I have been using those three words a lot lately. I think I will adopt it as my mantra in this, my 50th year.
I posted on FB and Instagram the other day, about having to give up contacts and return to wearing glasses. I said that “my vanity” and I have to part ways with the contacts and actually, I think I may have misused the word “vanity”. Which is not unusual for me. The misuse of a word thing. You see, I don’t think I am vain, as vain is defined: ”having or showing an excessively high opinion of one’s appearance, abilities, or worth.”
I think for me its the opposite in many ways. I actually lack a high opinion of myself. I am often my own worse enemy and where my appearance is concerned, I was once accused by my oldest of have a body dysmorphic issue. Of course she doesn’t think, or at least I don’t think she thinks, that I have that nifty disorder but it is the consensus of all that perhaps what I see when I look in the mirror may be different from what others see. Maybe. Hard to say. I like to be right so I may just stick with my version. However, I will acknowledge that after wearing contacts for 30 plus years, I am less than thrilled to be returning to glasses. I might have thrown a little hissy fit for about 5 minutes. Okay. Maybe a day or so before I came to my senses and realized I’d like to keep my corneas intact for the next 30 years. But to understand my hang up with the glasses you need to understand where the insecurity started to begin with.
I started wearing glasses in second grade. I was made fun of from the get go. Being called “four eyes” was a daily occurrence. I had a sister that wore glasses as well but that really didn’t help. None of my friends wore glasses and as the years passed and I found that I enjoyed and excelled at sports, glasses became the bane of my existence. As my vision worsened, there was no chance of going without them. As it stands today, I need to put on my glasses to even step out of bed. My parents rule back then was no contacts until high school So I endured the taunting and envied the pretty girls and tried to be fashionable with some rose tinted lenses at one point. Shall we look at how that worked out for me?
There is SO much to talk about when it comes to this photo, isn’t there? Circa 1976. As noted by the macramé choker. I was 12. Awkward age as it was. I had, and you will be shocked by this, I had a very bad perm. Another one of my hang ups back then was the fact that my 4 other siblings had beautiful curly hair, which was commented on all the time and me, my hair was stick straight. Which was commented on all the time. My brother often told me I was adopted and from time to time I went looking for evidence by rifling through my parents personal papers. True story. Will you please bring your attention to the bang area? For some reason, I thought a few curls or fake curls as it were, had grown out and were oddly hanging on my forehead and I thought cutting them might be a good idea. Not so much. 7th grade was hell. Dog barking and the nickname “fro” were added to “four eyes” and yeah, not things that exactly boosts ones self esteem.
Highschool could not come soon enough. And when it came, and contacts were brought on board, a new found confidence emerged as well. I never, ever felt pretty, but I felt, for the first time, at the very least, average looking. And that was good enough.
This picture, my high school graduation picture in 1982, was, I can honestly say, probably the last photograph I liked of myself. And there lies the reason you will find very few photos of me. I just do not do pictures. Jessica’s wedding was mandatory and let me tell you, a source of stress for me. I know, I know, even you all are telling me to get over myself at this point. I get it. I really do.
And now, the glasses I loathed, are back.
I am stocking up. Hoping with a variety to choose from that it might ease the sting of it all. I chose to buy from a company by the name of Warby Parker. In conjunction with their partnership with the non-profit Visionspring, Warby Parker pledges to donate a pair of glasses for every pair purchased, in a effort to provide glasses to someone who otherwise could not afford them. Pretty cool, uh?
I must practice what I preach when it comes to gratitude in ones life, even despite circumstance, and I must start by acknowledging that I am extremely grateful that I have vision that can be corrected. I have a little love who’s stroke has left her with partial vision in one eye and peripheral vision loss in the other. Neither which can ever be corrected. I am fortunate to have a wonderful ophthalmologist who is stubborn, much like myself and she is adamant in finding answers and solutions so my corneas can be as healthy as possible. Those two reasons for gratitude are enough to keep me in check and help me to keep the whining to a minimal.
Slowly but surely, I think finally, just maybe, I am beginning to get over myself. About time. A couple dozen years in the making.