Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 19: Some Things are Hard to Swallow, but Not Impossible

My nieces and nephews on my side of the family all grew up knowing their Aunt Dani had a "fake eye", but those on Clinton's side haven't been around me as much to just kinda know or accept my eye as-is. So now that the kids are getting older and they're seeing me much more often, each time I come to Grande Prairie I get asked lots of questions about my eye.
It usually starts with "the stare". As I'm talking to someone I notice they're staring at me (aka, my eyes) trying to figure out what's different. After all the years I've dealt with "the stare" I can spot it in a second and try to acknowledge the elephant in the room before the child (or adult) gets too distracted by it and I start feeling uncomfortable.
I had this conversation today with Chloe and Eden. I think it was Chloe who started the conversation (with "the stare") followed by, "How come one of your eyes is looking at me and one is looking up a little?"
I always tell the back story of what happened and then explain my eye to them. People are nice about it and kids are totally innocent and oblivious to any insecurities I have about my eye. I always finish with, "My shell (the special contact I wear to make my eye look a little more normal) isn't perfect, but I'm pretty cute anyway, huh?" They chuckle and say "yes", while I smile at my wit.
A couple months ago when we were here for Christmas, I was sitting on the couch playing with my five-year-old niece, Kaitlyn. She started "the stare" and then said, "Your eyes are a bit funny."
I said, "Yah."
And before I could finish the rest of my spiel, she gently put her tiny hand on my arm and softly said, "But you're still beautiful."
This kinda caught me off guard and got me thinking a bit. Why is it so easy for a child to tell the truth like it is? She didn't say I was ugly...she said my eyes were funny but that I'm beautiful anyway. I've always wanted to be funny and beautiful. :)
In truth, I am so very self-conscious and insecure about my eye. Sometimes I feel very sad about it and have my woe-is-me moments. I have these most often when my shell is no longer fitting quite right and "looks up" more often (like it is now). I look in the mirror and try to will it to look perfect, but alas it is what it is. I am grateful to have a shell to at least make my eye look more normal than it would without it. I am grateful that of any limb to lose I only lost an eye. I can still see out of my left eye, I have all my other appendages and I've gotten pretty good at using make-up to help camouflage my imperfect eye. And I am thankful for a sense of humor about it too.
I told myself recently that even when times are tough and I'm feeling down, at least one part of me is always looking up!
I guess the main reason I'm writing this all down is to share my insecurity with the little world of my blog in the hopes that talking about it makes it a bit easier to bear when I am feeling down. We all have flaws, but as my guilty-pleasure, America's Next Top Model, would say, "Having flaws isn't bad. Having flaws makes you flawsome!" The idea of embracing a "flaw" is somewhat liberating. My eye has definitely made me a unique individual with a never-dull story to tell.

Hello, my name is Danielle 
and I wear a fake eye. 
My real one got torn open 
by a bungee cord when 
I was five 
and became 
very distorted. 
I'm pretty insecure about my beauty
because my shell doesn't 
perfectly match 
my other eye, but 
it is what it is 
and that's OK.
Some would call me flawed,
and at times I would too but
I choose to feel flawsome.

We are always so much harder on ourselves than others would ever think to be. I know people reading this are thinking kind thoughts about me and wondering why I would ever question my beauty or whatever, but the truth is we all do this. We can be complimented out the wahzoo, but until we can accept things for what they are and embrace our "flaws" as contributors to our overall flawsome-ness, then we will be forever stuck looking down instead of up.
Thank you, Kaitlyn, for telling the truth like it is. My eyes are a bit funny, but I am still beautiful!

I made Cobb salad for supper tonight and it was delicious. However, my nephew, Jesse, doesn't like lettuce and he put up a bit of a fuss about eating his lettuce. He ate absolutely everything else, including the majority of the soup-ful amount of dressing he poured on his plate, but the lettuce was mostly just being poked at. I told him he had one job to do and it was to finish his lettuce.
About 20 minutes went by and he still had about 10 pieces of lettuce on his plate. I told him that he had one minute to finish his food or he owed me five minutes of wall sits (I remembered his mum telling me that their "punishment" had recently changed to wall sits since push-ups were no longer hard work). As soon as I said this he frantically started eating his lettuce. He asked me between chews how I knew their punishment and I told him "Aunties know lots of things."
As defeat quickly set in (with only 30 seconds left to eat the remaining lettuce), he tried to shove the lettuce in as fast as possible. Now this kid must really hate lettuce because he promptly started gagging and spitting his food back on his plate. Holding in my own upchuck at watching him cough up his food, I calmly said, "You're ok, take a deep breath and finish the rest that's not been spit up."
And he did!
Call me a horrible Nazi auntie, but he ate his lettuce and all was well. We had popcorn and played games together afterward, so I'm pretty sure we--and his tummy--are good.

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