The Tragic Optimist

just because

So apparently, it’s International Internet Reveal Your Horrid Teenage Years Picture Day.  And apparently, anyone can declare any day to be International whatever-you-want day.  Will have to file that away for future use.  I’d been going through old pictures recently anyway – some combination of mom’s 60th birthday and getting in touch with old friends on fb has led me to pull out my old shoe box of pictures.  I really have very few pictures that are older than 10 years old.  Which is sad.  But I do have some that reveal my teenage years in all their, um, glory?  And I feel like sharing, mostly because they’re funny, and it’s good to be able to look back and laugh.  But also because going back through the pictures was kind of a revelation.  I wasn’t the ugly fat duckling that I always pictured myself as being.  I was a normal looking high schooler.  I didn’t have the best fashion sense, but it was the late 80s/early 90s, so to be fair, very few people did.  And it was fun to go back and look at these.  I’ve cropped other people out of the pictures since I’m not in touch with them and maybe they don’t want their teenage beauty to be shared with the interwebs, but it makes some of these kind of silly sizes.

We’ll start with two that are not technically teenager pictures, I’m 12 in both of them:

December 1982.  The glasses, oh my god the glasses.  Wow.

December 1982. The glasses, oh. my. god. the glasses. Wow. My bangs may also have been permed. Yeah.

May, 1988.  I played clarinet!  This is a month before i turned 13.

May, 1988. I played clarinet! This is a month before i turned 13.

This next one doesn’t have a date listed, but I must be at least 13 because I’m wearing contacts.  I’m in what looks to be a bad hotel room.  No!  It’s not what you’re thinking!  It must have been a band or church trip:

Some unknown date in the past.

Some unknown date in the past.

These last pictures are all from my senior year of high school.  I spent that year in Germany as an exchange student.  When it was good, it was very good, but that bad parts were really hard.  It was the only year of my life that I kept a diary.  I wrote a lot during the rough parts.

August 1992.  That water behind me is the North Sea off of the island of Sylt in very northernmost Germany.  I kind of like this picture, but holy moly! Check out the tassels on that sweater!  Those are awesome!

August 1992. That water behind me is the North Sea off of the island of Sylt in very northernmost Germany. I kind of like this picture, but holy moly! Check out the tassels on that sweater! Those are awesome!

The last two were taken at the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, now the Intel Science Talent Search.  The brilliant idea to take 40 science-nerd high school seniors, just brimming with pent up hormones – and put them up in a hotel in Washington DC for 7 days.  Where they could compete with each other for scholarships by meeting with really tough science judges on a whole host of science topics.  Or they could blow off the whole competition thing and enjoy a week of hanging out with other science nerds who are also full of pent up hormones, and who don’t mind that you’re also smart and nerdy.  Awe.some.

Spring 1993.  We had to present our own science research.  Mine was on determining the length of the ancient lunar cycles by looking at rocks deposited by tides some 300 million years ago.  I had perfected the art of giving the look of "I don't care" when being photographed so that I wouldn't have to feel bad about the picture not turning out.

Spring 1993. We had to present our own science research. Mine was on determining the length of the ancient lunar cycles by looking at rocks deposited by tides some 300 million years ago. I was working on the art of giving the look of "I don't care" when being photographed so that no one would accuse me of posing.

Spring 1993, the final dinner was a formal dinner.  This was my junior prom dress.  It didn't fit me anymore, we couldn't zip it up.  According to a friend after the dinner, I was showing all sorts of cleavage that night.  Eeps.

Spring 1993, the final dinner was a formal dinner. This was my junior prom dress. It didn't fit me anymore, we couldn't zip it up. According to a friend after the dinner, I was showing all sorts of cleavage that night. Oops. Maybe everyone was too distracted by the shoulders to notice?

Anyone else want to join in? Let me know if you do, I wanna see!

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3 Comments

  1. Wow….you were drinking Tang!!!! 🙂

    You’ve inspired me to dig up some photos this weekend and do a similar trip down memory lane…depending on how bad they are I might post them to my blog…maybe… 😉

  2. LeAnn

    You are so brave! I think I’m gonna keep mine locked away.

    But, you’re brave because yours aren’t bad at all! Well, the 12-year-old hair is quite interesting, but we all had that. 😉

  3. I have tons of horrible pictures and they are safely locked away at my mother’s.

    The thing that always struck me about school pictures is how many horrible features I had all crammed into such a tiny headshot. Bad glasses, bad perm, mall hair, bad make-up, terrible complexion . . . just bad all around.

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