Eighth grade all the way to senior year: in which I discover makeup and use a whole lot of it

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Thank you. Now. Here I am in eighth grade.

eighth

Derp.

But look how much happier I am! This was undoubtedly due to my brand-new nephew, who I got to see pretty much every day. He is now 28. I am crazy old.

And now…ninth grade.

ninth

Dorp.

Okay. First of all, the clothing. Is that a mock turtleneck? How dare I. Secondly, there is a shadow falling across my face that's giving me a unibrow appearance, which I assure you I did not have. That is a mock unibrow. Still, though, it's not good.

Eighth grade was less traumatic than seventh, and ninth was easier still. Tenth and eleventh were socially more exciting, and then things took a steep downturn (in every way) in twelfth grade.

twelf

Hello. I am wearing four shades of eyeshadow. My hair has been lovingly blown dry, strand by strand. Why yes, this is my mother's sweater from Ann Taylor. And my mother's necklace! I want nothing more than to look like a guidance counselor.

I look like I have it together, don't I? And yet I was an emotional mess, dabbling with self-harm, panic-attacking like an old pro, screwing up academically, and engaging in disciplinary shenanigans all the damn time. No one believes that I got suspended from school, but oh, it happened. (Okay, it was in-school suspension. BUT STILL.)

I was pulled, if not from the brink, than from some less fortunate conclusion to my school years by an assortment of dedicated, amazing teachers: teachers who listened to my dumb problems; who pushed me to work; who suggested I pursue writing and music; who yelled at me when yelling was called for. My parents had to love me, I thought, so I could discount their opinions, but having these unrelated-to-me adults take an interest got my attention. I was pretty lost for a while, there. I don't know where I'd be without them.

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