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The cage door is always open...

If you don't like something, change it! If you can't change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou

Fifty years ago, I accompanied my Mom and two sisters to an ophthalmologist appointment for my eldest sister Cheryl. I was three and was tagging along as younger siblings do. At the end of Cheryl's appointment, the doctor generously offered to check my sister's and my eyes, something that never happens in this day and age! When we walked out of the office that day, Cheryl was status quo, Sandy had 20/20 vision, and I had a prescription for severe farsightedness with astigmatism. A few days later, I had my first pair of glasses.

Over the years, doctors have told me it was a gift they found my condition so early. For me, I have not been able to frame this as a gift. Throughout my life, my eyes have been my Achilles heel. I have been wearing "coke-bottle" glasses since 1970. They are heavy, thick and magnetize my eyes to at least double their actual size. My grandmother was appalled that her three-year-old granddaughter had glasses, especially these glasses. She was the kind of woman who was quite vocal about these things, and I was well aware of the shame she held for me. The kids at school teased me, calling me 6-eyes instead of 4 since the magnification was so extreme. When I got contacts at 15, my family would joke (although with no ill intent), "the contacts just need to work long enough until you can find yourself a husband."

And so I formed a story, a not so positive story, a story of not being enough, well really, to be frank, the story of being the "ugly one."

Since the death of my husband Don a couple of years ago, I have been operating in overdrive to be uncomfortable, not to accept the status quo; life is way too short. Yesterday I took a bold step and had refractive lens exchange surgery (it's like cataract surgery). When I awoke this morning, I could see clearly for the first time in my life, and my follow-up eye exam confirmed I now have 20/20 vision.

In trying to overcompensate for "ugly," I have built a cage around myself that is very protective and comfortable. The bars are made of thick metal and represent perfecting, pleasing, proving, and pretending, which have trapped me in a world of "not enough." What I clearly saw this morning is that the cage's door is wide open. It always has been. Although hard to admit, my entrapment has been my own doing. Freedom has always been just a step away.

Today I choose to let go of my old story. Although the metal bars are not going anywhere, I am navigating around them and moving toward the doorway. It looks like 2021 and beyond is going to be a great adventure. Maybe some travel, some new work, some new love (fingers crossed!).

I am ready and free to fly without my glasses, and I know, I really, really know all will be well...

'cause I got me some 20/20 vision (woot woot)!!

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