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Something, something, passes and glasses

doodleIn case you haven’t looked at my face in six months, I got contacts after wearing glasses for 20 years. I put on my first pair in second grade and besides while sleeping, I always had glasses on my face until a month before my 27th birthday. Nothing else has been part of my life for as long besides my family. Sounds dramatic, but true.


For the first few months, I only put them in on the weekends. Gradually, I got better at this whole thing and wore them more and more. I’m at the point now where my glasses rarely leave my apartment, like the facial security blanket that I’ve finally outgrown.

I didn’t realize how much glasses were my mask until now. In contacts, I’m the reverse of Clark Kent. Even though I know better, I can’t help feeling as if with this slight adjustment to my face, no one can tell it’s me- nevermind that a high school classmate whom I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years recognized me on the spot this summer. It’s been months and I still feel this way.

Which brings me to the hardest part of this adjustment. It’s not touching my eyes, rescuing lens cap lids from going down my sink or even getting overwhelmed by sunglasses (so many choices!), but feeling like I’m no longer part of this unspoken four-eyed community. There’s an identity attached to being a daily glasses-wearer, and I don’t have that anymore. Instead, I have questions. Am I more superficial than before? (Probably.) Am I still kind of smart? (Hopefully.) Am I cuter with or without them? (No consensus.) Maybe if I would have made the switch 15, 10 or even five years ago I wouldn’t be in this place, but I’m glad I did it, even if I was resistant for a long time.

Don’t ask me about Lasik. One step every 20 years.

I’m never going to stop the rain by complaining

photoDid you know I took tap dancing lessons? I did, in second and third grades. Tap dancing overlapped with the time in my life when I lost the ability to smile. Starting with my kindergarten school picture and until I was about eight, I went through a existential smile crisis. Any camera pointed in my direction caused my brain to panic and then attempt to move my mouth in various shapes. I tried everything from open mouth grimaces to tiny dimple-inducers to full on mouth commas. I was an ugly-cute kind of kid, the sort of girl with a Buddha belly, braces on my front four teeth, and a constant need for attention. Kids like me need a cute smile when all we have to offer the world are repeated shouts of “LISTEN TO ME SING LIKE THE LITTLE MERMAID.”
Back to tap dancing. Every dance recital has a theme and my first year of lessons was “Dancin’ Up a Storm”, with each class having their own weather-related song and dance number. For Beginner Tap, we had “Raindrops Keep Falling On Your Head”. Our costumes were ugly-ugly, as dictated by Dance Law, but the best part was our white umbrellas, a rare prop.

Twenty-one years later and I still remember thinking to myself, “Don’t smile too big and ruin the picture,” so in my personal dance portrait, one of me bending my knees while holding the coveted umbrella, I tried a wide no-teeth smirk. This smirk morphed my nose from an upturned snub to a pointy beak, made my full cheeks even rounder and caused my chin to grow an extra three inches. I looked like Dick Van Dyke. To be more accurate, I looked like Dick Van Dyke’s chubby, awkward granddaughter trying not to pee her bloomers.

I guess what I’m trying to say I have a new job right next to a river and these are some of the things you think about when it takes you 15 minutes to drive to work and 10 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the office.