It’s not by happenstance that the tagline for my blog is “Her journey to self-love.” Falling in love with myself has been of importance to me and through my blog posts, I share what I’ve learned along the way. I’m not the only one on this mission. Millions of women around the globe struggle with insecurities and/or low self-esteem. I share my story in hopes that women will find it helpful in their healing.
My story begins with a condition I’ve had since birth. I was born with a droopy right eyelid, often called a lazy eye. The condition caused me to have difficulty seeing out of my right eye. In order to see objects, I would tilt my head so that the object before me would be seen with my left eye. Eye doctors worried that I’d lose vision in my right eye if it wasn’t being used enough. To avoid this, they prescribed an eyepatch for left eye. If my left eye is unavailable, I’d be forced to use my right eye. As a toddler, I also had surgery to raise my right eye lid.
My early childhood was filled with eye doctor appointments, eye exams, and silly comments from from and classmates who would often ask, “What’s wrong with your eye? Are you sleepy?” and my personal favorite, “Why is one of your eyes bigger than the other?” I hated going to eye doctor appointments. I regretted the fact that I had to wear an eyepatch. I wished I was born with normal eyes like my mom, dad, brothers and everyone else in my family.
My condition also hampered me from making friends and speaking up for myself. Making eye contact with others was something that I’d avoid. I preferred to look at the ground; the floor couldn’t judge me like my peers could. In middle school, when boys called me ugly, I knew it was my lazy eyelid that made me that way. Speaking in front of people would scare me. On stage, my eyes were sure to be seen.
My insecurities started to change in high school when I learned that a singer that I deeply admired had a lazy eye also. Her name was Aaliyah. In fact, to this day, I’m still not sure whether that rumor was true, but that’s what I needed to believe in order to embrace my flaw. Aaliyah would wear swept bangs that slightly covered one of her eyes. I loved that look and would imitate it myself to cover my right eye. Slowly, I started realizing a world of options to cover up the flaw: hairstyles, eye glasses, and make-up! I even became friends with someone in middle school who shared the same insecurities about a lazy eye as I did. I soon realized that people didn’t care as much about my lazy eye as much as I did.
I got my first pair of contact lenses in college. You couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t cute with my contact lenses and swept bangs. I finally started to accept myself – everything about myself.
I’m in my 30’s now and I still get funny comments about my eyes. When I went to an eye doctor appointment earlier this year, the optometrist looked into my eye in a disgusted manner, “Oh my goodness, what is wrong with your eye? Has it always been like that?” She was an optometrist, one who is skilled in evaluating the health of one’s eye. I laughed her off and shut her up, “Yes, doc. I have a lazy eye. I’m sure you learned about the condition in your eye classes. You’re an optometrist, right?” She was rude, but nowadays such comments do not affect me. I’m okay with my eyes. I’m grateful that I can see out of them. And honestly, the right eye is so subtle; you can hardly notice the defect behind my eyeglasses. I wear eyeglasses most of the time.
Life has taught me that one’s struggles help us blossom into a butterfly. My lazy eye has made more human and more of a down to earth person who can relate to many people. I’m grateful for my flaw.