There is nothing like waking up in the morning and wanting to avoid absolutely everyone in the world. Whether you’re not feeling (or looking) your best, there are always those days when you simply want to go unseen. Unfortunately, going unseen tends to be a pretty difficult task to accomplish when going to school in New York City. It is for this reason that I am most grateful for my favorite pair of sunglasses.

My Wayfarer Ray Bans are probably one of my most cherished items. While there is nothing terribly sentimental about the glasses (they were actually an impulse purchase in high school), they have become extremely meaningful to me over the years. Not only have they traveled with me all across the world, but my glasses offer me a strange amount of comfort when they’re on my face. What is stranger than the comfort they give me is the amount of anxiety I get when I’m not wearing them; I truly feel naked without the protection of my sunglasses.

While a pair of sunglasses’ most obvious function is to shield your eyes from the sun, I am most appreciative of the fact that my eyes are shielded from everything when I wear my glasses. I love the ability to unassumingly observe everything from behind my tinted shades without the consequences of awkward eye contact or uncomfortable staring. I feel both invisible and invincible when I’m wearing my glasses (sort of similar to how the Sprouse twins felt about the magic sunglasses in Big Daddy.) My Ray Bans offer me a sense of empowerment unlike any other item I own.

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Not only do my glasses offer me this sense of liberation, but I also love my sunglasses for superficial reasons. As I sit here and reflect on my unhealthy obsession with these glasses, it makes me wonder if I would appreciate them as much if they did not say “Ray Ban” in the top left corner of the lens. If they were a cheap pair of plastic that still blocked my face from the sun (among other things), would I still cherish them as much? Are my glasses meaningful to me because of the way they make me feel or because of the status that is associated with the name “Ray Bans”? We live in a culture that seems to highly value designer items and name brands, and I would be lying if I said I was not fazed by this. While I know I would be appreciative of my sunglasses regardless of the name on the lens,  I can’t help but think that the notable name gives my glasses a final stamp of approval when I wander through the streets of New York behind my precious shades.

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