Yesterday was one of the worst days for me as far as my allergies go. I woke up with bloodshot eyes and a stuffy nose, eager to get in the shower and wash away anything that could possibly make me sneeze or feel otherwise uncomfortable. I began feeling better afterwards but regretted popping my contact lenses in about 60 seconds after we dropped the boy off at school. My eyes felt as if someone had poured sand into them; gritty, itchy and irritated. When I arrived at work, the ventilation system was nice enough to bring the aroma of freshly cut grass right into my office, leaving me at the mercy of a box of Kleenex and Visine eye drops. It was all I could do to get through the day.
At around lunchtime, my eyes looked better suited for a zombie; puffy and a frightening shade of red. It hurt to blink, to move them, and to look at my computer screen. No amount of eye drops could scare away the gritty awful sensation. My husband took mercy on me and dropped me off at home before picking up the boy so I could tear my contacts from my eyes, ease the pain with allergy drops, and jump in the shower to wash the pollen away. Today I was a tad more intelligent about things and wore my glasses to work, but that creates a whole other feeling of discomfort.
I’ve been in glasses since I was in first grade. I went from a cute little kid to the subject of ridicule due to my new four-eyed look. Children who were my friends almost instantly began viewing me as a nerd, and it didn’t help that my parents had purchased me gaudy plastic frames. As the years went on and I entered the awkward phase of my life, the teasing just became worse. My frizzy hair combined with the grandma-like frames kept me low on the social ladder. I hated my glasses and I hated that it was the only thing people seemed to notice when they looked at me.
When I was 13, I was finally able to get contact lenses. The reaction from my peers was drastic; guys all of a sudden realized I was a pretty girl, the popular girls began to talk to me, and my confidence shot through the roof. I was still, and always will be, somewhat of a nerd but I was now a socially acceptable nerd. Contacts made middle and high school life bearable; it was one less thing I could be picked on about and one less thing I had to feel insecure about. I could go to the beach or in the pool without being blind, could shower and see my shampoo bottle clearly, and could enjoy a water park properly. I love contacts to pieces.
I’ve never been fully able to let go of the insecurity I felt as a four-eyed child. My husband is the only person I’ve romantically been with that has seen me in them. I’ve even been shy about wearing them around extended family, choosing instead to pop my contacts in first thing in the morning when aunt, uncles and cousins were visiting. I wear them to the eye doctor, even though I have to take them out almost immediately. I won’t answer the door at home while wearing glasses and won’t walk the dog in daylight either. It’s a silly insecurity, but there it is.
I considered wearing my contacts today even after the misery I endured yesterday because of them. I didn’t want to have to walk through security in my awful glasses, then sit in my office all day while people gave me funny looks and silently judged me. Walking down the long hall to my office filled me with fear; I felt like that nerdy 4th grader all over again. When I arrived, one of my coworkers told me how pretty I look today, but part of me still feels like it was a compliment made out of pity. It’s honestly pretty pathetic that I feel this way, but I can’t shake this awkwardness that currently blankets me.
We all have our personal insecurities about ourselves, whether it be something physical or something about our personality that causes us to shy away and want to hide under a rock. Even the most put together people I know will occasionally let their insecurity show through their tough exteriors. It’s not necessarily a negative thing though. It makes us human. It makes us approachable and softens our exterior. A little bit of insecurity makes us who we are. Unless you obsess over it, it’s not wrong to worry a bit about how others perceive you and about what impression you are giving to the world. The important thing is to embrace it and work past it, something I’m still working on.
I’m hoping that surviving the day at work while feeling like a goggle-eyed freak will help me get past the inaccurate description of myself as a goggle-eyed freak. No one else is looking at me and thinking these things, and if they are, so what? I’m the same person with or without glasses, so what does it matter? I’m working to get past this annoying and unnecessary feeling of personal failure over something so trivial and meaningless. I’m trying to focus on what’s important rather than the tricks my mind is playing on me. I figure if I can get through the day without hiding my head under my desk, I can chalk that up to a personal accomplishment, as small as it may be. Whatever the outward appearance, I am still me at the end of the day, and that’s all that should matter.
Posted on May 2, 2013, in Life, Work and tagged allergic, allergies, contact lenses, glasses, insecure, insecurity, irritated, irritation, nerd, sneezing, spring, tease. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.