Journey Through My Photo Archives – Middle School

In addition to being on the tail end of an apartment renovation project (is it a coincidence that I keep typing “home removation, or is that some kind of strange Freudian slip? And do I even believe in Freudian slips? I’m not Freudian, I’m Rogerian.) I am also currently sorting through my 40,000 photos and trying to weed out the unnecessary ones.

You think I’m exaggerating with that number, don’t you. Let’s just say that once I got my Canon DSLR, I took full advantage of burst shooting. If you know what that means, you’ll be smiling and nodding. If you don’t, you’ll think I’m weird. I’m okay with that.

Anyway, it’s been a real journey going through these photos. One I want to take you on with me. I think. I always have been a masochist.

First things first. I have a few questions about this photo. What the heck was going on with my hair? Is there a reason that it is roughly the size of Texas? And who told me that it was a good idea to take a curling brush and a blow dryer to my bangs? But really… why is it so big?

I swear on all that is cheesy that I have never done anything to my hair to make it thicker.

And then, there’s this. I have some questions about this one too. It was Christmas 2002. I had just turned 13. Clearly, my parents thought I was going to take up hunting. Yes. That must be it. Right? Actually, I have a confession about this outfit. I never, ever, wore the pants out of the house, despite actually liking them. Because I knew that I would be teased mercilessly. Even more than I was already. I know. Way to cave to peer pressure, right?

Now that you’ve seen the first two, you might be shocked to know that there was a time, slightly later in that year, when I actually thought I was going to be a model. I went to modeling school. Also, Junior Cotillion. But that is a whole different set of emotional scars. I went to a few competitions too. Then they told me I needed to cut my hair. It was the last competition I ever went to.

I’m protective of my hair. Though, in retrospect, if it was anything like it looked in that first picture, I’m sure they were just thinking of charity. With that much hair, I could make a ton of wigs.

I was in West Side Story in 8th Grade. That short guy on the non-duck side was Tony. I was Maria. The shorter guy on the duck was Bernardo and the adorable little fireball in yellow played Anita. Clearly, we weren’t in costume.

Ahhh, but there the costume is. The second night of the performance, I wore it on stage backwards. But it wasn’t completely my fault.

I was in a dance number, wearing a completely different costume, approximately fifteen seconds before I was required to show up on stage in this one. I had a dresser. I did not question my dresser. I didn’t even notice the thing was on backwards until the next costume change.

I also did stuff like this that year. Bharata Natyam – classical Indian dance. There I am again with the spitfire who played Anita. She was a better dancer than I was. The two of us were part of a group of dancers that went to the state capital to dance at the Governor’s Ball. I kid you not. Here’s what I remember: The makeup was a pain in the butt. My eyes were so sensitive that I couldn’t tolerate having the eyeliner applied, so we had to do it in bursts. They had to start over no less than three times because my eyes would water and make it smear. My parents were having a fight that weekend. I thought it was the end of the world. I always did. I had an argument with our teacher about my hair, because she wanted it up and I wanted it to cover my ears.

I hated my ears.

I still do.

I made my family dress in color coordinates so I could take a picture for a school project. I was still shorter than my mother. I’m not now. In fact, I’m about four inches taller. I think my bandanna addiction started this year too. Lord help me, they should have stopped me then. I now own no less than thirty-five of the things. I use them to cover my ears. See above, about the ears.

Finally, there is this, which I think was my favorite picture to stumble across. Jacob’s Fork Middle School. 8th Grade. 2003. It was my last year in a regular school. I left the next year to be unschooled. But all things considered, it was a good year. There were six of us who sat at this table. The sixth is the one holding the camera. She HATED being photographed. Still does, as far as I know.

We sat at this table every day and had some monumental discussions. The one that sticks out in my mind was a political one. It was very serious. A discussion vital to our country. The little one with the impish grin in the middle asked it one day. Are you ready? It was: Do they change the bedsheets in the White House with every new president? Or do they keep the same ones?

I don’t think it occurred to us that the current president might actually prefer his own bedsheets. I also don’t remember what we came up with. But I remember the question, and many more like it. It thoroughly amazes me how far we’ve all come since that picture. All six of us are in college. We span three states and two countries. Starting on the duck side:

Amanda wanted, at the time, to be a marine biologist. Last I checked, she was climbing lots of mountains and rock walls these days.

Allie wanted to be a nurse. She’s graduating from nursing school next year. And is engaged. She and I used to fight. I’m not sure why.

Brittany played basketball. Now she plays basketball for a college in Maine.

Eissa ate a chocolate chip cookie for lunch every day that I knew her. She was never allowed to spend the night at my house. Ever. She just spent a semester in London. Clearly, London is safer than my house was.

The gal taking the picture? Another Brittany? Was one of my best friends. Our parents carpooled us to and from school. I don’t think I’ve had a conversation with her, a real one, since I was 14 or so.

As for me? What did I want at 13? You won’t believe me if I tell you. That year, I think I wanted to be an architect. I also, and this I remember distinctly, wanted to have eight children. I was going to name them Bobbie Alexandra, James Grant, Lillian Elise, Garren Dean, Kyra Elizabeth, Emma-Madison Jordan, and Elijah Blayde. Somewhere, I have a picture that I drew, representing what they would all look like.

I wasn’t a control freak. Not at all. And now, the idea of having eight children scares me. And I don’t want to be an architect.

Still, I have to say. We’ve all come quite a long way from discussing whether or not the president changed his bedsheets.



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