The thickest lenses contain the most interesting stories.
At 7 years old, I was mocked for looking like Harry Potter by upperclassmen who I don’t even know. Was it my haircut, my eyeglasses, or my facial features? I didn’t know.
At 8 years old, they called me “one of the boys”. Then it kicked in… because who else wore thick frames (along with a short hairstyle) at that age? Definitely not the pretty-in-pink girls.
At 9 years old, I was teased as a nerd because apparently, being “smart” depended on the glasses that you wear – regardless if you really excelled in class or not. I even reached the point where I hated the media for always making “ugly” characters wear glasses (e.g. Betty La Fea).
At 10, I tried to be more girly in hopes of meeting standards. Then came the automatic ‘lola’ (grandma) roles in roleplays because who else convincingly wore glasses other than those who actually need it? Put some baby powder on my hair and voila, perfect fit.
Fast forward to next 5 years until I was 15, I dodged wearing glasses as much as possible, memorized my way through Snellen charts during annual physical exams, all for the sake of not being required to wear specs that automatically turn a person “ugly” or “nerdy”. Oh boy, did I finally fit the mold! At the expense of not seeing things clearly, that is. I had to sit near the chalkboard at all times, go near the board to see clearly, and squint my eyes as much as I can just to make sense of what’s in front of me.
It wasn’t until I was around 18 when I realized that I can’t leave the house without wearing glasses anymore. My eyes even gave up on contact lenses* for some unknown reason. What started as 20/20 now ended up at 400/200. I guess society’s unrealistic standards got into my head, huh?
The thickest lenses contain the most interesting stories, and this is mine. Now, I wear my eyeglasses as much as I could without a care about what other people say. If only I could turn back time, I would listen to my mom whenever she tells me not to read books under low lights, I won’t hesitate to drink that glass of vitamin-filled drink, I won’t stare at the computer monitor for long hours, never waste my time staying up late for worthless “late night conversations” via SMS or calls, and I will definitely listen to my ophthalmologist. If I could turn back time, I’d take care of my eyes more. I’d change everything, especially my point of view. Eyeglasses do not determine a person’s beauty nor his/her intelligence. It’s not until you wear one, will you see and fully understand what people with blurred vision need to go through just to see the beauty of the world in full sharpness and contrast.
Now that I’m already 25, I feel like this vision-related experience already went full circle, so I’m freely sharing my story so the young ones who can relate to what I’ve been through can be reminded that it’s okay to be different. Some people just got lucky enough to have tough eyes, but that doesn’t make us any less of a person. Don’t follow my footsteps. I cared too much about other people’s opinions during the times when I needed to take extra care of myself.
Wear your glasses, update the style if you think that can help boost your confidence. If you have the means to get your eyes checked annually, please do so! If you have enough money for a Lasik eye surgery to get 20/20 vision this 2020, go for it! Just NEVER EVER prioritize external looks over your eyesight. People who value you will see your real beauty through your lenses – no matter how thick they are. If they don’t, then I highly suggest that you walk away from them and their decades-old stigma.
It’s already 2020, it’s been more than a decade since all the crazy living-up-to-standards thing happened. I can only wish that kids nowadays don’t go through the same sh*t back then.
Welcome to one of the many 2 AM Thoughts that I have. I’ll be sharing more of these soon, hopefully! If you liked this random story, please do follow Manila Millennial via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more personal updates. And yes, eat your veggies!
*Update: Recently found contact lenses that are soft enough for my eyes! I’m currently using Air Optix. It’s more expensive that other brands but if you have sensitive eyes like mine, you might want to try this out, too.
P.S. Part of this story was first published on my Facebook wall as a Lasik contest entry. I kinda felt that it says more about my eyesight-related regrets so I poured my heart out for this version! 😉