Freedom from Glasses | Teen Ink

Freedom from Glasses

April 9, 2021
By Anonymous

Flashes of light filled the sky, followed by the deafening roar of thunder.  I hated the rain.  The earth smelled of worms and damp concrete as mother nature cried.  I used to love the rain, but completely avoided it after needing glasses.

My mother would allow my sisters and I to play in the rain when we were little.  We would kick up puddles of water that accumulated in a depression in our driveway and scream with excitement whenever we caught a raindrop on our tongues.  My hair would become frizzy and wet from the humidity and the wind would sting my face.  My heart fluttered whenever water fell from the sky - I was euphoric.

In second grade, I noticed something was different at school - I had to squint to see what the teacher was scribbling on the board.  I could barely make out numbers, a two here, a seven there.  But I wasn’t so lucky with other subjects, words became black blobs on and it was nearly impossible to read.  I took a sigh of relief when the clock struck 2:30 and the bell rang, my eyes ached at the end of each school day, the muscles sore from constant use.

My friend’s at school made fun of me for developing wrinkles around my eyes. For the first time I felt bad about my vision. My mother brought me to the doctor to get glasses.  Soon after I got my first pair of glasses, it fixed my vision problems, but the realization of how inconvenient they are hit me like a brick wall. 

The first time it rained since reclaiming my vision, water splashed on my glasses.  I had to hang my head downwards to prevent annoying droplets from collecting on the lenses.  Eventually, I began to detest nature.  I sighed as it snowed, rained, or hailed.  Everything occurring outside - dirt, mud, sand, fog, and humidity influenced the quality of my life.  It was as if I had to choose between the ability to see and the ability to properly experience the natural world.

I was eager about the idea of contacts, but was unable to put my fingers within inches of my eyes.  The squeamishness that appeared when thinking about poking my eyes or pulling my baby teeth was too great.  But I had the desire to swim and see at the same time, the simple wish to go on roller coasters and recognize that I was about to go down a drop, and the overwhelming urge to ski with actual ski goggles.  It wasn’t until over a decade later when I was 17 that I could finally touch my eyes with the tips of my fingers. Tears fell from my eyes seconds after I forced both contacts into my eyes and the nurse said “Don’t cry, it’s going to make them stick!” I didn’t stop crying, and a smile was plastered all over my face.

With my eyes puffy and red, I left the doctor’s office.  The sky was dark, the clouds were grey, and the air was painfully cold.  The concrete was littered with puddles and the cars in the parking lot were decorated by droplets of water.  Mother nature wept with me as if to celebrate my overcoming.  Holding my face into the air felt unnatural, but the touch of the liquid against my face was liberating.  The true beauty of the natural world overwhelmed me, I could see the rolling hills outside the hospital in clear definition, and what seemed like every blade of grass, every minuscule particle, every wrinkle on a stranger’s face.  Even though it was cold outside, I felt warmth around my chest and stomach.  For something so simple that I desired and dreamt about for so long, it was nothing short of extraordinary.  My brain was flooded with silly possibilities: wearing sunglasses, the ability to rub my eyes freely, and the release of pressure from the bridge of my nose.  

I never imagined that an event so incredibly miniscule could improve my quality of life so greatly.  After years of my life being controlled by glasses, I took control once more.  The ability to see was the one thing I lost, but I’m glad I found it.

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