Someone Thought This Was a Good Idea

We live in a day and age where Instagram shows nothing but the best sides of ourselves. Beauty and poise are the name of the game. If not that, something super adorable that gives us the warm and fuzzies. Models posing on a beach, branding deals with cute dogs, the romantic glow of two women that had been dating for five years that finally got engaged. Behold, the aesthetics. The joy. Life is beautiful…

But before social media, there were photos like this:

“No, ociffer! Yer drunk and order out of orderer!”

Someone in my family took this photo. Actually, multiple people took photos like this and thought, “Yes… this was a good idea. Commemorating all of these bizarre faces and moments are great ideas.”

Then you get the photos with weird, unrelated sticker quotes on them. Listen, younglings, there was a time when full-grown adults went to the craft section of the superstore and bought stickers to decorate their photos. Needless to say, no one in my family is particularly crafty or interested in scrapbooking. It’s as if my grandmother thought, “This picture missing something. But what? Oh, I know! This speech bubble that says, ‘Whoops, I’m the favorite!’ And we’ll put it on this photograph where she is staring forlornly out at a beach. So cute.

Now, if that’s not enough, then we are about to get really crazy.

Spoiler alert: it is a photo of me. Surprise!

(I mean, it’s my blog, were you expecting a photograph of Bernadette Peters? Then again, it is me…)

Admittedly, my hair is looking great with a Mom-endorsed perm and purple is a great color that brings out my eyes and is flattering on my skin tone. Like, a lot of little girls can pull off Keri Russell perms up to a certain age before you start to consider the damage it does, but I was crushing the perm game for a few years. I was cute.

But.

What.

The.

Good.

Fresh.

Hell.

IS THIS???

Yes, that is me. Laying flowers next to a casket. At a funeral.

Again, someone thought this was a good idea.

When I found this photograph, my jaw hit the floor. After that, I died laughing. I mean, what other reaction can you have?

How did this exist? Who didn’t stop this photographer from snapping a quick pic? Who decided to keep it? Look at the photo—even mini-me isn’t a big fan of having her picture taken next to a dead man in a box! And the more I look at it, the more I’m sure the mysterious family member posed me and then took their shot.

After I got myself together, I texted my mother the photo. She had no idea. “That’s weird. I don’t even know whose funeral that is…”

Then, I texted my dad.

DAD: That’s weird. Whose funeral is that?

ME: That’s why I asked you!

DAD: Huh. I don’t know, ask your mama.

ME: I did!

DAD: Oh. Well, if I were you, I’d just throw it away. That’s really weird.

Oh no, Father. It is too late. You and Mother had your chance for your Instagram life.

Now these bizarre photographs will be immortalized on the Internet. Because this is CATS level “such a bad idea that I’m now convinced it is the BEST IDEA.”

Puberty Slapped Me in the Face

My life was a little like the movie Big. Except I said I wanted to be a Disney Princess and it was just misinterpreted as “busty lady that sings too much.”

This was because I was a 10-year-old that looked and thought like a miniature 16-year-old by that point. Puberty slapped me in the face very hard and early. Ladies, do you remember having to do the pledge of allegiance after your boobs came in? Yeah, me too. Imagine doing that during the fourth grade and no one else has their boobs yet. It’s a fucking nightmare.

It was a social hassle, for sure. My family would go out to dinner sometimes and I would be offered a drink menu. Like, the waiter would make eye contact with me. My parents would intervene and order a Sprite for me, and I never understood why. I could read. I wanted to have a drink menu and order a Sprite off of it. It did seem redundant to have a separate drink menu when the beverages list is on the regular one…

It’s a strange thing, straddling the divide between childhood and adulthood so early. My body and brain developed so fast that I was observing the process of growing up rather than taking part in it myself. It was like I was the documentarian of a wildlife documentary about humans, taking notes and watching as people my age bloomed slowly.

Most of my observations came from school. When I was in the fourth grade, I was a part of a group of girls that I called my friends. But they weren’t really my friends more than they were girls that just kind of let me hang out near them. During lunches and recess, I would follow these non-friends of mine and listen to their conversations. Though none of them had not gone through puberty slapping yet, they were trying very hard to be adults. Like, imagine a G-rated version of Sex and the City.

Immediately afterward, they would go into science class and try to throw pencils into the ceiling. My assigned seat was away from them, so I never got in trouble for it. Nor did I get hit in the head with a pencil, which was good considering all of the other bullying and school-based trauma I was going through!

My classmates have since gotten married, had babies, work salaried positions. They prepared for adulthood and marriage at an early age, and they got it! Good job! A lot of them love their lives, talk about the joys of watching their kids grow up, their tenth anniversary with Brandon. (At least 68% of the husbands are named Brandon.) But then I also see where they regress a little by going out to bars and getting tequila shots, which is the adult version of throwing pencils at ceiling tiles.

As for me? Well, I’ve had my share of growing up too fast in certain areas of my life. That said, I never really got to have those moments of public pencil throwing. Any childish antics I had were reserved for the privacy of my own home. When you’re a 10-year-old living in a teenager-level body, you’re treated differently. There are expectations placed on you because you look and sound like an adult.

But I feel like my Big transformation has reversed itself, because now my friends are buying wine without being carded, and the cashier sees me and is like, “Where’s your ID?”

Is that a flex? Yes. Yes, it is. 

Remember When Blogs Were Weird?

Branding is a big thing now, right? Building a brand. Using SEO to attract business. Becoming the brand… like a zombie bitten by an Instagram influencer.

You discuss how you, and only you, can help solve a business issue with your services. You used to work for the man, then you became a freelance photographer that traveled the world taking photos of Aquariuses, and now your mission is to teach others your success. Or you’re a mom, and you tell stories about your kids, share recipes, and now you’re in O Magazine talking about the spiritual awakening that came with growing your own brussel sprouts.

And I can’t help but think—and here’s the title for SEO—“Remember when blogs were weird?”

I don’t mean conspiracy theory weird. Honestly, the Reddit forums have that covered. I mean joyously, personally weird that hints at irony but is also highly relatable. They’re still out there, with The Bloggess and the old posts of Hyperbole and a Half. (And Allie Brosh is finally releasing her new book this year.) But man… there are just as many blogs out there trying to sell me on personal development courses.

Sometimes I just want to read about someone’s irrational fear of bears in roller skates. Followed by a drawing of a bear in roller skates.

It’s a bear on roller skates wearing a crop top and pink shorts. So cute.