Strabismus has been my life-long enemy. Because of its interference during my developmental years, both physical and intellectual pursuits proved truly difficult. Sports were unwinnable. Reading and comprehension problems made intellectual pursuits improbable. This all greatly impacted my self-esteem.
My father always bragged about his prowess in sports during his college years, hanging low over my head while growing up and I longed to be like him. There was only one photo of him in football dress and it truly looked heroic. He oft repeated the story of catching a pass thrown so hard that it split his hand. Though I asked often, it took me a very long time to understand that the reason he wouldn't go out and throw a ball with me as a child was because, well, I couldn't catch it. Damn strabismus. As an adult I asked him if he would have played sports if he could never win at them. He quickly replied 'yes,' though I wonder if he would be so quick to play if bullied and harassed at every turn.
I had severe headaches all through childhood. I thought everyone did. Back in 8th or 9th grade I took a placement test with my classmates, one of those multiple choice tests where you answer by filling in a single circle with pencil. I developed a massive headache - the kind I got from reading and doing close work. We couldn't leave and I couldn't concentrate, so I just started filling in multiple circles for each question and making designs across the test sheet. I still remember how bad that headache was. A few weeks later I was removed from my 'normal' classroom and placed into a remedial class. Bored to tears, I sailed through assignments and was eventually placed back in the population. I do recall a guidance councillor asking if anything was wrong, though this might be when my mom died a few years later. I didn't know how to respond because my parents never understood my strabismus, certainly not my mom. One day, around the time of that test, she walked in the room and called me horrible names, then left without explaining herself. To say that left me stunned would be quite an understatement.
It's a brave new world for me now being able to read and write with help from those same eyes now see so often in stereo. I can read far longer without fear of headaches. Every so often, the act of reading actually pulls me into a swoon of stereo. To now be reading book after book, instead of recuperating from the headaches and eye strain caused from reading a single volume or part thereof is a godsend. Despite my struggles in those English classes, I feel that I write and articulate my ideas well. I'm no master grammatician, yet I can get my ideas across. As a graphic designer and computer artist, my eyes do tire when overused, yet I bounce back and my fear of headaches is slowly vanishing as I continue to trust my new eyesight.