That Time Life Gave Me A Really Weird Lemon to Deal WithSeptember 17, 2014
I know what your first reaction is going to be (maybe even why you clicked on this post)..."What the hells bells happened to you?! Did you get punched? Did you get into an accident? Did you trip?"
Let assure you all that I was neither punched in face nor in any sort of accident. However, I don't blame those of you who thought it was probably accidentally self inflicted. We are talking about the girl who did trip in front of Target last week and scratch up her knee like a four year old.
Here's the scoop on why I'm currently sporting the Quasimodo look:
I'm not sure and neither are my doctors really.
It started Tuesday afternoon. I woke up Tuesday morning looking as normal as can be (with two matching, non-swollen eyes). I went about my routine as normal. I sat through an art history lecture and went to lunch. I had broccli cheese soup and called my Dad. Everything was normal as can be. I went in early to my advanced design class to finish printing out a project due that day and noticed my eye starting aching a little. It was tender and barely pink.
Great, I thought. I'm probably getting pink eye...or a stye...or something highly inconvienent. I brushed it off, thinking I'd deal with it later. However, by the end of that 3 hour long class my eye was without a doubt swollen. It was puffy, but I could still open my eye fully. It was just a little redness and swelling, but I called my Aunt (who works for an ophthalmologist) to see if she could readily identify what was happening. It wasn't even really my eye-ball, which wasn't red or hurting at all (in fact, I was able to see 20/20 out of the swollen eye when I went to the doctor the next day), but rather the area directly below my eye. It was so strange.
I spent the rest of the night going about my normal business (gym + a study session) and alternating hot compresses on my eye (which felt nice, but didn't seem to be helping). I did that until I fell asleep.
When I woke up this morning, I expected the swelling to be down, but it was quite the opposite. I could barely open my eye at all. I panicked and looked into the mirror. My eye lid had grown swollen overnight and now I looked worse than ever. I immediately made an appointment at the university health clinic where they inspected, poked, prodded, asked billions of questions, and stuck me four times in the arm to draw blood.
Was it an infection or an allergic reaction? The results were inconclusive.
However, I was given a cocktail of shots and antibiotics with the hopes that something would help. That remains to be seen for now.
So, I'm typing this using only one eye. It's strange how many things I can do successfully with one eye shut. My kindergarten self would be so proud of me. Remember when dares were like, "I bet you can't write your name with one hand behind your back and one eye shut!" ? Welp, I'm totally acing this one eyed lifestyle...I think.
I drove myself to the doctor, to get my prescriptions filled, and then to class. Driving with one eye is harder than anticipated, but doable for the mean time. The biggest challenge though has been dealing with all of the stares. There are those who try to be polite and not stare, but it still makes me feel awkward knowing that they're actively trying not to look or offend me. Then, there are those who do a double take and cringe. I'm not sure which is worse. Most have been exceptionally nice about it and I'm thankful for that.
It's difficult because I'm very healthy otherwise. I'm not sick, I'm mentally capable, and my eyeball technically isn't hurt in anyway. I just have this unfortunate temporary physical deformity and I feel like everyone is judging me or feels sorry for me (but this may just be me being hypersensitive). This experience has really opened me eyes (no pun intended) to what others go through who have physical or cosmetic issues beyond their control. It takes such a strong person to bear the weight of being stared at everywhere you go, everyday. I know my 48 hour plight of having a swollen shut eye is not even remotely comparable to what they experience. In fact, I've only experienced the smallest dose of negative attention for my physical appearance and it's been enough to make me self conscious as hell. For example, I have a meeting for my internship...do I go (because there's technically nothing wrong with me to prevent me from participating) or do I stay home (because I don't want to distract any of the other ambassadors with my face)? The struggle is real.
It takes a brave person to go about their life, head held high and genuinely not care about what others are thinking (or not thinking) about them. I think that's true for anyone, no matter what your circumstances. Having my eye swollen shut really helped me talk to strangers in a more positive way today so far. I feel like I can be myself and most importantly be light-hearted and joke about what is going on. Someone even told me earlier that I have "such a positive attitude" despite the kind of week I'm having. This eye thing has just reinforced the idea of approaching things in a positive manner. I mean, this situation is entirely out my control so I guess there's no use in holing up and being upset.
Life goes on and sometimes even when life gives you a really weird, deformed lemon it's still okay to make lemonade.
P.S. - I know this is a post I didn't have to write. I could have let myself heal behind the scenes, while still posting content and life would've gone on. However, I feel like it's important to share these very real moments with you guys here. There are some things that happen to me that are better left unwritten about in the public sphere, but I didn't think this was one of them. Stuff happens - crazy stuff - and sometimes little lessons come at you in weird ways. This week, little life lessons came to me in the form of an unexpected swollen shut eye. Plus, sharing this image of my face felt empowering in a weird way. It's kind of like me saying, hey my face might be swollen and I may look half unrecognizable BUT I'm still me. That's awesome. Hope I didn't offend anyone too terribly.