Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Brilliant Career

I was set to enter a modeling contest when I was 13. Seventeen magazine was having a contest in which the grand prize was your very own picture in the magazine--yes, in Seventeen itself--and a meeting and consultation with an agent.

Now, I'd never wanted to be a model, not since the age of 5, in which I got a kick out of "modeling" in front of my mother's Pentax and briefly fell in love with the thought of making kissy-faces at the lens for a living; that dream died out within a week, in favor of becoming Linda Rondstadt. But when I saw the callout in the magazine, I felt alight. I wrote about it in a weekly journaling assignment my English teacher made us do: My friends and I are entering a modeling contest, I wrote. (This wasn't true; I didn't dare mention it to any friends.) Of course I know I won't win or anything, but I think it would be fun!

Here's the thing, though: I honestly thought I would win. I couldn't mention that to my teacher for fear of seeming conceited or delusional, but by mentioning it to her I was sort of doing a combination of ersatz progenitor techniques from The Secret and writing the part of my magical dream model story in which I "didn't ever really think I'd win!" It was, of course, delusional: Records from 1989 reflect a round-faced, snaggletoothed girl with a bad perm; models favored at the time resembled miniature Christie Brinkleys--honey-haired, lithe but toned, poreless creatures that I couldn't have resembled less. I didn't see my own image reflected at me in the pages of Seventeen, and certainly nobody had ever put it in my head that I matched those images.

Exhibit A: Portrait of the Modeling Contestant as a Young Girl.

Still, I was convinced I would win. I would spend hours in the bathroom applying makeup, then squinting at myself in the mirror to see how I looked with it on; without my glasses, though, I couldn't tell. But I would see these hints of beauty, these things that signaled to me that if just the right person saw me in just the right way, I would wind up on the pages of Seventeen. My eyes were large and dark; my lips had a perfect Cupid's-bow; my cheekbones--if I sucked in my cheeks just right--were defined. (At one point I put in a single earring, sucked in those cheeks, and fully believed that I looked like 21 Jump Street-era Johnny Depp.)

I look back at that girl making faces at herself in a bathroom mirror--a girl I now see was indeed pretty in an undercover way, though certainly not a girl who had the hallmarks of becoming a great beauty (which I didn't)--and marvel. We hear a lot about the nosedive that girls' self-esteem takes in the teen years, and certainly I had my fair share of that. But alongside my shaky self-esteem, manifested in a nascent eating disorder and desperation to make boys like her, was this unshakable--even, yes, delusional--belief that I was absolutely something to behold. A friend of mine--who now, as an adult, has a striking resemblance to Julia Roberts--recalls being 13 years old and thinking she was "the hottest thing ever. And, I mean, I was this skinny, gawky kid with braces and glasses and this terrible perm--I look at pictures now and can't believe how awkward my awkward stage was. But I'd pull back my hair in a ponytail and would walk around like I just ruled the place, and I had no idea why boys weren't interested!"

I wonder how often these thoughts can be articulated by girls when they're actually at that age, but I doubt that my friend and I were the only two definitively awkward teenagers to have this secret pride. And the "secret" is just as important as the "pride"; I would just as soon have died rather than tell even my closest friend, "You know, I think if you get past these Coke-bottle glasses and enlarged pores, I'm actually a total babe." It was essential to not ever be perceived as thinking you might be pretty. The psychology of adolescent girls was in its infancy then; we didn't have Reviving Ophelia and Carol Gilligan yet, which means that while we were robbed of those teachings, we were also sort of unaware that something bad was supposed to happen to us at that age. My friend and I weren't talking ourselves up as grade-A beauties to combat our low self-esteem; it was simply what we quietly, privately believed to be true, whatever we displayed to the contrary, however loud our wails of "I'm so gross!" at slumber-party makeovers. It wasn't that I was unaware of the barriers between me and beauty: the unflattering glasses, the pudge, the perm, the mole--I knew these had to be taken care of before the inevitable Seventeen photo shoot, but I had faith that they would be, and I had faith that until then, people would see beyond those glitches in the cosmic order and see my beauty.

What happened over the years wasn't so much that that mind-set changed--my fantasies of modeling for Seventeen are long-gone (I didn't wind up entering after all--as with many flurries of passion at that age, I simply lost interest), but neither do my insecurities stem from thinking I'm uglier than sin. Instead, it's that I became painfully, painfully aware of how I might appear to others. The fear of seeming foolishly self-deluded had its seed in my disclaimer to my teacher--"Of course I know I won't win"--and festered over the years until I had lost my own gauge of how I actually, inherently looked. Even the word choice is key here: They are called looks because someone is looking.

At 13, I dearly cared what boys thought but hadn't yet had my first kiss--besides, at that age, most boys were still preferring video games to our feminine wiles, much to our despair. I hadn't yet been overlooked by my heart's desire in favor of someone prettier; I hadn't yet been rated, out loud or with a silent, appraising eye, as I walked into a room, and I hadn't yet heard other girls being rated in that same way by boys. At that age, girls were being rated, all right, but by one another--hence the need for my own affirmations about my appearance to remain private. And obviously even the youngest of girls are bathed in expectations around her appearance; by the time I was peering at myself in the mirror and misappropriating the beautiful cheekbones of Johnny Depp as my own, I also believed that smart and pretty just might be mutually exclusive; that thin was beautiful and fat was not; that everything would be better if I were blonde; and so on. But the core ability to look at myself and see what I saw instead of what I thought others might see began to erode not long after that.

That erosion can be another entry, though, or a thousand of them. Tonight I just want to quietly salute that naive girl putting up her hair in her basement bathroom. Between the extraordinarily moving It Gets Better project and the well-meaning but vaguely cryptic Twitter tag of #tweetyour16yearoldself, there's been a bit of noise lately about adults taking time to assure teenagers that, no, really, it's cool, and it all seems awful right now but, well, it gets better. We forget that there's an openness to that age as well, a time in which the smooth, polished orb of our inner selves hasn't been as heavily scratched as it might become later.

Now, it did get better and my 13-year-old self really could use a tweet or two from myself ("No, seriously, pay attention during science class because, fuckin' magnets, how do they work?"). But perhaps, on days when I feel as though the mirror can't be trusted, when it reflects not my face but my looks, I'd like a tweet or two from her in return.


  1. Thanks, Melissa! It's such a bizarre, tender time, isn't it?

  2. Don't worry about the science classes. I majored in astrophysics (and didn't finish, but still), and I don't know how magnets work.

  3. British cheap nike jordan shoes aid discount nike jordans agency to respond to uggs on sale the Christian Louboutin Bois Dore increased status of obese patients, ugg soldes about ugg boots four years ago to upgrade part of the ambulance, with more generous door, bearing a larger stretcher and other equipment."Daily Mail" website reported uggs outlet Thursday, christian louboutin shoes Britain currently has more than cheap christian louboutin 800 "upgrade" the ambulance, some Christian Louboutin Daffodile ambulance services also intends Bags Louis Vuitton to have converted all of christian louboutin its ambulances to be able to supply "heavyweight" vehicles used by the patient.Ambulance after the upgrade not only christian louboutin remise 50% the Discount LV Handbags large doors and maximum load 56 Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags BP ugg (about 355.6 kg) of the stretcher, but cheap jordans also capable of transporting Air Jordan 11 Gamma Blue weighing 34 ugg australia with BP (215.9 kg) of patients under the stairs of the device.Per upgrade version ambulance cost about wholesale jordan shoes 100,000 pounds Discount Louis Vuitton (about 950,000 yuan).Some medical experts say, for obese patients with "overweight" ambulance is necessary but discount christian louboutin priority should be "to prevent Cheap LV Handbags people from getting ugg pas cher fat

  4. 5 Myths About Renewable Energy

    Residents of the early Nike Air Foamposite One 21st century live in quite an exciting time. We have a thriving Internet culture, an unprecedented understanding of the natural world and we can even watch episodes of "America's Next Top Model" on our mobile phones.

    But of course, Men Air Max 90 Nike Free 5.0 V3 the world is ever in transition, and we currently find ourselves Women Air Max Thea Print suspended between two ages: a time dependent Nike Air Max Thea Print Mens on fossil fuels Nike Zoom KD 6 Kids such as oil and coal, and a future dominated by renewable energy sources. Yet not everyone is sold on this vision. Options vary on just how dependable some of these renewable energy Nike Free Run+ 3 sources are, as well as how well they'll be able to sustain us in a post fossil fuel era.

    Indeed, it's a lot like leaving Nike Free Dynamo the leaky, polluting and ultimately doomed tugboat we know for the sleek, Nike Shox green, carbon neutral sloop that we don't. Sure, the ideas behind the new boat are encouraging, but we still want to stay above water and we'd like to bring all our things with us too.

    Out of all this uncertainty, a number of myths, misconceptions and outright lies have risen to the surface. In this article, we'll forgo the loonier notions out there concerning new world orders and Area Sneaker Online 51 battery packs. Instead, we'll look at five of the bigger renewable energy myths currently making the rounds.

  5. A Place Where You Money Is Nike Mens Casual Shoes Worthy To Spend In

    If you just try to think and look up thoroughly, you might possibly see and conclude that there are a lot of kinds of fishing lodges all around the region of Alaska where you could stay. Bu t apart from all this fishing lodges, nothing could ever surpass and provide to you the high class and the most relaxing and comfortable fishing lodges than an Alaskan salmon fishing lodges. A salmon fishing lodge in Alaska is one of the most astonishing and the most fine looking lodges all over Nike Air Presto 2013 the world.

    Most of the time, almost of the people who come Nike Air Diamond Mens Shoes to see the beauty of Alaska opt the salmon fishing lodge in Alaska to stay where they can be able to feel relax and a comfy rest after a long day of fishing that is full of very fun and excitement. Aside form it, this kind of fishing lodge that can be seen in Alaska has a nice view and a very appropriate place to be able to chill out and to feel serene. This is also one of the ways in order for you to escape from the pollution and the busy life that is full of works in the city. These Nike Dunk Low Cut Alaskan salmon fishing lodges also give to you only the best and excellent quality of foods that is very delicious and tasteful also. You might possibly also be astonished and love the crews that are working in these lodges at Alaska. These crews are Nike Shox Turbo 13 very respectful, sociable, and most of all they very friendly. They are also very skilled and qualified to prioritize every right of the clients and customers that choose to reside to them.

    This salmon fishing lodge in Nike Zoom Terra Kiger Alaska also do have an absolute complete amenities and facilities. Beds and sofas are utterly Nike Casual Shoes Womens very relaxing and are absolutely good Air Jordan PRO Classic where you can feel peace Designer Shoes and comfort particularly when you are totally worn out after the long day over the sun of catching fishes. This type of fishing that can be found in Alaska is also a very out of harm's way place. Without a doubt, it is surely a serene haven that once you are staying there, you would never ever felt bad when it talks about your stay and may be you would not Nike Air Max Mens choose to turn back to reality.

    Book a reservation now to one of the salmon fishing lodge in Alaska and feel the peaceful place. Do not worry about the money that you will be spending, because your stay in this lodges are totally worthy.

  6. An In Depth Review of the Nike+ FuelbandI was one of the lucky ones that received a medium Nike+ Fuelband on the release date of February 22! Well I shouldn't say I, after numerous Jordan Spizike unsuccessful attempts ordering online my girlfriend actually was able to get the order processed online in the first seconds during one of the many pre ordering periods that Nike offered. She surprised me with the Fuelband, and I couldn't believe it was right there in front of me because Nike Air Max 2014 Kids I know how impossible these things are to get! Anyways, let's get to reviewing yet another revolutionary device developed by Nike intended to transform the way athletes train.

    Inside the 1.06 oz. (medium size) set my daily goal at 3000 points Nike Air Max 2010 Mens and I have been able to hit that with moderate difficulty. The only figures Nike requests in order to accurately track fuel, calories burned, and steps taken is simply your height and weight.

    The Fuelband comes in three sizes small, medium, and large. The circumferences of the Fuelband are 5.79, 6.77, and 7.76 inches respectively. Air Max 90 The Fuelband also comes with two adjustment links to give you an even closer fit. When I ordered mine, I simply measured around my wrist and the medium band was closest to that measurement. When I tried the Fuelband on, it fit nearly perfect and was not too snug. Just for fun,y

    The Fuelband can be plugged directly into a computer for syncing Nike Air Max 90 and charging, or the dock can be used.

    The box does not include a user manual.

    The Fuelband costs $149.00, but prices were near $300.00 on eBay when Fuelbands were scarce.

    My Fuelband Experience

    Initially, the Fuelband itself doesn't look much different than your generic black livestrong band. However, when you press the little button on the top of the band, your friends and anyone else will be amazed at how the led lights all work together to produce an awesome visual effect. Quite honestly, I was pretty disappointed that there wasn't some setting to enable the band to always stay illuminated. I realize this would drain the battery extremely fast, but I would have liked to have the option to be able to have the time function always lit. Additionally, this was also a question many of my friends ask me after checking out the Fuelband, "You can't make it stay lit more than three seconds?" Unfortunately, no you can't unless you continue pressing the button. Now that I have had my Fuelband for over two months, I must say I am already somewhat bored with the band. Additionally, I am unconvinced that the tracking accelerometer is entirely accurate. Also, I have found that the Fuelband is highly inaccurate during biking because the hands are mostly stationary. Some people have claimed to wear the band on their ankle during biking, but that would require me to add links. It seems to Nike that a huge purpose for the band is to be able to compare Fuel points with friends through Facebook and other social networking sites. However, to Nike Air Max Humara Mens my knowledge, none of my friends even have the Fuelband yet.