As I am writing this, my right eye is wide open for the first time since 2016. Just one month ago, I was very matter-of-factly explaining to Anthony that they weren’t sure my eye would ever be fully open, when I suddenly began to cry. This was as much a surprise to myself as it was to him, but the weight of what I was saying came down in full force. I brought this concern to my eye doctor, and we have been working together to find the optimal balance between keeping my eye healthy and making me more confident.
I currently wear a little detachable eyelid weight to help me blink that looks like a little piece of tape (and is a massive pain in my ass to put on in the mornings), and I am going to try wearing a large, rigid contact lens that can act as a shield for the surface of my eye. I am having a custom lens 3D printed (!) for my very scarred, irregular eyeball, and they needed to take an impression for the mold. This is just like a dental impression, but they have to pull my eyelids apart a little bit to fit the mold to the whole surface. To do this, they needed to un-do the stitch in the corner of my eye so that they could get an impression of the entire surface, and they are letting me keep it open at LEAST until the lens comes in about 3 weeks.
Of course, the first thing that I did was take a selfie to send to my mom after. The lighting was good and my hair was on point, and I was struck by how much I looked like my old self. But even more surprising to me was how little that mattered to me. In contrast to the massive progress I have made in my life recently, it’s disconcerting to observe my appearance moving backwards (but in the best way). My gradual return to the way I looked before my accident almost feels like cheating- how can I possibly have gone through all this shit and still be able to look like my old self? I am so incredibly different from that girl.
I’m thinking a lot about just how much I have changed since I last had two eyes fully open. I am certainly sassier than before. I am tougher than before. Braver than before. I expect more of myself than before; but just because I have struggled doesn’t mean I have to wear those battles on my face. The victories that I’ve won don’t go away as the scars fade; I can love myself and still want to improve myself.
I shared the photo on Instagram this morning and am, as always, humbled by the love and support from everyone. My friends and family have fought with me, laughed with me, cried with me, and this victory is theirs as well.