[See photo credit at end of article]
If you’ve wondered what it is like to have a turned eye, read this passionate letter by a strabismus sufferer named Anthony. Anthony shared this in a strabismus group recently, and gave me permission to share it here.
Once you’ve read Anthony’s letter, determine to go back to work or school, and befriend that person with a turned eye for who they are. You can be the answer for someone to that poignant question that anthony asks below: “Who will love the boy and the man with the turned eye that I have to carry around inside of me?”
Here is Anthony’s touching letter, with minor editorial changes to protect his identity:
Hi there. Thanks for being here.
I am having an emotional night. I’m experiencing a lot of self-loathing and shame about “the ugliness,” of my eyes tonite.
Shame about my eyes is always there with me to a lesser or greater degree, but tonite I’m obsessing about it.
I sent an email to a Children’s Hospital requesting a consultation. They specialize in Adult Strabismus Surgery.
I have no money, no insurance. Like so many people with strabismus, I have not been able to hold down a job for long in my life. I’m in my 30’s but I have not much in the way of material success to show.
For a long time I have resisted surgery and just tried to be “who I really am.” And the total instability of my life has not really made surgery an option for me.
My confusion during daily activities is increasing. My two eyes feel like oil and vinegar that will not mix. Even when I close my eyes, my point of attention just never settles down. It’s like a mixing pot behind my eyes and I want it to STOP!!!! I just want to rest. What would it be like to peacefully rest my eyes on anything? One thing?
It’s becoming harder and harder to concentrate the older I get.
It’s cyclical, but sometimes I have accute social anxiety. I avoid eye contact with everybody! There’s just a lot of rejection for me when I show my eyes.
It’s like piece of me is gone. Severed “life of the eyes.” And I don’t know any other way, but I feel some kind of loss…some kind of “wrong,” about my eyes, enough to make me cry again about it tonite.
I am tormented by self-consciousness about my eyes. I get incredible anxiety when first meeting somebody and they look over their shoulder (a la ‘Is he looking at me?)
“He would be a great looking guy except for his eyes.”
I have hated these people for so long. Part of me feels like there is nothing wrong with me and I’m buckling under the weight of societal pressure to look a certain way. But I am tired of feeling like a loser and rejected.
I can be an exuberant person…full of life and happiness…and sometimes I meet somebody new with the biggest smile on my face and look at them (somewhat nervously…wondering if I’m going to be rejected) and they look confused.
Because of my appearance, my positive expressions are rarely reflected in the faces of others. In a way, it makes me hate all people. Over and over and over again, smiling, looking for a friendly face and it rarely shows up.
If I’m in a bad mood, I often scowl at people and “reject them BEFORE they reject me.”
I know this is graphic, but I would like to not pull any punches on my feelings…and I’m sure that others may have experienced something similar to me. I have to admit to having the desire now and then to want to tear one of my eyes out of its socket, then they’d have to do a surgery on me even though I don’t have any money or insurance.
I’m not a nutcase. It’s just an unbidden thought/vision that I have to deal with.
With the increasing confusion, coping with the depression and anxiety….not having a steady job or insurance….I’m not sure how I am going to be able to get surgery and look “normal.”
And even after I look ‘normal,’ am I still going to resent the culture and the society? I mean–perhaps good friends and women will all come out of the woodwork when I look “normal.” And will they feel like “true friends,” who love me for me?
If I advance in a job will I be able to enjoy it? I will be the same person, but just a lot more attractive.
Who will love the boy and the man with the turned eye that I have to carry around inside of me? And by surgically altering my appearance will I actually be rejecting him?
It’s hard to figure, I don’t want to suffer like this any more.
Thanks and Best Wishes..
Photo credit: Emre Danisman