I bought new sunglasses recently. When I was in my 20s, I used to lose them all the time, so I never invested in a decent, comfortable pair. I did once buy this fancy pair of Nike sunglasses right after basic training, but they were the wrong color for wearing in military uniform. And then the lenses started popping out. I originally thought that maybe if I spent a bunch of money on sunglasses, maybe I would get better about losing them. Eventually the frames broke after many years, so I can say I definitely got my money’s worth out of that pair.

I had some that were issued to me by the Air Force and I really liked them. They were very tactical and looked cool in uniform. I very carefully kept them in the case and took really good care of them. They were so comfortable. I stopped wearing them once someone made fun of me, though. The general attitude was that those were dude’s sunglasses and I shouldn’t be wearing them. So I hunted around for a pair that was acceptable in uniform.

I found these great Nike ones that were huge and perfectly feminine. I thought they were ok, although I didn’t love them. I wore them on a trip to Disney World and when I saw myself in them, I was disgusted. I looked stupid. Like a boy wearing girl’s sunglasses. At that point in time, I shifted myself to wearing aviator style sunglasses, because those seemed the most neutral. They were fine. Acceptable.

I recently left those in my wife’s car and had to use my backup pair in my car. When I put them on, I looked in the mirror. These backups are my old, dependable tactical sunglasses that I was issued all those years again. They’re pretty beat up now, after 10 years or so. That’s when I knew it was time to let my (scratched) aviators go to become another set of backups.

My new pair arrived today and although I am very excited to get to wear them, I am also nervous. Sunglasses are such a small part of life and one of the only things I hadn’t considered in this great return to myself. I was wearing what I’ve been wearing for years because that’s what I’ve been wearing. I never thought about what happened in the past with the sunglasses I truly loved and how this was one more thing I could change back to what I really wanted. I am also nervous because I am noticing these tiny things now, like wearing the sunglasses I really want to wear. It feels like more proof that the time to make big changes like changing my name is coming up fast. I promised myself from the beginning that I was going to take my time and do none of this quickly. Rushing seemed like a huge mistake. For me, scooping up Little Zander to raise him from a little boy, backing the facade up while putting Zander in front, and allowing all of me to heal is so much more important than rushing through a very uncomfortable process. It all feels very deliberate and intentional, like choosing the right sunglasses.

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