What I have come to realize is that I was actually a beautiful child, but lacked some serious guidance when it came to my teen years. Mine was the mother who felt it would be unkind to intervene and tell me that the baby blue eye shadow caked on like frosting did not work for me.
She should have been unkind and intervened.
But she didn't, and I spent some seriously ugly days thinking I was extremely hot. I give you the 70s and 80s as they should not have been:
But first, this is the only beautiful picture of me taken between 1973 and 2005. It must be included to show the marked decline which happened from this point on:
Unfortunately, I didn't stay that adorable. Here is my pathetic, frighteningly curly homage to Dorthy Hamill. Sleeping in the pink foamie curlers overnight with short hair will produce this cross between a poodle and Luke Skywalker. I like to think that people were too busy gaping at my extra large jack-o-lantern teeth to notice my polyester red and green floral dress.
That thing looks like a grocery bag that I poked my head through, and put a rubber band around the neck to keep it in place. For all I know, it could have been:
My hair eventually grew out, but my bangs did not. Please stop and admire the high lace collar and red gathered jumper, both of which were homemade by my mother. She had mad sewing skillz and used to make me things all the time. I think she might have thought twice about it if she knew that I was doing handstands with my friends on the chain link fence in those very dresses, shouting with glee every time a truck driver honked at us and our panties on display.
She should have sewn me pants instead.
Here is what I like to call my demure look. It rocked the 4th grade. As you can tell, I was still sleeping in the pink curlers, but I got to have my bangs parted down the center and feathered this year. I was wearing another homemade dress, this one covered in strawberries. I like the lopsided strawberry that is apparently growing out of one side of my head.
It is no wonder that this was the year I got chocolates from a boy on Valentines Day.
[Also no wonder that it was the only year that happened.]
This is the year that things started to go very wrong for me. I strutted my stuff - toting a large alligator-skinned tenor saxophone case around the halls of the junior high school, while wearing tapered aquamarine jeans and acid washed jackets. I spent my babysitting money buying Aquanet by the gallon. It took me an hour and a half every morning to cover any holes in my helmet-like hair. I believe I subconsciously did this to keep insects from finding a way in. I have no doubt this hair would have made for an excellent and cozy nest.
And you thought it couldn't get worse than the last one? Well, it does, my friends. This was the year that I decided to spike my bangs up in a cascading waterfall of tangles, held high by a sticky wad of hairspray. I worked hard to get them as high as possible on one side, with a gradual slope so precise that it could have kept any geometry class busy for hours. I was also a big fan of Sun-In (see, Lisa, you're not the only one!) and did not seem to mind that my hair was divided by an equator of blond frizz.
This was also one of the many painful years I spent in a cast as a result of needing many surgeries on my right arm. Here is a shot of me at the hospital just minutes before going under the knife. As you can see, one must be properly sprayed, moussed, and spritzed before undergoing surgery. You know, in case any cute boys happen to be in the operating room while I'm under anesthesia. That would be, like, totally embarrassing for them to see my hair flat.
High school was not much kinder to me when it came to matters of my hair. I was far too busy to do any homework because I was out getting a new perm every eight minutes or so during this period of time. What I did not know then was that I actually had naturally curly hair hiding under all those chemicals that only became fuzzier and more poodle-like with each round of treatments.
Here I am making the most of my manly button down shirt, while my bangs keep an eye out for any upcoming danger. I like to think that those bangs were like a lookout tower on top of my head. You know, in case I might have crashed into anything. Like a flat iron or de-perming solution.
And last, but not least, my senior year. Here I stand, on the cusp of adulthood, completely unaware that shoulder pads have no earthly place in a t-shirt, and eyebrows are for waxing.
Someone really ought to have told me.