Me, age 12. With a tan. 

I find myself today thinking about my childhood. Probably because my cousin posted this picture of me on Facebook last week. She was scanning all her old photos and putting them on disks, hence the weird, cut off “HP” logo at the top I probably should have cropped out.

Anyway, I’m about twelve there, maybe right around my thirteenth birthday (judging from the haircut and glasses). So this would have been the mid-late eighties.

Now, let’s talk about fashion, shall we?

Those glasses are horrid. Seriously. But I remember being SO EXCITED to get them, because the frames were basically clear. And for someone who’d always had bottle-thick glasses, they were so cool, because they were made a little thinner, and the clear frame disguised the thickness.

I felt so fashion-forward in them. Probably why I felt brave enough to wear a tank top UNDER my swimsuit. And not only that, it was a MATCHING tank top. I seem to recall having several different ones I wore UNDER that particular suit that matched the colors in it. (I think my mother was concerned the front of the suit went down too low. Or maybe I was. Can’t remember).

Yes. This look, I truly thought I was all that in. And just for reference, we were at the lake here, and had gone off to a playground nearby for me and my younger cousins to mess around at.

We spent a lot of summers at the lake when I was a kid. I learned to water ski when I was about 7, and slalom ski when I was 9 or 10. (I had to learn, my brother, who was 3 years younger than me, learned to slalom ski the summer before, and I could NOT have him doing something I couldn’t do. That just would not work for me.)

So yes, I had a tan. ALL THE TIME.

When my husband saw this picture, his first comment? “What the hell, you have a tan! You never go outside!”

Which is true. It wasn’t much longer after this that I continued spending time outdoors. I reverted to being inside so much, my parents called me the “Great Indoorsman.” And I still am, sort of.

Part of that is my allergies, which have gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. But also, a lot of that indoorsmanship started when I started writing.

Yep, I was about twelve the first time I started writing my own stories. Just for fun, really. In my teens, I attempted fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time–no internet then. Most of my stories were either typed on a typewriter or written on the old computer with it’s dot-matrix printer that always seemed just about out of ink.

My parents used to make fun of me when I’d write. My dad would come in, stand behind me as I typed, and read over my shoulder. He would make fun of my characters and tease me about different things I wrote. As such, I’ve never liked it when people stand behind me when I’m writing. Even if I go to a coffee shop or something, I seat myself where no one can come up behind me and look at what I’m doing. (Not to mention, make the font horribly small, so a passerby can’t read what I’m writing.)

I think a lot of my dad’s teasing me only made me more determined to go “Stuff it! Look at what I can do!” (A mantra of my whole life, really. Never tell me I can’t do something. I’ll find a way.)

I thought about this when I was going through the edits for Saving Her Destiny (coming out in June this year) and creating the dedication for the book. I remembered a lot of how my parents, whether they did it on purpose or not, would push me, without really pushing me. Maybe they knew that if they told me I couldn’t do it, that it would make me more determined to prove that I could.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

I doubt it.

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