SEE EYEWARE // CAVEAT EMPTOR

See Eyeware Image

A letter I sent to SEE – a “Hip Without the Rip” eyewear company.

To the Powers that SEE:

It’s unfortunate that I am writing this email.  I’ve walked past your shop window for the past couple years, always admiring your unique offerings.  So when I felt I needed to have my eyes checked, after suffering for the past year with headaches, I knew I’d visit your cool little eyeglass shop in Nashville.

Nervous for my first visit, I must say, the Doctor on staff at this location was wonderful.  She made me feel very comfortable and took the time to explain to me, thoroughly, what was going with my eyes: astigmatism.

When my appointment was over, she walked me into the shop where I waited patiently for one of the salespeople to help me.  I choose to use the word “salespeople” because this is what my experience has rendered my perception about the people within your shops.

Prior to my eye exam, I excitedly picked 6 different frames while waiting – I loved each of them.  When the salesperson was ready for me, she looked at my “shopping cart”, grimaced and said, “well let’s go ahead and look at what you have then I’ll go pick some frames for you.” With each passing show of what I had chosen, the salesperson made it abundantly clear that she was less than impressed with my selection.  She squinted her face with disapproval, looked at me with pity and said, “Well, that’s why I’m here… to make sure you don’t make a mistake.”

Now I have to say, having worked in the beauty and fashion industry, and now the Marketing Director for a multimillion dollar training organization, I consider myself to be keenly aware of aesthetics – in particular, those that relate to my own sense of style.

She went on to say that the styles I’d chosen would not work for “my kind of face and nose” because of how flat it was. I can only assume she was referring to my Asian ethnicity.

Her solution to this was to offer me only 3 styles  – so far from the picks I was excited about that I felt I might not leave the shop with anything.  I tried them on to humor her, but ultimately let her know that I just didn’t think what she was showing me was what I wanted.  She insisted I continue to try on the same styles, within your metal frame collection.

After trying 6 pairs of her choice, I finally settled on a pair I felt I could work with.  She assured me I wasn’t going to regret her well-informed suggestion.

At the point of transaction, she let me know that it would be a waste of my time to purchase the glasses without anti-glare.  And, in fact, that I needn’t bother purchase them unless I added anti-glare, because I would never wear them otherwise.  Um… sure?

She quickly rang me up and I left the Nashville SEE location somewhat dazed.  The entire start to finish experience with the clerk lasted no more than 12-15 minutes.  Hardly enough time to make a person feel comfortable about a first-time purchase of eyeglasses.

When I returned to my car to examine my receipt, I was alarmed to find that the anti-glare I needed to add, lest I should never wear my glasses, was an additional $95.  This was NEVER mentioned to me.

I write all of this to make you aware of one person’s experience at SEE.  To be honest, I’ll probably seek a refund on the glasses once they arrive because I was never really comfortable with them in the first place.  But worse, I don’t like that I was made to feel guilty about wanting anything other than what would work for my limiting facial features. Surely she could have worked with me to find something I could have been truly happy with.  And, if she couldn’t find that pair – maybe she could have done the morally upright thing and suggested another brand?

I pray this finds its way to the right people so that you might improve upon your customer experience.

You may be Hip… not quite sure about the Rip part, though. I don’t think I’ll be shopping at SEE again.

Sincerely,

Monica LaPlante

You can visit the SEE website here: http://seeeyewear.com/index.aspx

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A DECLARATION FOR 2014

Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit. – Psalms 119:96

I’ve forgotten how to write.  Or perhaps I’ve not had anything to say.

Swimming in a constant sea of information, rhetoric, proclamations of value – everything is diluted.  It cannot all be good and lovely and true.

It is good because it is right. Or because it was forged through trial and hardship to render you a virtue.  It means something because it resonates, teaches, improves and heals.  Not because it’s well packaged in a culturally relevant brand and liked by 50K.

Popular culture IS convention. Convention does not necessarily equate to utility.  And utility does not always imply the greater good.  Good cannot and should not be measured by an average of results or percentage of adoption.  It can only be measured its truth.

Test and check your motives – temper them – the freedom to think and act out of conviction and not mass hysteria, with liberty and justice for all.

It’s grown noisy.  Seek silence, open a window and let a little wind blow through. Create space.

Find freedom from the illusion of perfection, with all its limitations.  Remove any thing strove for which comes to an eventual end.  Be easy. Love peace.  And proclaim His Word if you are seeking something eternal.

Free Write…

Free, right?  Never free.  How do I put myself out there at no cost?  It’s perhaps the greatest cost – baring my soul to the world.  As far as you know I’m a hard-ass that has her shit together and doesn’t really need anyone.  And that’s very true!  To some degree.

The cost of putting myself out there increases in proportion to a softening.  I think I am finally at a place in my life where I feel safe enough to be completely and unabashedly  vulnerable.  My heart is held firmly in the hands of the father.  Who can wound me?

 

I met a man a month and a half ago.  We had a great hang one night – sharing stories about underground hip-hop, drinking cheap box wine and definitely dancing.  I left surprised that evening to find the person I’d turned down offers to be “hooked up” with by friends, was actually pretty amazing.  Even still, when I learned he’d asked for my number the next day I said no.

I’ll spare you the details on why I shirked his advances because this rejection only lasted a couple days.  I couldn’t stop thinking about him.  He was fun, charming, all man, and mostly tender.

I’ve spent the last six weeks getting to know him and it’s been amazing.  I quickly found myself adopting the idea of Mr. Man becoming a regular fixture around here.  His character.  So rare.  So attractive.

When he asked to meet my son last week I felt confident in him and welcomed the next step.  I don’t know how to convey what happened that day.  Easy.  Samuel loved him.  They were like old cronies and you obviously know what this did for my heart.

 

All that ended today.  For no other reason than a heart simply not engaging.  Damn.

 

 

Life Fail.

WHOA.  Indeed, this heading was meant to be provocative.  Never one to skimp on dramatics.  Dear God, I just can’t help myself.

There is an undercurrent of catalytic reflection.  In my mind(s). Eye.  You know, like the bright light of realization.  The beam of understanding that shoots right through you into the heart of your “ah-ha”.  Only this kind has been pointing me, no, shoving me into something new.  And yet it’s always been there.

We are all prisoners of our own mind.  And likewise, our feelings.  What we think and how we feel about ourselves is the very compass used to direct us in life.  We can never be more than what we truly believe we are.  Because sadly, we will never try.

My own personal hell has not been so much a doubt in my ability to do some thing.  I guess I’ve always believed I was capable of doing just about anything I put my brain to.  But for as long as I can remember, until recently, I’ve been stuck in one place, for fear of being anything less than perfect.  Always needing to be the best.  Always needing to win.

When I was in 2nd grade I ran track.  My parents came to watch me at a meet on a day I was to compete in 7 events (though I am confused about how this were possible).  I’d always been incredibly fast.  But for reasons many of you can understand, that day I ran faster.  I took 1st in every single event that day.  It was kind of amazing.

But it’s not the running I remember.  It was how proud I felt that I had won 7 times and my parents were there to witness it.  I remember my dad cheering for me from the stands – how focused he was on my success and the accolades that followed.  It was the first time I’d ever really felt important.  That was the only time my parents ever came to watch me compete at any capacity.

However, that day left an impression on me that would steer and dictate my efforts for the majority of my life.  Until recently.

You see, that one day of praise that followed grandiose success was contrasted by many years of never receiving affirmation for any achievements on my part.  No matter how large or small.  And to gain that praise, It was as though I would spend so much of my life trying to attain that flawless performance again.  To me, I was only important if I did it just.like.that – again.  The realization that I could not always achieve this level of success slowly paralyzed my own special brand of gumption.  The sorrow of knowing how much you’ve missed out on because of…wait for it…fear of failure, is a deep wound.  But what’s worse is realizing the only person whoever saw it this way – was probably me.

I’ve lived so much of my life in fear.  All because I didn’t know who I was.  And I’ve had to figure that out.

In the last several months I’ve awoken to spark after spark of revelation.  What I am capable of.  And I’ve even come to terms with the fact that I’m actually not entirely perfect.  Wait, what?  Yes.  I can totally fail.  But what does that say about me now?  Nothing.  Other than the fact that I should probably try again or try something else.

Humility.

I don’t have words for what it’s like to finally meet the (wo)man behind the curtain.  This whole time, hiding back there, equipped and fully capable.  Not without flaw of course.  I’ve opened up and shared this with some people in the past weeks and it’s so odd to hear them say, “Wow. I never would have known that about you.”

I want to see, fully, what they see.  What I would give to see myself completely – how God sees me.  He, Who created me for good works according to His will.  This is a process.  And I have made major headway.  Still running.

I did go on to set a league record in 8th grade for high-jump.  That, too, crystalized my need for perfection having rendered weeks of my father telling everyone I was a “league record setter”.  Though, he was not actually there to witness the event.  And I also have the 7 blue first-place ribbons tucked away in a box some where.  But none of that really matters.  The only thing that matters is where I am now going.  And that I know I can do it.  Even with some mistakes along the way.

Though I fail, I am not a failure.

Early Bloom.

I think I’ve been avoiding this post – for fear of what might come out.  As it stands, I feel safe saying that I’ve worked through the ugliest bits (for the time being).  This time the ugliest bits included losing 15 pounds, having my hair fall out in handfulls, smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes a day (after having quit some seven years ago), throwing myself on the floor and wailing like a Native American woman who just lost her lover in battle, but mostly processing through the pain of the worst heartache I’ve ever experienced in my life.

It’s nearly two months out of the forest and a quarter into the year.  But in reality, it’s really only been about a week since the door was shut all the way.  In my truest form, I had to exhaust every single resource of hope before I was finally able to fully let go.  I should have just let go all the way when God told me to.  But I think it’s human nature that we convince ourselves, at times, to justify our disobedience if its something we truly, deeply, desire.  Especially if that thing which you desire is good.  We all want love.  And we need it.

I won’t rehash everything that went wrong – the injustices laid upon me which I spend most of my day trying to release – over and over and 7 times 70 I forgive him.  Everything that happened is not the point.  I’ve whittled it down to one take away – one  truth that for whatever reason I seemed to have forgotten (or perhaps never fully got) along the way.

I am worthy.

Everything in life hinges upon the grasping of this. 

All I know is that I am 31 years old and in many ways still feel like a little girl.  A little girl who used to show up for school everyday with a head full of schemes to get her classmates to like her.  To date, the best one involved bringing a large bag of candy with me to the playground.  This seemingly innocent mindset somehow transferred into adulthood to read: Your value is contingent upon what you have and what you give. What an unbelievable lie.  I’ve come a long, long way.  No one will ever really know just how many miles – only a heart knows its own sorrow.

This has not ruined me.  No.  On the contrary I am emerging from the rubble with something of immeasurable value which I haven’t quite been able to put words to.  Fruit.  I am changed.  If for no other reason than I now know myself to be capable of giving unconditional love. REALLY.GOOD.LOVE.  A kind of love that is deserving of being met with it’s like.  I know who I am, more so, because of all of this.  That feels really good.  It’s a quiet, confident resolve that you don’t have to explain – you wear it.

I’m running – faster than ever.  But not from something – to something.  I am strong.  I am perfectly broken.

Confession.

Let’s get cliche for a minute.  Ahhhh yes, the seasons of our lives.  It seems, practically speaking, I’ve been in the “riding on fumes” season for quite a while now.  But I have to say that it’s probably been a good thing. No – I know it has.  I’ve learned to trust God in greater ways than I ever thought possible – for me at least.  You hear the stories of people turning water into wine.  Or maybe you only heard that story once.  You know, the only time it actually happened?  But you get what I’m saying.  It’s possible.  Miracles and such.  God definitely provides.  He’s provided for me over the years consistently – usually exceeding my own trivial expectations. But there are those times when gold coins do not actually fall from the sky – or when your last three peas choose not to manifest themselves into steak and lobster.  And it is during those times that you may wish to employ more practical measures.

Observe:

Last year, right around the time my son was about to start kindergarten, it occurred to me I was broke.  I wasn’t particularly busted up about this since it had become a recurring theme in my life.  But in this particular instance, it did warrant understandable amounts of angst.  In addition to the many school supplies I had not yet purchased for my son – I still had not acquired any of the necessary school uniform items he needed in order to attend.  So of course I began to cry and feel sorry for myself – immediately allowing my mind to travel to the deepest, darkest, and most self-depricating trenches that existed within it.  However, while it is strangely satisfying to occasionally indulge yourself in a classic pity party, I knew this would not render any practical solution.

It then occurred to me that there was something I could do to which I cringed inwardly at the thought of.  My eyes quickly darted to the only thing I owned that had any sort of marketable value.  My guitar.  And yes, you’ve guessed it – I took that damn guitar down to the music shop and hawked it off so I could buy school clothes for my son.  A mother’s love knows no bounds.  Shameful as it may be.

Nevertheless, I can laugh about it now.  The thought of resorting to such a desperate measure as selling off personal items to provide for your family is not pleasant.  But – there is something to be said about the lengths we’ll go to and sacrifices we make for the people we love.  Even if it means hawking something.

Liberated from the shame.

You’re no Jesus.

Yesterday I became overly irritated with a local radio guy who posed a question I believe to have been transparently rigged.  It was the kind of question you know how you should answer but also understand that reality will not permit you to do so.  However, upon deeper evaluation of the question, I found myself irate with the audacity of this radio guy who was clearly setting individuals up to fail their answers on live radio.  But I became even more irate upon realizing the answer he provided was inadequate.

As an aside, I’ve listened to this guy for the past several weeks growing increasingly irritated with the way he boasts his “ultimate authority” stature on all things biblical.  But, I am aware that we all take a strong position on our beliefs and it would be unrealistic to expect his to be any less fervent.  The majority of us, however, do not have a radio platform to shove our views down the throat of listeners who are sometimes allowed a 30 second slot to interject their views on the given subject – nonetheless, sandwiched between this radio guy’s sarcasm and disdain if not similar in position.  Whatever – I’m still listening for some reason.

So yesterday when I was driving down the road and he asked:

Would your church hire a man who was homeless and single?

I was like, “Oh great.  This should be embarrassing for anyone who chooses to subject themselves to this shamelessly baited question.”

And sadly, there still existed within me a glimmer of hope that someone out there possessed the capacity for a level of sophisticated thought that could answer his question somewhat intelligently.  Yea right.  So why didn’t you call in,  Monica?  You bet your sweet buns I tried – to no avail.  Not that I possess the level of intelligence I am referring to.

So you’ve probably guessed the majority of individuals who were able to get air time said something like: Well…my church probably wouldn’t because it’s not a good example of lifestyle for a congregation if the  pastor is homeless and single…and all the other obvious and fundamental responses radio guy’s question begged.  Such as: It’s not really a good example of character.  How did he end up homeless to begin with?  It doesn’t really convey Godly success. (Whatever that means)  A single man can’t teach on family and spousal values.  Etc.

And perhaps the worst response of all, coming from a women, ugh: The church should not hire a homeless single man because the Church is not only a place to worship but also a business that needs to make money.

LOL WHAT?!?!?  OMG.  This was the one time I was okay with radio guys sarcasm which this women was unsurprisingly oblivious to as his commentary propelled her in a downward spiral of shameful, Christianese spectacle.

And yes, you’ve guessed it…radio Guy’s simple response to anyone else who demonstrated an eversion to the idea of their church hiring a single and homeless man as a pastor was as follows:

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Luke 9:58

Was this idiot really using this verse as the simple solution to the question he posed?  Seriously?  Some of you reading this might even be confused as to why I am so up in arms with this.  It’s true – the son of man had no place to lay his head and was never married.  This didn’t hinder him from being regarded by the majority of humans as the greatest teacher of all time.  Yes.  All true.

But let’s think about this for one second.  This radio guy seemed to have left out one crucial piece of the puzzle when lumping all potential pastors who are homeless and unwed into the “son of man has no place to lay his head” category…

Jesus was perfect.

The last time I checked there were no perfect people identified in the last couple thousand years besides Him.  So when considering the perfect life of Christ – in relation to his homelessness and singledom – it seems obvious that those pieces had nothing to do with his ability to preach gospel and appeal to the masses.

However, when considering how flawed the vast majority of humanity really is – even pastors – it hardly seems fair to offer a simple solution to the dillemma of hiring a single and homeless pastor.

It’s true that a qualified individual shouldn’t be ruled out on the basis of their socio-economic/marital status alone.  I mean, he could be living like a monk and of the highest ethical and moral stature – a real saint.  But let’s be real – it’s highly unlikely.  It’s possible that a candidate could have been dedicating his life to mission work – traveling here and there, like Jesus, with no real place to lay his head, never having married, and deciding to seek employment as a pastor…possible.  But it seems unlikely that a qualified candidate for a average corporate church would be coming from a situation of homelessness and singledom unless their circumstances stemmed from the previously stated scenarios.  So that if they were homeless and single it seems much more probable they have some underlying situation – which upon further investigation – might reveal an individual not possessing the appropriate character necessary to assume the role of pastor.  For serious. This ain’t no fly-by-night gig.  I’ll paraphrase:

Woe to you who be messing with my flock. -God

Whatever the case, I’m irritated by the simplicity of the response offered, nay, proclaimed as being the end all solution to a scenario far from simple.

Please Radio Guy.  Please.

What do you think?

can you hope in man?

It’s clear that life is full of disappointments.  Perhaps the most painful being those that rely on  relationships to produce a desired result.  We cant very well stay angry or hurt with our laptop or coffee maker if they fail to deliver what we expect. Although – I have screamed explanetives at my laptop a time or two.  However, the emotions are fleeting once realizing my exertions are being wasted on an inanimate object.  But people – oh yes – people.  Who can illustrate the depths of their failings – the offenses they carelessly impose on us. . .or seemingly so.  Is it possible to separate the individual from their actions and see something bigger –  or maybe not so big?  And more, can we remove all the layers of garbage we bring to the equation – the shit colored lenses we sometimes view the world through, in an effort to gain objectivity?  What is objectivity anyway?  What is real? I think  – therefore it is.  Is it?

How do I get outside of my own warped perceptions, above the clouds where the sun shines bright, to see the beautiful and complex truth of my circumstances?  Nothing is ever straight forward, as much as I’d like it to be.  There is a lesson in everything – some simple wisdom to be gained, perhaps.  At the very least, a fail leading to disappointment or consequence should hardwire a caution that hopefully equips us in avoiding the next plunder.  Right?  But our steps are ordered – can we be okay with the sovereignty of our existence – accepting struggles as lessons that refine?  I’d be lying if I said I have this figured out and I’m okay with all this.  

I don’t want to hope in people – for it is clear that every individual I’ve come close to disappoints me…in one way or another.  Do I crucify them for it?  No – of course not.  I most assuredly piss them of from time to time as well.  Maybe more than I am willing to admit.  What can I reasonably expect from my personal relationships then?  Respect at a most basic level.  But even the gas station attendant respects me to some degree – and frankly, that’s not enough.  It’s clear we are all looking for intimacy, loyalty, love.  These are precious commodities – especially in a world that thrives on instancy.  Because there is no immediate intimacy, loyalty is earned, love is developed.  

If it’s true that God can satisfy these needs in us alone, then please, somebody show me the way.  I’m tired of the religious cliches.  I want something real, permanent.  Please.  But just don’t let me be governed by expectations that cannot be fulfilled by man anymore.  It’s time to come up higher.  What am I learning here?  It’s fire…and it burns.

shifting disbelief to belief.

Things shift rather quickly with some minor adjustments to our thought life.  There is a force greater than our circumstances which is always at work within us.  We magnetize our will by fixating – demanding the best or expecting the worse.

Consequently, what is at work within most of us is naturally inclined to attract what is best.  When we resist this through our negative thought patterns, we neutralize its ability to bring us into all the good we hope for. We must change our thought patterns, align ourselves with what is good, expect the best, dream big.

If we simply discard all that does not align with what we hope for, replace it with the acceptance that we already have everything with limitless recourses already belonging to us, we will finally begin to actualize.

Faith?  Indeed.  It’s there to be discovered.  Seeing some light.