#TBT: Saying farewell to my glasses

As long as I can remember, I’ve worn glasses. I think I had a few good years of freedom, but by the time I hit kindergarten, I was trapped behind lenses. Twenty years of glasses falling down my nose, dirty lenses and raindrops threatening my vision. On the eve of my LASIK surgery, it feels appropriate to travel down the evolution of my glasses and say farewell to my near constant companion.

It may seem weird, reminiscing about glasses, but when you’re young and in a world without Warby Parker, these looks come to define you. Based on my limited research and memory, I’ve assembled photos from the five pairs of glasses I’ve worn throughout my life.

When you only have five pairs of glasses, you tend to get attached. To the point that I’ve never donated my glasses because they feel so special to me. They’re indicative of where I was in my life and I remember wearing every pair.

Around age five (maybe before, who’s to know I was too lazy to ask my mother), it became apparent I needed glasses. This wasn’t surprising, considering both my parents are practically blind. I lost the genetic lottery because my sister doesn’t need them (except one time she faked an eye exam to get a pair, but that’s a different story).

I was the Disney Queen. Just look at all my swag and missing teeth.

Maybe I hated glasses, but knowing me and my lingering feelings about them, I probably enjoyed being different. And all smart kids have glasses so it was further proof I was a genius (LOL).

Most importantly, I rocked Harry Potter glasses before anyone knew about Harry Potter. When I first read the books, I instantly connected because of the round glasses.

Selfie game strong

By the time I hit pair number two, I was sure I’d never want to stop wearing glasses. See how great they looked? Also notice that is where my glasses constantly live – halfway down my nose. Even worse is the nerdy way I push them up using one finger in the middle. Perhaps my witch nose in all its angular glory is the reason for this constant state of sliding.

These may have been my Hush Puppy glasses. The case was very colorful with hound dog puppies. Unimportant. I just really loved the case.

I won a fire prevention essay contest and got a pillow. You jelly?

Finally we come to the first time I remember making a choice. These bad boys are Nine West, came with a great case that looked like a little purse AND the arms squiggled at one point. Not too mention how the tiny wire frames perfectly minimalized my beady eyes. Sixth grade in general was a bad time, primarily because my mom started letting my make my own choices, like cutting off all my hair and dressing myself. It’s hard to find a good picture of me at 12.

Finally, after turning 13, my mom said it was time for contacts. Up until this point, I felt unique behind my glasses (because like 50 percent of the population doesn’t also wear them) and I felt like I would lose a piece of who I was. Deep thoughts for a teenager. Still, I did it and man the whole world seemed to change.

Eventually my beloved Nine West glasses became too small for my face so I upgraded to DKNY and some plastic frames. Everyone was wearing thicker frames and suddenly wearing glasses didn’t seem so lame anymore. But then glasses became a trend and they got bigger and rounder.

Even my sister questions my glasses choice

During my senior year of college, a mere three years ago, tragedy struck and a minor infection forced me behind my frames for weeks until my new glasses and contacts arrived. I felt so weird behind the brown frames. So small. And I wore mostly black! Ugh, the horror.

These glasses are great, but not made for the weather in Ireland. Blarney Castle if you’re curious

My new pair, however, courtesy of Anne Klein clearance, served me well during the last three years. I wear them without shame or embarrassment and I actually get some compliments. Which made the decision for getting LASIK so hard at first.

It was like I was a young teenager again and felt like I was losing a bit of myself. I’m Chelsea Cummins! I wear glasses! I have to wear glasses! Plus, I really like how glasses look with certain outfits. Am I ready to give that up?


As soon as it became a reality, I didn’t think twice. Despite minor moments of panic and doubt about not wearing glasses, I know this was the right choice. I can look in the mirror and think ‘but they look so good’ and then they immediately fall down my nose again.

To convince myself, I think about never looking at someone over my glasses again. I imagine not having to think about the weather before I go outside. I can wake up and see without squinting around. I can bend over without feeling them slide off my face. I can see clearly without smudged up lenses from my greasy fingers and makeup. I can travel without thinking of glasses, contact container and solution. I can take a selfie on Snapchat without J.J. Abrams style lens flares on my glasses.

Basically I can be free.

I know if you read this, you might think cool but this is lame and about your weird relationship with glasses. I get it. But I can impart some wisdom.

Growing up, I’ve really struggled with letting go of the things I think define based on the standards of others and holding onto things because I think it’s expected. More than just my glasses, I let others dictate what defines me. These ideals I create of who I need to be are no more than the reflections from other people.

The best news? You only have to be you. The thoughts of others mean virtually nothing. Don’t let expectations run your life. It’s exhausting. Just because people expect you to be the crazy one doesn’t mean you always have to be ridiculous (unless you want to, do you).

Be who makes you happy and don’t let other opinions hold you back.

And get LASIK because there are at least 57864 reasons are glasses/contacts are the worst.

I am no one’s weird mistake

Sometimes there’s no worse feeling than being 25 years old and allowing the presence of another human to debilitate you. Why can’t your brain feed you images of your strength and independence and not of past rejection? Why won’t I man up and say, ‘nah, you can’t have this effect on me.

I really need to have a playlist ready in my head for these encounters, featuring Stronger by B. Spears, Independent Women by Destiny’s Child and Single Ladies by Queen Bey. Will note for next time.

While frantically texting everyone who’s vaguely aware of my situation, the reality occurred to me. He makes me feel weird. Every time we see each other, he looks away too. He doesn’t try to say hi or even spare a head nod. We just act like the other doesn’t exist.

Because of where I was when our history unfolded, I felt less than him. When the rejection occurred, I blamed myself and where I was. I thought he was too good for me. Everything about me seemed wrong, like maybe I didn’t love God enough or maybe I was too fat. We all know these as the thoughts that keep us up at night when we think of how we could’ve saved a situation.

Instead of things blossoming like I hoped, I became a secret. Sure, making out and then seeing each other socially is kind of fun when you’re young and pretending like you aren’t emotionally attached. When everything ended, I remained a secret until it surfaced my last night out in college. This thing I had built up and torn myself apart over became nothing more than a funny story to share at the bar.

Three years later and I’m still the dirty little secret.

Anytime you let someone’s feelings dictate how you behave, you sacrifice a bit of yourself. Allowing someone to make you feel inferior only pushes you to that place. Every time I panic when I see him, I’m allowing this perception to rule me, haunt me and remind me why everything is my fault.

In the last few years, I kept digging myself closer to rock bottom after college until about a year out I hit the stone that got my life back on track. I recognized I was running from the person I was by trying to be someone I thought was cooler. I began to let God’s opinion affect me instead of what a guy might think. I found my worth again in God and learned to love every part of myself, good and terrifying.Yet I let a chance run-in slam the wall of my self-esteem. Fortunately, God has my back.

Before I could spiral into my pit of sadness, I felt him reminding me of where I was. I had the support of my friends saying all the right words to make me realize I am great and one opinion doesn’t change that.

I am not someone’s weird mistake. I am God’s wonderful creation.

Who cares what happened three years ago? Three years is a lifetime when you begin to grow up. Three years is enough to realize you’re on a bad path and find the right one before it’s too late. It’s enough time to thrive.

To all my ladies (and guys, no sexism here), don’t let that person affect you. You are a beautiful, unique unicorn designed by a God who dreamt you up and knit you together in your mother’s womb. The same God who knows every hair on your head and cares for you, whether you’re struggling with a major illness or reeling from a chance encounter. To Him, you are enough. I mean, He died for you, and you definitely didn’t deserve that. Find your worth in the God who won’t leave you because you couldn’t meet a standard, but will continually pursue you as His true love until you feel a piece of the depth of His passion for you.

You are the greatest person alive.

But what if I actually trusted God?

I spend too much time in the land of make believe. As long as I can remember, I’ve been escaping reality into these elaborate fantasies in my head where the most impossible dream can come true.

Most of the time I just look silly talking to myself while imagining this different life.

We live in a world that encourages dreams with an asterisk. We tell you you can be anything, but remember the likelihood of success is slim. Follow your heart, but most people who can sing don’t become famous. Try to open that business, but don’t forget how many bad years you will have and the economy isn’t great. Marry the love of your life, but you’re young and it probably won’t work. We like your dreams to be reasonable and immediately look down upon others who encourage the fantastical.

But what if it didn’t have to be this way?

Our current series at church is Wonderstruck: Recapturing the Awe of God. I get wonderstruck a lot, especially when seeing God’s creation. An old Stellar Kart lyric perfectly describes my feelings pretty much any time I see nature: All around me Your creation brings me to my knees in adoration. But I’ve never thought about it from the perspective of my dreams. In awe of creation, sure, but in awe of what God inspires in my heart? Sometimes a little harder to grasp.

I’ve always loved stories. When I would play with toys as a child, everyone had a backstory. I wanted to be an actress so I had the chance to tell stories like the people in movies. I love reading because I could immerse myself in a different world and feel like I was a part of something bigger.

Because of this, I dream a lot of things. My brain exists with two streams of thought – what is actually happening and this imaginary world that is constantly evolving depending on my mood or passion of the day. The logical side allows me to face the day and function like a human being while the other side just runs wild with imagination.

I think about all the places I’d like to see and all the visits to Harry Potter world I want to make. I envision a time where my dad gets better and we can be in each other’s lives again. I fantasize about a man who will love me for every part of me, good and bad, and talking about how we fell in love. I contemplate what powers I would have if the Avengers ever invited me to join their ranks.

Mostly I dream about being a writer.

When I was younger, I wanted to write to be like the authors I loved so much. Mainly I wanted to write dramatic things I didn’t know anything about. For example, an early novel I started under the age of 10 involved a blind dog that ran into walls and a car accident that left a mother with like 300 broken bones. Maximum drama, see?

As I got older, the dream evolved. I felt a need to write. Most of time, I let laziness win and didn’t pursue it, but the thought always lingered in the back of my mind. It’s not odd, really, because my parents both write and my sister actually is a writer, so it’s kind of a family trait. But with two talented parents and a sister with a degree in writing, I felt wrong. It wasn’t for me.

Starting this site was terrifying, but I couldn’t deny the calling from God anymore. He gave me words and something to say. I’m not saying it’s to reach the masses and profit and churn out book after book, but it’s for a reason. What I want is to reach one person. Let them know they are loved. Let them know it’s ok and they aren’t alone.

I dream about being a writer but lack the drive to actually make it happen, mostly because I let the doubt fill my brain more than God’s promises. ‘Anything is possible for him who believes’ and yet I act like what I do has no future. God gave me this desire and dreams with me, yet I doubt. Why am I not asking ‘what if I put the effort in and listen to God?’ What if I let go of all my fears and trusted in the future that is orchestrated by the One who loves me? What if I stood in awe of God’s plan and stopped fighting myself?

Every detail of my life has worked out according to His purpose and I see His hand in all I do. Everything I try to do on my own fails, but with God whom shall I fear? Trolls of the Internet? I think I’ll take my chances.