How Glasses Ruined My Life

This otherwise gorgeous post from Magic Casements also made me a little sad. It's clear that, to kids at least, wearing glasses is still associated with "weirdness" and "nerdiness." Now, there is a part of me that embraces and rejoices in both those characteristics, but I have to say this part of me was not very well developed at the age of eleven, when I first got my glasses.

At the time I was deeply ambivalent about my specs. On the one hand, I fully appreciated the miracle of clear sight. The trees! Had individual leaves!! I could read the blackboard! I could recognise people before I actually bumped into them! Guess what, that fuzzy halo around lights that no one else could see? It wasn't real! Hey, I could see the stars!!

But when the optometrist told me I'd have to wear glasses FOREVER, my reaction was instant and violent. I threw up.* Glasses meant only one thing: ugly. I would never be one of the pretty girls, I'd never be loved. I was doomed.

Okay, I know better now. And my sense of myself as "hideous" was encouraged, before long, by the addition of horrible acne, braces, and greasy hair, so it wasn't just the glasses. It also didn't help that the selection of frames available in a Port Moresby optometrist's office in 1977 was neither extensive nor flattering. But my sense of my physical self altered that day, permanently and devastatingly.

The upside was that getting contact lenses, shortly after I started university, was an equally transformative moment. It wasn't quite as dramatic as the librarian who shakes down her hair: But Miss Jones, you're... beautiful! But it did help. A lot. I wore my contacts every minute of every day for the next ten years.

Now I'm back to wearing my specs all the time. Contacts are for special occasions, or when I need to feel confident. I'm fond of my glasses. I've decided I don't, after all, want to get laser surgery on my eyes. I like that I can push my specs onto my head and get super-close-up vision, to thread a needle or pull out a splinter, or read very fine print. I like looking weird, and nerdy, because that's what I am.

But did my glasses make me into a nerd, or was the nerdiness always there, just waiting for the specs to bring it into flower?

* My nearest and dearest will know that this is my usual response when presented with a stressful situation, like pregnancy, public speaking, or my HSC English exam.

PS This is my 200th post. Yay! Whee! *lets off a party popper*


  1. Oh nerds are SO hip right now. My 17 year old son says about Megan Washington: "Oh, she's so indie she probably wears loafers without socks and glasses without lenses". Apparently that is the epitome of indie-nerd-hipster fashion! What shoes do you wear, Kate? ;-)

  2. Hey well done getting the book covers up! If you want to shuffle the order around you can just drag them into different sections of that panel on the design page. Enjoy!

  3. The pictures were easy enough, it's the captions that have me baffled! But where there's a will there's a way...

  4. Oh dear, i do feel for little Kate! Such a poignant story (sniff). But yes, daggy is the new cool. That NZ photographer who does the fashion shoots for Frankie specialises in 'dorky' shots, have you noticed? I saw her interviewed somewhere or other... She's a champion of daggy. Bespectacled gals are often on the cover of Frankie. Nice. jxx

  5. Wow! If only I looked that good in glasses---hahahaaaahaaaa! The last photo would be me in a swimsuit with a fur coat wrapped around me because even in 90 degree

    weather I'm still freezing. Love the specs and the lace pattern swimsuit!Click Here