What are you? 12?

I recently unearthed a shirt I had kept from when I was 12. And I mean unearthed in a literal sense. It’s like we kept all my stuff in a hole in the ground, in boxes made of pressed dirt, guarded by a legion of dirt people.

Here is me in the shirt 16 years ago.

The Shirt 1996
Yeah. Somebody looked at too many YM magazines. (I found a bunch of those, also, by the way.) YM was an incredibly effective resource in 6th grade. OBVIOUSLY...because I had all the boyfrienz.
Later I plan to “solve my boy probs” and complete 99 of the “101 ways to look and feel like a babe.” The full 101 just sounds over-indulgent. I would be like a babe eclipse. No man could ever look directly at me. Girlfriend don’t need that.
It doesn’t really look like much, but that shirt was a big deal. I am sure I kept it because it was my first legit “designer” shirt. It was Calvin Klein and from “that store” in the mall my mom never let me shop in because stuff was too expensive. That shirt alone was probably my gym shoes, underwear and my writing utensils for that school year. Me agreeing to a comprise like that for fashion would not surprise me. (Fast forward to a closet full of shoes and not owning my own living space.)
Anyway, finding that shirt, sadly, led to this. A quicker, cheaper, dorkier, awkwarder version of this: Irina Werning: Back To The Future, an awesome project my cousin clued me in to a few years ago.
Now and Then
Consensus: I really don’t look any different than I did 16 years ago. Put that shirt on me, tape my hair to my forehead for bangs, and it seems the only thing setting the two photos apart are my Stretch Armstrong limbs and the fact that I don’t Sun-In my hair anymore. Great.
I get it. People love to look younger when they’re older. I, however, have spent my life wanting to be older. I’m 28. I want to look 28. So, don’t even give me the “You’ll be glad about it when you’re old” spiel. No one wants to look 12. When I was 12 I didn’t want to look 12. So, I will not be taping my hair to my forehead and wearing that shirt. And when I stop for a pause I will not be making that pose. Woof.
That picture is a product of one of many “photoshoots” my friends and I had. We did a lot of weird things to pass the time in the summer. We were creative, I guess? Except for the fact that we resorted to lame backgrounds (i.e. the corner by the front door) and cliche poses (i.e. the pose above). A lot of token hand on hip. Sitting by a piano with a rose. Contemplative gazes into the distance.
We were the prehistoric version of girls today. The camera was film, you had one shot to get it right, you couldn’t review it and you didn’t post it onto a social network site with the caption “Model sesh with my bffs!! lololololol!” You charged the developing to your mom who would later be deeply perturbed that she spent $10 on 24 photos of just you and your friends doing nothing significant. Then they went in a photo album. A real one. With plastic sleeves. Rarely looked at again. And, thankfully, never to be dug up by searching the internet.
Selfies didn’t even exist in 1996. It was bizarre to hold your camera in front of your face and snap the photo. Still kind of is…ahem, person over there on the bench by herself passing the time with a selfie session. It makes me extremely uncomfortable for some reason. It’s like PDA…only the person they are making out with is their own self. Do I look away? Do I admire their publicly proclaimed love…for…their…face? It’s all very confusing. It’s like changing your shirt: do it in your own personal space.
I look at girls these days taking pictures in mirrors and get mildly concerned for their future. I also often get an overwhelming desire to fix their eyeliner. There is a fine line between a selfie and a self-portrait. It’s a tripod, a timer and background that isn’t a commentary on how much of a failure you are at cleaning your living environment. Next time you want a self shot, if you want, call your friend and stand by a tree or something. And for the love of Gisele, quit popping your hip and making the duck face! Your 28-year-old self will thank you.