I Never Thought I’d Miss Being Blind
For as long as I can remember, my world has been blurry. It’s as if God wrapped my eyeballs in saran-wrap and called it perspective. At sleepovers I always had to make sure my rambunctious, boy-crazy friends didn’t crush my glasses as they bopped to The Backstreet Boys, or a horse didn’t trample them, or that I didn’t drop them 40 feet while rock climbing.
Some clear lens held together by wire and plastic were my windows to the world. Without them, I was lost, powerless, and invisible. (Funny how you feel like no one can see you when you can’t see). That’s how I grew up. The girl with eyes too bad for contacts, the nerd with “four eyes” — obsessed with polishing the glass lest flecks of dust remind her that she’s entirely dependent on a socially accepted prosthetic to enable her the ability to see and function.
I hated them.
I hated waking up and being in a dimensionless world without depth or texture. I hated that with one wrong move I could shatter them and be stuck in visual pergatory for weeks until new ones came in. I hated that other people didn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars just to function daily.
Oh. And rain. Rain was the worst.
I spent years dreaming of when my eyes would stop slipping deeper into blurred oblivion so that I could stick my head under a laser and make things right. That time came two days ago and within five minutes, it was done. I was fixed. 20/20.
You know something funny? Now I wake up and everything around me is perfect and clear, but I think about what it was like before.
I remember only being able to see perfectly underwater, as if I was a mermaid and that world was made just for me. I remember pretending the blur was a beautiful watercolor painting no one else would be able to see. I remember buying those frames because they looked like David Tennant’s from Doctor Who and climbing my first mountain with them. I remember taking them off so the world would be fuzzy when I needed to be confident — that way I couldn’t see or overanalyze — it was just me, nothing else. I remember feeling shy, silly as I took them off to kiss someone.
Those stupid frames made me feel ugly and clumsy and imperfect — but they also made me feel “me.” I knew their every edge, the familiar dents they left in my nose, their weight, everything. They were more valuable to me than my arm. Now they sit beside me, completely useless.
If I slip them on now, I see what everyone else saw when they asked to try them on: blindness, what I used to see every day. You see, those glasses were magical — but only for me. Now, they’ve lost their power.
I feel I should keep them, now that they’re retired. They’ve served a long life and deserve to honored in a way.
But they’re just plastic.
I ought to donate them so they can be remade for some other child left in blindness; I don’t need them anymore. Still, it’s strange not to depend upon them so desperately. And stranger still to give them up.
Now that I’ve been made perfect, I feel a part of me is missing. And so even though I spent years feeling handicapped by my flawed vision, I almost want it back.