N is for nevus

Posted by on Friday, July 25th, 2008

I think each person has a particular feature that they really see as symbolic of self.  For some people it’s a feature they love, for some it’s one they dislike.  Mine is something I like, and something I also attach a lot of meaning to–particularly relating to how other people react to it. I have a large brown nevus in my otherwise-blue right eye.  I display sectoral heterochromia along with a lot of other oddities of melanin. 


Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been reminded time and time again that my unusual eyes are excuse enough for some folks to assume a whole lot about me.  And, having listened to some magic number of strange comments and declarations about my eyes–some positive and some negative–I decided to engage in the game myself, and judge those who were holding forth about one particular freckle among thousands with as much care and sensitivity as they granted me. 

I can’t count the number of times someone has assumed they should make some ridiculous joke about my eyes–the loathsome playground “what’s that in your eye?” game, complete with clumsy pokes towards my face, is the source of my ocular squeamishness. I’ve been told time and time again that, had I been born in the dark ages, I’d have been burned as a witch.  Such commenters often also want to look at my pinkies to see if they’re straight (not quite) and a few have felt comfortable asking if do spells on command.  Some have suggested I take to wearing color contacts to “fix” it, or asked if I was wearing contacts that just happened to be unusual, or–my favorite–if I’d be willing to go with the requester to their optician so they could try to order contacts based on my eye (“why would I do that, my eyes are lovely”, “no I’m not,” and “holy crap, I don’t even know you. Why would I go to the doctor with you?” are the answers, in case you’re wondering) .  My eyes have been compared to dogs’ eyes, favorably and un-.

Of course, some people pay no attention to eyes at all, or only notice ages after we meet.   A boyfriend
years ago noted it with surprise after a few months of dating–that was our last date. I mean, really. Way to telegraph your abiding interest in my mind and feelings, jackass . . .

Thankfully, for every negative comment, there are several compliments.  A small percentage of people think they’re the first to have noticed, and I should be so flattered by their attention that I’ll immediately give them anything they want.  They don’t get their way of course–I’m too contrary for that scheme to work, and too prickly to accept compliments paired with come-ons.  At the root, I’m too happy with the folks who already fill my eyes when I want comfort and companionship to turn my gaze towards the first vapid compliment of the week. 

Other people who notice my eyes on meeting and react favorably assume I’m more of an artist or empath or friend or genius than I think I could ever be for them, and I just try to measure up.  One friend in particular comments on my eyes and way of seeing nearly every time I see her, and I wonder what she’s figured out about me that I’ve just never been able to see in myself. 

And that, really, is the heart of it.  A disarming feature often reveals much bigger truths about the people who react to it than about the person who has it.  For me, my eye is a neat accident of genetics, a reminder that I should heed nature’s color theory and wear blue with brown.  It’s something both unusual and lovely that feels like an inborn sigil.  It’s a trait I share with a couple of dear friends and many, many strangers.  It’s the kind of feature that will always be whole-heartedly loved by the people who truly love me, and has helped me recognize people with the wrong sort of intentions.

Filed in ABC along | 8 responses so far

8 Responses to “N is for nevus”

  1. Janeon 26 Jul 2008 at 7:43 am 1

    Well I’ve always just thought: how cool it is to be blessed with something so interesting and rare. Now that I know that it means you’re a witch, it’s even cooler.

  2. Erinaon 26 Jul 2008 at 8:20 am 2

    Thanks for the photo ~ it’s been awhile since I’ve gazed upon that eye.

  3. kon 28 Jul 2008 at 10:17 pm 3

    What do you mean – crooked pinkies? Should I run out and get that surgery on my little fingers right away, or what?
    (I’ve been pushing the Tain, even though I haven’t gotten very far. Because.)

  4. bibliotecariaon 01 Aug 2008 at 8:37 am 4

    I’m curious — you keep mentioning Celtic Summer Camp; what is it? Is it an official group or just a group of friends? I was wondering because I got the impression it was an official group and wanted to know more about that kind of thing.

  5. rachelon 02 Aug 2008 at 11:55 am 5

    I love your nevus, and yes, you’re right, these things usually reveal far more about the person reacting to it. Jason thinks my birthmark is the coolest tattoo ever. See why I married him. Others say, ooooh, she has a hickey! Fools.

  6. Bran y Llamauon 06 Aug 2008 at 12:25 am 6

    I love your Mr Hankey. It reminds me of how full of it I get… and can only Off=gas enough to achieve your market penetration.

    I am sending a dear cpnnection to my heart this next few weeks, I hope only that she contacts you for further instructions, as I gnow that you are prescient for the task. Give my best regards to Scooooot as his mixes keep me movin’ right down the road. Her name is Heather. hook her like a slow trout.


  7. junoon 06 Aug 2008 at 1:01 am 7

    Hee. I had a great moment with eye recognition last week – someone demonstrated that they were paying more attention than I thought. Which told me something about us both.
    Having fun at Pennsic?

  8. lellaon 15 Aug 2008 at 10:20 pm 8

    We all knew you had special powers. 😉 Now it’s proven!

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