Things I learned in sixth grade (and other fashion debacles).

I’ve been looking through a lot of old photos lately. This could be for a number of reasons, such as boredom or a sense of escapism pleasant reminiscence. It inevitably causes regret for past outfits and hairstyles (which, undoubtedly, makes me give myself a pat on the back for current outfits—or at least for the guts to send my sister photos of outfits to ask if they’re cute/matching). The latest session of opening all my old Facebook photo albums and looking at them ended with a text to my best friend, lamenting the weirdness of my previous life.

Meanwhile, I bought Katie Heaney’s book Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date today, impulse-style, at Target. I’ve been excited to read this book ever since I wrote about it for PolicyMic. Heaney begins by talking about her elementary school years: crushes, friends, weird things she did to fit in. As I’m reading, thinking “yes, I also did that thing where you do all things extra-cute just in case someone might be watching,” a bizarre life moment popped into my head.

It is called “that time I tried to be a rebel after watching Caitlyn’s Way.”

First of all, anyone who knows me knows I’m not a rebel even in the loosest definition of the word. You give me a rule; I’ll follow it. Type-A personality here. But I distinctly remember watching the show Caitlyn’s Way when I was around 11 or 12. Here’s the IMDB summary of the show:

Caitlin Seeger is a troubled teenager. She was orphaned at age 8 and has been shuffled from one foster home to another ever since. She was forced to grow up fast and to learn how to survive on the streets of Philadelphia. After running afoul of the law one time too many, she is given the choice between jail and going to live with relatives on a ranch in Montana. Upon arriving in Montana, the street-hardened young girl experiences the ultimate culture shock.

And here’s some photos to give you an idea of the show:


I remember thinking Caitlyn was the coolest a girl could possibly be. For comparison, at age 11 or 12, I looked like this:


I also remember loving the jewelry she wore. If I wasn’t going to wear too-dark makeup and learn to express my emotions through riding horses through Montana, I could at least emulate Caitlyn’s bad-girl spirit through some necklace choices. I had a necklace with a chunky, pewter music note charm on it, and it hung on a black nylon-ish cord. Granted, if I’m remembering correctly, I had won it for selling however many boxes of Girl Scout cookies (the cutesiest thing, very anti-Caitlyn), but whatever. I wore that thing all the time. It made me feel different. Like I came home from school and angsted out some jams on my guitar (get real, people). I looked especially moody listening to my CD player while wearing it. What no one knew: the Princess Diaries soundtrack was spinning in there, and sometimes the boy band-ish songs on it made me all emotional, riding home on the bus from basketball games.

While I have never run afoul of the law, there isn’t much I’d trade from those years when I was an almost-teenager…probably because I still feel like that girl some of the time. Thankfully, though, I have learned that it is impossible even to try to be a street-hardened young girl with bangs, braces, glasses and Limited Too t-shirts.

Ah, days when recess was a thing...
Ah, days when recess was a thing…

If only I could have told you, Young Anne. If only.


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