A Lifelong Marathoner
My eyes were supposed to correct in five days. Because I have astigmatism, the process might take up to three weeks, the eye doctor said. Only yesterday, in the middle of my third month, did my eyes settle into the new routine. I could see.
I’ve changed my life for this process. Every night, I set my alarm for six hours ahead. Every morning, I rise whenever the alarm sounds, usually between 5:30 and 6:00. I enter the dim bathroom, open my eyes wide, and remove my contacts. Filling the plastic wells with solution, I tighten the lids and store the case until the next night, when I insert the hard little contacts in my eyes and repeat the process all over again.
Why am I doing this? Because after I wake, I can see. Without glasses and without contacts, which I was no longer wearing because they hurt.
For most of this process, the ability to see has been erratic, and clarity evaporated early in the day. The eye doctor adjusted and tested and replaced, but we had given up on our current approach. When I returned to Memphis, we were to take a different tack. The doctor was going to retrain my eyes, making me use my non-dominant eye as my dominant.
I was really looking forward to this experiment. “I welcome the opportunity to make my brain learn new things,” I said when the doctor asked if I was willing to give the reverse-training a go (this is not stilted dialogue; I actually told him this; he laughed out loud at my nerdiness.)
Then, yesterday, I realized my eyes were falling in line. Ten o’clock last night, I could still see without my glasses. The brain experiment might not occur. A loss, to be certain, but I may have had success in refractive therapy for my eyes.
My point is: I am slower than most people. It takes me longer. If I give up in the middle, I’m screwed because I’ve put in ALL THAT TIME then conclude it’s never gonna happen, and I fail. I must remember: others’ timelines are not mine.
Yes, I’ve been going at this writing business obscenely long to have earned so little. Yes, it is taking me FOREVER to produce a ready-to-publish novel. Yes, the reformation of my soul into someone who gets mad at those who want to help only those they deem worthy of helping has been laborious.
To quote a wise friend of mine, I’m a marathoner. There’s no sprinting inside me. For a world that advertises, “Faster is Better,” my very timeline can make me feel like a failure. It is only a failure if I fail to remember: I am a marathoner. Hang in there. You are well underway. You simply haven’t arrived yet.
here’s to creative synthesis . . .