Sight and readiness

How about a light-hearted post today?

My family has the worst eyesight known to man. I’m pretty sure all four of my grandparents wore glasses, and both my parents wear them.

My dad’s eyesight was so bad, he had to wear hard contacts. Then he got cataracts, had surgery, and now he doesn’t need contacts. He still wears glasses, though.

My mom isn’t quite as blind as my dad, but she’d be helpless without contacts and glasses.

So, of course, my siblings and I didn’t even have a chance in the eye department. We all have to wear contacts.

Our bad eyesight hit us at a young age, unsurprisingly. I started wearing glasses in elementary school. I hated wearing them because they got in the way of sports, so I didn’t wear them very much. I got contacts in the fifth grade. That was a game changer.

My brother started wearing glasses when he was four or five.

I vividly remember going to the optometrist when we were kids, and one particular visit stands out in my memory.

We went for our yearly eye exam, and my brother was set to get new glasses. I cannot remember if I got new ones or not.

Well, he got incredibly attached to a pair, but my mom said he couldn’t get those. I don’t remember how he responded at the optometrist’s, but since I don’t remember, he probably took it like a champ…. except….

My mom took us to the store after our appointments, and while we were checking out, my brother got my attention. He was standing behind me, so I looked back at him. He quickly hid something behind his back.

My curiosity was piqued. What was that? I turned away from him. He got my attention again.

I saw what it was the second time. The little toot had lifted the pair of glasses he wanted.

They were bright blue and sparkly. No wonder our mom said he couldn’t get them.

Well, I was in a quandary. I wanted to be loyal to my brother, but I also knew it was incredibly wrong to steal. My morality won out, and I dutifully tattled on him.

Our mom was not pleased. My guess is she was somewhat ashamed of his behavior. She was probably mortified.

She marched us back to the office and made him apologize to one of the assistants.

I’m not sure what I thought at the time, but now I think it’s freaking hilarious. My brother was probably seven when that happened. It’s funny because those frames were obviously completely useless to him. But he wanted them, and my brother has never taken the word “no” literally.

“No” is a challenge.

“No” is fluid.

Around the age of ten, my brother wanted a pair of inline skates from Target. He asked my dad if he could get them, and my dad said no. A week or so later, my brother was at Target with my mom, and he asked her if he could have them. She said yes and bought them.

My parents were not pleased with being bamboozled by a ten-year-old. He got “grounded” from the skates for a few weeks, but ultimately, he got exactly what he wanted.

What lesson, pray tell, did he learn from that experience?

Perhaps that “no” is merely a suggestion? That it can always be changed? That being cute and charming can get you whatever you want?

All of the above.

What lesson did I, as a third-party observer, learn? I learned that a “no” from one parent automatically meant a “no” from the other one, too. I’d actually already learned that lesson because of something my sister did of the similar ilk.

My brother has always been a charmer, and he can usually find his way around the word, “No,” or any other deterrent. He has a way with people, and he can make them believe his ideas were theirs from the outset.

I admire him for it on most levels. I’m not charismatic or persuasive. I’m way too blunt and I have a terrible filter. I put my foot in my mouth so often, I always seem to have a faint taste of sweaty socks in my mouth.

I’ve improved significantly since high school and college, and I’ve grown to enjoy groups of people more. I’m now willing to participate in group discussions; though, I still have a hard time asserting myself and speaking loudly.

I participate in Toastmaster’s once a week, and I am usually the first one to volunteer for Table Topics (extemporaneous speeches based on random questions). This week, I volunteered to do one and ended up talking about my blog and being bipolar.

I did it in front of coworkers, most of whom are almost complete strangers. I’ve never done anything like that before.

Opportunities to share my story have been popping up frequently lately.

I feel like a stage is being set for me to become an advocate for people with a mental illness.

I’m ready.

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