Glasses and Movement Don’t Mix

I’ve always had a love for performing, but only movement-based. I never liked listening to my own voice and always had difficultly memorizing lines. Dancing was always easier. Matching movement with music made memorization a simple matter. When I first started wearing glasses, I was more concerned about the social stigma than any improved functioning. I demanded contacts and wore them religiously to avoid any ridicule. In a desert climate, my contacts would dry out quickly, and I’d have to deal with irritated eyes throughout the day. Little changed when I started high school. Any morning I had woken up too late or too tired to put in contacts was a failure. Arriving at school with glasses was a failure. But then I joined my school’s color guard team; an activity that met every morning at 6 am. It was hard enough waking up before the sun to get ready for school; I grew tired of having to factor in contacts. It was much easier to just put on my glasses and walk out the door. I started worrying less about public appearance and more about a few extra minutes of sleep. Glasses became my go-to, but I was faced with a new challenge: keeping my glasses whole and in front of my eyes. For those who may not know, color guard is a performing art that mixes dancing and spinning various props. These props include 6-foot metal flag poles, dulled-metal swords coated in plastic, and solid wood rifles also coated in plastic (I think the plastic coating was meant to lull us into a false sense of safety). I never wore my glasses during practice. There were too many occasions where I tossed my sword into the air and caught it with my face. I couldn’t feel comfortable having a layer of glass in front of my eyes. Thankfully my nearsightedness was never severe enough that not wearing glasses posed a great threat, but it made me feel like I was constantly trying to see the world through a filthy windshield. Anything more than 2 feet away is fuzzy and beyond 5ft was a complete blur. I was dancing in a world of clouded vision. Once out of high school I drifted away from color guard and performing, but I kept dancing. I attended social dances, dance classes, and danced the night away at music festivals. I still could never wear my glasses. I had to go back to wearing contacts all day and deal with dry eyes as a result. Today, I’m not ashamed of my glasses like I was when I first got them in middle school, nor do I think they pose any sort of danger like they did in high school. But now, in my post-college life, I wish I could see the world without glasses, if only because it would be far more convenient.