I came face to face, this week, with the, ultimately expected, fact that I needed glasses. I had avoided an eye test for a year, ignored the occasional blur and the receding periphery of my vision, but, surprising even myself, when I was told I'd need glasses, it depressed me.
I was put out not only by the cost, but by my worry that it would change people's perception of me, that it would, perhaps, even change me - a mask, if you will. I felt as if the real me would be stuck behind these spectacles while people I met made, perhaps even more judgemental than usual, snap judgements about who I was. I was suddenly moving camps from the non-glasses wearing fraternity, to the not-so fortunate. I guess, I now feel as if I am entering a world of disability, and I think that age-gradual-debilitation idea frightens me quite a bit - it's another reminder, along with my back problem, that I am getting old, and like my parent, and grandparents, I'm not going to be able to do the things I used to be able to do (Why then, don't I do more exercise?).
I only realised on sunday, when I attended a get-together at the house of a work colleague of my wife's, that I had a strange feeling of inadequacy around people with glasses. Moreover, my interaction with people wearing glasses have mostly been people in a position of power - either good or bad - who I perceive as being more intelligent than me, and who are mostly serious people - teachers, bosses, parents, the investigator in my brother's case, and all those professional business people, power-dressed in their executive suits.
Of course, over the years, I know that people have mistaken who I am, because of the way I dress, carry myself, or talk, anyway - snob, gay, intellectual, idiot (I at least take pride in being a Jack-of-all-trades) - so, what does it really matter?
It's as if having to grow up, responsibility, ageing; it all combines to mollify my young spirit - something to fight against (I have allowed too much of myself to be moulded by the external stresses of the world already, let me at least keep my vanity)!
Secondary to this, I was presented with a prejudice of mine. My parents received a Christmas card from my uncle, detailing (as usual) the successes of his children over the year. As a family we mock them for this treatment - this is the only communication we receive from them (certainly since the death of my grandmother and the demands my cousin made of my mother to pay him what was rightfully his - oh how I love Christians), and it is all, always, self congratulatory. It makes me feel inferior, but then, the contradiction is that I wouldn't want their lives, I wouldn't want to study politics or law, and step up to the bar. There is some innate part of me that refuses to allow me to like them in any way, their devout religion and the manner in which they have always conducted themselves makes me consider them as the most phoney people I have ever known - that they really think they might get into Heaven and because of my beliefs, I won't, sickens me.
That has to be the core to my belief system, and to ponder that as being one of the fundamental reasons why I have built up my own faith of world view is a scary prospect; not simply because it ultimately is built on a subtle form of hatred and distrust, but, it also raises the question, what would my faith and belief be if I hadn't had them as role-models for all religions? It does worry me that there is a chance that I might be less open-minded (than I am), that I might be ignorant, egotistical, and self-deluded.
But, would I be happier?