Sunday, 31 July 2011

A spectacle of myself



For a long time now I have struggled with my eyesight, at school it became somewhat of a challenge copying notes down off of the whiteboard. I was forever looking over my friends shoulders, hoping that I wouldn't get caught.

It often got to the point where I would just scribble nonsense down in my Science book for the sake of it, because I simply could not read the text anymore, yet I was too afraid to admit it.

I got my first pair of glasses when I was fourteen, I resented wearing them and remember breaking them and hiding them at the back of my wardrobe.

From then on, I avoided going to the opticians like the plague, but was struggling with my sight more than ever. I guess I convinced myself I was okay, knowing all along life could be so much simpler if I could see properly, but I found a way to adapt.

Simple tasks were challenging, I would walk to a bus stop which I specifically knew only my bus would stop at. I would order the same meal at a food outlet, as it was impossible for me to read the menu from a distance.

This was my life for almost 5years, and even though it might seem unbelievable, it really was. I kept this all secret, from my family, my friends, my teachers, I just didn't want to have to face the fact that I needed to wear glasses.

The one person I couldn't hide the problem from was my boyfriend, as he got to know me, he got to know my insecurities. He did the unbelievable, and booked me an appointment at the opticians, and convinced me to go.

The result was as predicted: I needed to wear glasses. We chose some and it seemed like we had made progress.

Though my insecurities were so deeply installed, nothing could persuade me enough to have the courage to wear them freely.

I did begin wearing my glasses in the house with my boyfriend, but if anyone came over or I knew they were likely to call round, I would hide my glasses away, and instead spend the night squinting at the television. Wearing them outside in public was a complete and utter embarrassment for me. In some situations I found myself forced to wear them- in job interviews, at railway stations, but if I did, I would feel terribly embarrassed and anxious all of the time I had them on and feel relieved when I could take them off.

I knew that it had really got out of hand a long time ago, but I had finally begun to realise I couldn’t carry on living my life in such a negative and awkward way.

So last month, I had a new sight test, and selected a new pair of glasses. The plan was to choose a pair I feel 100% comfortable with and introduce them gradually into my everyday life.

When they arrived I began wearing them around the house again, but my confidence got the better of me, yet again.
I found myself refusing to wear them in any public situation.

We had hit the same brick wall. The same brick wall that has been at the centre of the problem for over 5years of my life.

It was then reluctantly I decided I was going to go back to the optician and ask about contact lenses. I was scared and nervous, and worried that this too would be a horrible and negative experience for me.

I knew it was going to be a matter of trial and error, and for that initial appointment it was. But I persevered and for the past fortnight I have been wearing contact lenses every single day. The daunting task that may have seemed the impossible has soon become part of my everyday routine. And the outcome from all of this is the fact I can see again.

This is such a personal issue of mine, and one that will seem so strange to so many people, but to me it has been one of my biggest problems. One I feared I never could resolve.

It really is not the fact I dislike glasses, it’s the fact I have such a low confidence about my own appearance. My boyfriend is a glasses wearer, many of my family wear glasses and as fashion foretells glasses are very popular these days. I just hope one day I do find the courage to wear glasses in public and feel confident in myself and my appearance.
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11 comments

  1. I love my glasses (not fashion for sight) , my face feels bare without them!

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  2. I know it can be hard struggling with confidence issues because god knows I have my huge fair share so I understand how you feel!

    There is no point in causing yourself any more stress over this than needs be so I think that if contacts are working well for you then there is no need for you to feel anxious about wearing glasses in public!

    A pair of glasses just to wear around the house is a good idea though instead of wearing contacts on those days you don't go anywhere.

    I like the fact that you can now get an old vintage pair of specs and have your own prescription glass fitted in the frames - maybe you could try that at some point! xxx

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  3. I'm really glad you've found that contacts work for you. Keep wearing your glasses every now and then though. Hope one day you can be loud and proud in them :)

    I've worn glasses for so long that I feel really weird without them now. I think my traumatic stage was about age 5/6 when I had to wear an eye patch made of elastoplast in the mornings. Jeez, that was NOT fun. Glasses were a positive relief after that.

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  4. Im glad you managed to face youe fear and get your eyes checked. Ive needed glasses for just reading and pc work since secondary school and the choice of frames then were hideous. As ive got older and work on computers most of the time my eyes have got worse and now need to wear them all the time, i also am a lover of conact lenses. It means i can change my look when ever i what and the range of frames now are amazing! I also love getting lenses put in vintage frames. Scarlett x

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  5. Good for you, Alice! The new contacts must be making a world of difference.
    Some people look brilliant in glasses, like the others say keep persevering with yours and one day you may feel like facing the world but in the meantime just enjoy the joy of perfect vision. x

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  6. I remember when I first discovered my eyesight was failing.. it was so embarrassing at school having to get up and go to the front to read what was on the blackboard.... then i cried when my glasses fitted, my mum literally having to hold my hands away from covering my face and then I was bullied at school for wearing glasses so I do understand.

    At 16 I received contact lenses and never looked back... over the years I've gone through glasses wearing stages hear and there and now I'm happy to wear them when my eyes need a break from the lenses... at the moment I'm toying with laser surgery but I don't think I'm brave enough!!

    Victoria xxx

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  7. That post could have been me...only my eyes are that bad (-10, -9 in contacts) I had to wear glasses. I had low confidence in how I looked, I got picked on in school, called names, being overweight and ginger did'nt help! Also the glasses lenses are so thick, think Mr Magoo type ones. (google him if you're too young to remember LOL)

    So 'what do you want for Christmas?' I had contacts. Weight loss followed and a different me. I've had them for 25 years and just wear glasses in the evening at home. I have the night and day ones as they let loads more oxygen in and are really comfortable.

    I so hear what you're saying. I've still got a big hang up about wearing glasses so keep hoping the contacts carry on working for me.

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  8. I have to say I love my glasses, but I can completely understand where you are coming from. I'm so glad contacts have had such a fantastic effect for you!

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  9. I'm so glad you can see! Work must have been awful before! Don't know how you did it! I find myself reaching for my glasses all the time when I'm on the computer or reading, otherwise I get headaches!

    Glasses don't really bother me that much and there wouldn't be any point in me wearing contacts because I would be forever taking them out when I wasn't doing close up work!

    I know the feeling though when I first went to secondary school I was told I needed glasses but wouldn't wear them for fear of looking silly! I didn't start wearing them out of the house until my second year of uni but you get used to it pretty quick promise! <3 xxx

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  10. Get contacts! They're not that expensive (I wear £15 monthly soft ones) but you can get hard ones like my mum which you only pay for once. Even if you're hard of cash, the benefits massively outweigh the cost. It sounds like they could help you so much. And they're super great for sports. They can really change your life, I can't recommend them enough.

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  11. This could be me talking!Just discovered your blog, and have found lots in common, but have been so struck with this post. Exactly my experience at school! I got contact lenses when I was about 18, which is just as well, as my sight has got steadily worse over the years! They've been a godsend, and I thoroughly recommend them. I still feel a bit weird about having kept that secret for so long, so I'm glad you've been able to talk about it here. I'm more relaxed about wearing glasses now, but I'm getting older and I might have to have bi-focals soon!

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