Saturday, August 20, 2011

coke bottles on my eyes...

I wear contacts. No big deal, a lot of people do, and I'm not bothered by it. I try not to think about the fact that there is a small, foreign object floating on the surface of one of the body's most delicate and complex organs, but other than that, I really love my contacts. I've been wearing them for approximately four and a half years. I've had glasses for about 8 years.

When I first got "fitted" for my contacts, it took me an hour to get them into my eyes. I was AWFUL at it. I cried, and fussed, and it hurt, and was hard, and I . just. couldn't. do. it. BUT, I was tired of glasses. I'm an actor, and one of my pet acting peeves is when actors can't see onstage and they squint (in most productions, you can't wear your glasses-it's not the character!). So I knew I had to get contacts and be comfortable in them.

So my solution was to never take them out. Oh, don't get me wrong. For about two weeks, I was a good girl. I took them out at night, rinsed them, and got up forty minutes early to get them in my eyes. And then, one night, I forgot to take them out. And, miracle of miracles, I lived through the experience. So I stopped taking them out unless I HAD to.

Fast-forward 8 months. I go in for an eye exam, and my doctor asks me how the contacts are doing. I tell her I take them out 4 times a week. (This was a prevarication. I was hardly ever taking them out. Maybe four times a month.) She prescribes me a year's worth of the overnight kind. I rejoice.

Skip to present. Nearly three years after I receive this prescription, I have nearly run out of contacts. This morning, I woke up at five with my left contact stuck to my cheek. Well, shoot, I'll put another one in. Hm, back up pair... well, I knew we were getting close! Wake up at 11:30. Ow, my eye feels funny *rubrubrub*, rats, my new contact came out. *rinsrinserinse* hm, weird, it folded in half. Well, I'll just open it bac- dang it. It ripped. Well, I HOPE I have a last pair here in my stage makeup kit... WHEW. Thank God for believing in preparedness. Pop that bad boy in, but by now, the damage is done. Eye red and irritated, noticeably so, and contact ever feels quite right, all day long, causing head ache, general feeling of crankiness and of being off-kilter. Get through the day. I'm now on my very last left contact, and I have one spare right contact. So, I come upstairs for bed, and decide... you know... I'm gonna take them out so nothing can happen, and my eye can recover a little bit. Pop those bad boys out... wow. Weird. I can't see. Everything is blurry, and funny looking, almost like after you get your face wet in the pool and then open your eyes right away. Weird. And then I put on my glasses. I'm impressed I even knew where they were, really. I haven't had them on in YEARS. And now that they are on, HOW DID I DO THIS?! They're driving me batty!

And then I stopped for a second and thought about it.

When we put on our glasses, we see the world differently, in very physical terms. Things look different to me. Not quite as real, almost. Just like when I put my sunglasses on, and I can see in the bright sunlight. When I wear my contacts, I see things a lot more naturally, which, given their own lack of natural ingredients, is ironic.  Without either, I am hardly blind, but I don't see the world as well. Everything looks like it is in a soft camera focus, instead.

So tonight, my probing question is this: How do we choose to see the world? Naturally, the way it was intended? Or in Soft focus? Or with our sunglasses on, so we cannot see in darkness? Or in the cold, hard, brusque truth of our glasses?

I would hope, not in soft focus. We must look realistically at the world and our place in it, not with the blurriness of the naked, less than perfect human eye. Likewise, I would hope not in the harsh light of the glasses. There is much hope and beauty left here, but we won't see it if we look too closely, or focus on the smallest piece of negativity. No, I think the best way is to look naturally, in a way that is not always easy, but very comfortable once we adapt to it. In a way that allows us to see clearly, without obstruction. We must be able to see ourselves in a clear light, as well as our lives, our homes, our families and our friends. Look, but not judge. Help, not harm.

But until then, there will be plenty of us who slide into bed at night, slip on our coke bottle lenses, and blur the world out.

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