well i'm about to
make myself laugh hysterically embarrass myself here.
even as a child, i always hadalso, note the results of letting me pick my own coats, in the eighties. (and the fact that i'd outgrown it a year ago...)
a bit of way too much dramatic flare. i think i was taking my cues from all those old movies my dad watched (not that he doesn't still watch them today.) so i think the below picture was my interpretation of some scene in Hello, Dolly!
i was terribly blonde as a child, despite having been born with a shock of red hair. i would show you some terrible baby pictures too, but my mom still has custody of those, and isn't giving them up until i pry them out of her attic while she's sleeping.
my love of cats began pretty much as soon as i saw one. (before that, it was trying to befriend dead pigeons on the side of the road.) i was constantly begging my mom for a cat. it didn't work so well, until i was so persistent that she finally gave in, just to shut me up.
above, i'm holding my best friend's cat. his name was Sally. i have no idea how i still remember that. people used to mistake J and i for twins or sisters, in this time period. we were both insanely blonde, to be sure. and our mothers had been close friends since before we were even born. but i'm going on a tangent, here.
this is me and my grandmother (mom's side) here. above is my beloved Stevenson Panthers shirt. that's the elementary school i went to. wish i'd gotten that large enough to swim in. i cried when i outgrew it. no, really. i did. i would still be reasonably thrilled to own that shirt. after all, i own a softball hoodie from my high school. and i never even played softball. it was one of my friend's. has her name & number on it and all.
as far as i was concerned as a kid, one of the best things my parents ever did was move us out of the reasonable city of Louisville, KY into a teeny tiny small town in rural Kentucky, the likes of which i've never lived in again, thankfully. but it was great as a kid - i mean, LOOK AT THAT HOUSE! how many kids do you know who wouldn't give a limb to live there? so many trees to climb. and i'm pretty sure i scaled them all, each and every one.
my parents moved us into this house, and proceeded to completely renovate it. before, it was filled with falling paint and gross beige carpet. this is the after picture of the grand hall. that's actual antique carpet that my dad found who knows where. of course, my dad was an antiques dealer (still is) and had no problem finding antique fixtures, like those chandeliers there.
this here was the snooty parlor (with slightly less grand chandelier) which we kids really weren't supposed to be in, without supervision. not that it stopped me. and i have fond, fond memories of climbing onto antique sideboards to hang up heavy antique paintings, while my dad sat by, "a little to the left. no no, LEFT! okay, now a bit to the right..." the other kids thought we were rich. HA! not a chance. but, as they put it, "but you live in, like, a total MANSION!" and in that, they were not wrong.
just in case you're ready to stab my in the face with a spork after seeing these pictures, did i mention that i was homeschooled in this house? yeah.
(believe it or not, that didn't damage me for life. my mom actually is a great teacher, yo.)
as you can see, i was your proverbial eighties child. i certainly picked out this combination myself. except for the belt. because i hated belts. that there shirt says "Cookie Magic," by the way.
one of the things that has stood the test of time, is that i am almost inevitably far, far whiter than all my friends could ever be (not that it's hard or anything, look at how ghost white i am. only thing that has changed is now i'm completely covered in freckles). i'm pretty sure that The Matt is the only person i've spent copious amounts of time with who has skin just as white as mine.
this is another of my very best friends A here. we were always jealous of each other's barbies. i wanted her pretty dark barbies, and she wanted my crazy-blonde ones. we always meant to switch them around a bit, but it never happened. i blame our moms, because we certainly would have done it. she was also one of the first people to put my hair in copious amounts of braids. (she also was the first person to cornrow my hair, so many years later...and she was really good at it!)
have i mentioned that the childhood bangs i was rocking scared me off bangs until i was in my twenties? good going, MOM.
i've never been into team sports much (i was really terrible at softball, and quit after third grade. that's what comes when you don't quite have binocular vision because your eyes are separate prescriptions, and you can't see in 3-D so well. to this day, i still can't see those motherfucking Magic Eye 3-D thingys. no, i'm not bitter or anything, why do you ask?)
but i was a very sporty child nonetheless.
i was completely obsessed with horses, like most Kentucky girls. that's me to the left, J to the right. the horse's name was Midnight. he was a Tennessee Walker, and had originally been trained as a Performance horse. he was trained to pick up his forelegs high as he walked and trotted. it made for quite a beautiful gait. he also had the amusing quality of trying to occasionally scrape a rider off against a tree. and this is how i became very good at staying on a horse. they can flat-out gallop, rear, or buck, and i'll still be on their backs like a burr.
he also once stomped on my foot, accidentally, and just stood on it until a few adults came to my rescue. did a hell of a number on my right big toe, i'll tell you that. they told me my toenail was only saved by the fact that i was wearing cowboy boots. whew! never mind the bruising for weeks...
Kentucky has this habit of creating ice storms. during one of these, this HUGE tree (of which you can only see half, in this picture) came crashing down, early in the morning. i only know this because my parents told me. even though the sucker shook the house so hard that everyone else awoke in a panic, i slept through it quite soundly. (now i've also slept through hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes... no, really.)
ooh, embarrassing family portraits, YES! note my hair, carefully styled by a
typical me, at the time: girl scouts sweatshirt, check. jean jacket? check. obligatory book? check! my mom pushed my little ass into sports, about this time, just to get me out of the damn house. "Go! Go Outside! Get in a tree or something. NO YOU CANNOT BRING YOUR BOOK! Just go outside and Play!!!" (whereupon we played mud pies and she rethought this staying inside with a book thing.)
my grandma (dad's side) was the real fashion influence in the family. so when i rocked something she picked out, i looked pretty good. i'd still wear this today. well, maybe not the jacket. but the skirt, definitely. it was velvet. very cushy. (note my mom's legs in eighties leggings, to the left...)
an "after" picture of the house, after my dad had his way with it. way fewer trees, far more ornamentation. he fixed the house's columns when the iron was too rusty to stay. he also restored the brick walls on the property, and created the circle drive, and the fountain, and the...
my mom made me help her deliver xmas goodies. as an elf. she even made the costumes for my brother and i. note the jingle bell necklace. believe it or not, i was totally psyched to be an elf.
the aforementioned sports. for a while, i was a competitive gymnast. i was pretty damn good, in fact. see those medals? they were for competing at Kentucky's State level competitions.
by the time they were done handing them out, i had 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze. not bad, for a ten year old.
"all i do is WIN, WIN WIN..."
when we moved i had to give up the gymnastics since there was no gym nearby. that was a major bummer, dude.
ah, the "twins" again, J and i. funny, no one ever asked us if we were twins in the summer... hmm.
oh, the sacred hallowed grounds of middle school (snerk!). that's my ex-boyfriend and i, engaging in a pillow fight. i think i was losing. the most important part of this picture to point out, is that i still have those pajama pants. i got them in seventh grade. i think the real wonder is not that they've lasted this long, but that they still fit.
i have had a lifelong hatred of shorts, ever since about this time period. can't stand the way they fit. (ahem. that may or may not be a Jonathan Taylor Thomas poster behind my head. you know who he was, don't lie. he was your teen crush, too. Simba, remember? i may or may not have forged love letters from him to me, sometime in between the crack of intermediate and middle school. i told you i am a dork.)
THIS IS NOT MY BEDROOM. i repeat. it's really not my bedroom. it was my best friend B's bedroom. (you're welcome, and i'm sorry, B...)
in middle school, for reasons unknown to pretty much anyone who's ever known me, i decided that i really, really needed to be a cheerleader. i was a damn good cheerleader. the gymnastics experience gave me a good edge. our squad won state-wide competitions. but the rest of the girls were total bitches (especially to me, since i wasn't "popular," more like infamous), and that's why i eventually quit. i had no time to deal with that shit. so instead...
oh yeah, that's right. i was a ballerina. (and a good one, though certainly not as good as
most many others.) here, i'm playing the lead role in Hansel & Gretel. naturally, i was Hansel. probably because i was the only one they could have shoehorned into that outfit. and the socks. and the hat. (ohhhh, the hat...)
now at that point, i was no longer a flat kid, so guess how i looked even that flat. if you guessed duct tape, you would be right... (over a white sports bra, lest i rip the skin off my nipples.)
this was also my first performance en pointe, but i was not Hansel while doing that. i was a Licorice Whip. if you don't know what that is, well, i don't either. we were in black unitards with red sequins wrapped around us. that's all i know.
i do NOT look good in yellow. also this year was when i danced en pointe with a broken toe. to be fair, i didn't know it was broken. at the time. notice i was OUT of the pointe shoes by this time (pic was taken by my mom after the show).
this is one of the many years i was in the Waltz of the Flowers, Nutcracker. (ask a ballerina sometime about whether she ever wants to dance that ballet again, after doing it year after year after year after year...)
that video is not of my dance studio, fyi. we had actual scenery. and really good choreography. we were the sort of studio that tries to groom young ballerinas to go professional, (aka pushing them too hard) but in the meantime creating really excellent full-length ballets.
as a very good example of my studio pushing young dancers - not the year of the terrible yellow tutu (but the year of the Very Nice purple tutu). as we were in final rehearsals for this very same dance, another year, i managed to fall on one of the simplest moves in ballet, and tear every tendon in my left foot. of course, i still danced the ballet. (to be fair, i didn't have an understudy.)
i have actually had the fortune to be in very good programs - for ballet, cheerleading, ballet, marching/symphonic band, etcetera, despite how draconian a few of them might have been...
this is me as Little Bo Peep. with one of my sheep. (Shut. Up.) my little sheep there was actually taller than me by far, hence me standing en pointe in this photo.
after so many injuries, i finally gave up being a ballerina. but only after i'd irreversibly damaged my left foot, my knees and my hips...
there's a reason i'm such a creaky old lady at a young age.
as i mentioned before, i went through a period in high school when my hair was burgundy/auburn. not my best look, but hardly my worst... (me at 15)
my utterly fabulous dad and i, at a birthday. my brother's birthday, probably.
my mom would love me forever if i wore my hair like this all the time. 16, here. i would bet large amounts of money that this picture is sitting on my mom's desk at her office.
because every high school student needs a catholic school girl skirt... god, don't y'all know anything??!?!?
my school's terrible uniform policy is the single reason that i won't wear khaki ever again, so long as i live. imagine four years of this: khaki, navy, white. khaki, navy white. it's also the reason i tortured my school administration mercilessly by wearing black constantly, and then constantly getting sent up to the office for it.
once upon a time, a long time ago, when i was a sixteen year old girl, i had the
the reason that's topical is that this set of pictures were taken for us as "engagement photos."
if you'll notice here, i'm wearing a vintage velvet dress with a stud belt, bunny ears, and doc martins. that about sums up high school. in a good way, mind you. i still have every single piece of clothing in that picture. yes, even the bunny ears.
when i wasn't busy in marching band, or ballet, or whatever the hell else kind of trouble i was getting into, i was in Spanish Dance team. we did flamenco, and other awesome things. when we twirled around just right, those lacy skirts made a full circle. pretty sweet. for a year i was choreographing all of our dances.
if you ever wanted to know how Mobile Bay looks when a hurricane hits, well, this is it. btw - that water is about ten feet high (or more maybe) than usual.
my mom in back right, and me, caught coming down after a toe-touch. i was still rockin' those cheerleading skillz. i only wish i could have found the picture of my mom attempting that toe-touch, as well. oh, man. hil-A-rious! note the cow socks. i have an abhorrence for boring socks. i don't own a single white sock.
oh yes, i was also in colorguard, as if my dork status wasn't already written in stone... this is me as a junior captain, flagrantly breaking the (No! Fingernail! Polish!) rules.
at the time, we didn't like these outfits. if only we'd known that next year...
...was going to be so horrific, that we would kill to get the previous ones back. this is my senior year, by the way. Head Captain. oh, yeah. i wanted to kill our instructor, for this terrible, ill-fitting costume.
as evidenced by this picture, i have never mastered the SexyLook.
during a typical day at high school, this is what i was wearing. after all, they didn't say anything about ties in the dress code...
i still like ties. i probably have 50 of them.
homecoming dress, senior year. i was using it in senior portraits.
i had some really good senior portraits.
they weren't boring, anyway. i sent this one in my grad cards, to my mother's confusion, creating the tradition of really weird grad photos. this was the tame version, compared to my college grad picture.
if your question is "how the hell did you get up there?" then my answer is, very carefully. through the water, with my skirt held above my knees.
well, this is obvious.
the advantages of getting too drunk at a camp-out party, and stealing someone's hat...
for a long, long time in college, i rocked these vampire fangs. in fact, i wore them almost constantly, to the point that when i got incredibly sick for a week and didn't wear them, a few of my teachers did a double-take, because they'd actually thought they were my real teeth.
ah, college. some good times, yo. my fashion sense probably didn't improve much from childhood, but at least i've managed to pick up
a raging pot habit a few tips along the way.
oh, and by the way???
i still have those vampire fangs!