i have this picture frame that i got as a gift for my high school graduation. it's white and says "mizzou" all over it. it also has tiger paws on it. it's old. the tiger paw isn't even the cool mizzou thing anymore. i miss it.
there is a really old picture of nick and i in the frame. from when we were dating. my 21st birthday. behind it is an even older picture of my high school boyfriend and i. it was taken when i was up for rockhurst homecoming queen. i think i was 17. at one time, the picture hung in my locker in the senior hall. later, it went with me to college and served as a reminder of my life before columbia. i used to like the picture.
looking at it today, i realize much about it was a mistake. for starters, my hair (naturally a nice brunette) was copper. yes, copper. i went crazy with a bottle of sun-in and a hair dryer. i wanted to be blonde. i didn't understand that it wouldn't be that easy. i also had really bad straight-across, curled under bangs. yes, bangs. and to top it all off, my eyebrows were the size of those big fat red pencil erasers and i don't think i was wearing an ounce of makeup.
i also hadn't yet transitioned away from Gap "classic fit" jeans, which really just mean "make your butt look as long as your back and your legs look short" jeans. let me just tell you, they were stylin'.
i didn't win homecoming queen the year we took that picture. i came in second. i lost to a blonde girl who was skinnier and wore lots of makeup and had really cute flared jeans with a low waist, which made her tiny, perfect butt look even tinier and more perfect.
after that, i spent years wanting to be blonde. i covetted it. i hated blondes. i wanted it. the sparkle, the glow, the appeal. only recently have i really learned to appreciate my hair and its natural red highlights. only now have i learned to love me the way i was made. only now do i realize that the biggest mistake in the picture from highschool was that i was about to go away to college to learn to hate myself, to compare everything about me to perfect sorority girls and to petite pint-sized, tanned blondes - but only for a little while. i would come around. and i did. i love my hair color now. but it's so much deeper than that. i'm finally able to love myself.