This morning I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room with a young dad and his daughter. She was super cute, wearing a pink outfit with shiny curly hair. But when her dad wouldn’t let her play with the water dispenser thing, it was all over. She collapsed face down on the carpet, kicked her feet and pounded her fists and screamed like a possessed rabies victim for a good 10 minutes. Far from annoyed, I wished it was acceptable for me – a 23-year-old woman – to join her.
You see, I’ve been on holidays for a bit over a week and I go back to work tonight. I woke up this morning feeling like I was Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking. I wanted a cigarette, I wanted Susan Sarandon and I wanted someone to explain to me how I, a convicted murderer, could access so much hair gel. Also I felt like it was my execution date, obviously.
One of the things I had planned to do in my holidays – apart from eat my body weight in nachos, sleep until noon and watch a lot of Oprah – was look through my childhood photos. And boy did I find some good ones:
Clearly I was born a very camp man. I don’t have a lot to say about this picture other than “Hello laaaadies”.
Oh my goodness that fringe looks like a piece of wholemeal Helga’s hanging from my forehead. This is me on a very exciting trip to the Zig Zag railway in the Blue Mountains. And I’m not even being sarcastic, it was exciting. I used to wear this jumper to pre-school and, somehow, whenever I ate kiwi fruit it would end up covered in blue, red and yellow strands of wool. I also remember blaming this on my friend Hannah. She deserved it.
That’s me in the blue hat smoking the pipe. Not the old guy to the left, in case you were confused. The old fella is my grandpa, Da. He was a true character. We’re sitting on the verandah of my grandparents’ house on the Central Coast. It was the best house ever for kids – heaps of room, right near the beach, a packed sweetie jar and pretty sweet-ass grandparents. The pipe I’m smoking like a pro was one of those plastic ones filled with sherbet. They’ve probably outlawed them now along with fads, golliwogs and flammable pyjamas.
Here I am just casually relaxing in the garden. What a surprise to see you! You’d think I’d be ashamed of my unconventional layering – I know my dad sure kept his distance from me in public when I dressed like this. While I can see now I look a little bit like someone who might have a penchant for dreamcatchers and poor bathing habits, it was actually the beginning of my interest with experimenting with fashion and clothes. I got the singlets from a sale in Miss Shop, the green petticoat from a hippy-ish shop in Orange and I made the purple skirt underneath. While I’ve ditched sewing my own clothes – because I was utter crap, with no sign of improvement – I still raid sales like a truffle pig and find treasures in most unexpected places.
This is me at the beginning of year 12. I’d just cut off my waist-length hair in a moment of teenage heartbreak – a story that could actually be the script for a box office flop. You see, I’d started dating this weird dude who talked about nunchucks a lot (you can’t judge me, I was a teenager and there’s scientific evidence to show teenagers date losers obsessed with weapons because their brains aren’t fully formed yet. That’s right, I skim New Scientist magazine). A few weeks into our love affair he announced he was leaving town to join the Army. He said he would call and write and visit when he could. I was actually semi relieved because I wanted to nail the HSC and make like a shepherd and get the flock out of Orange. I got one letter which was a vague break up letter. Then I found out he’d been back in town to bone one of the predictable mingas in my year. Sigh! Anyway, it turns out I got a great haircut and he got to shoot stuff. Win/Win.
Here I am celebrating with a glass of champagne after finishing my last HSC exam. My last one was three unit English and by that time I had completely run out of puff. There was one subject in year 12 that I pretty much had to teach myself because the teacher was unaware of a fangled, crazy idea called a syllabus. It was months of unadulterated torture. There were panic attacks, tantrums and thoughts of driving myself off something very high into something very hard. I remember watching the final two minutes of that horrible period tick by on the clock in the exam hall, waiting for life to begin. It was the most glorious feeling ever.
This is the J-man and I in our second year of love. I think we were just coming out of the stage where people couldn’t bear to be around us. God, couples can be gross. I’m sorry to all we offended with our public saliva swapping, declarations of love and groping. Now we just settle for the good old train station/supermarket/party/pub spoon.