So I hate admitting this, but I can be a little vain sometimes. I hate to admit to because I’m afraid those who know me would secretly laugh behind my back, wondering what on earth I have to be vain about. The fact is, beauty is a sore spot with me. In the past, I blamed much of my social life failures on my looks, believing I was at best, plain, and at worst, a big-nosed freak. I mean, look at Streisand. It defines her. And it defines her as “not hot” to the general population.
Not that I need or want acceptance from the men who think Pamela Anderson is the epitome of all women–I don’t try to compete with that. And truthfully, I am at a point where I am accepting of what I look like–most days. But I start my new job in one week and I have been debating: glasses or contacts?
I interviewed in my contacts, of course. See, on my path from hating my face to actually liking myself, I changed everything that I could. I changed my hair color, I stopped wearing glasses, and I started wearing black. (Yes, wearing all black was the beginning of loving myself :)) And if I want to feel pretty, generally I wear contacts.
But about two years ago, my eye doctor gave me some pretty sobering news. Years of wearing hard contacts had caused my blood vessels to thicken and start to twist the cornea. They might twist the cornea enough to cause partial blindness. And my optic nerve is very thick at the base of my eye, usually an indicator of glaucoma. Which could also lead to blindness. He recommended that I stop wearing contacts or at least wear them as little as possible.
Now this is the part you can laugh at, but that day I felt like I had a choice: I could be ugly or I could be blind. I sat in my car by the clinic afterwards and cried. And of course I stopped wearing contacts so much. The damage has slowed, and later tests do not appear to indicate glaucoma. (I get to take special tests every year now). But the intensity of my reaction surprised me.
I thought I was over this. I don’t feel ugly anymore, but the idea of never being able to wear contacts just saddens me. It makes me feel like I was a 5, and contacts were the pass to get to the 7 class, but now I’m being demoted back to 5. So who is the real me? The 5 or the 7? And I try to tell myself, it’s what inside that counts.
But there is a shallow part of me that wishes, just wishes that for once I could be the one to stop traffic, to make someone forget what they were just talking about, that wishes I could be really hot. Really undeniably hot. It embarrasses me, to be sure. But when people with average-sized noses complain–complain!–about their “big” noses, I just want to smack them. I want to shake them and say, “Nose? You wanna talk about noses? Because you don’t got anything on me bud, and let me tell you–it is not easy trying to be a pretty girl in this world when you have a damn big nose!”
Whew, sorry about that, it’s just a pet peeve of mine.
And it makes me think that though I have come far, there is a bigger challenge. There is the challenge in learning not just how to be okay in my glasses, but to learn how to feel pretty in glasses. Oh, and I’d like to learn how to apply makeup in my semi-blind slate. ‘Cos seriously, people, it’s bad.