They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. I’d like to add to that list: fear. We all have fears—big ones, little ones, publicly held ones, private ones that we’re convinced nobody else “gets.” The tapestry of our existence is woven together by the daily decisions to overcome and find hope or succumb to fear.
Like most people, I don’t particularly enjoy discussing my fears because opening up makes me vulnerable to exploitation. But we’re all friends here, and this success story would be pretty worthless if I didn’t share.
The last month has been kind of a big deal for me: I’ve been wearing contact lenses. That might not sound like a big deal since oodles of people wear contacts, but I am not an oodle. I have long harbored a fear of touching my eyes, even shying away from using eye drops.
Did you ever see the episode of Friends where Rachel is freaking out about the glaucoma test and eye drops? It’s a ridiculously funny episode, here are a couple of clips from YouTube (first and second). And it was a perfect depiction of my life…well, minus the fancy NYC lifestyle and remarkably attractive and funny group of friends. Not that my friends aren’t attractive and funny. Never mind.
I was 17 years old when I had my first and only car accident (okay, except for rear-ending that girl a couple of weeks ago, but there was no damage so it doesn’t count). My parents suspected what I already knew, that I needed glasses. I didn’t want to fail the eye exams in school health fairs so I had always been careful to listen and memorize what the student in front of me read on the eye chart. [My acute fear of failure is a topic for another day.] Things were mostly clear, but I’m pretty awesome at playing “Wheel of Fortune” as a result of guessing the words on the chalkboard in my classes.
After a decade plus of wearing glasses to drive and read, my eyesight has worsened to the point of needing the frames as an all-day, everyday accessory. My eyes are my favorite physical feature, one of the few things about myself that I truly like, and covering them up was getting annoying. The prospect of corrective surgery freaks me out a little, so contact lenses seem like the lesser of the evils.
Day one was okay after the optometrist initially put the lenses in my eyes—that part weirded the everloving daylights out of me. Have you ever had someone pry open your eyes and put little gel films on them? Not cool. By the end of the evening, though, I was used to them and had no problem taking them out.
Day two was atrocious. It took me over an hour and a half to get those two little #$@*%&! contacts in my eyes. And it was a work day. And I had a meeting to get to.
But I didn’t give up! I swore with every combination of expletives I could think of, which is probably the worst way to react when you’re trying to insert contact lenses because then you are stressed and tensed up, until they finally stayed put.
The days since have gotten increasingly better. I’m no longer afraid of gouging my eyeball or using the re-wetting drops. Plus, I have grown quite fond of being able to actually see things!
There’s a line from The Hunger Games, “Hope…it is the only thing stronger than fear.”
Knowing that I have overcome this fear encourages me, gives me hope and confidence. Therefore, I hereby declare 30 the YEAR OF BRAVERY.