I literally burned the skin off my eyes at the end of 2021.
Let me explain. See, I was in deep writing frenzy mode, cranking out a paper on Disability Identity and how that connects with career development (and career success). Riveting stuff, right?! So much so that I didn’t notice that my monitor (and laptop, iPhone) were on maximum brightness mode with my eyes only inches away. Waaaaay too close, for waaaaaay too long. When I had finished my paper, my eyes were skinned.
I took my contact lenses off, donned my glasses and did the only thing I could do: I stayed away from devices as much as possible to give my eyes a chance to heal. Christmas came around and they felt better.
I wore contacts. We cooked, made merry.
(visual proof of making merry)
We frolicked around (in between working) for a few days, then New Years was upon us. I took the kids swimming, of course.
Somehow the light from the opposing traffic on the way home from the beach, plus the gorgeous brightness of the fireworks on New Years Eve (Local style, GO BIG!!!!)
Fried up my eyes again, but I didn’t realize it.
I took Moxie swimming at the crack of dawn on New Year’s Day.
It was perfect. The water was warm, Mauna Kea had snow on her, the fish were all hanging out, just wanting to interact. Moxie was delighted to be swimming. It was beautiful.
And then… my eyes started stinging, throbbing, hurting. I made it home just as it felt like deep daggers were being thrust into my eyes, making me writhe with pain. I haven’t known pain like that since placenta was left in me after Moxie’s home birth and got infected. It was just, stupid levels of pain.
It went on and on and on until finally the next morning, I called the hospital in desperation. My niece’s girlfriend drove me to the Emergency Room while my niece stayed with my kids, and I got medicine to make me sort of human again. The next day I went to see an ophthalmologist who said that yes. I did actually literally burn the skin off my eyes. That led to an infection when I went swimming.
I’m glad my year started off this way.
I’m glad I started this year with this ridiculously painful experience.
It felt like the strongest kind of reminder from myself to myself, to take care of myself, and also to remember that my time here – alive, on this planet – is limited. Not to say that I’ll die tomorrow (I think), but even if I lived to be 100, it’s still limited. We all have finite existences here, and it’s really good to remember that, so that we can structure things in the way we want, while we can.
For me, that means to play more.
I tend to get into tunnels of work and I just don’t look up. I just lose myself in it, and really. Is any of that going to mean anything, ultimately? I’m replaceable to everyone except these guys.
I have realized something else in all of this, and that it’s that this community that I’ve built through this blog is dear to me. You guys, whether or not I’ve met you in real life. have become close. I care about you and I know that you care about us. Your support through Patreon and your presence here in this space reminds me of that – it also helps drive and encourage me. I appreciate that more than words can convey.
That’s really what I want for this year, to have more fun, make fun a priority, and spend more time here again, because it feels good, and because I love connecting with you. The last goal I have is to really understand money. Flows, systems, processes, what it all means and is. I’m laughing a little as I type that, because part of me is thinking, “yeah, good luck with that, Meriah!”, but hey. I’ll try.
I had to include this photo of the kids – we were trying to drive up to the top of Mauna Kea when there was a lot of snow – we were wearing pretty much every layer of garment we own because it’s so cold up there! And we are shorts/slippers all day here, we don’t own jackets anymore.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.