I used to have a thing about my right eye. I disliked it. Not in isolation mind you, but relative to my left eye. Then I determined it may have been an eyebrow issue, in which case, I had a definite distaste for my right brow.
I remember this distinctly – ridiculous though it sounds now – I would stare into the mirror when I was 12, 13, 14. More accurately phrased: I would glare at my reflection, alternately fascinated, irritated, and generally dismayed.
This of course is a time when every teenager is staring into the mirror for some reason or other, obsessed with the latest blotch or blemish, a newly formed bump on the nose, and all manner of unspeakable changes that are taking place under the skin as parts sprout, widen, gush, blush, and rush forward toward adulthood – whether we like it or not.
How do any of us survive adolescence?
The eyes have it
I fixated on that right eye and brow with every particle of my being as they were wholly unacceptable, deviant, and unworthy. I couldn’t figure it out, because I determined that the left side was quite nice, all things considered.
I was fond of symmetry, coveted Peggy Lipton’s Mod Squad face, and though I appreciated the ability to raise my left brow in expressive inquiry, I was downright infuriated that I couldn’t do the same on the other side.
Moreover, I concluded – and wouldn’t anyone who looked at me? – that my entire face was lopsided. Given this unfortunate and indisputable fact, and the woefully crooked eyes (do keep in mind – the mirror of the soul), I was certainly doomed to be misunderstood for life.
As an adult, I have been blindsided. An interesting word, really. I always thought it was “blind-sighted” which makes more sense to me – particularly from my irregularly situated soul-blaring peepers. After all, isn’t the term used when you’ve had the wool pulled down over your eyes? As though you were (or ought to be) sighted, but instead you are caught unawares?
For some of us, discovery of the true nature of a loved one is a way of being blindsided. We’re veterans of foreign (and domestic) wars, as we’re blindsided by love, particularly when the dissolution of a relationship reveals traits in the other that we should have seen.
When you’ve been blindsided, doesn’t the world suddenly seem off-kilter? As though it, too, has become lopsided?
Don’t we do well with a reexamination of the world at various points in time?
The world at large, of course, and perhaps the world in microcosm both fit into that category of benefiting from a little “look-see” a few years later. And recently I happened upon a photo of myself, and for a reason I cannot fathom, I took a moment to study my face.
I saw the laugh lines, the furrowed brow, the traces of age that show on everyone eventually. And I tell myself it could be worse.
But what I really noticed was my right eye and brow, and their apparent collaboration with the left side, once so favored. As for the much maligned right, to my astonishment, it was entirely suitable. As for the whole? When I smiled, everything seemed to fit together just fine.
So how could I have been so self-critical as to feel contempt for one part of my face, and admiring of another?
How could I have been so blind?
Do we ever see ourselves clearly? Must adolescence pass through this disparaging phase? What if it hangs on for years, and we carry the sense of inferior appearance (or other traits) well into adulthood?
I suspect that’s exactly what many women do; I wonder how we begin to change that.
After all, can we ever imagine the full truths of our character, or the impressions that we make on others? If we can’t see ourselves with clarity, is it any surprise that we’re so easily blindsided, especially in love?
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