Of glasses & sour grapes: What to do with life's lemons

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The first time I suspected there was a problem was in junior secondary school.

(Destiny’s Child was topping the charts at the time for ‘No, No, No, No, No’)

It was the awards season in school, usually organised individually by the trio of the Drama, Music and Press Club at the end of third term exams, to confer social awards on the outgoing SS3 class.

(You could call it our own Oscars. Or Headies)

It was the same songs the members of each club performed. So everyone looked out for creative steps which would take the rave till the next awards Season.

For members of performing clubs, you had access to backstage seats, and so could watch the performances from there.

The rest of the students had to hustle to get seats by coming on time, and praying your seniors did not bully the chairs away.

Along with my friends, we planned to be at the Assembly Hall very early, to get seats in front.

But you know how man proposes, and God disposes. It was as though the rest of the school slept in the Assembly Hall overnight.

(Like those folks who sleep at the fuel-stations during fuel scarcity)

By the time we got there, the hall was packed full already, and we were forced to embrace our fate in standing at the back that day.

Soon enough, the day's show began. The performances were not so clear, but I figured it was the poor lighting, and the distance from the stage that we stood.

Almost halfway through the performances, the hall suddenly erupted in frenzied applause at some move done by the students miming to Brandy and Monica’s “the Boy is Mine”.

How could they have seen it? The performers were still blurred.

My friend beside me was also clapping and shouting in frenzied excitement.

Oh well... I started clapping too. It must be good if everyone was clapping. But I could not actually see the cause of so much excitement.

For me, it was blurred out.

I remember subsequently receiving complaints from one or two people that they passed right beside me, and I did not acknowledge them wave.

I suspected that I had a mischievous, anti-people doppelganger. Because I had no recollection of seeing anyone wave.

But it was Mathematics class that made me realise the dire situation I was in. It was one of those class tests where x=y/210: find Pie.

While I was not a Maths guru, I knew enough to not be labelled an actual iti boribo.

Which was why my "odo" that day shocked me. Upon asking the teacher for my script, he showed me that I had gotten the calculation correct. However, I had just substituted the wrong figures, using '3' instead of the 8 written on the board.


That was when I knew for sure that there was a problem.

I told Mummy as soon as I got back home, and she took me to her ophthalmologist, who conducted an eye test on me, and gave me the ugliest glasses I had ever seen in my life.

Just like that, I was initiated into Team "Four-eyes".

There were a number of reasons I did not like my glasses. First was that I could not jump up and down like others, without risking my glasses falling off, and getting smashed.

And I lost count of how many times I sat on my glasses without knowing, having to make the pitiful walk of shame to Mum for a new pair of glasses.

I also blamed a huge part of my teenage awkwardness on my glasses, believing that I may have had a huge shot being an “It girl” in my adolescence, if not for the bottles I had to don. 

But the greatest reason I did not like glasses was the presumptuous burden of automatic "intelligence" that wearing glasses bestows on you.

So that when someone in the room asks a very serious question like "who can confirm the veracity that ornathological species of identical plumage appropriately congregate to the nearest proximity?”, expectant eyes in the room would naturally turn to you for your wise answer.

*rolls eyes*

As I grew older, I learnt to carry my glasses around, only putting it on in class, or when I had to study.
But the practice of law does not exactly come with a user’s manual and an accompanying warning of side-effects, such that constantly being glued to the small print of countless law reports and staring into a computer for three-quarters of a day guaranteed that my eyes required glasses for the most part of the day.

Against my will, I was banished to being an unwilling nerd.

Until I stumbled on the magic of contact lenses.

I discovered that with my prescription and proper hygiene, I could comfortably wear contact lenses for the most part of the day. This was particularly helpful for workout sessions and social events.

I learnt to play around lenses colours, often alternating between grey and amethyst. I binged on contact lenses.

But this was nothing compared to when the craze for spidey-glasses and cat-eye frames took over the four-eyed world.

Finally... glasses became woke!

I got different types of frames, often changing it up with my mood.

The blue one became for presentations and high-level meetings. The black for court and the office. The flowery one was for when I felt ‘playful’. And for the weekends.

(There was also the plain pair I called "home glasses")

In between, I alternated with my contacts lenses. Life as a four-eyed human was finally dapper. 😊

Recently, I found myself facing a new kind of dilemma. I now have the opportunity for corrective surgery to erase the need for corrective lenses.

But I have become attached to the ‘nerdy’ look. I miss my glasses already, and have refused to face the looming reality that I may have to part from my seeing aid.

How did I get here?

By taking the ‘negative’ card life dealt me in short-sightedness, spicing it up, and turning it into a personal advantage.

What was hitherto defective sight is now an avenue for exploring fashion trends... and I have often found my glasses being an awesome ice-breaker in a room full of strangers.

This is how I now seek to deal with most other facets of life: taking that thing which should ordinarily represent some sort of sour-grapes, beautifying it, and rocking it through life.

There are the things we will be able to change, for which we ask the Universe for the strength and ability to change our circumstances entirely.

But for the lemons we cannot avoid life hurling at us, we could mope through life, stuck on the sourness of our circumstances.

Or... we could pick each lemon, make a massive lemon-pie, and throw a huge party.




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Photo-Credits (In order of Appearance)
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3. Yours truly

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  1. Thanks Meg. You always make my day!

  2. LOOL.. in trying to pass a message of making lemonades out of lemons thrown at one, you told a beautiful story. Thank you for this post.