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I Dont Need Them To See through you

April 5, 2018

”Hey. How blind are you really?”

”I once ate potpourri from a bowl in a cafe because I thought it was mixed nuts.”

This amuses the young man that I am talking to at 2am. He has taken me home and I am trying to explain how bad my eyes are. It is my wearing contacts phase. I am my own example of a post glasses wearing makeover.   I am trying to figure out ( for the hundredth time) how to take them out of my eyes before getting busy with this person who has a pet rat in a cage in his bedroom. The person is cute and I think its quite sweet he has a pet rat. I try to remove the contacts and its so difficult and causes my drunken self so much stress that I start to cry a bit at the futile nature of love and human connection. This lubes my eyes up so that the contact finally pops out and into my hand. It works with the other eye as well. Success! I think. I put them away and turn to the young man sitting on the edge of his unmade bed. He is smiling at me. I wipe my tear stained eyes at the same time smudging my eyeliner. I smile back and pull my t shirt up and off over my head. This is being 25.

 

Back to the here and now in 2018. I have sat on my glasses and now they are bent quite badly.  Placing them on my nose I find the hinges have bent the eye pieces and the lenses so that they are facing my nose instead of in front of my eyes, helping them in the humble everyday mission of making me slightly less vision impaired. There has been numerous close calls over the years where I am about to sit on them but realize seconds before placing all my weight on top of the unsuspecting object. This particular pair of glasses are important to me. I feel good wearing them. They make me feel intelligent and capable and a little bit sexy. Then why were they left on the couch for the thirty thousand and fifth time?   You may ask. If you could see me right now you would see me shrug.

It was not always like this. I have a long history of hating my glasses. They were not always considered a cool accessory worn by intellectual posers or used as a form of fashion.  Please do not wear glasses unless you need to do so. Pretending to be blind or visually challenged is actually really uncool. So is trying on my glasses as though its fun to have warped vision. Your face is usually bigger than mine and you wreck the fit when I get them back. This happened all through school and university. Once my crush in second year uni wore my glasses while pouring a drink of juice. They missed the glass made a mess and then left me to clean it up.

Now that I live in Melbourne and have many writer and creative friends I am surrounded by people who need and wear glasses. It is a magical and wonderful world.

I take my mangled glasses to the place where I first got them and get them fixed. They say that the damage has been done to the overall sturdiness and future longevity. The end is nigh.

My first pair of glasses placed on my nose is when I am four.  They have thin metal frames and  curve over each of my ears tightly so they don’t fall off easily.

”Coke bottle lenses” my father exclaims. He is not wrong.  He makes it clear that my glasses are adorable. Though he and my mother refer to me as their little owl. I grow up hating them.  One day I put them somewhere so safe that I forget where they are and for two weeks I  have to go to school with nothing but my natural amount of vision. Then one morning as I am about to go to school with my backpack on my tiny back. I am looking into my mother’s concerned face as she asks me one more time where was this special place that I had hidden my glasses in. I run into my bedroom and open my underwear drawer. They are there pushed to the bottom and back of the drawer.

”Where are your glasses?” was a question I heard a lot while doing completely normal things like watching television or reading a book.  It was so annoying. I should be able to hold books as close as I want without judgement. I would think  vomit and bile thoughts  as my mother would sing song for the trillionth time ”Vanity thy name is vanity” as I resentfully placed my glasses on my nose and sat a bit further away from the television. It was easy for them to say it was silly and vain they didn’t wear glasses. All four of my siblings have excellent vision. My parents would not need glasses until in their fifties.

The bifocal years didn’t help my resentment. At 13 an ophthalmologist suggested that i wear bifocals for my two tone vision needs so that I could read books while wearing my glasses and also doing everything else with the other part of the bifocal.  Old people wear bifocals my grandparents and other uncool people wear bifocals. The word sounded crusty and decrepit to my young mind.  It was not only super coke bottle bottom lenses to contend with anymore.

When the glasses were ready and I was standing alone in the bathroom with the door closed. I looked at myself in the smudged mirror while wearing my new bifocals. My reflection is not smiling. Because I only had a precious few moments before being found by a younger sibling I had a quick but intense self hating cry before going back out to continue being a big sister. A big sister who does not wear her ugly glasses.

It was at this time I very nearly picked up a giant brown spider from the living room floor as I was picking up toys, picture books and Kraft cheese slice wrappers. It was hiding under a stray sock.  I mistook the unsuspecting spider for a stray toy. The carpet of the lounge room is faded floral. The worst part was that after squealing it scuttled away under the couch and evaded capture and relocation outside. Did I take this as a sign to wear my glasses more often? No.

When I did start wearing them out and about it amazed me the amount of dudes that felt the need to come up to me and tell me that I would be more attractive without my glasses. This freely given without prompting advice enraged me every single time. These young men thought they were giving me a well needed tip in order to be deemed worthy of being sexed up by them.  It happened a lot while I was working as a cleaner of hotels on Hamilton Island. I took the advice of these beach bodied douche bags with a sprinkle of sea water. No, that’s not true. I felt ugly and sad.

Now that I do wear my glasses everywhere my eyes are still not great. Glasses can not fix a total lack of peripheral vision or inoperable cataracts.  I wear my glasses everywhere now because five years ago I managed to get a pair of glasses that I love. Until then I had only ever gotten glasses from the medicare range of frames thus making them affordable because they are free. You had the option of about three or four different frames that ranged from super awful to meh not great but they will do.

This time was different this time I was getting my frames and lenses from a hipster eye place that serves me tea and has antique looking rugs on the floor. There is even an optometrist here that I can see for an eye test. When I get tested the optometrist sits down in her chair and stares at me in wonder. ”How did you get here?” She says. I stare at her in confusion it is not like any of my past eye doctors have asked me such philosophical questions. She must mean literally I finally think. ”By tram.” I say.  ”Your eyes are extremely bad. You should consider applying for disability.” This is news to me and life changing news at that. Perhaps my eyes are the reason I am bad at so many jobs even though I try so hard. I do not heed her advice until three years later. It takes me that long to wrestle with my ingrained ableism.

This is how I find my first true love: after seeing the kind Optometrist I browse the amazing array of glasses the likes and options of which I have never before seen.  The chosen pair are plain black and make me look like Zoe Deschanel as Jessica Day in The New Girl ( ha ha ok feel like) and every ass hat beat poet wannabe.  When I found out how expensive they were it was all over and the dream was dead until a payment plan was sorted out.  They were expensive not just because of the frames but because my prescription is so high and uniquely extreme. Thanks to my pathological desire to be unique and special, this pleases me and financially ruins me. The new glasses even come in a bright red glasses case. No boring glasses house for these babies. They have gotten me through so much over the last five years.

How bad are your eyes?

Bad. Real bad. I once mistook a stranger’s two year old child for a small adorable dog.

Yesterday when I went to look at new glasses and get my eyes tested again at the same place as the last time I was nervous. What if my already legally blind eyes had gotten worse? What if they were going to get incrementally worse at the same rate as other people who got glasses in middle age? If my eyes were already so bad surely it was just a matter of time until my eye sight went completely? Of course I could live a happy life further blind than I am now. I just didn’t really want to. I was already the kind of blind that angered bike riders as they dodged me and my lack of peripheral vision. Sunlight hurt me eyes and it took me a little while to adjust to sudded changes in light.

On arrival I am approached by my fav assistant she wears amazing bright coloured glasses that match her pastel purple skirt and pastel blue blouse with white collar and bow. She makes me a cup of peppermint tea and gives me a biscuit. It is so much nicer than all those poky old windowless examination rooms of my youth in regional Victoria. Also thanks to being an adult and having a bit of foresight I am getting ready to replace my beloved black framed glasses before they have broken completely. There is a crack forming and its only a matter of time before its the end for them and I. This way I can have time to pay for my new pair and not be in a blind bind like the last time I had my glasses break.  Who can afford new and awesome glasses anytime they want without having to live off Mee Goreng and toast? Without getting evicted because they have spent their rent money on much needed new glasses? Not this hard of seeing all extreme emotional feeling babe.

Do I dare go for something in the tortoise shell arena of frames? I ask myself as I am shown an array of this kind. There are over thirty different types. The decision is made for me by the cost difference between getting the same frames again against the cost of my favorite pair of tortoise shell frames. The difference is three hundred dollars. In two months I will be wearing dark blue tortoise shell frames.

The Optometrist that greets me as I sip from my tea cup is not the woman I remember and it proves that I’m more of a feminist now because instead of noticing his handsomeness straight away I simply feel deflated that its not the same nice woman.It would have been nice to tell her that I finally took her advice.

Eye tests don’t take so long when your eye sight goes no stronger than being able to identify the largest letter A on top of  the letters that slowly get smaller and smaller. Anything else and I would be guessing. After he shines a weird  light into each of my eye balls I am told my eyes have not gotten any worse. I explain my concern and fear that if my eyes are this bad now how bad will they be when I’m 50? He explains to me that when someone who has had perfect vision gets glasses they eye sight has gone from 99% perfect to 95% the difference is not that much but enough to need glasses. Since my eyes are barely 50% working they wont actually decline like someone with twenty twenty vision will experience decline. I nod. ”So your saying my eyes are already fucked so I can relax and not worry.”  I smile. ”Thank you for clearing this up. It was stressing me out.”  I put my glasses back on and look at him. Oh my goodness he is handsome I think as I scoop up my tote from the floor and walk out.

 

 

Feature image taken from a facebook community group called SteVe SHARE

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