I Am Not a Pirate


Do you know what you’re looking at? It’s the back of my right eyeball.

I had this photo taken last week when I went to visit an optometrist for the first time in about six years. Yes, I went six whole years without updating my glasses prescription or even getting the health of my eyes checked, but hey! I am the first to admit that my priorities are a little bit out of whack sometimes.

I opted to have the photo of my eye taken over having them dilated, which always makes me super dizzy and even worse at driving than usual. The doc said my eyes are basically in good health (and looking like deep sea! Damn!), but that the strabismus in my right eye needed some help.

For those of you who don’t know, “strabismus” is basically a fancy word for “lazy eye.” Yup, I have a lazy eye. I had corrective surgeries on it when I was five and nine, but those tend to kind of wear off over time, especially if you wait six years in between check ups.

Having a lazy eye growing up was not easy. I was picked on a lot because of it (and because of many other things, too. I was and am bookish and occasionally shy or kind of a spaz). When I came back to school two weeks after my second corrective surgery, I was bullied for months. I have a very clear memory of three older girls walking up to me in the hallway and saying, “You’re the girl that has monster eyes, right?”

As an adult, being told that I have “monster eyes” would feel like more of a compliment than anything (I tip my hat to Kanye West but more specifically, Nicki Minaj, for making the word “monster” extra cool), but I cried my good eye out as soon as I got home that day. I felt like such a freak and resented that I was being put through something that no one else I knew had to go through.

This week, when the optometrist told me that my strabismus was working overtime and now affecting the vision in my left-eye, I knew what he was going to say next. History repeating itself.

“Are you going to have me wear an eye patch?”

“Yes,” he responded. “Every day for two hours a day for the next three months. When an adult has a lazy eye, it’s much harder to heal, so I need you to go into intensive therapy on it right away. Do you know what that means?”

“You want me to learn French, so you’re sending me to France.”

“Exactly.”

Wearing an eye patch for a few hours every day was also a pretty traumatic experience for a younger me, especially at school, but when I found out that I’d have to do it all again, I just laughed. That’s one of the many upsides of being an adult. All the trauma that you went through as a kid eventually becomes an acceptable and sometimes funny part of you. Wear an eye patch every day? Hand the thing over. What do I care? I hang out with hipsters and artists and other degenerates now, I’ll fit right in.

So this is what I look like now. For two hours a day every day for the next three months of my life. It’s not that bad, and honestly? I’m inspired to go ahead and get braces again.

Molly McAleer (A.K.A. Molls) is a writer and a co-founder of HelloGiggles. She lives in Los Angeles with her chihuahua, Wagandstuff. You can see more of her work here.

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