Let’s talk about specs

Clearly, I’ve not felt a strong obligation to this blog since touching back down in the States. Why? There are no acceptable mosaics here. My well of inspiration is dry as a bone.

Just kidding. I haven’t been writing as often as usual because I am in the throes of the busiest summer of my life – working, coffeehouse-hopping, reading, sunbathing (and lying to my doctor about it), sleeping, not sleeping, busing, catching up with friends, wearing baseball caps, honing my skills as a cocktail artiste. I’ve checked out a lot of short story and essay collections from the library. I’ve consumed a near-unbelievable number of iced lattes. Life has been excellent. But I did not come here to write an extensive life update. No, today I am going to talk about glasses.

I was eleven when my poor mother dragged me, an obstinate, fuming moper of a punk, to the eye doctor. We’d recently been to the opera, where I had been unable to read the English subtitles above the stage, and suddenly I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair at Walmart and they were shooting air into my eye. That day, to literally no one’s surprise, it was decided: I needed glasses. I picked a pair of small, chestnut brown frames, and then my mom bought me the new DisneyMania CD because I was upset and she’s always been too nice to me. That Disney optimism, though, did not chase away the fear that I would be labeled as a “nerd.”

That first pair of glasses brought a lot of new things into my life. First, the outlines of leaves, which had previously been indistinguishable clumps of green adorning the trees in my yard. Second, a new facial expression which involved squinching up my nose because my frames would slide down it and I was too lazy to lift a finger. Third, the beginning of an era in which my eyes are almost-closed in every picture because, as I said, my glasses often slid down my nose. As a result, subsequent pairs were very poorly documented: I effectively erased about six years of being visually impaired from the history books (my history books) by refusing to wear glasses in pictures. They would hang there, dangling from my hand, at my side. Nearly every group picture from the time I was twelve to the time I was seventeen was like this. Even in class, I would occasionally take them off if I didn’t really need to see the board. They helped me see – like, a lot – but I was embarrassed to wear them.

There was a brief period where I considered getting contacts (I was probably fourteen) – I went in to the eye doctor and they held up a giant, plastic model of a lens and placed a normal-sized tester on the tip of my finger, but I never actually put it in my eye because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it out again. Irrational fear: I’m good at that. So contact lenses were, unequivocally, a “no.”

I went through three pairs of very unexciting black frames before I finally landed on the 2011 “nerd” standard – thick, black, square, with little silver things on the corners. This was when I started liking myself as a glasses-wearer. I wore them all the time, even in pictures, even to school dances, and I owned it. I don’t know why it took so long to happen, but my glasses became a part of who I was. As I would later claim (and still do claim), they became a part of my face, an extra feature. Fast-forward four years and two pairs of frames, and I don’t like taking my glasses off. I also get really offended when people think they’re fake… but that’s another story for another day.

In February, I branched out from my usual type (read: square black acetate) and ordered some chunky tortoiseshells from Warby Parker. I’ve never loved an accessory – or a necessity, for that matter – more than I love my Kimballs.


And now I’m looking at getting a second pair from my beloved WP. Even though I am not one of the fortunate few who looks good in any and all frames thrown on my face, ordering the home trial boxes is slightly addictive – usually 3/5 are losers, but that leaves two winners. What is more fun than trying on glasses? I guess Disneyland is. Beside the point. Back to corrective eyewear.

In my most recent 5-day home trial, I’ve narrowed it down to two pairs: the Haskell and the Fillmore. I am strongly leaning toward one of them, I won’t say which, but feel free to cast your vote. Just for fun. I say that because I probably won’t listen to any of you because I am an incredibly stubborn young woman. Sorry.

The (Eddie) Haskell (from Leave it to Beaver, I'm sorry okay)

The (Eddie) Haskell (from Leave it to Beaver, I’m sorry okay)

The Fillmore, ft. annoying glare

The Fillmore, ft. annoying glare

In short, I am really, really happy I need glasses. They’re a pain in the ass when it rains, and they steam up when I open the dishwasher, and sunglasses are an expensive challenge. But I love the way they look, and I love that they let me see how I look – pretty useful. As an 11-year-old, I was worried my glasses would make people judge me. Now, if they warrant any label, I’d like to think that label is “bold.” Also, let me just say I completely misconstrued the concept of “nerd” as a child, and would not feel any shame whatsoever to hold that label as well – it’s just that my nerdiness and my glasses have nothing to do with one another.

And that is my corrective lens coming-of-age story. EMBRACE YOUR FLAWS!


Dear Santa Clause

I just had a moment. One where I picked up on something I should have gotten a very long time ago.

My sister and I, growing up, were firm believers in Santa – not abnormal for the culture in which I have been brought up. We made him cookies, we looked for reindeer tracks in the driveway on Christmas morning, and, naturally, wrote him the occasional letter/demanding wishlist. The only problem in all of this was that I was perpetually unclear on the spelling of Santa’s name.

I had seen “Santa Claus” in a lot of places, so it was always a strong contender. “Santa Klaus” had popped up as well, although somewhat less frequently. But what really messed me up was a slight variant of the first option – “Santa Clause.” I figured this was just a fancier way of addressing the jolly old man, maybe something invented by the posh people in England. So for the vast majority of my life, even after the figurative death of Mr. Kringle, I regarded “Santa Clause” as a perfectly valid spelling that everyone used. Tim Allen… you bastard.

Just thirty minutes ago, I was scrolling through Buzzfeed (as I do) and happened upon the poster for the 90’s Christmas classic. Let’s just revisit this for a second:


Huh… how odd that they would make the “e” crooked and a different color than the rest of the text. That is no way to treat such a lovely and versatile letter of the alphabet. Oh wait.

It is understandable that this cruel play on words eluded me for the first 10 or 11 years of my life – that’s fine. But I am 20, guys. Two decades. Please tell me I’m not the only one who is just now realizing that this is actually a very cleverly named movie.

Everything makes sense now, but this sudden burst of clarity is somewhat dampened by my well-earned embarrassment. Happy holidays, everyone.

PS: “Santa Clause” still looks right to me. I NEED HELP

PPS: I didn’t figure out why toothpicks are called toothpicks until I was 16 years old

How to be a preteen heartbreaker

Let’s start this post by rewinding roughly a decade to 2004 or 2005. Inflatable furniture, mp3 players, patchwork denim boots? Sounds about right.

I was that sweet little eleven-year-old who would sit in her window at night and smilingly dream about love, imagining myself in whatever a girl of that age considers a relationship to be, drifting off into well-constructed fantasies of pecks on the cheek and “dates” to see the newest Harry Potter movie. How adorable, right? Ha, au contraire.

Despite indulging myself in those utterly ridiculous crushes of yesterdecade (I just coined a new word, take that Shakespeare), I was kind of a menace when it came to actually interacting with boys, especially those boys whose names were spelled backward in my diary for the purpose of secrecy. I would seriously spend my time translating really stupid insults into Italian, Spanish, and French, and I would yell them across the playground without provocation. At such an early age, I exhibited levels of sass that will probably never be seen again in my lifetime, and the majority of it was directed at whomever was unfortunate enough to be my crush of the hour. Obviously I have chilled out a little bit in the past nine or ten years, but I have always wondered why I adopted such an unappealing attitude that (frankly) carried on into middle school. Stomp stomp stomp I HATE YOU (you’re really cute though)

Well, consider the mystery solved. A few nights ago, spurred by nostalgia, I pulled out my old iPod and put it on shuffle – it was mostly just a lot of Relient k from my freshman year of high school, but a few songs made me feel eleven again. First of all, the anthem of my preteenhood:

And then a close second:

And finally, these boys trying to look like the Beatles:

So, these three songs basically sum up 2004-2007 for me. Yes, they stuck around for awhile. And maybe I still think “Hey Juliet” is extremely catchy. But that’s beside the point…

The reason I was playing hard-to-get before I even knew what it was? Radio Disney, my friends. I thought Skye Sweetnam was such a badass, she’s the reason I bought a plaid skirt with a ludicrously large safety pin on it. “Can’t you see I want you by the way I push you away? YEAH” I would sing as I danced around my bedroom, doing some pretty hardcore headbanging. I hadn’t the faintest clue as to the meaning of “reverse psychology,” but if Skye Sweetnam was using it in her day-to-day life, it was good enough for me. And the boys of LMNT and the Click 5 liked being dragged around by the likes of us – or so they said. I actually have a sort of conspiracy theory about this, with like target demographics of boy bands and parents wanting to prevent their preteen girls from dating, etc., but I don’t want this blog post to last forever because I’m nice.

Anyway, it is now clear to me that my hilarious (and rather unfruitful) approach to flirting was heavily influenced by the idea of having “she’s cold and she’s cruel, but she knows what she’s doing” sung about me someday. I was just so proud to not be giggly and outwardly-fawning, abstaining from playground chases and “going out.” And to this day, I kind of think… yeah, you go, little Cierra. You little punk-ass heartbreaker.

Just thought it was amusing. You can return to 2014 now.

Can you not?

Judging by the fact that I am using one right now, I am not opposed to laptops. I think they are incredibly helpful inventions for writing, storing pictures, wasting time, etc. But don’t get me started on those in-class websurfers. Oops, too late, I’m already going.



Even though I don’t necessarily love the clicking of keys during my classes, I can handle the people who just use their laptops and/or tablets to take notes. That is, in essence, what we are there to do. Be respectful, pay attention to some extent, and – ideally – learn. Some students, however, seem bent on spending $25,000+ a year to sit in a lecture hall and conduct their own daily online shopping spree. There are also those who mistake “class time” for “car-racing video game time,” and I have noticed a large pinterest/tumblr/buzzfeed population as well. I’m glad you found those shoes on sale, I’m overjoyed about your racing victory, and I am ever-so-thankful to have had the chance to see all of the hair tutorials you have pinned. But… can you not?

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in one of my classes, distracted by my grumbling stomach and the feeling of nostalgia I get whenever I start thinking about being hungry:

And this girl reeking of malevolence decided it was prime time to flip through dozens upon dozens of pictures of gourmet dishes. Excuse me, miss, that is very inconsiderate. A steaming bowl of baked pasta is not what I need to see right now. Unless you intend to cook that for me on a later date, please do not subject me to this torture. (I later realized this reaction was quite overdramatic when I was reading about the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland, but I’m choosing to include it anyway)

There was another unnamed person a couple days ago who thought she would use our 50-minute lecture to find a new bathing suit for spring break. I wouldn’t consider myself a super conservative person, but I don’t think scantily-clad Victoria’s Secret models are an appropriate thing to be looking at in that particular environment. Like, you do realize other people can see your screen, right? Also, you have a million tabs open and it’s literally going to give me a heart attack. Stop.

Yes, I get it, some people are better note-takers on computers. But YOU ARE NOT TAKING NOTES. Yes, I have the power to choose if I want to be distracted or not. But STOP TEMPTING ME. It is not within my capabilities to resist the undeniable allure of a gif-ridden buzzfeed post, so don’t do that to me. Just pay attention. Or at the very least make it look like you’re paying attention. PLEASE.

Also, if you’re reading this in class, shame on you (but also thank you for reading my blog, you’re the best)

Movies, Minivans, and Moving Forward

Got that right.

Got that right.

I am semi-bedridden and trying to overcome the unrelenting numbness that comes with the Annual Winter Break Netflix Binge, so what better time to blog? No better time, I say.

Ever since the autumn of my senior year of high school, I have been painfully aware of my age and the inevitability of it increasing. At that time, I experienced what I would call a “pre-quarter life crisis,” which was largely comprised of fits of tears and a short-lived but passionate rejection of our college-going culture. I freaked out because I could see quite clearly the dark and dreary end of my youth and, let’s be real, I’m pretty severely nearsighted. It was coming. I was sure of it. And submitting to the idea of “growing up” would only put the process in fast-forward.

Over the two years since that November, similar “crises” have occurred. When my roommates and I started searching for apartments and putting down deposits last spring, I literally had to come home and sob to my parents because I was like, “nope… nope. TOO REAL.” Leases are for adults, just like taxes and dinner parties and minivans with pop-out DVD players. I didn’t – and I still don’t, sometimes – feel like I was capable of being a fully-functioning adult. I started seeing my life as this trajectory, this exponential graph of sorts, going up and up and up and never coming back down again. It’ll level out eventually, but the line never hits the same point twice. I’ll never get to be a six-year-old rolling down a grassy hill in the sunshine again. I’ll never be a nineteen-year-old lying in bed with a stomachache again. I only get to go forward – actually, I have to go forward. Unless there’s some crazy scientific breakthrough in the next sixty or seventy years, I’m pretty much committed to this forward-moving, never-stopping  life.

Sometimes I feel the time-crunch. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I chastise myself for not being completely on top of things, or not being completely sure of myself. Sometimes I remind myself that I have the rest of my life to be mature and sophisticated, to iron my clothes and talk on the phone with ease. All of the time, though, I am aware of my fading childhood, my looming adulthood.

Not too long ago, I watched this movie I had been wanting to see for quite awhile. The Lifeguard, starring Kristen Bell who is adorable and loves sloths. It popped up on Netflix, and I was like YES, this movie is going to comfort me and give me the hope that will guide me through my twenties. The premise is that this 29-year-old girl has a quarter-life crisis and returns to her hometown, and I thought the overarching message of the movie would be “it’s okay to freak out about becoming an adult, and you’ll be okay!!!!!!!!” with exactly that many exclamation points. Uhhhh I was wrong. The movie was awful (except for the way it was filmed, which was lovely) and void of all hope. Kristen Bell’s character just waltzes into town, sleeps with a high-schooler, and almost breaks up a couple marriages. I don’t even remember how it ends because I was so pissed off. And, unsurprisingly, a little discouraged.

And then a couple weeks ago, another movie about a quarter-life crisis that I’d been wanting to see for awhile appeared on Netflix: Frances HaJust by comparing the ratings (92% vs. 13%, respectively), you know Frances Ha is going to be significantly better. And it so is. Greta Gerwig’s Frances is quirky and certainly afraid of all the same things I’m afraid of, but she turns out okay. Further, even, she submits to some of the ideas of adulthood, but she still ends up happy and able to maintain at least some facet of her youthfulness (without wrecking other peoples’ lives… cough cough KRISTEN). It just made me waaay more chilled-out about the next decade or so of my life, possibly even excited? We will see. 🙂

I guess this could all be summed up as so: life is weird, I think too much, and watch Frances Ha. Also, oddly enough, both movies feature a different daughter of Meryl Streep. Looks like Grace wins this round, Mamie.

OH. Also. I’ve spent a lot of my life romanticizing the idea of Peter Pan and Neverland and, predictably, never growing up. But then I started reading the actual book not too long ago, and I realized Peter Pan is kind of a conceited asshole. So there’s that.

Okay. Done now.