies forever. We think we've accepted the glasses, gapped tooth, big/small/medium breasts, etc, and then our lives change and we realize acceptance can't always be taken for granted. Sometimes, you have to look at the body part again, reassess its place in our changed lives, and how age changes our understanding of it.

For me, I'm wondering how often I'm going to wear those contacts :-)

How has age changed your understanding of yourself. Confess to body issues if you want (I'll make sure this is a safe space and there's no judgement from me), but it's not required.


Anonymous said...

Great questions and post. I wore glasses in school and was called 4 eyes for many years. Plus, my maiden name is Stoneman and mean boys would yell stoned all the time at me. I never did drugs. My daughter is hearing impaired and has a hearing aid in her left ear. She has never been teased. I am grateful things are better for her.

Mary Preston said...

I'm near sighted. I wear glasses for watching TV, driving, the cinema etc. Around the house I rarely wear them, but do keep losing them, never remember where I put them down.

I tried contacts ONCE years ago. It was like shoving gravel into my eyes.

Photo Spread said...

I wore glasses for 20 years - from preschool onward. Then, I got LASIK surgery in my 20's and *loved* being able to see & function without glasses. But, now I'm growing older, and my eyes are slowly moving towards farsightedness. It's pure vanity, but I'm putting off getting my eyes checked and the inevitable prescription for bifocals/reading glasses until I have been 20 years without glasses.

Vanity, all vanity...

dstoutholcomb said...

I didn't wear glasses until I was 25--I had faked my way through at the DMV a couple of times--but I was having problems reading the screen at our monthly meetings in my employer's conference center (like a huge theater). Not sure how the myopia was missed as I was growing up, thought it's not a severe prescription. My myopia has slightly worsened over the years. Now, I can't really drive without glasses--too hard to read the signs. I used to just wear glasses for movies and driving.

My new eye doctor convinced me it was time for progressive lenses. It took a few weeks to adjust, but now I'm on year two. I still don't like my glasses on for photos, but I wear them nearly all the time now. Except for reading my kindle and smartphone. It's too hard. Not sure if it's the backlit screen. My doctor said while it's not common, it's not unheard of for people wearing progressive lenses to have problems reading devices. I can sit at the laptop with no problem which is something I couldn't do comfortably with my old glasses.

Not going into other body issues. lol


Unknown said...

I wore glasses since kindergarten until my teens, then I started wearing contacts. I still wear them. I see better with them on than I do when I wear my glasses. Now that I'm older, I have trouble seeing up close when I have them on. I also struggle with floaters. They're really bad during the daytime. My eyes continue to get worse, sorry to say, as I get older.
Aging and dealing with all of the challenges I've experienced with my body has taught me to appreciate life more, especially the simple things, and to not get caught up in the superficial aspects of oneself because eventually beauty begins to fade and if you've put too much emphasis on it you'll be in for a rude awakening. Another thing it's taught me is how fortunate I was to choose a mate who loves me for what's inside because if he didn't he'd be feeling pretty devastated right about now, lol!!

Fedora said...

I've worn glasses since sixth grade, when my teacher had to tell my parents I couldn't see the board ;) I did struggle with contacts for a handful of years while in high school and college, but abandoned them for good after I got married ;) While DH has gotten LASIK (and loves the results), I got squicked out just reading about it! I'm OK with my glasses for now, except during dance class, when sometimes they are just a pain as they slide down my face as I'm trying to not fall down ;) Another physical issue is just noticing how things have been changing as I've aged--getting old is not for wimps! Aside from the usual loss of flexibility and that sort of thing, I also had a ruptured Achilles tendon last year, and that really made me appreciate medical advances! Many blessings to be grateful for!

Unknown said...

Tammy--Kids can be so mean! Because I've always been so tall and a woman, I got called High Woman (instead of Lohmann) once the boys started to care about their height and I was still taller than them. It's good that they've not teased your daughter.

Fedora--LASIK also scares me. I don't know how Photo Spread did it. Plus, it's my eyes! What if something went wrong?!

Laura--you are right about not getting caught up in the superficial aspects and picking a mate who loves what's inside.

Mary--Shoving gravel in my eyes is how I would have described contacts from twenty years ago. Now...Well, I bought 6 months worth, so I'm giving them a try! LOL

Photo Spread said...

How I did LASIK: Valium. Lots of Valium. :-D (The doc actually gave me an extra dose because I was still not calm/relaxed enough for the surgery when the tried to start it the first time.) I hated the surgery but *love* the results.

Anonymous said...

What a thoughtful post. I hope the contacts work for you. Can you go to dinner or the ballet and only wear the contacts? I sure hope so otherwise the contacts are too much bother. I can't wear contacts without also wearing my glasses. By the way, even if you had not worn glasses, I might have quoted Dorothy Parker as I like her humor. Love Mom

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