Wednesday, July 11, 2012

spectacles and identity

Awhile ago I mentioned that I had recently procured new eyeglasses, for the first time in more than four years. I'd been wearing the last pair since my last year in university, since before Bunny and I were, well, Bunny and I.

I have really bad eyes. Like, if this were hundreds of years ago, and we were hunter gatherers living in the woods, I'd have wandered into the mouth of a bear decades ago, or stumbled into a tree and hurt myself so bad that I'd never get up again. Good thing I live in a modern world, where we have corrective lenses that can fix things.

I've been wearing my glasses since about third grade, and they're full time things. If I want to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I had best put on my glasses or I'll walk into a wall. I can't survive without these things. I've played with contacts at various points in my life, but I hate taking them out. I'm a weirdo in that I can handle poking around my eyes to put them in, but when I'm taking them out I'm libel to have a panic attack that omg, this thing is stuck in my eye and I can't get it off. My physical claustrophobia is a touch extreme, in this regard. It's not helped by the fact that once I get the first contact out, I have fuzzy, crazy double vision from one good eye and one bad. So as a general rule, I don't wear contacts. Although, they have come out with dailies (finally! just in the last few months) in my prescription, so I may give them another whirl.

I'm always wearing my glasses though. Always. They're an extention of my physical self, as much a part of my as the freckle on the palm of my hand, or the dimple in my cheek or my hair. So choosing new ones is a big deal.

I've very fussy about my glasses. After so many years of wearing them, I know pretty clearly what looks good on me and what doesn't. I know what feels like "me". I look best, and feel most like myself, in small, rectangular frames. Basic black, always, because it goes with everything, including my colouring. I love the red, and pink and purple and blue frames and have had them in the past, but I'm not the biggest fan of them for everyday wear. I find they stand out too much, and I want people to see me past the glasses. I like the plastic frames, with none of those little "feet" because they bother my nose. If I scrunch up my face, I don't want to feel the bottom of my frames. It's also been drilled into my head that I must choose small frames or the lenses will be coke-bottles. Because I stay so basic with the frames, I like the arms to be interesting. My last frames had some little daisies on the arms. They were cute, and playful and Bunny loved them. I take all of this into account, and I take a good half day choosing frames.

So, I chose new frames. Black, plastic, rectangular. These ones are a little wider than the last frames (Bunny says this lets you see my face more, but he was the one who pulled these ones off the shelf, and made me give them a second shot after I dismissed them so he's biased) and the lines are harder, the edges don't have the same slight roundness. They've also got these really cool arms: a rosy gold/taupey colour with all sorts of random patterned lines in black over them. These glasses fit my requirements, feel good on my face, and really feel like me. Except sometimes, they feel like a different version of me, a little bit more sophisticated and grown up without the flowers. I feel more angular in them, from my cheekbones to my hipbones with the straightness of the lines.

When I chose the sunglasses I decided that I wanted them to be fun. I wanted something different. These were more playful, and I decided that I wanted colour. I also wanted bigger lenses (screw the coke bottle effect) so that I would have more sun protection. So I chose something different. Green frames, more square than rectangular, fun arms again, and they cover about a third of my face. I've never had prescription sunglasses before, and I'm loving them.

The thing is, though, I feel like a different person when I put on the sunglasses. I feel like a bit of a badass, hiding behind the tinted lenses. I feel how differently the shape fits on my face, and I feel like a different person. More mysterious, maybe. I like that they stop my eyes from watering all the time, and if they do water you can't see it behind the lenses.

New glasses can feel like putting on a costume, or dressing in a style that's completely not mine. It's play. Does anyone else feel this way?

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