Q: Can't You See? A: Yes (Finally). (a/k/a Cassidy Has Contacts)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a good week.

Mine was challenging, for several reasons. But I'm surviving.

Details on that, and some more upbeat news (honest), below the fold.

First, I fell running on Monday and did a number on my right elbow (which I'd fractured as a teen). It's feeling a bit better, but it's still fairly painful. I was fortunate I didn't break it again.

There was another painful incident, this time in my personal life, but I will leave it at that. All I will say is that I've decided it's best to simply focus on the future right now, and not short-term fixes.

And I'm OK with that.

I've spent my entire transition doing the hard, hard work of therapy to uncover my darkest emotions and most painful scars, and go right at them, head on.

I've chosen, over and over, not to take the easy way out at every opportunity.

As a result, I don't need constant validation from other people.

I don't need to be in a relationship so someone can tell me I'm OK.

Similarly, I'm perfectly comfortable acknowledging that I'm attracted to other women. My sexuality isn't a source of shame for me.

I'm also perfectly comfortable with being attracted to both trans and non-trans women.

I don't need to be with a "real" woman so she can reassure me I'm one too.

Nor do I need to be with someone with a fancy title.

I can wait for the right person, whoever she is, and whatever she happens to do. I'm not terrified by the prospect of spending time alone with my thoughts.


Because I know exactly who I am.

And because I know I'm pretty special.

And beautiful.

Inside and out.

My journey still isn't quite complete at the moment.

But I'm going to get there.

And when I do, I'm going to do so having done it the right way.

I will be ready to live my life to its fullest.

And I will do so knowing I earned it.

Nothing was handed to me.

I didn't cut corners.

And I now know that if I meet the right person, I'll be ready for her.

And if I don't meet her, I'll be ready for that as well.

I decided at the beginning of my transition that I was going to do it the right way. I reached deep down inside myself and decided I was worth it.

And I am so, so glad I did.

I've witnessed firsthand what happens to someone who didn't.

The price they are paying - and will pay, for the rest of their lives - is not worth whatever short-term, fleeting pleasures they might find in the moment.

I can look myself in the mirror and like who I see.

My opinion is the only one that matters.

That knowledge is worth all of the pain and sacrifice and tears.


I want to publicly thank my dear friend Alice, who has been unstinting in her support during a challenging time.

You learn who truly cares for you when they are there for you when the chips are down, and don't just view you as someone they can use for their own purposes. Instead, they are there for you because they truly love you.

So... thank you, Alice. You are the best. I love you.


In more upbeat news, I'm happy to report that I did something I wasn't sure I would ever be able to do this week.

I finally received a prescription for contact lenses.

I am very, very nearsighted. I'd worn glasses my entire life. I was hopelessly blind without them.

Since going full-time, oddly enough, I had several people, completely independent of one another, make the same observation during one of the rare moments when I did NOT have my glasses on.

One evening last summer I came back into the office in from post-work run. I stopped by my desk to pick up my pocketbook before I headed out.

I'd removed my prescription sunglasses upon entering the building, and was waiting to cool down a bit before putting on my regular glasses. As I waited, I heard the Divine Miss M, whom I've written about previously, call out a hello from her cubicle.

 I walked over, stuck my head over the partition, and returned her greeting. 

She glanced up, and was starting to speak when she stopped, and instead stared at me.

"Cassidy... you have blue eyes!" she said with a tone of wonder.

"Well yes, M, I do," I replied, amused. "As a matter of fact, I've always had them."

She was still staring at me, unsmiling.

"I had no idea," she said. "How did I never notice them before? Or anyone else? I mean, they're really, really... blue!"

I shrugged, adding that I'd never really thought about it.

"It's your glasses," she said finally. "They're to blame."

"Well, they do let me, you know... see," I said. "I'd like to think they do some good."

She shook her head.

"You need to get contacts, Cass," she said matter-of-factly.

"I do?" I said.

She nodded.

"Yes, you do. It's time."

"Time for what?"

"Time to stop hiding behind your glasses."

"I don't think I'm hiding behind them, though."

"That's because you've always worn them. They were a way to hide. And you didn't really want anyone to notice you for most of your life. Right?"

"What makes you think that?" I replied.

"You told me so,"she said, smiling.

"Damn," I said. "Hoisted by my own petard yet again."

She laughed, then looked at me again.

"You don't need to hide anymore, Cass," she said. "You know that, right?"

"Of course," I replied.

"Good," she said. 'Then promise me you'll make an appointment to get contacts."

"OK," I said.

"No," she said. "Tell me you promise."

"What difference does that make?" I said. "I could just say I promise to get you off my back and then forget about it."

"You could," she said. "But you won't. You can't."

"Is that so," I replied, smiling. "Why is that?"

"Because I know you well enough to know that once you say you're going to do something, you do it."

"Damned consistency again," I said with a sigh. "So... I'm getting contacts then."

She grinned.

"Yes, you are."

And... I did.


I still hesitated; to put it kindly, I am far from dextrous at the best of times.

I knew going in that learning to put them in and take them out was going to be a challenge.

Even so, I still was unprepared for just how much of a challenge it was.

After two hours with an incredibly patient nurse at my eye doctor's office, I managed to successfully get them in and out.

... Only to promptly be waylaid by a nasty outbreak of psoriasis around both of my eyes that meant I couldn't wear contacts for a month.

Which was promptly followed by the recurrence of my battle with the flu, just before Christmas.

Which, in turn, was followed by another session, during which I wound up irritating my still-healing left eye enough during an hourlong struggle to relearn how to insert them that I had to wait antoher three weeks for a lesson.

But finally, two weeks ago, I did it.

I went in determined that this time I was going to get the lenses in, and out, and I was going to master it.

And... I did.

And so this week I was able to return for a final fitting with my eye doctor to check the prescription.

When she wanted to change the lens for my left eye to see if a slightly different prescription might work better, I was able to replace the current lens before she could turn around from washing her hands to do it herself.

"You have been practicing, Cass!" she said, laughing. "I'm proud of you!"

"Thank you," I replied. "I'm proud of me too!"

And I was.

It wasn't easy.

It never is.

But I did it.

I can now put them in and take them out in one or two tries.

I earned the right to wear contacts.

I love being able to run without glasses, or to enter a warm building and not have to remove fogged-up glasses.

I've even received several compliments about my eyes this week - from total strangers, no less. (Those of you who are non-New Englanders cannot conceive of how unlikely this is. :c))

The Divine Miss M was right.

I did need to get contacts.

And now... I have. :c)

Another little victory on the way to being myself.


So... thank you, DMM.

You were right.

Again. xoxoxo


One last note: I promised I would keep everyone posted on my march to dropping the remaining "steroid weight" I discussed in my last post.

The results of my first week:

I lost 1.5 lbs.

That's my target for each week.

I'm pleased to meet it, but to be honest, my self-image isn't the best at the moment.

I feel out of sorts, and my face looks puffy and a bit bloated for some reason, even after I've started running again for two weeks. (See the photo above for proof. It was taken last weekend, before the difficulties alluded to earlier took place, incidentally.)

This won't stop me. It's likely the result of being stressed out and tired from a challenging week.

 I know that by sticking to my plan things like this will take care of themselves.

I believe in the process.

And I believe in me.

That said, as I get closer and closer to my goal, I know it will get more and more challenging.

Holding myself accountable publicly helps me prepare to meet that challenge.

It's not one big decision.

It's many, many small decisions.

Deciding to get up on a cold morning to go for a run before work.

Going for a walk before and after work the next few days while you recover from the fall you endured while completing that run, to make up the difference.

Pushing to return to my old pace (8:40/mile), slowly but surely, after losing six weeks to the flu.

I've gone from 10:30/mile down to 9:04 yesterday in two weeks of running.

So I'm getting there.

And I will get there.

With your help.

So, once again... thank you. :c)


Time to end with the soundtrack for this post. Here's The Marshall Tucker Band performing their classic "Can't You See," from their self-titled 1973 debut album:

I never, ever get tired of hearing this. Such a great song...


Jenna on January 31, 2016 at 4:18 AM said...

I know what you mean about hiding behind your glasses. I have contacts and before transition I used to wear them often, especially if I'd been out running or swimming in the morning. I still wear them for sports but remove them before I get on with the rest of my day.
I never used to mind wearing my glasses to work but on the one occasion I've worn them into work I caught my reflection in the kitchen window and immediately went and took the contacts out and put on my glasses. I know I'm using my glasses to hide behind and its something that I will have to deal with at some point, if only to get rid of the 30 plus pairs of disposables I've got in the house.

Contacts do take getting used to and putting something that close to the eyeball goes against all instincts but before you know it you do it without thinking.

Dani on January 31, 2016 at 10:17 AM said...

As a fellow New Englander, born and raised, I know exactly what you mean; Yankee frugality is about more than just money, it's deeply ingrained in our culture here, as could be expected from the inventors of the one word answer to any question. :)

Cassidy on February 14, 2016 at 8:54 PM said...

@ Jenna: I'm still getting used to wearing my contacts, but the more I do the more I love them. I think it's partly because of what you said - I'm tired of hiding. I've worked very, very hard to get to where I am. I don't need to hide behind anything any longer.

@ Dani: It's so true. I've never felt at home here, for a number of reasons. And I will be doing something about that. Too many haunted memories here.

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