Acceptance and the Contacts Experiment

Originally posted on Harlequin SuperAuthors page (http://www.superauthors.com/2016/02/acceptance-and-contacts-experiment.html)

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.

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