True Colors

It’s been a week since I banged my eye socket into the corner of my nightstand, and the resulting black eye is still going strong.  I wake up every morning hoping that my “shiner” has finally begun to fade, but one look in the mirror tells me that it’s actually looking worse with each passing day.  (Or as my husband so eloquently put it when he checked out my eye this morning, “Oh, my God!”)  It’s not nearly as sore, and the area immediately underneath my eyebrow is fading to a sickly yellow, but the eyelid itself is still a stunning reddish-purple, with bruises at each corner.  And the dark purple color is steadily spreading underneath my eye, giving me the mother of all eye bags.

Right after the accident, I could hide the worst of the damage with carefully applied make up, but that’s not working anymore.  Unless I’m wearing oversized sunglasses, my black eye is on display for everyone to see.  Some people ask what happened, others maintain a tactful silence, but everyone who sees me can’t help but notice it.

At first, I was very self-conscious about my black eye, and hesitated to go out in public.  But I soon realized that I had only two options:  stay home and hide until the colors faded away, or just go on and live my life, even if I did have an ugly, swollen eye.  I choose to go about my normal life, and learned a few things in the process.

I have always tried hard to look my best.  I dye my hair, put on make up, and try to wear clothes that are at least somewhat flattering.   And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of that.  But having a black eye made me realize that no amount of effort was going to make me actually look good.  And I was surprised to realize that I didn’t really care about that nearly as much as I thought I would.  Once I got used to the idea, I really had no problem just heading out into the world, scary-looking eye and all.

It was actually rather liberating.  I stopped worrying about my outfits when I was getting ready to go out, and stopped getting annoyed when my hair insisted on choosing it’s own style, as it so often does.  I still applied make up, but if I messed it up a little, I didn’t take it off and start again.  For the first time in a long time, I felt very comfortable in my own skin, with no need to hide the flaws.  And I think that is a very good thing.

The irony is that I have always been most attracted to people who are genuine, and who are just as willing to acknowledge their flaws as they are their strengths.  And I have worked hard at trying to live my own life as honestly as I possibly can, putting my real self out there, emotionally and intellectually.  But it took getting a black eye to make me realize that it’s perfectly okay to let people see my physical flaws as well.

So this past week has actually been good for me.  It reminded me that I don’t always have to put my best foot (or face) forward, and that my appearance is such a small part of who I really am.  I’m not saying I’m glad I got the black eye, but I really believe the lesson it taught me was worth it.

64 thoughts on “True Colors

  1. Ann, that’s a great life lesson; sorry you needed a black eye to go with the lesson. A dear friend of mine in addiction recovery always reminded me that we are our own harshest critic. Others are much more forgiving of our faults…and black eyes.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You’re right, we are our own worst critics. I’d still rather not have a black eye, but I’m very glad that it brought the point home to me that I am okay, just as I am. Thanks, Larry!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch, Ann!! I bet that hurt! I’m sorry that you ended up with a black eye but I guess it was, in around about way, perhaps a blessing in disguise if the outcome was that you now feel more comfortable in your own skin. I’m a great believer in ‘beauty is only skin deep’ and that it is the emotional qualities and a person’s kindness, honesty and integrity that really are far more important.

    I could really relate to this post as someone recovering from a mini-stroke who now has a bit of a squiffy smile and one eye more droopy than the other (but, am thankfully still the owner of my sense of humour which I’m glad I’ve kept to deal with some of the funny looks I get), I’ve learned that we are far more than a ‘pretty face.’ Nobody’s perfect after all and beauty is in the eye (excuse the pun) of the beholder.

    Nevertheless, I hope your shiner starts to improve and feel less sore soon, Ellie x

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so sorry about the mini-stroke! But I’m sure you learned the same thing: we just go on about our lives, even if sometime we know we aren’t looking our best. From what I’ve heard about strokes, your eye should continue to improve, and I hope that is true. Still, the lessons we’ve learned from this will stick with us! Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If it’s not one thing it’s another (or as Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, “It’s always somethin’.”). In my case, the ravages of time and gravity are doing their best to steal my youthful countenance. Can’t help that, though I tend to cling a little too tightly to the fact that I still have all my hair. I’ll make for a shaggy corpse, if nothing else. Hopefully everything else keeps working right up until then.

    This, too, shall pass.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. When I had a black eye (fell over and my face landed on my glasses*) I felt self-conscious to start with but actually found I soon forgot and just got on with things. Occasionally stares reminded me but the biggest shock was unexpectedly catching sight of myself in a mirror! I guess you can adapt to anything.

    *Broke the glasses too, but at least I didn’t break my head.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That must have hurt! My husband got a black eye a couple of times from his glasses as well, when he was playing basketball and someone’s shoulder would shove the edge of the frame into his eye socket. This is my first black eye, or really bad one. But you are right: after a while you just sort of forget about it and get on with things. And remember that looks don’t really matter that much!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a wonderful, empowering post of self acceptance and love. You know the thing that attracts me most to a person and that’s their smile. And I bet you have a beautiful big one. That’s what counts. Your ‘shiner’ will fade in time but your inner glow never will. I really loved this post Ann.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Miriam! And I can see why you are attracted to a person’s smile: it tells you so much about the person’s true personality, and that’s what does matter most. Sometimes I guess life just gives us a reminder about where our true beauty comes from, and getting a black eye was definitely one of those reminders for me. Have a great weekend, Miriam and shine on!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s easier to do than you would think, isn’t it? I’m just glad you didn’t hit it quite as hard as I did. I was trying to grab the TV remote from the floor….and I don’t think I’ll be doing that again anytime soon!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. those night stands sound like dangerous offenders …. very glad I don’t have one 🙂

    Beauty is far more than appearance, note that you have large dark glasses on in your profile picture 🙂 Hope you heal well after this great lesson Ann 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d get rid of night, but it comes in too handy what with the lamp for reading, the drawer for my stuff, etc. But I know have a very healthy respect for it, I can tell you that! As for the profile picture, those glasses weren’t hiding anything, it was just sunny the day the picture was taken. But I deliberately chose it for my profile pic because it is fairly anonymous. When I first started this blog, I was still very nervous about putting too much personal info on a public blog. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You know when you’re walking from room to room and you happen to misjudge your personal space relative to the door jamb and *BANG* you clobber your hand? And it hurts like STINK and you marvel: how can it be that I’m traveling that quickly to make this hurt so bad? Was it like that with your eye and the nightstand?
    I’m delighted that your revelation about appearances was the silver lining in this otherwise painful experience.
    Brilliant post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Maggie! It was just like when we smack our hand into the door jamb! I was actually lying in bed, watching TV, and decided to turn it off and go to sleep. The remote was on the floor next to the bed, and I turned sideways, reached down to grab it, and wham…hit my head very sharply on the corner of the night stand. I’ve done that many times before with no problem, so I have no idea why I misjudged the distance so much. But, as you say, at least some good came out of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Good for you Ann! I feel like you should make up some hilariously, ridiculous story about how you got that shiner!😂 Hope you’re all healed up soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As I mentioned before in one of my earlier responses let the inner person shine and the outer appearance becomes less important over time. This is really comforting to know as we age. One thing would bother me, if people drew the wrong conclusion and thought of the black eye as the result of some domestic violence. This could be the start of another post. Thank you, Ann! You always give your audience some food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, that’s the only reason I feel that I have to tell people what happened. I don’t want them to think that my husband would ever hit me (he absolutely wouldn’t) or that I would allow that. So being uncomfortable about showing the black eye isn’t really just about appearance, it’s also about people drawing the wrong conclusion. But I have learned to just go on about my life, and am learning to let go of my concern about what people think. It’s a learning experience for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Bravo! And very true. The first time I went camping with my family and my husband’s family I was a little self conscious because it is quite impractical to apply make up and blow dry your hair when your camping but after the first day, like you said, I found it incredibly liberating just being me in my natural form! No one ran away screaming so I guess I didn’t look too bad!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is liberating to let our imperfect selves be seen, isn’t it? As much as I hate having a black eye (and worrying that people will think I’ve been abused in some way), I’m still glad this happened, because it has made me let go of the need to have to always “look my best.” Not that I thought I was any great beauty (believe me, I don’t), but because I thought I always had to put my best face out there. Now I know I don’t…..

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sometimes life lessons come when we least expect them or, in your case, when we painfully would prefer not to be taught them😊
    Maybe you should wear a tshirt and write something on it that tells people what might have happened to your eye. But you have to make it interesting or pique their curiosity with some bizarre story. You just can’t tell them the truth…:) it’s just not sexy enough…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, I need a really good cover story! It’s like the time my daughter blew her knee out just running across the front yard. She had surgery, crutches, rehab…the works. But what she didn’t have was a good story about how it happened, like diving to block the game-changing goal or something like that. Maybe this will be the topic of a future blog post? How I COULD have blackened my eye! LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh, this is a powerful post. Most of us try so hard to control the image we put forward to the world. It’s terrifying when that image goes askew–how brave we have to be to go forward. I am so sorry for your injury but in the meantime, refua schlema (Hebrew for speedy healing). No matter what, you find a way to put your best self forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cindy! You understood what I felt exactly: my black eye didn’t mesh with the image I wanted to put forward. And so I had to decide whether to hide until the eye healed, or just let go of my need to control what I look like. It was a good lesson to learn, although I admit I’m ready for my eye to go back to normal again. So, thank you for your healing wishes!!

      Like

  13. Good for you, not the black eye part. I hope that gets better soon. I’ve never really stressed about a perfect appearance, probably because living in the country doing chores all day, my hair was usually wind blown and a dirt smudged face or clothes was common and not a concern if someone stopped by. A couple years ago, I even quit worrying if I get caught without makeup on. I still wear it but not everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a healthy attitude to have, and one I’m fast approaching. The black eye really helped. It’s not that I ever thought I looked so good…I didn’t…it’s just that I thought I needed to look the best I could. And now I know that I don’t, except for occasionally when I happen to want to. It is liberating!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. What gets me is this line: “The irony is that I have always been most attracted to people who are genuine, and who are just as willing to acknowledge their flaws as they are their strengths.” It’s strange isn’t it that we frequently can’t turn ourselves into the people we like or admire most? I’ve got better at this over the years (age and realising I don’t care as much what people think of me has gone some way toward it) but. I’m still sometimes aware of what I perceive as ‘something not quite right about me’ (my words.
    I hope your black eye heals soon… when I get them, bruises and swellings always take ages to go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It doesn’t hurt any more, which is a good thing! But it will be at least another week before it’s not visible. Still, I’m getting used to it, and trying very hard to use this as a learning moment in my life. There is no need to try to look my best at all times, because sometimes stuff just happens. And other times, my best is not required in anyone’s mind but my own. But you are right…it is so very hard to try to be the person we want to be, isn’t it? Thanks for the comment, Val!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I gave up on trying to make my hair go a certain way . . . it certainly chooses its own style. That one thing allowed me less frustration — I used to get so frustrated — and saved me time. I also never used to go out without eye make-up on. But since I teach an exercise class I am out running errands all the time with no make-up or worse, the little eye-liner I put on before teaching smeared all over my eyes because it gets sweaty and I forget to check it after class before I run my errands. I love that you gained some sort of “freedom” from your eye injury. Yay . . . silver lining!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I rarely wear eye make-up anymore as I’m never 100% happy with the job I do, and I have had so many problems with my eyes that it seems stupid to tempt fate because of vanity (this is sounding a lot like my comment on your last post). I never worry about going out and how I look. Except for the wedding we’re going to on Friday. New dress, new shoes, new handbag and, for the first time in 40 years, I’m getting my nails done. I may be insane, and they will probably chip right away, but I think it will actually be faster than if i do them myself. Oh and make-up of course. My husband doesn’t go through any of that. Just clean suit. So I guess when push comes to shove, I do care how I look. At least at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s how I am, most of the time. I used to think I had to put my “best face forward” at all times, but now I only try to look nice if the occasion warrants it. Otherwise, I figure just being clean and myself is usually good enough. (I do get embarrassed when I have to go somewhere directly from the shelter where I volunteer, as I haven’t showered yet and am often sweaty and smell strongly of dogs, if not actual dog poop.)

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.