Thursday, October 3, 2013

Coming Out



 Given that we're all still feeling nauseous, frightened, anxious, angry, frayed, despairing and humorless, and that photo of me on the surfboard with the cute man behind me perhaps didn't do the trick for those of you most despairing, I've decided to come out as a survivor of the worst awkward adolescent stage -- if not in history, than certainly at my alma mater, The Lovett School in Atlanta, Georgia.  There I am, circa fall 1976, my shiny coffee-colored locks freshly curling-ironed and not brushed out, apparently. I had just grown out my Dorothy Hamill bob, I believe. A brainy eighth grader, I had yet to try hard contact lenses and that year sported rose-tinted goggles with rose-tinted lenses. It's too bad this photo isn't in color, because pink makes you look gorgeous, I'm told. Notice, too, the skinny cords of my neck, wrapped in a puka bead necklace. The collar of my polyester blue shirtwaist uniform dress is artfully arranged, and what you can't see is my wide macrame belt cinched around my fly waist, my chunky navy knee-socks, my bony knees and L.L. Bean Bluchers. I'm smiling, but trust me. I was miserable and had no idea that delirious beauty, an effortless ability to eat what I wanted and still stay thin, and a handsome man behind me on a surfboard would be in my future. All I knew was that the girls giggling in the bathroom as they stroked on blue and green eye-shadow or the boy who told me that I was a pirate's dream (a buried chest) were light years ahead of me in anything that mattered.

I sure showed them.












P.S. Don't tell me that I looked beautiful, like my mother always did, because I'll never trust you, again.

23 comments:

  1. Holy crap! Subtract the glasses, add a full mouth of braces plus headgear (yes, I had to wear it during the day), keep the Dorothy Hamill 'do and enormous collar and I have that exact school photo of me. Good thing we turned out to be so brilliant, huh?

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    1. Kario, I had a full mouth of braces and wore headgear at night!

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  2. Okay. No. That was not your best year.

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  3. I have one in 8th grade in big square glasses and a velour track suit that a friend of mine saw years later and said, "Who's the lesbian?" It's just that time, I guess. Gladly, we grow up. It's a great photo, though. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. You've made laugh, loudly, out loud.

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  4. Maybe a measure of just some of what we survive and transcend. I wouldn't be that age again for anything. xo

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  5. So I had those same rose colored lenses and glasses that took up my whole face and Elizabeth you have succeeded in making me laugh. All I can say is your lack of vanity inspires me big time. I just might share my version of this photo with my big stop sign 'fro. I just might.

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  6. I will only tell you that you did indeed, make my day! Thank you!

    This makes me want to pull out the old junior high year book.

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  7. Jesus Mary and Tyrone would love dat pirates treasure. too too funny. and yes scary. Makes me feel for my 8th grader and the inevitable pain of whatever your appearance is. It just ain't what you want.

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  8. You've made me think that we can really pity those folks who peaked in 8th grade; at least, you had great lusciousness to look forward to! (Yes, I just ended that sentence with a preposition - and I trust you know what I mean, in spite of grammatical errors.) You've also made me want to pull out my own yearbooks...

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  9. LOL. We all have pictures like that, though as I recall my eighth-grade photo is not my worst. I kind of like the "buried chest" comment -- clever, though surely not original to that boy.

    By the way, you asked what book I was engrossed in the other day -- "A Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling. Surprisingly sophisticated and very adult. I really like it.

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  10. Elizabeth! You have told me of your tragic glasses. . . wow.. . yeah. . .cough. . .cough. . they were pretty damn tragic. Ha ha ha ha! And the growing out Dorothy Hamil? Man, that made me spit coffee all over this laptop. That picture is EPIC. Thank you for making my morning with this post.

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  11. Good god, I love it. I love it now, but I do want to rescue that girl, unhappy as you say she was, and tell her that it's all going to be all right, she is going to become a great beauty of ferocious talent. In high school my friend and I called those glasses "The Willie Glasses" because they gave us the willies. Anyway, we're all in this together, and it gets better. It does.

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  12. Almost no one looks good as a teenager. It's the chrysalis period.

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  13. Oh. My. God. I love how the bangs are parted, too, and curl inward a little. My first thought was that you had found another goofy photo online and I have such admiration for your ability to find really good ones. Then I started to read. You DID show them: you are a beauty (and smart, too).

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  14. Bean Bluchers! I haven't thought of them since I wore my own Bean Bluchers, in the fourth grade, suburban Boston, 1984. But, here in SoCal teen girls, even preteen girls, always look good. God knows why. Awkwardness is reserved for the east coast I guess or, as a friend tells me, it's because of Proactiv.

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  15. now, find me a famous quote (i'm thinking of your previous/most recent post) by anyone who claimed that teen years are a graceful time. all teen agers should have a mother just like yours.

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  16. I think I had those same glasses, but my hair was boy short. At least we survived:)

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  17. What is beauty exactly?
    Is it our hairstyles, our accessories, the clothes that we wear?
    Is it the shape of our eyes, nose, lips, neck?
    Or is it something else?
    I look beneath this photo and I'll tell you what I see.

    I see a shine.

    You radiate a type of energy/happiness/light that I can’t describe.
    It is a strong, healthy brightness
    There is an “I can conquer the world” attitude and no one’s going to stop me.
    There is a steadfast spirit, a fiery nature, a deep intellect, a good sense of humor.

    That’s what I see and I think it is beautiful, I don’t care if you never trust me again.

    The outside may look different, but the you (the spirit) inside is all that I see.
    Like it or not, I still see you.

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  18. I could have been your twin or your older sister that very same year - and I was a sophomore in HS. Same glasses - honest. Same hair - honest. But my shoes were Bass. My pride and joy. Wish I still had them somewhere. Never throw out shoes is what I have learned in life.

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  19. I have a number of them that I could share. I believe my favorite was the year i cut my own bangs. It shows.

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  20. Well!
    *cough*
    Things definitely got better. I have purged all family photos of that period but fear my aqua-netted bangs and heavy, heavy black eyeliner are memorialized in a yearbook somewhere. When I'm famous someone will dig it out and sell it for coffee money, and then I'll have to go live next to the herons in your last post.

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