It’s the start of the school year and I’m feeling nostalgic. I always loved school when I was a kid. Today I’d like to share with you the story of me: in school portraiture. As with all epic novels my school portrait biography starts slow, cute, filled with hope. We reach a point around fourth grade where the drama begins to crest, reaching it’s highest conflict in the middle school years. Finally, the resolution of puberty. I think this little foray into my history will explain why I had to develop a sense of humor. Being awkward is an exercise in character building. Shall we begin?
Spry, cute, full of optimism. Kindergarten was my jam. I was most likely the size of a tiny lilliputian. And shy. My parents, traditionalists through and through, never sprung for neon laser backgrounds, but I think this provides us with a control to observe my development.
The bangs haven’t gone AWOL yet. Keep an eye out for that. I think I look like Maisy Jo here. I cried everyday of first grade for a month because I missed my mom so much. #tenderheart
We’re being ushered into the “half up-half down” hair do phase of my school pictures that will span years. This bow is pretty sweet and I don’t hate this little velvet number I’m rocking.
The bangs. The V-neck sweater. The turtle neck. 1993 never looked so good.
I was really feeling this turtle neck sweater situation. So much so that I repeat it for another couple of years. Fourth grade is the year I found faith. And it’s the year my bangs began to spiral out of control.
We’re close to reaching the crescendo of awfulness. The sweaters just keep getting bigger. The bangs fuller. And the turtlenecks more mock-y.
Terrible. I call this “The year I handed out no wallet photos.” This year I looked like I rode the short bus. I’m 11 here but I look like I’m 7. This is a personal low that I do not look fondly upon. *Sense of humor starts developing here*
You can see it can’t you? The death of innocence. The beginnings of the self-deprecation that would dare someone to say something before I could. But I do think I’m a little proud of wearing last years Easter dress and my cool sparrow earrings. Because I was just hella classy like that.
Even I know it’s bad, as the picture is being taken. This is the picture that made it clear I needed to grow out my bangs. You suck bangs. I will no longer be held hostage by the weighty girth of your shame. And to all you young people, I’m pretty sure hair straighteners hadn’t even been invented yet. Also, I can’t even blame the chubbiness on a growth spurt, because the summer after eighth grade I grew half an inch which brought me to my full adult height of 5’0.
If you ask really nicely, I’ll tell you where I got my cool sweater set. Okay, it was JC Penny. I feel that a lot of embarrassment could of been avoided if I had just been allowed to look directly into the camera. Here we start with the “hide my braces” smize.
Aww yeah boy. I’m a sophomore and I am TOTALLY rocking that Weathervane shirt with the tiny pocket. Tiny pockets were really in then. Also in? Trying to tuck your entire head of hair behind each ear.
This is the year I met my husband. My hair figured itself out. I wore lipgloss occasionally. I had a fashionable rugby shirt and a wry sense of humor. I didn’t have boobs yet, those came in my eighteenth year. But enough pieces fell into place that a person from a different high school could feasibly entertain dating me.
Twelfth Grade. Senior Year Son!
This picture is a celebration. It says “I learned to blow dry my hair!” “I got my braces off!” “I have a boyfriend!” and “Doesn’t everyone in the Senior Class want to see my collar bone?” and also, “Who is this person? Did you know she went to our high school?”
Let’s skip ahead four years, four years of trying to figure out what my personal style was, to my first year of teaching.
I was ready to teach some awkward children, having known the struggle personally. It’s really too bad that I quit teaching to raise children, because having a cheesy school photo every year is not an altogether bad deal.
Finally, the piece de resistance:
California Kaley. She decided to get her hair done in a salon that wasn’t Bubbles in the mall. She said “Screw skin cancer! I’m getting a tan!” And she also said, “Some exercise won’t kill you!” That Kaley lived for a calendar year and then got pregnant for the next five. But she lived. Oh she lived.
And so concludes “The Story of Me: In School Portraiture”