Chelsea has worn glasses since she was 2, and has graciously agreed to answer some questions about growing up with glasses. The second part of her interview on doing vision therapy is here. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Roots and Rings. – Ann Z
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Ann: You write that you’ve worn glasses since you were 2, do you remember getting glasses? If so, what was that like?
Chelsea: I do not remember getting glasses. It’s all I’ve ever known. I hear stories from my parents about when they found out. It sounds a lot like many of you. They were devastated. They cried and felt awful for me. My mom said she went home from the doctor and turned on the TV. There was a special about a little girl with leukemia. She then decided she’d be thankful for my health and realized my issues were minimal.
Ann: Were there any things that your parents did to make wearing glasses more fun, or at least bearable?
Chelsea: My mom says I never fought it as a baby. She thinks that I felt better because I could see so I just never tried to take them off. One I was old enough, they let me pick the glasses I wanted. (I guess I can only blame myself for the nerdy glasses I chose!)
Also, they let me complain. They knew that being a little kid with glasses sucked! They knew it was a pain when I played games or went swimming. And they let me complain and told me that when I was old enough, I could get contacts and it would get much easier. If I thought that having glasses was the worst thing in the world, they sympathized with me. They’d tell me that they were sorry and they knew I hated it. But they’d also always tell me how beautiful and smart I was and that my glasses do not define me.
Ann: Any things that you wish they had done?
Chelsea: There was nothing they could have done differently.
Ann: I notice that Zoe has started pointing out people and animals that aren’t wearing glasses (yes, that means she points out nearly every animals, “kitty cat, no glasses.”) Do you remember noticing other people who didn’t wear glasses and thinking it was strange that you wore glasses when they didn’t?
Chelsea: I don’t remember that young. I remember that none of my friends had glasses. I didn’t think that was fair. But I think I understood pretty early on that my eyes were different than most people. I had an older brother who didn’t wear glasses so my parents were able to explain it to me easily. God made us all different.
Ann: You’ve mentioned how much better glasses are for kids nowadays, any pictures of you as a kid in glasses that you’d like to share? (Obviously only if you want to).
Chelsea: Of course! [photo will show up once Chelsea gets to a scanner – Ann Z]
Ann: How bad was the teasing (tell it to us straight, even though I think this may be the question I fear the most).
Chelsea: Kids can be mean. I remember never being the “popular girl” in elementary school and the boys never liked me. I blamed my glasses. (Whether or not this is true, who know?!) I honestly can only remember one time that I was really hurt. My best friend’s older brother called me ‘four eyes’. He and his friend were picking on us, trying to make us mad. I remember crying. His mom made him apologize and he told me he never meant to hurt my feelings, he was just playing. I know this was true. But that didn’t make it hurt less. Coming from someone who I was so close to is what was so scarring.
I’d like to think that the normal ways kids are affected by this are just by people ignoring them. If a kid doesn’t understand why someone wears glasses or why their eyes look so big, they’ll probably just ignore him/her and not be their friend. I doubt many people are picked on physically or teased verbally.
Although maybe they are. And maybe I was. Kids bounce back. Of course it leaves a few scars along the way, but we adapt. And honestly, I’m a better person today because of it. I never teased anyone because I knew they could easily tease me back. I am confident and know my worth. And I know my worth does not depend on my physical appearance. The bottom line: Your child should not be defined by his/her eyes. Do not focus on them or he/she will focus on them.
Ann: Thank you so very much, Chelsea!