Answers To Questions Literally No One Has Asked About My Contact Lenses

  • Yep, never had them before! I was forbidden as a teen, which was probably wise, because I was an awkward child with no control at all over my body, and I wouldn’t have been able to put them in without blinking fiercely enough to shoot them into space. I’ve spent years learning how to repress my very strong clenching reflexes of all kinds and I’m glad it’s paid off.

  • My racquetball game has improved! Something about better peripheral vision, I think?

  • Cheaper than I expected, but still more money than I think anyone should have to pay for something so tiny and plasticky, and I also kind of believe that things this essential should be free, in like, a socialized medicine kind of way.

  • My face does, in fact, seem very alien to me, as though I’d never really understood before how harsh and boyish, yet somehow still playful, it is. I thought of it as kind of doughy, but I’m delighted to report that I am actually all nose and chin. I’m planning on leaning into this with severe haircuts.

  • No, I do still sometimes blink so forcefully that I fling the wet and sticky contact lens onto the mirror, where it inevitably picks up 1,000 cat hairs. I’m working on it.

  • Target, because it was close. They call me Sarah there, which makes sense because that’s what my insurance card says, but whenever they say it I still feel this visceral fight or flight sensation—somewhere between being called to the principal’s office and getting ready to have an argument with an elderly relative. Which is not the fault of Gates Family Vision Care, but I’m not really sure what to do about it. I don’t feel like I can quite call it deadnaming, since I’m going from one ostensibly female name to another, but my real name is still a way that I understand myself differently, as belonging to myself and not to others and therefore a kind of precursor to being able to understand myself as myself. Among people who know me, “Sarah” is now only used by my mother, who struggles to remember most facts about my life post-eighteen. Yet here I am being summoned to have apparatuses thrust at my face while a man in a white coat says “you get the big chair” and the name they call me by is Sarah, and when I hear it I am suddenly hard reset into an awkward teenage girl who doesn’t know how to make normal human eye contact through her perpetually smudged glasses. In a way, I like this sensation in the way I like some unpleasant sensations for the awareness they give me of how precarious the self is: like pain, they make one alert to the body and the world.

  • Yeah, maybe I should pursue that legal name change. It’s on that list of onerous but essential tasks like oil changes and eye exams that have no hard deadline, but that once done, clear the path of your life in small and large ways—and that, if left undone, can result in disaster. But when do you make time for things like this, that tire you out, that leave you feeling a little bruised by the world and with no reward other than “well, now some bad things maybe won’t happen in the future, if you’re lucky”? Maybe I can keep driving this car a little longer, one thinks, knowing that this solution won’t work forever, but secretly hoping it will.

  • Yes, I do want to get the kind of contact lenses that make your eyes purple. “Sarah” and I are in absolute agreement on that.