Thursday, August 26, 2010

Makeup and Growing Up -- Chapter 12 in My Life Story

Gretchen age 15
Anna and I were promised the privilege of getting to wear makeup when we turned 15.  Lip gloss and even lighter lipsticks did not count in my mom's book, and we'd been allowed to don those since junior high.  Sure enough, on my 15th birthday, my mom gave me a makeup bag with eyeshadow and mascara in it!  I didn't really know how to do my eyes very well, but I still liked the grown up feeling it brought.  Ironically, my mom gave me a Mary Kay compact with eyeshadows and blush in it a couple of years ago for my 30th birthday.  It was the last birthday I celebrated with her, and it's funny to think that my gift was similar to the one I'd been given 15 years earlier.  Then, makeup was the opportunity to look pretty and grown up!  Now, makeup is pretty much a special occasion thing for me. Except lipstick.  I always need that.

Enjoying a salad from Burger King.  Oh yeah.
When thinking of my 15th year, I recall how my body suddenly caught up with itself.  Gone were the days of swimming, skiing and playing sports, and here were the days of learning to cook and eat. . and eat. . . I wasn't fat, but I certainly started gaining some weight.  All of the sudden I could buy clothes from the misses department. . . in the middle range sizes where there was lots of selection.  I felt somehow less like myself -- I think because I'd always been so skinny, and it was strange to look in the mirror and see a rounder face.  I did love to eat, though!  I didn't think it was worth cutting back some, so I just tried to forget about it.  I'd go through short periods of time where I thought I'd give it a try, and I'd eat salad at a fast food restaurant or not eat sweets or something.  But I never really saw a difference on the scale, and I wrote myself off as someone who had no willpower.  Even though I was possibly somewhat unhealthy, I'm still thankful that I didn't torture myself with body image issues that did plague me down the road.  It wasn't by any maturity of my own, but probably more due to having lots of good friends who didn't talk about diets or weight or anything silly like that.  I'm sure it was from their example of just being who they were that helped me not worry too much.

My mom and sisters at the Children's museum
My friend Misty emerged as a major player in my life around this time.  I remember at one point she told me that all the boys liked me because I was new.  This statement cracks me up now!  I knew it was totally untrue, both the fact that all the boys liked me (only one did -- the rest proved they didn't by helping my brother fart on our heads and other such lovely things), and also the fact that I was just liked because I was new.  I didn't see myself as new at all anymore, and after several months of writing notes back and forth with Steve, I knew he didn't like me just because I was new.  I totally challenged Misty's statement, and I think we started getting along really well shortly thereafter partly because we were both pretty bold figures, and also because we just spent more time in proximity to one another.  Our little sisters were friends, and I could count on Misty coming along to hang out if Shea came over to play with Emily.  Our homeschool group at that time was woefully small, and Misty and one other girl, Brooke, were the only older girls in it from our church.  Clearly, that did not provide enough girls for a basketball team, but we definitely had fun herding our little sisters around the Indianapolis Children's Museum together.  

Misty was a unique teenage girl in a myriad of ways.  Her mother bought most of her clothes at rummage sales and Goodwill, but she always styled those ensembles willingly, and with an air of confidence.  She would say about herself "I look good in hats" and wore hats a lot.  That kind of confidence was unheard of at my age.  Misty did not mean it pridefully -- she had just been told she looked good in hats a lot, and so she knew it!  She was also good at speaking, and when she met adults, she looked them in the eye and shook their hand.  Her family was originally from Texas, so she was always saying "sir" and "ma'm" and always called all adults "Mr.or Mrs. so-and-so" even if they told us to call them by their first name.  She was a good girl to have around as a friend.  She didn't take writhe and quake about boys or what people thought of her.  I'm glad she was my friend and rubbed off on me somewhat!  

Near the end of my 15th year, my dad enrolled me in a driving school so I could take driver's ed.  Since I was homeschooled, and it was summer, this was the only way it would work for me to be able to finish before I turned 16 (the obvious goal = getting the license ON 16th birthday).  Pretty much everyone else at that driving school were high school drop outs or kids that had lost their licenses or something.  I was this little green Christian homeschooler who knew nothing about the world, and could only begin to guess what the crass things on their t-shirts meant.  In effort to show my faith, I wore all my best Christian t-shirts.  I say that tongue in cheek now, but at the time, I sincerely wanted those kids to believe in Jesus, and I figured this would be a good way to start.  Pretty sure those kids thought I was a loser!  I totally had a crush on the teacher -- his name was Mark Bertram (I only remember his name because I wrote a character into one of my stories after him), and he wore wire-rimmed glasses.  Our driving instructor was this older man who had me and the other girl in my car drive to impound lots and junkyards where he would show us cars that had been destroyed by drunk drivers.  He repeated over and over "young ladies, you never ever get in the car with a young man who has had too much to drink."  We also had to drive to Amish country.  Lucky for us, we didn't actually see any buggies on the road. 

And so ends my 16th year!  Linking up to Mommy's Piggy Tales.


MommaHarms said...

Seems I recall a person in college who was willing to be her own person, buy things at goodwill because they looked good on her, and enjoy life. Sounds like Misty rubbed off on you quite a bit!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I love your details...I forgot about getting to wear makeup. I love your zeal for wanting to share a home school mom we did parent lead behind the wheel with our first four...enjoying your journey!
Your pictures are great!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Gret I just watched your 15th birthday gift unwrapping last night how ironic there you were opening that little bag of make up Nate in his shades going out with instructions to be home before 10 and that did not mean 9:59! HA

atif said...

I was this little green Christian homeschooler who knew nothing about the world, and could only begin to guess what the crass things on their t-shirts meant. driving lessons manchester

Amber Smith said...

I just finished reading through your life story thus far. I loved it and could relate in so many ways. I enjoyed it so much I may go back and read it again. Thanks for sharing!