Good morning campbellsworld visitors.
This morning in our Authors, They’re Only Human column author Jo E. Pinto brings a subject to the forefront that I’ve spoken on before.
That subject is things we blind people wish sighted people wouldn’t say.
It speaks to much more and that is the fact that sometimes things thoughtless and as Jo puts it in her post “shallow people” say can hurt and cause long-lasting and very damaging effects.
I hope all of you will read this. I hope you will share it with your friends. On your blogs, your Facebook pages, Email lists Groups, anywhere you can because this my friends is a very important post.
It’s been lurking in the folder I keep for Jo’s pieces for far too long and today as I sit enjoying the sun while wearing no sunglasses I share it with you.
When you’re through reading and before you share this piece of most excellent and very important work I invite you to read all about Jo and her magnificent work.
Thanks for dropping into campbellsworld today.
May harmony find you and blessid be.
To the Thief Who Stole My Sunglasses
You, with the sticky fingers. I’m sure you don’t remember me. We never met face to face. You slipped up behind me while I was chatting with a fellow writer at a conference twenty-one years ago. Without a sound, you snagged the $65 pair of sunglasses out of the purse under my chair. I never suspected a thing.
I have something to say to you. Thank you. Thank you for setting me free from a prison of my own making.
Ten months earlier, I’d been at a busy beauty salon, getting all dolled up to be a bridesmaid. One of my dearest friends on the planet was about to be married, and her happiness was mine.
“Oh my God, your eyes are creepy!” the cosmetologist had exclaimed as she leaned in close to paint my wedding face on. “I can hardly stand to look at them. I wonder how your husband manages to wake up next to you every morning. You should never leave your house without sunglasses.”
If I heard her comment today, I would know it came straight from her own fear and ignorance. I would realize it had nothing to do with me. But all those years ago, without two decades of hard-won life experience to fall back on, her words shattered my young soul. They robbed me of my joy, not only that day but also for the better part of the year that followed—because I let them.
The next afternoon, I spent $65 I didn’t have on a pair of small, round, gold-rimmed sunglasses I didn’t want. I put them on first thing every morning, usually before my husband woke up, and didn’t take them off till I went to bed at night. I refused to answer the door or show my face in public without those glasses on, no matter what. The only time I didn’t wear them was when I put on a darker, much less attractive plastic wraparound pair that shielded my eyes from light a lot better. I used the cheap wraparound shades when I suffered from brutal migraine headaches. That was why the expensive sunglasses were in my purse, available for you to swipe at the writing conference.
I lost count of how many times I cried over what the cosmetologist had said. I worried obsessively about my “creepy eyes.” I had never given them much thought before, although they had been part of my face all my life. But suddenly I wondered how anyone had ever gotten past them. My husband tried many times to convince me that he wasn’t bothered by my eyes at all, but I wouldn’t be consoled. I took the word of a shallow stranger I had met once and would never see again over that of the man I loved most in the world.
Then you stole my sunglasses. I was furious. How dare you? I didn’t have the money to buy another pair. Did you know how much I paid for those? Well, obviously you did. You stole them, after all.
The plastic shades I wore when I had migraines worked in a pinch, but I couldn’t use them every day. They were too big for my face. They weren’t comfortable enough or attractive enough to wear all the time. What was I going to do?
Grudgingly, I started leaving my glasses off around the house now and then. My husband wouldn’t mind. I slowly got out of the habit of putting on my shades every morning. Then I answered the door once or twice without them. I figured my neighbors and close friends had all seen my eyes before I started covering them up anyway. I even ventured out in public a few times, glasses free, and life as I knew it didn’t end.
Finally, one day, fed up with the clunky sunglasses, I tossed them on the linoleum kitchen floor and stomped on them. I felt satisfied as they snapped under my tennis shoe. I was done covering up my “creepy eyes.” Anyone who didn’t like the way they looked could look somewhere else. I was through with feeling ashamed of myself because of one insensitive comment from a stranger who had most likely forgotten I existed. It no longer made sense for me to hide my flaws so that the rest of the world could be comfortable. Or maybe I had realized how unimportant my flaws were, if they were even flaws at all, in the whole picture of who I really was.
“It’s about time,” my husband said approvingly.
I’ve never looked back. And I’ve never hidden my eyes behind another pair of sunglasses. A few people still get creeped out at first because my eyes wander from lack of use, and one of them is clouded by visible scar tissue. But most people are able to embrace my differences once they get to know me.
So, you, with the sticky fingers. Thank you for setting me free. I hope you enjoyed those $65 shades more than I did.
This piece first appeared on Holly Bonner’s Blind-Motherhood blog:
More On Jo E. Pinto and The Bright Side of Darkness…
“The Bright Side of Darkness” Is an award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.
About the author…
J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.
Rick Myers, an orphan without much faith in the future, and Daisy Bettencourt, a blind girl who is running from an alcoholic father and a set of overprotective foster parents, cross paths at a high school baseball game and make their way together. Daisy becomes the bright spot in Rick’s universe as he and his four lifelong friends–Tim, Mark, and the twins–battle the forces of poverty and hopelessness. Mark’s grandma dies of heart failure, and Tim’s stepdad is arrested on felony child abuse charges, leaving them, like Rick and Daisy, with no authority figures in their lives.
Rick and Daisy are trailed by a fat man in a battered green jeep who makes Rick more and more uneasy as the weeks pass. Then, just when Rick discovers an interest in the culinary field and decides to complete his education, the bottom drops out of his world.
There’s nothing a damn bit bright about sunshine when you’re seventeen and you see it from the wrong side of a jail cell window.
It isn’t that I’m moping for my lost freedom or anything. I wouldn’t give a half a crap for my life anymore now that the crew is scattered to the four winds, and all I have left of Daisy is her parting note in the waistband of my jeans and a wilted dandelion dangling between my fingers. But it seems to me that the Man Upstairs could have marked my downfall with a terrific thunderstorm or at least a few nasty black clouds out of the west.
When there’s a war or a funeral or some other sad thing going on in the movies, the sky usually turns dark and ugly, and the rain pours down in buckets. The longer I stare at the square of sunlight streaming through the tiny window of my cell and stealing across the floor, the lonelier I feel. August 27, 1986, is slipping by the same as every other hot, heavy day, and I’m the only one in the world who knows that nothing will ever be all right again.
It hasn’t always been this way. I ought to have known better than to believe I could reach out and snag a piece of paradise, but for a little while I had it on my fingertips. Breaks are hard to come by for kids from the projects, though, and sure enough, all I ended up with at the last second was empty hands.
I’m doing my level best to hold off a flood of memories, but my mind keeps drifting back to the sweltering summer evening when the chain of events began that shattered my world into a zillion pieces. First thing tomorrow morning, some juvenile court judge will decide if my life is worth rebuilding. Maybe he’ll have better luck with my future than I did with my past.
If you would like to contact Author Jo E Pinto please feel free to e-mail:
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