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.