Stephen Mosher On The Sunglasses
I can’t tell ya how often people make fun of me, to my face, for the sunglasses. It used to matter to me. For a while now, though, I could give a fuck. It’s my face, it’s my style, it’s my choice. I like sunglasses and I wear them, almost continually, in my real day to day life.
This, however, is how the evolution came about.
I was very open, in real life, with people. I shared my feelings. If I had them, they showed. My face was like an open book. People could see when they had hurt me because of the open book. I began to share less and less of myself with people. It reached a point where, even if I was with a very close friend, it could be difficult for me to talk about my feelings. I would have to look away from the person with whom I was talking. Eventually, I simply stopped asking questions about my life, about my feelings, about myself. I have never minded sharing thoughts and feelings, adventures and lessons with people in my writing because that was art. It was me sharing lessons I had learned with others and possibly helping them to learn some things too. I have always believed that if someone can learn something from a mistake I made or an experience I had, I should share it. In writing. In person? No thank you.
I began wearing sunglasses all the time about twelve years ago. It was difficult at first. I have always enjoyed seeing the colors of life as they exist, naturally, so it took some getting used to. But I did get used to it. It was difficult for other people, too, and they would remark on it and some even asked me to remove my sunglasses, the most surefire way to get me to keep them on. Over the years, they got used to it too. Now nobody bothers me about the sunglasses.
The interesting thing is, as I have healed, as I have gotten stronger, as I have let go the rage, the bitterness, the sorrow, the regret; as I have let go that bouquet of balloons that is the emotional baggage that I was protecting, not only from additional baggage but also from visibility from the rest of the world, I have had the option of beginning to remove the sunglasses. Only, there came a new factor to the equation. I have spent most of my adult life averaging 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night. If I slept 8 hours it was a welcome miracle. If it wasn’t natural insomnia that kept me awake all night, it was work. I would stay up developing film, printing pictures, editing photos, writing, working on Ebay.. you name it, I would do it. I have even spent the middle of the night scrubbing the bathroom, cleaning the closet, doing any kind of housework that can be done without disturbing the rest of the sleeping house. I have deprived my body of so much sleep that my eyes are now, permanently, light sensitive. I can’t sit and watch television in my house without shielding my eyes. I wear sunglasses at night when walking home from work because oncoming headlights are blinding to me. I squint my way through entire conversations with people, and it makes them uncomfortable.
And we come to the final variable in the equation. I love sunglasses. I am not a particularly fashionable man. I do not care for jewelry. I own hats but they usually make my naked head uncomfortable (except for a plain knit cap). Sunglasses are my accessory. They are the fashion statement I can and am able to make. Some people spend money on shoes, others on jewelry, some on black turtlenecks. I buy sunglasses.
Because they protect my eyes from the light, my feelings from the spotlight and my heart from the pain.
And they’re pretty.
So, no, I don’t feel odd wearing them indoors, at night or underground. And nobody’s comments or criticism will ever take the sunglass joy away from me. They are my trademark and my tradition.