Thursday, June 7, 2012

How to Be An Ugly Child

I've been living back at my parents' house for 48 hours now, and the edges of my own transition are starting to become clear. I'm in a loop too see, first there's this move now, and then in a few months, the closing move. Whatever, let's talk about how I suddenly don't have cable tv, and don't know what to do on my lunch break. Let's talk about how Dad always stays up late to watch Letterman, and falls asleep on the couch, and is gone in the morning when I wake up but leaves me coffee. Let's talk about how used I was to walking around barely clothed in my own place, and all of a sudden I have to be totally dressed all the time, and wear a bra most of the day, which is fucked up and uncomfortable and I wonder if working from home has spoiled me for ever having a normal job ever again. Bras are awful.

Let's talk about how it's odd to take a shower in the same place you used to shower when you were in 8th grade and staring at your unfamiliar body in the mirror, but now my body is oh too familiar and also let's talk about how I'm now the same age my mother was when we moved into this house, and she used to look at her 33 yr old body in the same mirror I am now, and fucking A this is why you are not supposed to look into mirrors when you trip, isn't it? Cause I'm dead sober and they fuck with me enough as it is.

I was an ugly child. Maybe not ugly. Weird looking. I was a weird looking child. I mean, I'm still weird looking I think, but there was a pretty huge period of growing into my face. And here there are photos of me looking awkward and weird everywhere I turn, I am confronted by the discomfort of childhood everywhere. Visual evidence of it. So I thought maybe we could talk about that too.

This is a school portrait of me from 1st grade. I was adorable up until 1st grade. I love this photo because I'm wearing some huge gold necklace I used to play dress up with, and even though the evidence that I will have a weird smile is showing, 1st graders can't help but have cute smiles because their faces are so small.

The other photo is one of our first house on 54th when Mom and Dad took it over, before they renovated the whole yard and house and planted apple trees and shit. I love that it's a specific moment from their lives they share that we the children are not part of at all, there's not much photographic evidence of those days.

So this photo then would be from 2nd or 3rd grade. Carey is of course the most photogenic ever. I am starting to look like an old woman in a small body. I'm already super uncomfortable with how I look, yet unable to take any control over my hair or how I hold my hands or my face. Nick is the cutest thing. That's my teddy bear Sarah, which my grandfather gave me when I was born, who I never met because he died like a year later from emphysema and that's why I feel so super guilty smoking around my Dad.

I think this must have been from sometime around 8th grade. 8th grade graduation maybe? I remember this because Dad took this photo, and he was trying to demonstrate to me how to hold my face in photos. We have very similar faces, but he gets to hide his round jawline with a beard. So I remember he was telling me to hold my chin up a bit, and to the side. Also, you can see I've already figured out that little half smile I have in all my facebook profiles now. It's what you do when you have fat cheeks. Ironically, it's also what you do when you have bad teeth, but I have wonderful teeth.

I want to go back in time and burn that blouse. I also wish I could see what that pin I was wearing is.

This is either from 7th or 8th grade. The ages in this collection are all fucked up. This is a classic example of me not knowing how to take a photo. I've got my hands on my hips and I'm scowling and I look about 35, so classic 8th grade. I hate this photo more than any other one in this whole house. But look how adorable the rest of my family is.

This is a portrait my friend Felicia took of me for her photography class in high school, either junior or senior year. I like it cause I'm not wearing glasses, though technically I had only taken them off for the shoot, because I didn't get contacts till my early 20s. I think my hair was also tinted that red purplish color everyone had in the 90s. I'm wearing classic high school Bridget - weird necklaces and hippie shirts, dark lipstick. I look sweet and hapless, which is high school all over.

This is me at high school graduation. At our high school, the graduating class all wore white dresses. Mom took me to a tailor to get mine made, and I remember I was so upset when the woman didn't make the sleeves right, and we had to make it sleeveless at the bitter end. But looking back, I think I would be happier with it if I hadn't been wearing that stupid fucking bag of witch charms around my neck with the gawdawful silver pentagram bullshit Carey is of course WAY TOO PHOTOGENIC TO BEAR.

Alright, now we're starting to get into the good days - after school, before going to Kent, living in my first apartment with Allison in Tremont. I am...19? My hair is still red, but slowly getting shorter and shorter. I still have a glass hemp necklace choker, but I've ditched the pentagram bullshit and have finally discovered my atheism and disdain for new agey spiritualism. I wore that sweater constantly, always. It was oversized and my bra showed through it, but I loved it. I also wore a lot of brown bronzed lipstick. But man, I got laid a lot. And I wrote so much poetry. And drank at Edison's like every night.

Look how adorable I am, smoking in the car. I found a bunch of photos all taken from the same night of me and Allison and Corrigan, because this was all before everyone had a cellphone, and way before everyone had a camera on their cell, so the only party photos you can find are if someone actually randomly had a camera on them, and then thought to develop the photos. Remember when sometimes you would buy those disposable cameras just for a party or a weekend trip?

This is a miniature wallet photo I found in one of the upstairs bedrooms, I remember Mom also had this photo on her desk at work so I think it must be from her wallet as well. Carey is at OSU during this, or right after, maybe Marshall, Nick is at Case, and I am 24 or 25. I remember that tank top, it was super soft but wasn't as low cut as I preferred. My hair is finally short. It's never been long again, only iterations of this since then. Maybe almost to my shoulders if I had a period of being really poor and not being able to afford a real haircut, as per the photo below. I had that one taken by a guy who was an actual photographer in Akron, he was nice enough to do a whole shoot for me, though I'm pretty sure he was also trying to see if I wanted to have a threesome with him and his wife.  The one below is from 26 or 27? At least I finally figured my makeup out. I think I was living about Capsule, the bar on Madison, at the time, and S. was bringing me daffodils from client's yards and we would order burritos and watch movies, then lay on my terrible futon mattress and talk. And Tara and I were driving up to Thursdays to go dancing all the time. And I got my first real grown up job the next summer.

One thing that's odd about taking photos of photos of yourself, is you can't help but insert present day self into it, just through the reflection alone.


  1. But the key thing is that you weren't/aren't an ugly child. Not even remotely.

  2. I think we had the same wallpaper as in photo #5 in our dining room.

    I think you're adorable. But I understand not being a photogenic person, especially with siblings that are just the cutest fucking people EVER.

  3. Oh, and you lived above Capsule! I am so envious; that's like the quintessential Lakewood experience.

  4. You were not an ugly child, just chubby. You had that habit first children have of a special camera smile they make because they had way too many pictures taken. I remember just adoring your baby pictures. Mom

  5. well, your brother was cuter than you as a kid, but you are cuter than he is now, so there's that. and i just don't get what the big deal is about carey--i mean, she's fine, no criticism there, but she's not, i don't know, marilyn monroe or whoever.

    my daughter is 9 now and my older son is 6, so they are sort of right on the opposite edges of that horrible awkward phase that's so well documented from my own only-childhood. cleo is gorgeous in the right pose, but anytime you point a camera at her she makes the most ghastly ridiculous faces and gestures like she's some sort of gangsta (i'd love to know what she thinks all that means)--i see a bit of that same behavior in your childhood pictures. it must be universal. my son is so unspeakably handsome it's hard to imagine how being 8 will mess up his face, but i know it happens to everyone. but your mom will back me up when i say that your child's face is always miraculously lovely, even when it's not. you just can't help but love it no matter how it looks, which is both wonderful and sad. but mostly wonderful.


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