As long as I can remember, I’ve worn glasses. I think I had a few good years of freedom, but by the time I hit kindergarten, I was trapped behind lenses. Twenty years of glasses falling down my nose, dirty lenses and raindrops threatening my vision. On the eve of my LASIK surgery, it feels appropriate to travel down the evolution of my glasses and say farewell to my near constant companion.
It may seem weird, reminiscing about glasses, but when you’re young and in a world without Warby Parker, these looks come to define you. Based on my limited research and memory, I’ve assembled photos from the five pairs of glasses I’ve worn throughout my life.
When you only have five pairs of glasses, you tend to get attached. To the point that I’ve never donated my glasses because they feel so special to me. They’re indicative of where I was in my life and I remember wearing every pair.
Around age five (maybe before, who’s to know I was too lazy to ask my mother), it became apparent I needed glasses. This wasn’t surprising, considering both my parents are practically blind. I lost the genetic lottery because my sister doesn’t need them (except one time she faked an eye exam to get a pair, but that’s a different story).
Maybe I hated glasses, but knowing me and my lingering feelings about them, I probably enjoyed being different. And all smart kids have glasses so it was further proof I was a genius (LOL).
Most importantly, I rocked Harry Potter glasses before anyone knew about Harry Potter. When I first read the books, I instantly connected because of the round glasses.
By the time I hit pair number two, I was sure I’d never want to stop wearing glasses. See how great they looked? Also notice that is where my glasses constantly live – halfway down my nose. Even worse is the nerdy way I push them up using one finger in the middle. Perhaps my witch nose in all its angular glory is the reason for this constant state of sliding.
These may have been my Hush Puppy glasses. The case was very colorful with hound dog puppies. Unimportant. I just really loved the case.
Finally we come to the first time I remember making a choice. These bad boys are Nine West, came with a great case that looked like a little purse AND the arms squiggled at one point. Not too mention how the tiny wire frames perfectly minimalized my beady eyes. Sixth grade in general was a bad time, primarily because my mom started letting my make my own choices, like cutting off all my hair and dressing myself. It’s hard to find a good picture of me at 12.
Finally, after turning 13, my mom said it was time for contacts. Up until this point, I felt unique behind my glasses (because like 50 percent of the population doesn’t also wear them) and I felt like I would lose a piece of who I was. Deep thoughts for a teenager. Still, I did it and man the whole world seemed to change.
Eventually my beloved Nine West glasses became too small for my face so I upgraded to DKNY and some plastic frames. Everyone was wearing thicker frames and suddenly wearing glasses didn’t seem so lame anymore. But then glasses became a trend and they got bigger and rounder.
During my senior year of college, a mere three years ago, tragedy struck and a minor infection forced me behind my frames for weeks until my new glasses and contacts arrived. I felt so weird behind the brown frames. So small. And I wore mostly black! Ugh, the horror.
My new pair, however, courtesy of Anne Klein clearance, served me well during the last three years. I wear them without shame or embarrassment and I actually get some compliments. Which made the decision for getting LASIK so hard at first.
It was like I was a young teenager again and felt like I was losing a bit of myself. I’m Chelsea Cummins! I wear glasses! I have to wear glasses! Plus, I really like how glasses look with certain outfits. Am I ready to give that up?
As soon as it became a reality, I didn’t think twice. Despite minor moments of panic and doubt about not wearing glasses, I know this was the right choice. I can look in the mirror and think ‘but they look so good’ and then they immediately fall down my nose again.
To convince myself, I think about never looking at someone over my glasses again. I imagine not having to think about the weather before I go outside. I can wake up and see without squinting around. I can bend over without feeling them slide off my face. I can see clearly without smudged up lenses from my greasy fingers and makeup. I can travel without thinking of glasses, contact container and solution. I can take a selfie on Snapchat without J.J. Abrams style lens flares on my glasses.
Basically I can be free.
I know if you read this, you might think cool but this is lame and about your weird relationship with glasses. I get it. But I can impart some wisdom.
Growing up, I’ve really struggled with letting go of the things I think define based on the standards of others and holding onto things because I think it’s expected. More than just my glasses, I let others dictate what defines me. These ideals I create of who I need to be are no more than the reflections from other people.
The best news? You only have to be you. The thoughts of others mean virtually nothing. Don’t let expectations run your life. It’s exhausting. Just because people expect you to be the crazy one doesn’t mean you always have to be ridiculous (unless you want to, do you).
Be who makes you happy and don’t let other opinions hold you back.
And get LASIK because there are at least 57864 reasons are glasses/contacts are the worst.