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.
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,