The Photo Post

Remember back when blogging (i.e., online journalling) first started? And, when people made the courageous choice to put pictures of themselves on their blogs, they had to spend three days picking which one to use, then three hours Photoshopping the crap out of it so it’d be blemish-free and unrecognizable?

The first person I ever saw use real self pics on her blog was Wendy. I remember being aghast, but also incredibly interested in her picture. She looked like a real person – more real than anyone else online, all of a sudden.

While I was picking out the photos to use for this post, I thought up several self-deprecating things to say about: all the things wrong with me in these pictures, all the ways I’ve changed throughout the years, my vanity for putting them online, warnings of what I’d do if people made negative comments.

But everybody knows now that blogs are written by real people. And real people see me every day. So, screw it. I’m posting the pictures. I hope you enjoy looking through them as much as I did.

This is me as a baby, they tell me. For some reason, my hair is blonde.

This is my mom at fifteen, with her brother. I have her coloring and her height, but her face is more like my brother Erik’s than mine.

This is my dad and two of his brothers in the ’70s. My dad’s the one sporting the vest. I have his eyes, his nose, and his sarcasm. I love my dad.

This is one of my relatives on my dad’s side. I just wanted to show y’all this picture because it’s awesome. There’s a romantic story behind it, of course, but my Aunt Sylvia has passed away, so no one can freaking remember it.

This is another nameless relative on my dad’s side – the side I grew up with. As you can see, I am descended from the Latina Betty Crocker.

This is me at 2 and a half. This is the most awesome picture I’ve ever taken in my life. Unfortunately, it’s become all reddish and has a big crack in it. Some day I’ll take it to a professional photography lab and let them tell me that they have no way of fixing it.

This is me with my brothers, my cousins, and some children from our neighborhood. It’s Easter, and we’re at a campsite somewhere in Texas. I’ll let you guess which kid I am. Every time I show this picture to my family, we laugh our asses off at Randy and Biba trying to look tough. Then we covet my brother Zonky’s awesome colorblocked velour shirt, and marvel at Erik’s massive lapels.

This is me, my brothers, and my late grandmother. I think I’m in fourth or fifth grade here. The things that strike me about this picture: my school mascot was a teddy bear, Zonky’s rocking brown Toughskins, Erik obviously invented the Seattle grunge look, my grandmother’s socks don’t match, and that’s probably because she had to take so much freaking medicine, as evidenced by her fold-up TV tray table.

Now we skip to ninth or tenth grade, when my friend Letty and I discovered the importance of photographing ourselves for posterity. And it was a good thing, too. I don’t ever want to forget the ’80s and how we all dressed like those guys from Scritti Politti, whether we were boys or girls. Also, you will note that Letty’s household was Catholic, as evidenced by the huge crucifix on the wall.

There was this guy who used to hang out around our little church-sponsored non-profit arts-organization/teen-musical-theater-troupe digs. He was trying to get his BFA in photography. He took artsy photos of us for his portfolio and, in exchange, made us prints for our grant reports and such. He also gave me my own prints, because I was such a good artsy model for him. It’s easy to be a good artsy model. All you have to do is get a weird haircut, wear a lot of black, and stand around in front of murals painted by at-risk youth.

This is me and Almadelia in Zaragoza, Mexico, feeding a goat.

This is me at 17 or so. I’m doing a show. I love this picture. You know why? Because I was never, ever (and am still not) as confident as I appear there on that stage in front of all those people who are sitting there spellbound, waiting for me to sing a song from Leader of the Pack. Performing arts is good for kids. It teaches them to fake it.

This was me getting ready for a show.

This was me doing a show.

That’s right! It was CATS! Oh my gosh.

This is me sporting a dress Letty found at Salvation Army for 25 cents. I’m waiting for Rendell Contreras to pick me up and take me to his prom.

Rendell’s friend’s van broke down on the way. We ate at a Szechwan Chinese restaurant. I fell asleep during the ride home. That was his prom. Y’all remember what happened at my prom.

This is me in 1990. That explains my black tights. I’m getting ready to go to my job at the Texas State Capitol. That was where I saw my first Macintosh computer.

Magically, very shortly after that, I’m getting married. I love this wedding picture. It shows that I have my priorities straight.

Very soon after that, here I am with a baby. The stork brought him to me. He’s very smart, beautiful, and awesome.

Another baby. I like how this one is smart, beautiful, and exceedingly pissed-off-looking.

This is the picture that usually inspires a comment about “babies having babies,” because I look pretty young in it. But you know what? I really wasn’t that young, relatively, in the grand scheme of things. I was 22.

Whoa. A third baby. This one is smart, beautiful, and sporting the sweet-ass Batman costume I sewed him myself.

So… here’s a picture that makes me a little sad. I’m a housewife. I have three babies. I’m back in Houston for the weekend, visiting my friend Letty. We went to the Firesale on 19th Street and took pictures of ourselves trying on silly clothes. When I look at this picture, I remember that that drab olive shirt was the fanciest one I had. I remember thinking that mascara and Chapstick made me look a little slutty. I remember that I used to stutter when I spoke to other adults, because I got to do it so rarely. I remember trying on that red hat was shocking, wicked fun.

Next time I’m a housewife, I’m gonna do it in a lively city, surrounded by friends and family.

Meanwhile, here’s my brother Zonky with Jane Seymour and a castle in the background.

(She was getting her OBE.) (Whatever that means.) (It just means they call her Lady Jane Seymour now, I think.)

Also meanwhile, here’s my dad with Uncle Manuel, Uncle Richard, and Aunt Sylvia. Uncle Richard and Aunt Sylvia died of cancer. Hey, all you old people out there – go to the freaking doctor! Get your regular check-ups! Start your chemo before it’s too late!

I miss them.

Even though this picture shows me weighing the most I’ve ever weighed, I still like it. I still love myself for my mind, you know?

A year and a half later, I lived at this apartment complex, here in Houston.

An Atkins diet later, I looked like this.

You can see in this one how broken my nose is. If I’m not smiling, it makes me look like I’m scowling or smirking. That’s why people think I’m a bitch when they first meet me. Then, I smile and they change their minds. But they shouldn’t. They should stick with their first impression, as they find out later, when it’s way too late. Mwah ha ha ha!

Since I left the non-profit, they switched from Broadway and ballet to Aztecs and mariachis. I came back just in time to try on an Aztec sun dance hat.

This was when I got glasses, in order to look more professional and thereby leave the non-profit sphere.

This is how my kids see me, two years ago.

This is how my kids never see me, last Halloween.

These are my kids.

This is how I look when I’m standing next to my boyfriend Tad, wearing contacts.

This is how my boyfriend Tad sees me with my cat, who is his fierce rival.

Finally, here I am, last weekend, with my blonde highlights. And fatter again, but happier, too. Photos don’t lie.

Really, this picture was what started it all… All I meant to do was show y’all my hair.

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Posted in Letty on 06/05/2005 04:42 am

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