What’s Your Blind Spot?

What’s Your Blind Spot?


Late the other night at the Carmel writing retreat, after three plus hours in a masterminding session listening to and giving feedback on everyone’s books, my roommate Jeannie and I had become giddy from equal parts exhaustion, exhilaration, and chocolate.

In between fits of laughter, we would tell stories from our lives, peeling back the layers to reveal a bit more about ourselves.
We’d pull something out of our sacred stash of writings that we’d never read aloud to anyone before, offering ourselves up for critique, only to have our trusted roomie leap across the room and throw her arms around us. “You have to read that to the group!” We’d exclaim. Then we’d double over in a giant fit of the giggles. It was like summer camp for adults.
Pinkie swear.

One great story that Jeannie told, had to do with a crooked tooth.
She may be in her forties, and a highly successful entrepreneur, but she has the face of a pixie, a disarmingly charming southern drawl, the eyes of an imp, and a slightly crooked incisor (which I didn’t even notice until she told this story).

This tooth is part of a big beautiful smile, it is not unsightly, it’s certainly not calling attention to itself, and it is NOT a snaggle tooth. I know a snaggle tooth when I see one because my old boxer has a wicked one.


Anyway, Jeanne is living a perfectly lovely life, slightly crooked incisor and all. As a matter of fact – she doesn’t even see it when she looks in the mirror.

So as she tells it, recently her mom asked her, quite seriously, “Honey, are you ever going to straighten that crooked tooth of yours?”
What?! I have a ….what?!” She ran to a mirror to survey the scene.

Yep, sure enough, there before her was a slightly turned in tooth.

‘Was it THAT bad? Why hadn’t she noticed it?‘ Her mind raced. ‘Is it holding me back? Are people repelled?’
You know how the mind works. Suddenly, because it was her mom calling attention to it, she had the teeth of a troll.


She just had a blind spot. Something she was so used to seeing, that she didn’t even notice it anymore.

God, we laughed about that tooth. “Yeah, I was wondering about that, when ARE you going to get that fixed?” I said, wincing and making gagging sounds. We laughed until our sides ached.

Then I remembered a blind spot story of my own, so I shared.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a flesh colored bump on the tip of my nose. I guess it’s technically a mole; but it’s not black, and there’s not a hair growing out of the center, so I’m not a witch—I can hear you, stop thinking that!

Anywho, I’ve had it removed twice, once sliced off and once frozen, and both times it grew back. Seems it felt cozy on that piece of real estate on my face, and it had no intention of vacating. So I left it alone.
To be honest, I never saw it when I looked in the mirror, it was just a part of my face.
Ahhhhhh, and then there’s my shitty vision—a blessing and a curse.

Cut to: A blind date, the 1990’s. I’m dressed to the nines, hair, make up, the whole enchilada. I’m seated across the table from an attractive man, at a VERY expensive, and perfectly pretentious Beverly Hills restaurant. I am picking at the $65 salad while he orders a bottle of something red, and when he finishes, he gets a big warm smile on his face, leans in like he’s going to kiss me (so I put down my fork and stopped chewing) then he reaches up and touches my nose lightly and says “You’re a pretty girl—you should get that fixed.”

He mole shamed me.

Motherf*cker, please. I spent an hour getting ready, I shaved my legs, I’m wearing my best…everything, I’m smart and witty (and humble) and you can’t take your eyes off my mole??

I grabbed my purse, politely excused myself and drove like a bat out of hell all the way home. I literally ran to the bathroom to study my face in the mirror, and there it was, my persistent friend.
(You really did have to get in just the right light to see it…I swear).

The next morning I called the dermatologist and had it removed…this time for good.

The things that I mentioned are minor, but what if we have a blind spot to something that is actually holding us back?
What if that guy was Mr. Right? Yeah, not in a million years. BUT…what if? I really knew deep down that I had the nose wart, I was just in a state of perpetual denial, so, maybe we shouldn’t shoot the messenger.

What else am I in denial about? Thinking I’m an organizing fool when I’m really just a fool?
Am I blind to the fact that I really cannot cook? Or keep to a budget? Or stay interested in a man for more than a year?

I’m convinced we ALL have a blind spot story. What’s yours?

Love you, warts and all,

  • I love your writing style and the lessons you impart without me even noticing that I am learning! My story had to do with being one of those early developer girls who at the age of 15 could put Dolly Parton to shame. But at the age of 11 when I was just beginning to go beyond “normal” growth on top, I overheard (ok I eavesdropped!) my parents having a discussion about how noticeable my breasts were. My cheeks stung with embarrassment and my hands flew up to cover my shameful chest. From that day forward, I had body hatred like nobody’s business. And it probably WAS nobody’s business…. Because I had never even noticed. Side note: at age 18 I had reduction surgery. Ps: where is the Follow button on your blog??

    • jbertolus says:

      Ohhhh man! That story! Right? you knew, but it wasn’t bothering you until…UGH.
      The follow button should pop up at the bottom. Or you can subscribe. I think it only asks you for a recent tax return 😉

  • Dominator says:

    I’ve never been much for hair maintenance/fashion so for years I pulled it back in a pony tail. I think I started a trend as, soon after, I was noticing it with other men (Steven Segal !?) and it was a great way to cover up the start of male pattern baldness. Being gifted with height, I got away with it (so I thought!) for years; until one day, while waiting in a long line at the bank, my eye drifted to the security monitor. On the screen was this overhead shot of the line with a guy’s huge bald spot staring back at you… and I could not find him in the line!
    Yeah, you guessed it. In my defense, it truly was in a blind spot but the next day I shaved it all and never looked back.
    Best fashion statement I ever made!

    • jbertolus says:

      I’ve seen the pictures, definitely better/sexier with your head shaved! Thank you Dominator and thank you bank security camera 😉

  • Vulnerability, like good wine, is better when shared! Janet, thanks for sharing your blind spot with me (and everyone else!) Just a little update for y’all: I’ve got my Invisalign appointment scheduled next week 🙂 And, Janet, that pooch is ADORABLE! XO

    • jbertolus says:

      Thanks for commenting Jeannie! I LOVED telling all my secrets and stories with you! My husband has always grumbled about Dita’s snaggle, I think it makes her face…interesting.
      Miss you!

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