"Men seldom make passesRecently I did a photoshoot with Musico Roots for her Esteemed project. It made me confront my struggles with body positivity and gave me motivation to finally get around this series—called "Body Acceptance" because I believe we don't have to be positive about every part of our body, but we need to find some level of acceptance (modification included). I've been wanting to write a post about being a severely myopic performer as well so I decided to start with my eyes and talk about both their appearance and their function.
At girls who wear glasses." - "News Item" by Dorothy Parker
Like many Asian-Americans, I grew up with kids making fun of me for my eyes. If that wasn't enough of a blow to my self-esteem, my own family often commented on how I "would be so beautiful if it weren't for [my] small eyes" or how I should get double eyelid surgery when I got older. Even now people think I’m sad, tired, or angry when my face is at neutral.
|From Buzzfeed's |
"25 Beauty Struggles Asian Girls Go Through"Ami-rian / Getty Images / Cathy Ngo / BuzzFeed
That brings me to the source of my biggest performance nightmare: my rigid gas permeable contact lenses. Before every show, I freak out about the possibility of getting glitter, an eyelash, or a speck of dust into my eye and causing excruciating pain and lots of tears. RGP lenses are an updated form of hard contacts, which means I can constantly feel their presence (one can get acclimated to them, but my eyes don't like wearing them every day). A tiny thread on them feels like being poked in the eyeball. I've had a couple of close calls and one incident while kittening. It makes me feel bad that I end up being this liability to producers and stage managers.
So why do I bother? Well, I can only see clearly about 4.5 inches from my face. Everything else is a collection of blurry blobs. I'd rather not risk taking a tumble off the stage; plus, unfocused eyes make me look high. My small eyes and monolids keep me from being able to insert soft contacts, and my vision is still changing so LASIK will have to wait.
I laugh at irony of contacts being preferred because glasses obscure my face and reflect light, yet having RGP contacts limit my expressiveness due to the fact that the lenses actually shift around my eyeballs. I make do with what I have by working to be a better actress and sometimes drawing in that double eyelid. I also get my bit of critique in with my "Black Glasses" act. The ending is a reminder that glasses in real life are not accessories that enhance or conceal a person's attractiveness. They're a necessity for near- and far-sighted individuals to live a normal life.
|Photo by Dolly Cosplay|