Sunday, November 15, 2009

Me, circa 1990

As a teenager, I truly was awkward.  In pretty much every sense of the word; I was awkward looking, awkward in school, awkward around other people.. well, you get the picture.  In case you don't, this should help you out:

What was I thinking? Perhaps that the hideous shirt would take the emphasis off my face?

We didn't have much money when I was growing up; most of the time we made do with very little.  While my siblings and I did not go to school dressed in tatters, the clothes we wore were rarely name brand.  It was Saan's, Field's, or Woolworth's clothes.  Once in a while, if there was a bit of spare change in the budget, Mom would let us order something from the Sears catalogue.

As soon as I was old enough to babysit and start making my own money, you can bet your sweet ass I took every babysitting gig I was offered. Four kids? Under 7? All day and overnight? For a pittance? SURE!  My mom was very supportive of my babysitting; not only did it (eventually) ease some of the financial pressure of having a 'tween daughter who desperately needs name brand everything or she will die on the spot!! but committing to people and setting up a babysitting schedule helped Teach Me Some Responsibility.  As long as it didn't affect my school, I could babysit a few hours on weeknights, too. I didn't earn very much at first, and I spent what little I made on candy and Tiger Beat.

Vividly, I remember being at the peak of my Ugly Duckling stage in the 8th and 9th grades.  I was tremendously shy, geeky, smart, and most definitely an outsider. There was a group of girls that I used to hang on the fringe of during first break.  I didn't consider them my friends, they were just girls that I followed behind and sat in the same end of the hallway for 10 minutes before it was time to go back to class.  I spent most of the time hoping no one would notice me.  One day, one of the girls got it in her head to pick on me a bit, just a bitchy remark or two, and I sniped right back at her.  So she said to me, "I don't mean to be rude, but," which we all know really means I'm about be really fucking rude, "didn't you wear those jeans yesterday? And the day before? Is that like, your only pair of jeans?"  Truthfully, it was my only pair of jeans.  I was so embarrassed.  All I could do was stand up and walk away, my face burning with humiliation. Never once, until that moment, had being poor really bothered me.

After that, I started hustling up jobs and saving, saving, saving.  Once I got up enough scratch to buy some new threads, I took myself to the boutique-y Jeans North store and spent a wad of cash.  I did mention I was awkward, yes?  Did I also happen to mention I was hopelessly inept at all things fashion-related? See picture day shirt above. I cringe as I remember myself trying on pair after pair of Guess and Levi's jeans and finally walking out of the store the proud (PROUD!) owner of four pairs of jeans: one teal, one green, one red, and one bright blue. 

Can someone please explain this to me?  This fashion trend of looking like a fucking reject from the Reading Rainbow? ("Take a look, it's in our book.. Reading Rainbow.. Reeaaaddding Raaaaaaiiinnnbooooww" sing it with me, Lavar Burton!) AS IF I needed anything else to make my already painful life harder.  I would love to travel back in time, pull my 13 year old self aside and say, "You look fucking ridiculous.  Just buy regular blue jeans."

Alas, I wore the heck out of those jeans.  For $50 a pair, what choice did I have?  I had spent all my money.  Besides, I thought I looked good. The jeans all kind of had the Mom-jean high waist fit - you remember high waisters. Low rise jeans were still pretty far in the future in 1990.  I think we were just heading into the Return of the Bellbottoms and Other Hippy Shit and the Look Like a Hobo Grunge trends.  My God, the clothes we wore.  It's just all so embarrassing.  See picture day shirt above.

At 13 I was sure I was going to be chubby and have pimples forever.


I just realized, at this moment, that not only do I have 20 lbs to lose, I also have a few heaters percolating on my face.  Meh, whatever. 

Important Life Lesson: What you thought was life ending at 13 is not so much at 32.  Which probably means that what you think is life ending at 32 is not so much at 52.


  1. You are so me, only 10 years later. I swear, the whole 1 pr of jeans/babysitting/awkward thing? It's uncanny. I dare say you've grown up nicely.

  2. =) this story totally made me smile. I HOPE and PRAY I can help my kids see further down the road when they are the throws of adolescence.
    (at least you DID get you some guess jeans.) I DISTINCTLY remember my grandmother taking a pair of thread cutters to a guess boutique and removing that little triangle from a pair of jeans, and then doing the unthinkable. SEWING it onto another pair of jeans! HOLY.CRAP.

  3. Did EVERY school have bitchy girls?! What the hell?! Is that like a "rule" or something?!
    And good advice. I wonder how I feel about all the crap that bugs me today in about 10 years?

  4. Oh my, I was so you. I wish we could've gone to school together and bonded in our complete ineptitude. You're only two years older than me, we could've been buddies! And I had red jeans and purple jeans, too. We would've matched.

  5. Oh I was totally the grunge Nirvana girl. I wore one pair of jeans everyday even though I had others. By Friday they were so loose and comfy and DIRTY. I loved them! Yeah- I was cool. Or so I thought.

    And thanks for the Reading Rainbow theme song. That's totally stuck in my head now.

    However- the moral of your story is point well taken. Thanks!

  6. Teenage girls are bitches!! I am not looking forward to the drama that awaits...

  7. Ah, we were all such assholes. I was an asshole. Although not really. I wasn't gawky and I wasn't an asshole. I was always nice to everyone. SHOCKING, I know.

  8. Oh boy. What is today, post old photos of yourself day? Geez. I think I had that shirt. And I had GREEN jeans. And also GREEN corduroys. With a matching LONG sweater that had alternating WIDE stripes of green and white. Adored that outfit. What was that? As sweater that goes to your knees? Oh these days. I wish I could forget them all. But I know, that when my girls are in junior high, they will be dealing with the same bitchiness. Sigh.

  9. OH my heavens. I was kind of that girl on the outside of the other girls in junior high. It's so true what people say: I would never choose to live that period of my life over. High school? Maybe. Junior high? UGH!

    High-waisters like that ought to be made illegal for teenagers, or those women who don't prematurely want to look like mothers who've given up.

    Meh, indeed.

    Now git your ass to the gym and sweat off those pounds you Fox, you!

  10. Belated comment to say that I babysat for a pittance to get jeans that I wouldn't be horrified to wear. And yes - also had people be snide about the fact that I only had one pair.


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