Growing up, I loathed the fact that I wore glasses. It was a curse that I just couldn’t break free of, not even during my high school years when I could have probably switched to contacts. Nope, not me. I stuck with the glasses.
I can still remember that faithful moment riding in the car with my mom, when she discovered my issues with sight. I was eleven years old, maybe twelve. We were on our way back from some unknown destination, waiting at a traffic light. I don’t know how it came up, but Mama asked me to read the license plate of the car stopped in front of us. It was no more than fifteen or twenty feet away. I couldn’t do it.
Within a week, I was the proud owner of a brand-new pair of glasses. Of course, I picked out the
most fashionable worst pair
possible. They were blue with some kind of crazy pattern of purples, yellows,
and reds and the biggest, roundest lens you’ve ever seen. Nice and
inconspicuous. The perfect glasses for a preteen with major self-confidence
I guess at the time I thought they were pretty cool, but God only knows why we make the fashion choices we do.
From the moment I put them on, I hated my glasses. I hated being the girl with glasses. It seemed to define me…and not in a good way. My classmates didn’t tease me over them like you might think. At least not to my face. The real problem with my glasses is that when I put them on I felt completely invisible. And as my school days lingered on, the feeling became more of a reality.
In high school, I remained the girl with glasses. While my classmates and friends graduated to contacts, I didn’t. I couldn’t. I gave up after only a couple of tries at the eye doctor and resigned myself to spending the rest of my days as Invisible Girl. And I wasn’t cool super-hero Invisible Girl with magical powers. Nope, I was self-conscious, nervous, painfully shy Invisible Girl with nothing going for me.
Or so I thought at the time.
Adding to my high school misery always were the taunting words of Dorothy Parker:
“Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”
And in my little town, that seemed to definitely be the case. Of course, looking back it may be more true that boys don’t make passes at girls who are invisible and always fade into the background…
Nevertheless, high school graduation finally rolled around, and four years of being invisible and hating myself came to an abrupt end. During the summer before college, I got contacts. I was determined to reinvent myself in college and NOT be invisible, and if that meant being the girl without glasses, then that’s who I would become.
My college days were much improved. Whoever says that high school is the best time of your life is lying. Things typically get better. At least they did for me. Without my glasses, I became more confident, more outgoing. If glasses gave me anti-magical powers, then contacts did the exact opposite. But if I’m being absolutely honest here, it probably wasn’t the lack of glasses that made my college days so much better.
For one, college had a much more diverse population than high school. There were more geeks like me. And more book nerds and word nerds. A whole English department full of them in fact! I found my place among them, still myself, still individual and probably still that girl with glasses underneath it all…but reinvented! Comfortable with who I was and who I was becoming. Finally.
The irony of this woeful tale? I’m now married to a man who loves glasses. In fact, I sometimes think he prefers me with my glasses. And so, here I sit, writing about how much I used to hate my glasses while wearing a brand-spanking new pair of glasses that are a hundred times cuter than that first pair. Thank God.
My husband is still sleeping in the next room. Today’s our fourth anniversary.
Turns out, Dorothy Parker was wrong.
Do you wear glasses now? Did you as a kid? Were you teased or invisible? Or did you love wearing glasses?
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