Tag Archives: perspective

Lenses: looking good to others and what you see

Anyone who wears glasses, or just sunglasses, knows that the pair you wear affects how you look, and how you see. So you should put some thought into the pair you pick.IMG_6032

I remember getting my first pair of glasses back in the 6th grade. It was a big deal and I remember the selection process very well. The first step was to know the price point my parent’s insurance would cover- it was low. The second, and at the time I thought the most important, was to know I was only looking at the men’s section. Lastly, and this part was the hardest because there were no signs or labels, though there were small hints called “brands” on the inside of the stem, was to try to remember what the glasses looked like in the GQ magazine I browsed while loitering at the grocery store.IMG_3393In the end none of it mattered because I was a self conscious kid and the next day at school some kid said, “Nice glasses Clark Kent”. Embarrassed I stuffed the glasses in my pocket vowing to wear them as little as possible.IMG_4271 (2)I have learned some things since then and in recognizing the value in those lessons, I am passing them along to you.

First, consider who you are and what you need. Below is a link illustrating the most flattering frame shape in relation to your face. You can trust Esquire.

Frame shape will help ensure you are seen in the most flattering way possible. now what you actually see while looking through the lenses is another story.

For corrective lenses this is all prescription so trust the doctor, but for shade from the sun there are options. Always go with UV protection, then do as you please with amber tint, mirrored, or the proverbial rose colored. All of these will effect what you see when you put them on.nycme

Some people call this tinting. Some call it perspective. It can also be called a theoretical lens. But no matter the moniker, where you stand and the direction you face, will effect what you see and how you view it.IMG_0729

Let me illustrate, not just what this means, but why it might matter.

Go back up to that Esquire graphic and look closer. What do you notice? Are you looking for the shape that most closely matches yours? Are you noting the brand names suggested with each frame shape and are you at all skeptical that no brands are repeated? Maybe you are like me and are thinking about how the shape of your face has shifted thanks to a shifting hair line and that newly gained flesh between your jaw and neck?IMG_1162

Did you notice that all of the illustrations were of men who appear to be white? Or maybe not white, because how could you really know if one was from China or India? But did you notice the hair? Why or why not? Why don’t any of the illustrations appear to be black? Does it matter? Does it matter to you?

Maybe it has something to do with your lens.

Everyone wants to look good. Even people who claim they pay no attention to physical appearance are still concerned with image. Those who choose not to “dress to impress” are still pushing an image. They just don’t want to be seen as one who cares what you see, which may be accurate for the person in question. They might really not care what you think. But we are all seen none-the-less and we all see things a certain way.

And this effects all of us.

It changes our conversations and influences how we listen and hear. It changes how we vote and with whom we associate and quite often paints what we think is or is not true.

I might think I look hot, you might disagree, but don’t try to deny that I have a face. Check and change your lens, turn this way and that, collect perspectives and views, but then look right at me, or you, or them, and know, and accept, and believe, that there are faces all around and they are people and they matter.

The fact that we all have a lens that influences our vision does not negate some fundamental truths. Everywhere, there is a base, a foundational fact, a place at which there is no argument. A place on which we can begin to build. A face shape.  A place to start.

Once you know where to start you can begin making better decisions.

My first pair of glasses began with me having no idea what I really wanted but rather me being told by all sorts of others what I should choose. In the end it didn’t really matter because from where I was sitting, and with the tools I had, I could too easily be pushed around by some other kids whose self interests paid no attention to mine.

So remember, in everything, your lenses matter. How confident are you in the pair you are wearing?

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Being a Kid

When you are little the world is controlled by giants. Everything is taking directions from someone else whose kneecaps look you in the eye.IMG_8005

When and what to eat. Or not to eat. What to wear. Where to live and to whose family you belong. Everything is decided and dictated by someone else and you have no say in who that is. They decide if you are rich or poor, hungry or overfed, blonde or brown haired. Everything is up to them. They control everything and when you are young, your only hope is to eventually get taller. Getting taller takes time, it takes years, and years are the longest things there are.IMG_3683

When you are little the world is measured out from task to task. School comes right after breakfast which comes after you get dressed right after you wake up. Then you color, then a snack, and then a nap. You play. At the end you clean up and then you wait, and if the worst happens, you wait ten minutes because they forgot about you and you almost died because you knew they weren’t coming. But those horrible minutes are erased by cartoons which lead into dinner. After dinner they like to torture you. Sometimes baths but always bed. Bed, where you lie there in the dark being quiet forever until it all ends. Why do they make us do that? It is boring, it is scary, and most of all it is long.IMG_2059This is a day, and to grow up they want us to wait a year? How many bath-times is that? We all want to grow up faster but they won’t let us. They say it isn’t them, it is just how it is, but however it is, it is still out of our control. Just like everything.IMG_2915

They tell us to enjoy it and be happy. They tell us not to cry. They say they wish they could go back and be where we are, then turn around and give themselves another scoop of ice cream and stay up late watching television. We never got extra ice cream and always had to go to bed. They say they want what we have but they never do it. They stay up all night.

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Bad Guys With Guns

None of us think we are, or ever will be, the bad guy. Now sure there are some who set out to be such, but we normally know who they are before middle school and track them accordingly (this sentence was typed while firmly holding down my computer’s sarcasm key. It is right next to the snark key which is often pressed by mistake). But really, we watch bad guys on TV, the news, CSI, our laptops, and we contemplate ways to protect ourselves from them. We argue that protection comes from either confiscating, or buying more, guns. We call for more policing, or less, depending on whether we feel the cops are on our side or not. We argue a lot about how to best protect ourselves from bad guys, spend loads of money on locks and security systems, but in every case we are all convinced, that the bad guy is somebody else.

Have we ever stopped to think that maybe the bad guys weren’t bad until they actually did whatever horrible thing it is they did that got our attention?

And if that bad guy wasn’t bad until he did something bad, doesn’t that make every one of us a potential bad guy?seersucker walking

This thought was made crystal clear in my mind the day I looked over at the car stopped next to me at the intersection. The driver was holding a pistol. He wasn’t necessarily aiming it at anyone; he was just driving while holding it, and consequentially pointed the gun at whoever was to his right or left depending on where the steering wheel was turning.

It freaked me out. Made me nervous. I’m assuming the driver was carrying the gun because driving down this particular street freaked him out. Made him nervous. I had heard of people doing such a thing to protect themselves while driving through the bad part of town. It is a sort of public display of preemptive protection. Maybe he felt safe but driving next to him, I did not. On top of that, I had never considered this a bad neighborhood. In fact, this was my neighborhood. Wait. Does he think I’m the bad guy? As I was contemplating this I realized that my confused face looks a lot like my angry face and I was staring in confusion at a guy with a gun who doesn’t know me. When the light turned green I paused long enough for the car behind me to honk. I wanted to put some space between me and the guy who was protecting himself from me. It was my best means of protection.

As I thought about how I knew nothing of this guy, and he knew nothing of me, and neither of us knew anything about who was or was not dangerous, I realized I knew very little about my own potential. Of course I don’t think I am capable of any horrible act, but who is? Who, while buying a gun for self-protection, considers themselves a public threat? Who, when they see the mug shot of a shooter on television thinks, “Wow, that could be me one day?”

Did the shooter think that when he saw the guy before him on last year’s newsflash?bastilleantoinette

I think about this every time the killer’s neighbors are interviewed and they say, “He was a quiet guy who kept to himself.  Wouldn’t hurt a fly. I just can’t believe it.” Everyone always seems so surprised. Especially the family. Those who know the bad guy best are usually the ones who deny guilt the loudest. We like to chalk it up to denial. They just can’t believe little Johnny is capable of such bad things. I can’t blame them. I don’t think I’m capable of such bad things either. But obviously somebody is.

So how do we stay safe?

I have listened as one side, the side with superior skills of logic, informs me that criminals do not follow gun laws so they all have guns and that the only way to protect you from them is to also have a gun. I may not be smart enough to understand the algebra that proves gun plus gun equals safety, but those who argue this side are as sure of its truth as one plus one equals two. It is simple math. I am sure none of those who buy guns for self-protection will ever become a bad guy themselves. Of course not; they are Republicans.

Then there is the other side. They rely on science, and logic, and state protection. They point to other nations where not even the police carry firearms and the murder rate is so much lower. Why can’t we be more like them? Why don’t we model ourselves on these counties with homogenous populations a fifth of our size? This side trusts that the state will act in the interest of the citizen, despite worldwide evidence of governments killing their own populations. They are convinced ours would never do such a thing because we are America. We don’t do that. Of course these are the same people who are least likely to trust the police with anything.

And then there is me.drinking standing 2

How do I decide who is right? How do I know who the real bad guys are? Because the more I listen to both sides, Republican and Democrat, they are both convinced that the others are the bad guys. We should all protect ourselves from both of them.  From everything and everyone.

From me.

While contemplating the danger I present to everyone else, while I am still convinced I am in no way a bad guy, I thought that perhaps a lot of the bad guys used to be good guys. Maybe people aren’t always one or the other. Maybe we all possess potential for great goodness or horrible atrocity. Maybe the only way to protect myself from the bad guys, including my own potential to become one, is to figure out why people go bad and try to prevent that.

Better yet, maybe we should figure out what makes people good and help them become, or stay, the good guy. Myself included.

You think I’m a Pollyanna.

Not really. I just don’t see the bottom of the rabbit holes that both sides of this debate have dived into and I have no desire to follow suit. I won’t feel safer driving down my block knowing everyone I see has a gun, nor do I think the cartel will play nice once the cops only carry sticks. We have all gone too far.

Which is what makes me think I have the capacity to one day go too far as well. I want to prevent that. I think the only way for me and mine to be safe is if we all do the same.

It isn’t about good guys and bad guys… just guys.usguys2

Tune in next week when I tackle misogynistic rhetorical devices like the use of the word “guy”.

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