New Visions

"Seeing" things a little differently

Living a monocular life (part 2)

Everyone has a story…….

Everyone has a reason for being who they are.  Our childhood plays a part,  the social environment that we grew up in,  how we  are treated and the circumstances that we are surrounded in.  There are hundreds of thousands of scenarios that can be possible and thought about,  combined with the natural characteristics that you are born with, this is what makes us who we are.

Each of us has a path to travel.  We have choices to make which determines our future.  My story is no better or worse than the next person’s.  It is my individual story with very individual circumstances.  I know for me personally, it helps to learn about other people’s circumstances  and how they were able to deal with hardships,   I always enjoyed reading true stories of others overcoming hurdles and the strength that they found and never knew they had.  Even at a very young age, I loved reading autobiographies and inspirational books.  I found motivation there to stay positive even during the toughest of times.

Living with humiliation all the time while I was growing up was very difficult.  I didn’t let others know what I was feeling. I knew there was nothing anyone could do, after all I was born with congenital coloboma and my right eye looked differently than the other.  It was larger, the pupil was cloudy and very noticeable to everyone that met me.  Just stop and think for a moment how often we meet people,  just passing by someone and exchanging glances at the store or on the street.  People looked at me and immediately saw my odd-looking eye.  Usually they would take a double look and whisper to the person they were with.

Children were the worst, they are always so curious about things.  I love children, especially after I had two daughters myself.  They would always point and stare, asking  questions or run tell their parents.  It bothered me so much I would not even make eye contact with people, it was easier to just turn away from them instead of answering the questions.    I remember when my daughters were in school, I didn’t want them to be teased  by their classmates so I wouldn’t volunteer to help with certain things.  I didn’t want them to suffer because of me. I know their friends always asked them about me.

There has always been a small percentage of people who didn’t show any reaction to my appearance, these are the ones that accepted me for who I was and never made me feel uncomfortable.  They are kind, generous, loving people who became my friends immediately.  I call them God’s angels because they have so much empathy for others.

Being blind in one eye and near-sighted in the other brought on many humiliating experiences.  I tried so hard to blend in with the “normal” sighted people.   On the outside looking in, I lived a very normal life…..got married, had children, ran a business and seemed overall a happy, balanced individual.   On the inside, I felt as though I didn’t measure up and was embarrassed to exert my opinions  or go after my dreams.   I always seemed to settle.

I made the decision before the age of ten to live my life as best as I could. I wanted to be happy like most children.  I purposely  ignored the fact that I looked differently….. until I was reminded again and again by a certain look or comment by someone.  It’s funny how we grow to adapt to our  circumstances.   After fifty years of living with this, I learned through self discovery (rejection from divorce and simplifying my life) that I could rely on myself and I had the power to make the choice to be happy with who I was.  I did just that.

How odd is it that only a short time after my newly found self discovery, life presented to me an opportunity to “fix” the cosmetic appearance of my eye?  Is this just a coincidence or is it fate?   At the age of fifty-one I have a beautiful artificial eye that matches perfectly with the other.  My vision is still near-sighted but now when I make eye contact with others, there are no more stares, questions or comments.   People can’t even tell.

I was even called  “gorgeous” the other day by a complete stranger.   THAT has never happened to me before!   It’s been a year since my surgeries and I’m still trying to get used to this new way of living.   I am in the process of having my memoirs edited and hopefully published soon.  I want to help anyone I can from my own experiences.  My situation is pretty unique, even my eye surgeon said she had never seen anything like my eye before.

This blog is my way of keeping track of my next  “memoir.”   My life is not over by any means….I’ve just begun!   The second half of my life is definitely going to be my BEST !

It will be my best because of my past.

(For more reading on this series check out the following link….. )

https://sherrylcook.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/living-a-monocular-life-part-1/

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12 comments on “Living a monocular life (part 2)

  1. Teresa
    July 8, 2015

    hello fellow monoclops 😉 I was born legally blind in my left eye. Have always had near-sightedness in right eye, with glasses at 1 year old. My left eye is a bit crossed so a slight visual defect but not too bad. Even so it definitely affected my self image, more when I was young. In my adult life it’s not an issue from an aesthetic aspect. In my 40’s now, I do notice my eye gets really tired more so than when I was younger. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I found out that eye fatigue and neck problems were pretty par for those with monocular vision. It helped just to know that vs feeling like I was doing something wrong. I’m also an artist, so appreciate your sharing your story and art work.

    • sherrylcook
      July 9, 2015

      Hi Teresa! I’m so glad to meet you and thank you for commenting. As I age I notice my sight getting a bit foggier and my floaters getting in the way. It’s wonderful to be able to connect with others. When I was young I didn’t know anyone else going through the same thing. That why I wanted to write a book, just so people would halfway understand! I hope you stay connected to us!
      Sherry.

      Would love to see some of your art…

    • sherrylcook
      September 19, 2015

      Hello! I’m so sorry it’s been this long to reply. Time sure does pass quickly! I would love to see some of your art sometime! Yes, we monoculars share some pretty weird habits. I also am experiencing some eye fatigue and have even gained a few floaters to deal with but that’s all a drop in the bucket compared to everything else I’ve gone through. I also have neck pain…I’m sure it’s due to straining to see the keyboard for years! Would love to hear from you again sometime!
      Sherry

  2. Pingback: Living a monocular life, part 5 | sherrylcook.com

  3. Pingback: Artificial eyes (not for the squeamish type) « sherrylcook

  4. Helen Hurley
    April 21, 2012

    I have to disagree with nikky, I think that improving the cosmetic appearance definitely does make a difference to your confidence, i feel if you feel good about yourself on the outside then it makes you feel good on the inside. It is how you feel yourself that matters and when you are comfortable with yourself then you find that others are comfortable with you. I love the saying if you mind it it will matter…it is totally true…since i have had my prosthetic eye it has given me so much more confidence and i am so much more comfortable with myself and others are comfortable with me too. Best wishes xx

    • sherrylcook
      April 21, 2012

      Helen,
      I know exactly what you mean. If there is something physical that is standing in your way of having your own self confidence, then you need to do whatever is possible to get it. Although I had already accepted myself for who I was and what I was born with (even though it took me most of my life) when the opportunity came for me to fix the appearance, it was a tremendous boost that has changed my life. I guess I had to be ready for such a thing. thank you so much for commenting and being such a great friend and support!

  5. nikky44
    April 18, 2012

    I don’t think it is “fixing your appearance” that makes the difference. I think You have accepted yourself better, you loved yourself better, and that is what is making the difference. Much love 🙂

    • sherrylcook
      April 18, 2012

      Nikky, you are so right, I actually began the acceptance and confidence two years before the surgery. After my second divorce I had to take a long look at myself and find confidence again. The surgeries were just all icing on the cake! The timing was incredible!

  6. Cauldrons and Cupcakes
    April 17, 2012

    I’m so sure this second part of your life will be your best. You are such a blessing to the world. Much love to you xx

    • sherrylcook
      April 17, 2012

      Thank you so much Nicole, your comments are very much appreciated!

  7. Pingback: Living a monocular life, part 1 « sherrylcook

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