I’ve always wanted to be seen, yet also to be safe. I’d grown up with a father who frequently criticized me (and others too), especially making negative comments when I’d had a “failed” attempt to look nice (like a frizzy perm). I couldn’t look in a mirror without feeling shame, and I hated those group dressing rooms where you have to look in the mirror with other women around you. I was self conscious and tried to blend in when I spent time with new people until I felt comfortable being myself and visible.
I started wearing glasses in junior high; nothing looked good, just “no” or “maybe,” or “good enough.” It was a relief when my parents let me get contacts at fifteen, though I always had to have backup glasses. Sadly, I stopped being able to wear contacts about ten or fifteen years ago and so was back to wearing the “good enough” frames.
Then eight years ago I tried on the pair of round, brown frames you see in the photo, and got the first “yes!” that I can ever remember. It’s been fun to wear them, and I got tons of compliments. But like all things physical they began to fall apart and needed replacement. I delayed the process as long as I could, and finally took myself to Berkeley where I’d gotten the brown ones. Thank goodness for European glasses designers—I actually had several pairs that made it into the final running for the first time ever!
In the second photo you see my new glasses. Turns out the shape is really the best one for me, though these are significantly darker than the brown ones, To me, these scream “look at me!,” almost like a neon sign flashing, so I was nervous about wearing them.
And I’ve been cracking up all week. My adult self realizes I really don’t care if anyone likes them or not. I hope people do, as they are the ones who have to look at them, not me. My adolescent self is happy to have the pressure off. And my child self was delighted with the few people who noticed them and said “I like them!”