Thursday, April 4, 2013
Painful Snapshots from Childhood
I was looking through some very old photos of myself the other evening. Gosh I was sure a chunky little monkey in a couple pics. There are several of myself I think about burning, especially one class photo from 5th grade where I was quite a slovenly mess. Hair all over the place, dirty face, missing a front tooth. I think I was 9.
Even younger at 4, there is a photo where I am barefoot with dirty feet! There are also photos which were taken with mistakes, in mid-sentence with my mouth hanging open shouting something. I laugh at them now. These fading yellowing snapshots connect us to our past. My sister loves them, reminding us of good innocent times when we kids and all we were worried about was the next time we could go outside and play.
Of course I wouldn't mind if the ones from my teen years were accidently chucked. I just cringe looking at the thick glasses, braces, and zits. Those definitely do not produce laughs from me. But as painful as they are, something makes me hold onto them. They are who I was, where I have come from.
Late high school got better. I actually have a couple pics which I don't cringe at. I learned how to mug for the camera and smile on command. College wasn't so bad either, although I should have chosen an eyeglass style other than the Sally Jesse Raphael look.
Lastly, I am just now reminded about a painful emotional experience in 1st grade, where we did silhouette portraits in class at Wenonah Elementary. We sat in front of a strong light so that our side profile shadow was projected onto a black piece of paper where the teacher outlined the profile with chalk. The profile was then cut out and glued onto a colored background.
My hair hadn't been cut in ages and had grown kinda long. The outlined reflected my long hair and I looked like a girl. Everyone in class made fun of me. I was mortified and grew hot with embarrassment and shame. I struggled to hide the tears welling up in my eyes. The teacher still sent me home with the picture. Once home, I hid it in the closet off of my Dad's art studio.
My sister got home from school that day. She was 12. I brought her downstairs, showed her the portrait and just cried. She hugged me and said "We don't have to keep it, you can get rid of it." And that's what we did. I loved her more than ever that day for giving me the OK to chuck it and getting me through that pain.