Adolescence is a difficult era. Surviving puberty, attending the hell that is high school, and being at the continuous mercy of those with less acne than you (when that is seemingly the only currency that matters) is one of the more challenging periods in life. On top of this stress and Clearasil, I was all-too-aware that my vision was slipping.
Despite the greatest of efforts to achieve invisibility by sinking into my chair while conspicuously avoiding eye-contact with my teachers, I recollect the feeling of overwhelming dread that rushed over me every time I was called upon to read something written on the blackboard. My desk was near the front of the room, yet I couldn't do it. Everything was a blur. I would always feebly state I had a sore throat and couldn't speak because at the age of thirteen it was preferable to be thought of as illiterate rather than a spectacled nerd. My teacher, bless him, allowed me to maintain this ruse for a bit until I couldn't hide any longer. Eye exams were to take place at my high school. All students had to participate.
The day of the eye exam, I was paired with one of my best friends. He went first and damn near aced it. Envy was second only to anxiety at that moment. For when it was my turn, I just randomly called out letters and numbers that I felt best matched the rorschach test laid out in front of me. "You didn't get a single one right!" mocked my friend upon completion. I was handed a note to take home to my parents informing them that I desperately needed glasses.
I wore them for a few years but the stigma weighed on me. Guys don't make passes on girls that wear glasses. I didn't feel attractive. I didn't feel cool (one cannot underestimate how important this is when you are a teenager). I switched to contacts. Coloured contacts. My eyes became the most brilliant, unnatural hue of green I'd ever seen. And people noticed. Guys noticed! As silly as it sounds, I started to develop a complex that I would never be good enough unless I was faking it. I blame this lack of self-esteem primarily on society's conditioning towards females. … but that's a journal entry for another time. My feelings were confirmed by a boyfriend who, once he saw me without my emerald orbs, reacted with a disappointed "oh, you look different".
I wear glasses as an adult not because I've completely outgrown vanity. Lord, no. I'm terrible. It's because the fear of being rejected by my peers based upon appearance has been overshadowed by my phobia of having something poke at and permanently damage my eyes further. Glasses make great shields! And I suppose the confidence one gains as they enter adulthood and start living for themselves rather than others may have something to do with it as well.
Plus, in my occupation, black thick frames are practically standard-issue. Looking like a nerd has never been cooler.