Nano Poblano 2015 · People Ponderings

Ah, Sweet Puberty

I never thought I’d be one of those kids. Ya know, the geeky ones who had braces and wore glasses? I was way too cool for that! Then it hit me: puberty.

detentionFor six months I was in denial that I had a vision problem until my English teacher pulled me aside and asked me what was up.  My grades were dropping: As to Cs. Was there trouble in the home? Was I having problems with friends? No, nothing like that… To be honest, I thought I had just gotten stupider.

Then one day my teacher asked me to read something off the chalkboard. Despite sitting in the front row I couldn’t read the sentence at all. It was all one giant blur. My teacher thought I was being belligerent and threatened to send me to detention if it kept up. I was mortified because I had always been every teacher’s pet and the best behaved in all my classes.

Fortunately, my school was doing vision screenings that week. All my friends had “passed” their vision exams and when I got the result of 20/80 vision my world crumbled. I would need glasses! Rather than being relieved that I wasn’t stupid after all, that I just couldn’t see properly, my pre-teen self began to think there was something deeply flawed with me. I saw my future laid out for me: I would be the kid that others made fun of.
Ha! Middle school drama!

This was occurring at the same time when my pesweet valley highers were all shooting up all around me like reeds, while I stayed the same height. When my pediatrician told me I would only grow to be be 5’4 I was devastated because I wanted to be 5’6 just like the twins Jessica and Elizabeth in my favorite novel series Sweet Valley High. The 5’4 height is now laughable because I’m way more petite than that: I’m actually a quarter inch less than 5 foot even!

It didn’t matter that some of my peers got glasses a year or two later. What mattered that I was extremely short and bespeckled and, thus, defective. Ah, teenage insecurity!

When I got contacts my freshman year of high school all of my peers were upset because I was the only girl on my cheerleading squad that had glasses and somehow that made me less of a snob (in their eyessnellen chart). Fortunately I was able to keep my keep up appearances as “the smart one” because I actually paid attention to the games we were cheering at and learned the rules of each sport. I would then explain these rules to my fellow cheerleaders (ie. “You don’t cheer when the other team scores a touchdown!”) but it went out one ear and into the other as they were too distracted by physiques of the young men to pay attention to the game.

I laugh now at all this because this is all a normal part of puberty. Changing body, insecurity, juvenile perceptions of others…

And oh how I wish my vision were still 20/80! It is now 20/450 and if my vision weren’t able to be corrected with glasses and contacts I’d be legally blind. I can’t even see the big “E” on the Snellen Chart! At all. All I see is white. Really!

So, how ’bout you? Are you as “blind as a bat” like me? Did you have a rough transition into puberty?

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45 thoughts on “Ah, Sweet Puberty

  1. I’m right with you on the height issue – I’m pretty much the same height you are. I was hoping for 5’2″, but no such luck. Five foot nothing if I stand up really straight.

    My husband is from a tall family, so I was hoping my girls would be taller. The oldest made it all the way to 5’1″, but my youngest has topped out around 4’11’ or so. Sigh. We joke about my husband having the superpower of being of average height, so he can reach things without climbing on a stepstool.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes!!! Another shortie. 💜❤💚

      That’s funny about your average heighted hubby. My kids haven’t reached puberty yet so we’ll see…

      My husband is almost 6 feet tall and I have an ongoing bet with my in laws that by the age 16 my daughter will be under 5’4 (statistically according to genetics she’s likely to be 5’2 – 5’3 but my in laws think she’ll be 5’6 – 5’7). Only time will tell!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Maybe it’s a girl thing. I’m barely over 5 foot myself and desperately hoped my 3 boys would pass me up in height. Thank goodness they all have, tho only one has reached my hubbie’s height of 5’9”. Oh well.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Today I Learned the eye chart has a name (“Snellen Chart”). 🙂

    I don’t think my vision is quite that bad. I did, however, finally have to switch this year to “progressive lenses” (i.e. bifocals). They have three different distance ranges (far, mid-range, and close-up) and they take a lot of getting used to. I kept getting dizzy the first two days I wore them.

    I don’t remember the exact day when I (or my parents) realized my vision was worsening and I would need glasses. What I do remember, one of the clearest memories of the time, was the drive home from the eye doctor the day I got them. I looked out the window in fascination; I felt like I could see every blade of grass yards out from the roadside. It happens so slowly you don’t realize what you were missing until you have it back again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I got my first “multi-focal lenses” last week Brent and I don’t like them at all. They say it takes time to get used to them, but I keep putting my old single lense glasses back on! I did also get my first reading glasses (single lense) however, at the same time. And it’s made reading the computer sooooo much easier. No more tired eyes! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes; you do get used to them, and ultimately things are much better. I find the “middle” range of these lenses is perfect for the computer screen (which I sit in front of all day–my optometrist recommended special computer glasses but I find these work fine). And I no longer have to sneak a look under the lenses for close-up stuff… that had become a habit and it was funny how long it took to break it and realize that, yes, I can see it fine with these lenses.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. LOL. Yes..exactly..lifting your head to look under the glasses. I’m still doing that out of habit. Even if I’m not wearing any glasses, and I’m trying to look at something close up. Will be interesting to see how long it takes for this habit to die.

          Mothers have the same issue…of rocking, swaying out of habit..even when they’re not holding their baby/child. I did it with the shopping trolley a few times. Blush! LOL

          Liked by 2 people

  3. LOL Quixie. I got my first glasses at 15. And unfortunately I’d just started at that school (having just moved back to Australia). My parents had very little money (being missionaries), so the glasses had cheap plastic frames..which back then, were definately not cool. I felt so self-conscious! So I started sitting at the back of the classroom and if anyone turned around I’d quickly take my glasses off. Ah the joys of being a teen!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Poor eolandeeliva! Too bad you weren’t born in the 1990s — you could totally pull off the Hipster look! You were just way ahead of your time!

      It’s like when I wore pigtails, plaid skirts and knee high socks to school after returning from England. Everyone in the states made fun of me, which was a shame because less than a decade later Britney Spears made that look popular in her Oops I Did It Again music video! See, not akwkard teen phase, just ahead of our time!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Fashion and fads are such an odd thing. When I was growing up, the kids would call glasses with thick black plastic frames “BCGs” (“birth control glasses”)… no one our age would choose those if they had a choice. And then 20 years later, when I was working at my alma mater, those were the “in” thing and the fashionable students were wearing them.

      Same with backpacks. When I was growing up, you wore your backpack with only one arm through a strap… only dorks used both straps. And then 20 years later, on campus, everyone uses both straps. Who decides these things? Dr. Seuss had it right with the Sneetches.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I’ve only just got my first pair of darkish plastic rimmed glasses a few weeks ago..first time since I was 15! LOL. I’m such a dag! (translation…dork..in case that’s just an Aussie term). 😉

            Liked by 1 person

    1. And really isn’t that all that counts to your kids? Their peer’s opinions? At least I thought that’s how it works. But then, of course, no one thinks their own mom (mum?) Is cool. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was born cross eyed and had surgery. Eye patch and glasses at age 5.
    I used to be confused why all the eye doctors had glasses. Must not be good at their jobs.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Moving towns and puberty are largely responsible for my becoming a Christian.
    What a horrible time.
    Oddly, I never had braces as a kid but just did a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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