I remember the Spice Girls. I remember all four of us: Cortney, Tasha, (my cousins) McCall, (my sister) and myself, dressing up and choreographing dance moves to all of their songs. None of us could be Baby Spice, because all of us wanted to be Baby Spice. I still think I should have been her, though. After all, I was the only one with blonde hair.
I remember long summer days at the pool, and our quad piling into the back of my mom’s minivan in our bathing suits. I remember sitting side-by-side with my cousins and comparing the sizes of our thighs. Mine were way bigger.
I remember asking my mom later if I was fat. She told me that I wasn’t, and that my cousins were simply too skinny. I was seven years old.
I remember the summer before 8th grade when I decided to participate in the Miss Kaysville Fruit Heights scholarship pageant. I won the Director’s Choice Award, but I know that the pageant was rigged, and the only reason I got any sort of award was because the director of the pageant just so happened to be my neighbor. I’m still glad she didn’t let me leave empty-handed, and still have that little trophy sitting on my dresser.
I remember Lakin Larsen, my favorite babysitter, who always made me two packets of Easy Mac and played Kim Possible outside with my little sister and me. She was always Kim Possible, and we were the bad guys.
I remember going to bed with one little sister, and waking up with two.
I remember when the only things that mattered to me were whether or not I would be sleeping over at my cousins’ house for the third time in a row, and who had the most Water Babies.
I remember when everything mattered.
I remember when everything mattered so much that I couldn’t bring myself to fall asleep at night because I had too much worrying to do about things that mattered.
I remember how in 8th grade health class, we had to practice reading each others’ blood pressures, and mine was so low that even Coach Downs couldn’t find it. I’d never seen a teacher look so concerned before, and I doubt he’d seen a student so underweight before.
I remember buying Coach a snow globe with a John Deer tractor in it for Christmas that year. The man was obsessed with John Deer tractors.
I remember our summer snow cone stand out in the front yard and how we got a whole gang of older kids on bikes to buy fourteen dollars worth of snow cones in one day. They came back once a week, and we’d always spend our entire earnings on syrup and ice so that we could re-open shop the following day. We owned that neighborhood.
I remember when I finally decided that I was going to stop taking myself so seriously, because, let’s be honest, nobody else does. Life has been significantly easier since I’d made that decision.
I remember starting high school with a brand new clique of friends. My best friend, Brooks, introduced himself like, “Hi, I’m Brooks! And I’m a giant teddy bear!” and then shook my hand. I knew right then that we were going to be best friends for a long time.
I remember Brooks coming over to my house for the first time. He laughed at the chubby third grade version of myself my family had mounted on our living room wall. I locked myself in my closet and wouldn’t come out until I felt that he’d adequately begged for my forgiveness.
I remember my Chemistry teacher, Mr. Stevens, and how one day, in front of the entire class, he advised me in his British accent to enroll in medical school for the sole purpose of finding a mate. He said once I’d done that, I could just drop out and be a trophy wife. That was the day I decided I was going to get a PhD.
I remember back in high school when I was a ballroom dancer, and I’d have to get spray tans for competitions. I remember being told by a fellow classmate that I looked like I “rolled in a bag of Doritios.” I blushed, but you couldn’t see it due to my artificial tan.
I remember waking up at 5:30 every morning to get ready for school, which gave me two whole hours before class started. I didn’t mind, because just like everything else, looks mattered.
I remember when I’d foolishly decided to sign with a modeling agency. The agents were all real smooth-talkers, and wrongly convinced me that I “had a great look” for modeling and said that if I worked hard, I could be successful. Guess who didn’t get an ounce of work through aforementioned modeling agency?
I remember how in junior high school, the proper way to tell a boy you liked him was to hurl Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into his back yard while he was jumping on his trampoline with his friends. This method was successful on all trials but one.
I remember being labeled a perfectionist by some shrink my parents made me see one time
I remember deciding that things didn’t matter any more, and how that mindset resulted in really poor grades, and a lot of sneaking out of my house on school nights.
I don’t remember ever finding a balance.