Wednesday, September 28, 2011


In 1997 a move came out which starred Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino.  It was called The Devil's Advocate.  In the movie Al Pacino plays the devil who sets up Keanu Reeves in a life full of money and opportunity.  I won't ruin the end of it by telling you what happens but I have explained all this to quote Al Pacino in the movie.  He, as the devil, says, "Vanity is definitely my favorite sin."  This line of the movie has been rattling around in my head almost constantly for the past several weeks.

When I was five years old my parents took me to the eye doctor because it was obvious I was having trouble seeing.  My left eye was found to be nearly blind and my right eye wasn't that much better.  I was fitted for glasses and they were thick.  It was sad.  I had a an accident on the playground in kindergarten my glasses cut my eyebrow and left a horrible scar that I still have to cover with eyebrow pencil.  As I got older my vision continued to get worse.  I had a bike accident (yea, I was an accident prone kid)  my glasses cut me again.  This time it was just above my other eyebrow.  I still have that scar too.

When I was in 3rd grade I started wearing soft contacts but still needed to wear glasses over top of them because my entire prescription couldn't be put into a contact.  By the time I reached 5th grade I was able to wear a new type of contacts with no glasses over top.  I've worn that type of lens ever since.  I have glasses but rarely wear them because they are so thick and ugly.

I lost a contact once in 7th  grade and had to wear my thick ugly glasses to school.  The other kids were relentless with their comments and teasing.  You expect that from kids.  It's a normal right of passage, I guess.  My parents didn't sue any of the other kids' parents because I was "bullied".  I didn't commit suicide because of it.  I lived through it.  Got over it.  Moved on.  Grew up.

Again, as I aged my vision continued to grow worse.  Not rapidly but honestly, there wasn't much it could do besides go totally black.  My left eye is legally blind - even with contacts.  I actually don't even have a prescription in the left contact.  It's just a "balance" lens so my brain thinks it is doing something.  I cannot even see peripheral vision out of my left eye.  It's just kind of there.  It's always been my "bad" eye.  My right eye, my "good eye", was always corrected with the contact to 20/20 vision.  Without the contact that eye is also legally blind.  It's just something that has always been with me.  I've really never known anything different.

When I let people in on this part of my life (something they cannot know from just looking at me much like Crohn's) I'm always met with the same thing: "My eyes are bad too", or other such nonsense in weak attempts to make it seem no so bad.  The truth is, no, their eyes are not in any way as bad as mine.  They never were and they never will be.  Even my eye doctors have told me that I'm the worst case they have ever seen.  I'm like the cases they have only read about in medical school. 

I recently saw my eye care professional and was informed that there was nothing more they could do to correct my vision with contacts.  My eyes have declined so much that I have gotten to the point that they cannot make a contact lens to meet my prescription needs.  I have cataracts in my eyes as well which are contributing to my recent and quick decline in vision. (I blame Prednisone)  The bottom line is they need to do surgery on my eyes.  They need to correct the vision on the inside as much as they can, then I can have some sort of correction on the outside as well.  It really has gotten to that point.  Lasik correction isn't an option for me at this point because of the way my eyes are shaped internally and the extent of correction that is needed.

As if the idea of impending surgery on my eyes isn't enough to scare the crap out of me there is the one other thing that I have to contend with.  Because my contacts change the shape of my eyes when I wear them, I must not wear them for 1 month - 4 whole WEEKS! - before they can do any measurements to prepare for the surgery.  You would think I would be able to just wear my glasses and no big deal.  But no.  It's not that easy.  I'm around people who are so preoccupied with their appearance, and mine, that the mere idea of this has already brought about snide comments and teasing just like when I was a kid.  Really.  I'm totally serious.

Someone got wind of what was going on and how unpretty my glasses are and ever since then I have been subjected to quips such as "Oh I forgot, you're blind." "Are you sure you can see that computer screen?"  "Here, let me come closer."  "Can you see me?  I'm right here" said with hands waving.  These are just the comments made to me, I can only imagine what is said behind my back. And I'm not even wearing the glasses yet. 

In a perfect world I would kick their asses while force feeding them make-up and screaming "Eat this so your inside can be as pretty as you think your outside is!!"  In a perfect world I could complain to management.  In a perfect world I could expect more out of adults and actually get it.  In a perfect world I wouldn't be surrounded by people who are consumed with themselves and Barbie dolls would have more plastic than they do.  In a perfect world....  But this is my world.  Things don't work that way in my world.

So, is it their vanity or my own that makes me scared to death to even attempt wearing my glasses for a month?  Vanity - it's definitely what makes the world go 'round.


Ragamuffin said...

a new component to the already vastly inspiring Jenni... and i think you're gorgeous and couldn't possibly be made less cute with cm-thick glasses.

that kind of goading from adults makes me embarrassed for them.

BrightSide said...

Wow you work with some pretty cruel people! I have found that the best way to deal with this kind of insulting jokes is to force the person to put their foot in their mouth: next time someone makes a comment like that, keep you face blank, do a taken-aback sort of blink then say in a flat voice "wow, that was really hurtful". Then stare at them. Most people get quite embarrassed and apologize.

As your most trusted co-worker to spread the word that you're quite upset about your pending surgery and lack of contacts and to ask the other staff to kindly keep their comments to themselves.

The worst thing to do would be to laugh it off like it's ok.

Jenni said...

Good idea about the trusted coworker, Brighside. The problem is the majority of the comments are coming from my most trusted (or so I thought) coworker. Nice, I know.

Rae said...

I also have coke bottle thick lenses but always splurge for a special thinner lens in my glasses. Would this be an option for you before the surgery? It's not just vanity, either( well, part of it is). They are more comfortable with thinner lenses.