There’s this thing I like to call historical awkwardness.
I don’t know if some people have always been awkward, but I have been. I know some people have, like, an awkward stage (duh, that’s called middle school) and then grow out of it. And then there’s those of us for whom the early awkwardness just serves as a predictor of what’s to come. I can think of a few early incidents that should have led my parents to realize that yep, we love this kid but let’s just face it–she’s never gonna be quite normal.
I’m the youngest of three, and of course I idolized my brother and sister and wanted to do whatever they did. One day, my brother decided to decorate his headboard with cut out pictures of things he liked. From what I recall, they were things like cars and fighter planes. You know, typical boy stuff. So, six-ish year old me sees that and thinks, “Oh, I get it…it’s fun to decorate your headboard with pictures of things you like! I want to do that, too!” So, I went off to raid the only source of pictures to cut out that I could find–my mom’s stack of Family Circle and Woman’s Day magazines.
Now, I should say here that I was a fat kid. I mean, I was over 10 lbs when I was born (sorry mom!) so I pretty much hit BBW status as a newborn. My parents note in my baby book that I was definitely NOT a fussy eater. Sue me, food is good. Anyway.
So I’m flipping through my mom’s Family Circle magazines and looking at pictures and thinking, “What here do I like? C’mon, what do I really really like?” At six, I was having a mini identity crisis: who am I? WHAT DO I REALLY LOVE IN MY LIFE?? And then, towards the back, it appeared, like a glistening black beacon of everything that mattered most to me(keep it clean folks, I was SIX):
CAKE. YES! I LOVE CAKE!!
So, like I was on a sugar high from just looking at the picture, I cut it out all jaggedly and hurriedly and taped it to my headboard. MMM CAKE. And then, because just having one picture of cake taped to my headboard would look really stupid, I cut out some other pictures of delicious looking deserts and added them, too.
My grandparents just happened to be visiting from out of state and arriving that day. I couldn’t wait to show them my newly decorated headboard! So, as soon as I could, I led them into my room to show them my shrine to things I love. Side note, my grandmother didn’t appreciate my BBW status and always seemed to kind of blame my mom for it. Anyway, I led my grandparents into my room, my parents trailing behind, and fully expected them to tell me how cool my headboard looked.
My grandfather burst out laughing. “Is that your way of having sweet dreams?” he asked. My grandmother shot my mom a look that even I, at six, could clearly interpret as OMG SHE HAS A PROBLEM. Sensing I wasn’t going to get the reaction I anticipated, I tried to explain. “But Matt put pictures of things he likes on his headboard! So I put up pictures of things I really really like, too!” Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to help my grandmother’s mood. “You wanted to tape up pictures of things you liked–and you picked cake?” she asked, giving my mother another look. And I was like hellz yeah grandma:
Okay, I didn’t get the guts up to tell my grandma to get over my love for cake until I was, like, 28–but that’s another post. Anyway, I kept those pictures up for a while, which is surprising since I’ve always been sensitive to other people’s opinions of me. But I kept them up.
Because, you know. CAKE.