Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 72: Grateful for The Things That Make Me, Me

It is funny how your perspective on things changes as you get older. I was born with two different eye colors: my left is brown and my right is blue. And, I was also born with adult sized muscles in my left eye which caused it to cross terribly, and which apparently, if it had been left to do so, would have left me blind in that eye.

So, I had 3 surgeries when I was very young (all before I was 2 years old) to correct the problem. I will always, always be grateful to Dr. Leonard Apt at UCLA Med. Center's Jules Styne Eye Institute for saving my sight and letting me be one of his original guinea pigs. I was one of the first and there are photos of my eyes in one of his first books about the procedure. Ah, but again I digress. Here's info on Dr. Apt from web link I just added "He is the first physician to be board-certified in both pediatrics and ophthalmology and helped create pediatric ophthalmology as a new sub-specialty in medicine.  He is a founding member of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and is recognized as the founder of academic pediatric ophthalmology."

I remember when I was about 7 or 8 and really started to notice that I had two different colors. I started thinking that they must have messed up my eyes when they operated and they didn't have the "right" color when they fixed my left eye. I was reassured by both my Mom and my Dad that no, I was born that way, that is how they came out.

I used to fret about how weird it made me, especially as I got to jr. high and high school and at one point thought about getting contact lenses to hide them or to make them look like the same color. But, I have never been a woman who has done much to camouflage herself or to make herself look differently than what I really am even when I was young.

Ironically, keeping/wearing glasses my whole life has made some people think I was and/or am hiding (you know who you are). I have had people tell me, "oh, you'd be so much prettier without them," and my personal favorite "I can't believe you aren't taking them off for your wedding, you aren't even going to at least take them off for the pictures?"

People never cease to amaze me, how they think they are being "helpful" but in fact, are being hurtful even though they don't mean to be. Why would I take them off for pictures? Is it because it would be better if I didn't look like me, or look the way I always look? Do they not realize it sounds like that's their point, that maybe I shouldn't look like me because maybe they think I am not pretty enough the way I am. I know that's not what they meant (although maybe there are some people who think that, beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all), but people get so caught up on what society thinks a woman should do for beauty they don't realize how it comes across. Again, more digressing.

Here's what it comes down to for me. My glasses are part of me, they are an appendage, just like my arms and my legs are and I have never not had them. My dad always tells me that the first thing I would do in the morning while still in my crib was to reach for them. So, for me it would be hiding to get rid of them and it would be me trying to be something that I am not.

Not sure what is possessing me to do this but I took a photo of my eyes to illustrate just how different they still are from one another. As I have gotten older, I have come to love my eye color, and love that I am one of very few people who were born this way. Many people have different colors, but, those are often a result of injury or accident (as in David Bowie's case). I also love how, in spite of all the other changes my body, face, etc. is going through as I age, they haven't changed. They remind me that I am still the same inside, which to me is more important than anything on the outside will ever be.
One Brown, One Blue, both topped off with brown & gray and underlined with wrinkles


  1. Different is special, and interesting! You are the only person I know with 2 colors of eyes? What does it say on your drivers license?

  2. Ah, thanks Ms. Laurel. Well, when I got my first license way back when I was 16, they said I had to pick one because there's no room for both on the license. At the time I put brown because I thought my other eye was turning closer to brown and would eventually keep getting darker. But now, I kind of wished I had put blue. Morbid me always wonders though if something happens to me and they have to ID my body and use my eye color how will they know it is me?

  3. I was just reading up on two-different eye colors and Scientific American says it is due to different levels of melanin in your irises. Fitting that it is due to my irises :)! They also say it is NOT that common: "But two different eye colors tends to be an isolated finding, which adds to the seemingly endless and fascinating variation in humans' physical characteristics."