The constant strain

Gonna talk about my weak eyesight again tonight.

I’ve mentioned before that I think thqat for my whole life, I have had poor vision – worse even than my earing of glasses would suggest. Even with the glasses on, I have trouble seeing things sometimes. And anything that requires fine vision is impossible.

Beyond a certain level of deep focus, everything is double.

I was reminded of this issue when I mentioned a depressing little incident to my therapist. Last Thursday morning, I was getting ready to go to therapy and as usual made sure I had the Holy Trinity – wallet, watch, and keys.

Evrything was fine until I stood up and my wallet fell on my foot. The wallet that, until I stood up,. had been in my right front pocket.

Hoping that it was just that I had not had the wallet fully ibn my pocket, I checked said ocket and found that no,.I was not so lucky, the bottom had really fallen out of that pocket. Completely gone. Like it had been made of tissue paper.

When I mentioned this to my therapist as one of the small frustrations that had put me in a foul mood, my therapist said “time for the needle and thread!”.

I told him that there was no way I was going to do that, and by way of explanation, I told him how my experience with sewing class had been both tragic and comic because when the rest of the students were learning to sew and progressing in the class, I spent most of each class just trying to thread my needle.

And that[s what it was like for the whole semester. I only passed that course because the teacher took pity on me. I had done virtually none of the work. Everyone else had made their cute little stuffed animal and I had made nothing but a lot of divots on my fingers from trying to grip the needle hard enough to make it submit to being threaded.

Of course now, in hindsight, it’s obvious that the problem was that my eyesight was not up to the job. For me, there was never only one eye on my needle. There was always two, and neither of them were the right one.

But the thought “the problem is my eyes” would not have occurred to me at the time. Instead, this failure was simply added to the large, dynamic, challenging file known as “reasons why I suck and am pathetic” and made me feel helpless and lame.

The real problem, my eyesight, would not have occurred to me because that would mean I was not at fault and that’s just not how life worked, in my experience.

Even worse, even if I had managed to have that thought, I would have immediately rejected it because that would mean I would need new glasses or even something more, and that would mean asking my parents for something, and that was absolutely not going to happen.

Even now, I can feel the fear associated with the idea of asking for something. It’s like ice cold water in my veins. It terrifies me even to contemplate it.

And I am 44 years old now. 45 in a couple of months.

Some things never change, I suppose.

And it’s been like this all my life. My glasses have never even come close to giving me actual normal vision. I have always been struggling to see things. I think I learned at an early age to force my eyes to focus.

And that most of the “clumsiness” that has plagued me and made me feel worthless and incompetent and utterly helpless to deal with life has actually been the direct result of my visual impairment.

Anyone with my vision issues would be just as “clumsy” because you can’t possibly have good hand eye coordination if the eyes don’t work.

Take other things I have never been able to do. Like have good penmanship. Or draw. Or yes, thread a needle. Or wash the dishes and actually get them clean. Or do damn near anything that people consider “working with your hands”.

My hands can work a keyboard and a mouse and that’s about it.

And to think, I have hated myself my whole life right until this point for something over which I had no control, and all because I couldn’t conceive of it being some kind of external, solvable problem that was not my fault at all.

I truly wonder if I qualify for the mildest form of being visually impaired. It certainly makes normal everyday tasks my difficult, sometimes even making them impossible.

At least now I know why I am so prone to eye strain. my eyes work way harder than a visually normal person’s just to give me the poor eyesight I have now.

And here’s the kicker – the reason my vision is poorer than usual right now is that last time I went to get my eyes checked, I gave the people at Ironwood Optical the wrong phone number (I think), and I never called them to fix it because I am too shy to talk to a stranger and admit I made a very basic error that most people would never make.

No wonder I live in a constant state of cringing shame. I have been blaming myself for not being able to do things all my life. And most of that was due to poor vision.

I’m not sure how to process this information. I am afraid that I will forget it because it doesn’t fit into the bulk of my feelings about myself and thus my brain will rule in favour of the existing order rather than go to the effort of changing everything.

But I will try very hard not to forget it. And that means telling others about it too. Because I need people to cut me some slack on stuff.

It’s not my fault that I can’t do basic things.

It’s because of my messed up eyes.

And there is no guarantee that there is any way to fix them.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


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