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embracing my disability

Until I was seven I genuinely thought that everyone had a really hard time seeing. I thought that half the challenge of having an education was being able to read the blackboard and that kids who drew self-portraits with “freckles” were just using their imagination. All my childhood memories will remain beautiful as they have an impressionistic haze that Monet would be proud of.

Then shit got real.

Naturally, to ease the pain of being an immediate social outcast, Mum selected a pair of frames that I would “grow into”. By Year 7 I demanded autonomy over my glasses frames. My misguided choices from then on definitely exacerbated the image of my “awkward years”.

It took me a while, but I soon discovered the close relationship that needs to exist between glasses and their wearer. Functionality cannot be the only factor in what should be an extensive search to find that perfect pair. You need to love them. You need to want to wear them. It only took me fifteen years to get it right.

Tip: don’t think because your glasses look really “modern” and “out there” on the shelf, they will look good on your face. A friend once said about a girl’s new glasses that, “You know you suck when your glasses have more personality than you do”.  In essence, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

As most of us would probably take for granted, the past taboo of glasses has dissipated. “Invisible frames” that constituted of thin metal arms and a nosepiece holding the lenses in place, were no doubt intended to make the wearer look as glasses-less as possible.  These expensive yet popular designs were in mass circulation about five years ago.

However, I would argue that with the integration of nearly all luxury brands into the spectacle market, glasses frames once again became a statement. Brands such as Prada, Dolce & Gabanna and Chanel have compensated for the vision-impaired by allowing them to express their identity through their brand. Some with sophistication – others with bling. Luxury glasses have almost replaced functionality entirely, with false-lenses becoming an irksome trend for those who want to share the fun without the eye-tests.

As with everything in fashion, glasses trends are cyclic. With the Rise of the Hipster, so returns the bold statement of dark, thick-rimmed, square or circular frames of the 1940s. While I confess my current pair of Dita’s are a textbook hipster example (square, dark tortoise-shell, with visible hinges and a slight horn-rim), I implore I bought them in spite of the hipster revolution, and not because of it. They complement the shape of my face, are sturdy and distinguished… and most importantly, hold a prescription that will melt the face off any wannabe hipster who dares challenge their authenticity.

I never wanted glasses, yet glasses have been bestowed upon me. So I feel that it is my responsibility to wear them with pride and versatility. I have made peace that as my identity moulds, warps and fluctuates, so will my taste in corrective lenses. If my glasses are to always be a part of me, I will make sure they are fucking fabulous.

(Image credit: 1.)

One thought on “embracing my disability

  1. Love it! I’m blind as a bat, and am slowly coming to grips with my eye-gear. Weirdly, I kind of like having the choice between being able to see clearly or not.

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