When I was about 13, I spent the whole summer with my friend Jessie – roasting ourselves in the sun on a dock by the Columbia River, an open bag of Cool Ranch Doritos close by and a Rick Astley tape in her boom box. Heaven. I got sunburned over and over again and whenever it was really bad her mom would dig this yellow backless halter top out and put it on me and then slather my back with Noxema.
I haven’t talked to Jessie in years.
I still think about that halter top.
When I was five I had this pair of red strappy jelly shoes, with sparkles. God how I loved those shoes. You know how sometimes you have shoes so gorgeous that when you put them on you catch yourself not being able to stop just staring at your feet? My red jellies were my first shoes like that. They were sass, in a shoe. My best friend Jenny lived next door to me and her mom wouldn’t let me wear my jelly shoes in her house because rocks were always getting stuck in the jelly soles and I’d track them into their house. Jenny moved away and then we moved away and I haven’t heard anything about her since I heard from my mom that she got divorced.
“Things don’t always work out.”
In high school, my parents made me go on a college visit to Northwestern even though I really didn’t want to go there. I wore a black tank top, cut off jean shorts, black fishnet tights, black Doc Marten boots, and lots of eyeliner. I think my hair was in two buns. I didn’t really fit in with the rest of the visiting students, but I did look hot. I still have those boots in the back of my closet, even though I never wear them anymore. My mom bought them for me the first time that I got a B in Algebra. I had to work really fucking hard for that B.
I’ll always keep those boots.
My mom had this fair isle sweater, a wool one, from LL Bean, with holes in the elbows. I thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Something about the holes in the elbows made it seem really authentic. Then my parents got divorced and I never saw it again.
I wonder if she threw it out when she moved away. I’d kill to have that sweater today.
The first time I ever lost a whole bunch of weight was when I was in high school and that fall my best friend Andrew and I went to homecoming together. It was my Junior year but it was the first school dance I’d ever been to. My stepdad and I went shopping together downtown and I got a long black dress with criss cross straps at the Jessica McClintock store. I fucking loved that dress. Everyone that saw me in it that night said “wow” and even on Monday people told me in class that I looked good. I probably weighed about ninety pounds that day.
It was the first time I’d ever felt beautiful.
When I started to lose weight again two years ago at first that dress was my goal dress but then I had to have a come to jesus with myself and tell myself that fitting into a shrine of anorexia, much less one from Jessica McClintock circa 1992, was no goal to have.
I threw it out.
In the 6th grade, my whole class went to Outdoor School, and we were away from home for a week. My mom packed for me and she packed one pair of jeans and two pairs of the same pants – pink corduroy with patch pockets and elastic waists. I wore the same pair of jeans every day for seven days.
A part of me has never forgiven my mom for those two pairs of pink pants.
For my fourteenth birthday my mom took me and all of my friends ice skating, at a rink in Portland, and I wore a drawstring tunic top and a pair of those tights with the lace on the bottom. And no other pants. Weird. But not as weird as the fact that my mom was wearing a button down blue oxford shirt and my friend Lillian came up to me later that and said “Your mom’s not wearing a bra.” Sounds like we were all making good fashion decisions that day.
Mr. E and I went on our honeymoon in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, in a little tiny town in the Dominican Republic. One of the people staying at our hotel was a girl with dark bronze skin, a perfect tiny body, long dark hair, and a bikini the color of a Dr. Pepper can. I’ve been looking for that bikini since the day I first saw it on the beach.
If anyone knows where I can get ahold of a dark cherry doctor pepper red bikini, let me know. I need to be wearing just the right thing when I tell my skinny assed sister laws to shut up about their fat stomachs in my body disparagement free zone.