Eyes Wide Open

The thing I love best about wearing glasses again after a long time off is that I acquire depth perception, which I sorely lack without glasses, and my first day or so is spent tripping up stairs, swaying into walls and almost but not quite throwing up all day.  It's like riding the Tilt-A-Whirl, without all the Britney Spears and the whiplash.

Even better?  Getting your eyes dilated the day before.  Did you know they don't give you those superfly glasses anymore?  They don't.  They "suggest" you don't drive and send you out into the world with your three kids, your husband, a mall on clearance sale, and the vision of a vampire bat.

You know what you should never attempt to do while dilated?  Walk around the mall.  Walk period, for that matter. Oh, and trying to watch after three kids at once?  Will make you barf.  But the good thing is this: You can't see the price tag on your new frames, or the tears in your husband's eyes when he hands over the credit card.  Don't ask, don't tell baby.

You know what else you shouldn't ever attempt whilst dilated?  Talking to anyone you know at the mall, especially if that anyone happens to be the former PTA president and his whole family.  Really especially if it's the same former PTA president who also happens to be the local church minister and the guy who's face you shoved your boobs into last year.

Because as hard as you've tried since your porno-table-dance night to say not two unnecessary words to that man or his family, you'll find yourself stuttering and stammering in the paper towel aisle of the drug store and then you'll inevitably say, "And, um, yeah...just got my eyes dilated.  I'm totally not cracked out on drugs or anything, promise!" right in front of his two precious little children and his one saintly wife.

And then you might just die.  At least hindsight is 20/20.

The Difference Between Doctor and Witch Doctor Is Way More Than Five Letters

When I was about 8 years old, I started having these nightmares. They were the ones you have when you're still awake, just barely almost asleep. I dreamed that witches and ghouls and demons were flying around my bedroom. As if that wasn't bad enough, I would then start to see knives coming straight for my face. The best part? I could totally feel them going into my eyes.

This is not an awesome way to be 8.

We were taught that, oh yes, demons and Satan do exist, but as long as you don't give them audience in your head or home or heart, they had no power over you. As long as you, say, didn't watch the news or read the newspaper, and as long as you filled your mind with prayer, they would be kept at bay.

I prayed a LOT before bed every night.

During the day, I had trouble with seeing sharp objects. Washing the forks became downright painful. If you kept a pencil in your ear, I had to turn the point away from me. Sharp edges in my peripheral vision were the worst. Instantly, they would be coming at me, even when I was wide awake, and then it was all with the piercing, stabbing pain.

I winced a lot. I squinted all the time. It got to the point where the edges of papers made me want to claw my eyeballs out.

When I was 10, two years into it, I told my mother.

She asked only one question: Do you have anything in this house from your grandmother? Well, yes in fact, I did have one thing. I had this stuffed Ziggy doll she'd bought for me at Virginia Beach. Two years ago. When I was 8.

My grandmother was a Baptist turned Christian Scientist turned Black Witch turned that Shirley McClain Ramtha crap. My aunt's bedroom in her house had murals of hell on the walls. My gramma spent most of her days putting hexes on things,* channeling George Washington and trying to levitate the German Shepard. We were NEVER aloud in her house.

My mother made me destroy the Ziggy doll, and I never did have one of those dreams again. Problem solved. EXCELLENT deduction, mom. But I still couldn't handle anything sharp. I figured it was just residual energy or something. I was a kook.

Fast forward 20 years. I've had kid three. My eyes still freaking hurt all the time. I still can't wash forks or look at pencils. And my left eye feels funny all the time, like I've always got an eyelash in it, or there's a little cut or something. I've read that pregnancy makes your eyes to go pot sometimes, so I finally decided to get them checked. Mind you, I have no obvious vision issues. I can read, I feel like I see perfectly.

Yeah, I have, like, the worst astigmatism you've ever seen in my left eye. It's so bad that my doctor said, "You know, I normally tell people with astigmatism to only wear glasses for a few things. You, my dear, are NEVER to take these things off." Astigmatism affects your depth perception and your peripheral vision. So, say you see a pencil behind someones ear. That pencil seems like it's coming RIGHT AT YOU. Say you catch something sharp in the corner of your eye. Your eye muscles strain instantly to focus on it.

Sound familiar? Sound like something that maybe a doctor could have caught, oh, TWENTY YEARS EARLIER?

My right eye is, fortunately, perfect. 20/20. Except that when I first got glasses, my doctor warned me that my right eye would relax after all those years of pulling the weight of the left one, and it would take a little while to re-adjust.

He was right. I got a left eye and lost a right one. I REALLY couldn't walk down stairs. It was honestly kind of funny watching me try, at 30, and fail epically. Eventually, it all sorted itself out and I could see for the first time in 20 years. I had no clue what I'd been missing. I didn't have to take off my sunglasses and roll down the car window to merge to the left anymore. It was AWESOME.

I knew they were working because if I lost them, forgot to put them on, lost them, or lost them I'd feel it. The headaches would come. I'd get a sort of blind spot in my left eye, almost in the inside corner, like I had a bunch of eye googies or something.

I love my damn glasses. I love that I chose bright red frames. I love that they have rhinestones in them. I love them so much that when my kid broke them, I superglued them back together. I don't ever want contacts. My glasses are my secret lover and I will never, ever part with them.

Except that I left them next to the tv in our hotel room in San Francisco 3 weeks ago.

My eyeballs hurt right now. They ache. They make the whole left side of my body ache. Everything from my left nostril east is cloudy. I just noticed how very very sharp my hair is. I keep thinking the boys are going to run over their sister when they're out on the Ripsticks, even though she's a good 15 feet away from them.  Apparently, the muscle strain has caused my brain to stop functioning in the area that prevents me from writing 5 million word, incoherent blog posts, too.  And makes me whine a lot.  Bygones.

I have to get new glasses. I have to find a new optometrist. Unless, of course, any of you know a good exorcist in the area. Because, apparently, that would buy me another 20 years.

*You can put all the hexes on the fridge you want, but if you forget to do the pantry, too, your clever diet plan will still fail.

100 Words

For thirty years I traveled through this world in a haze. I was out of balance, life was a mere blur that passed before my eyes. And then a little girl came into my life, and I realized that I had to take care of myself if I was going to be a good role model to her. I stopped making excuses and fixed something in my life that desperately needed attention, found the one thing that I thought could bring focus to my life. And that same girl, who inspired this in me, stole my fake plastic clarity today.

100 Words: Plastic. See the others at VelvetVerbosity.com.