Growing Up: Liking It

The Awakening

In 1998, American Girl published the first edition of a book titled The Care and Keeping of You. The premise of the book was to educate frightened fathers and pubescent girls about the developing female body from the perspective of a “trusted, cool aunt”. And boy, did it ever.

Five years later, my mom bought the book and slipped it into my reading collection, hoping to prepare me for the impending doom of sex-ed class. Under the delightfully ignorant impression the book was a supplement to Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, I eagerly began reading and quickly became horrified. The book laid out devilish plans that claimed I’d better start preparing for the shag carpet I’d soon grow in my arm pits, the bleeding that would undoubtedly begin occurring for a week every month (and I wouldn’t die?), and these sweater puppies I’d get called breasts that I should hoist up or risk letting droop to the floor. For chrissake, I was a biological ticking time bomb.

So like every well adjusted pre-teen, I vowed to not grow up. I would not, could not, grow up. I would not in a box, not with a fox; I did not like this idea, Sam-I-Am!

I immediately decided the most obvious way to repress the onset of puberty would be to eliminate the possibility of getting boobs, because this was the feature I frequently bullied my 7th grade neighbor, Caity for having. My young, half-witted, developing brain was under the impression that a bra alone could stifle my body’s attempts to grow “outward” as disclosed by that diabolical American Girl book. After all, Kit Kittredge didn’t have a rack and I strongly suspected it was due to the shelf bra in her camisole. So now, the once tossed-aside precautionary Fruit of the Loom training bras suddenly became vital to my very essence of being. I would use them to strap down my non-existent boobs, I thought defiantly. That’ll stop the puberty!

We love an Aeropostale hoodie!

But my male peers had different ideas for my progression into womanhood. (Ask any grown female or weathered fourth grader.) Chances are she had her “come to Jesus, aw shucks I’m a woman!” moment when a male figure verbally abused her in some way. I soon learned it didn’t matter if my boobs came in or not, I was unwillingly and ungracefully thrust into womanhood in fifth grade when a classmate told me he made a Sim character of me and “woohooed” me in his hot tub.

Hallelujah, I was now a woman. I twirled in a circle, angels sang, and size 34B bras and Kotex tampons rained down from the heavens. Though I now realized there was a clear divide in males and females that could not be ignored, my body had not yet betrayed me.

But it would soon in seventh grade.

Pride and Period Juice

I don’t recall getting my first period. Some women conjure up wonderful tales of “becoming women” after delicately ruining a pair of Limited Too underwear at thirteen, but as previously discussed, I had already identified myself as a grown-ass woman since fifth grade, so I’m left to speculate as to what occurred and when. I can’t help but reasonably infer I thought I’d sharted my pants for a week straight until my mom knowingly slipped Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret into my reading collection.

Regardless, I do specifically recall the struggle of wearing a pad when I was in middle school. Terrified and terribly confused as to where a tampon should be inserted, I nearly passed out on the bathroom floor attempting to shove an entire plastic applicator up my a**hole. Much abashed, I now knew my only choice to combat Aunt Flow was to wear a super absorbent pad for three to five business days per month.

This is all fine and dandy while wearing my finest pair of dark-wash, bootcut Kohl’s Glo jeans, but wearing a pad became more difficult with the prospect of wearing spandex for volleyball, a new sport I was unfortunately good at due to the fact I could slam dunk on all my friends’ dads by age thirteen. Carefully unwrapping an Always “Sport” pad from its unbearably loud wrapper, I’d strategically stick the base into one pair of spandex and layer another pair of spandex over the first to hide any odd looking bumps should my teammates check out my ass during practice. I now had myself a bulletproof diaper that crinkled with every step I took. At that moment, I proudly secured my fate as a braces-wearing virgin for the next twenty years.

Not only did re-learning how to effectively wear a diaper for the first time since being a toddler benefit me for volleyball, but I could now feel more safe while at school as well. Layering a pad under two pairs of spandex and jeans allowed me to gain some confidence back after dreading I’d unleash an unholy flood on anything I sat on during the school day. The only thing I feared now was another girl hearing me unwrap a pad while in the bathroom during passing time. (This was something I avoided by unwrapping the pad quickly while the hand dryer was on. I learned this technique from when I’d take dumps during intermittent dryer blasts so no one would hear questionable splashes or plops- a process that could take up to an hour).

Vogue.

With time, a mirror stolen from my mom’s bathroom drawer, and the prospect of being cyberbullied by my older friends, I eventually found out how to use a tampon. I’m not sure how I felt when I graduated from wearing diapers a pad at age two, but I think the second time I graduated from wearing a diaper a pad and no longer required a spandex-diaper was much more iconic. I know this because the entire experience is written out in code in my diary (which was cleverly cracked by my sister using the key on the following page).

Saving Face, Feeling Great

In 2006, icy eyeshadow and glossy lips were all the rage in beauty magazines like Cosmo, Seventeen, and Teen Vogue. I wouldn’t have known this though. I first picked up Seventeen a year later in August 2007 (covergirl was Hilary Duff), confused as to why there were pictures of a latex tube unraveling itself onto a banana with step-by-step instructions on page 34.

While many chic, beautiful women and closeted gays can delightfully recall enchanting moments of their first encounters with makeup, I can’t relate. I never snuck into my mom’s makeup drawer to steal her Chanel Rouge lipstick or apply a quick spritz of an eau de parfum of any kind. I am not one of these fabulous gawdesses.

From what I can remember, my sister and I used to raid my mother’s makeup drawer for one item: blush. Instead of turning ourselves into sun-kissed kweens as advised by Revlon, we thought it hilarious to apply blush heavily all over our faces to feign a bad case of sun poisoning. I can only infer now this has to be the cause of why I continue to suffer from acne- it is simply because I applied blush so heavy handed in seventh grade that the pigment is still trying to free itself from my clogged pores.

Beyond applying blush, my first encounter with makeup was Maybelline’s “Silver Lining” eyeshadow. Pressed into a pan with small applicator, I skillfully smeared metallic pigment all across my sweaty lids. No mascara. No brows either- as far as teenage America was concerned, eyebrows simply did not exist until Anastasia Beverly Hills made us aware they were solely on our faces to draw in, dye, comb, pluck, fluff, gel, stencil, and spend $500 on per month.

As my hormones raged on into eighth grade, beauty magazines encouraged me to beat my face into quite the flawless, handsome-looking pancake. In addition to metallic eyeshadow, I now added foundation to my skin routine. Zits? Gross. No one could even know I had visible pores. I packed on five layers of foundation and concealer so I’d look like Ashley Tisdale in TigerBeat magazine.

Peep the blue metallic lipstick.

Because I did not have the porcelain skin of a china doll, I was at constant war with my face. At night I played a continuous, sweaty game of whack-a-mole in the mirror. With the calm determination of a deranged plastic surgeon on edibles, I tweezed, poked, prodded, and pushed my acne further into my pores. Any time one zit would subside, another rose up in its place. I would pick my face into submission or tweeze trying.

“It was from hitting myself in the face with a shovel”, I’d yell loudly to random passersby in the halls, making a gesture to the gouge I’d made in my forehead from trying to rid myself of a blackhead.

Turns out it’s increasingly hard to convince your peers you’ve been repeatedly hit in the face with a shovel, especially in the warm, summer months. So onward I continued, beating foundation into my skin even harder, making Aunt Jemima proud of her little pancake faced-child.

To Be Continued…

Boys, School Dances, Homosexuals, Social Media in 2007, and Cross-Dressing

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Proud to Be Weird as All Get Out and A Photo Album of My Most Embarrassing Moments <3

Far right, that's me. The picture is too grainy to tell, but I'm giving my dad (who was taking the picture) a thumbs up. I don't recall him giving me the thumbs up back.

Far right, that’s me. The picture is too grainy to tell, but I’m giving my dad (who was taking the picture) a thumbs up. I don’t recall him giving me the thumbs up back.

If you’ve known me from anywhere between 2 minutes to twenty-three years, you certainly know this one thing about me:

I thought I was a cat in 5th grade.

Or so that’s how the story goes, my friends. Truth is I was of course completely aware I was a human being. I was just unaware of this, if anything, during morning, lunch, and afternoon recesses. I was also completely unaware of how terribly uncool this was.

I, (Blackstar), was just tryna swag out and be the leader of my clan (Thunderclan) and catch some prey (sparrows, mice, other small things found in rural midwestern towns) while protecting myself from my enemy (Shadowclan).

Try explaining your way out of that one while phone interviewing for your first big girl job.

“…So basically I have great survival skills and can make a fort out of leaves, vine, and sticks to protect myself from invaders. I think I’m highly qualified to sell forty-five year old women clothes…I’m well rounded?”

Weirdly, I ended up getting the job. I can now proudly say that I am able to protect my fellow associates at White House | Black Market from prey shortages and enemy clans. They’ll be thankful to have me when that time comes- and I didn’t even tell them that I have a level 120 Nidoking and level 114 Charizard on my Gameboy Color game Pokemon Blue Version too! Check that swag, my neighbors.

My obsession with anything feline began way back before my parents could do anything to help.

My obsession with anything feline began way back before my parents could do anything to help. It was too late by 2003… Crisis very not averted.

So, the point of this post? (Other than the fact that I blatantly overuse the word “so”.)

I could not be more happy with how extremely weird I was (and still am) while growing up.

When I was a kid, I always lived my life like I was the focal point of a Meg Cabot novel. I envisioned myself like Mia from The Princess Diaries or Judy from those Judy Moody books. Being completely conventionally weird, I kept a diary from 7th grade all the way up to 10th grade. I wrote almost every single day from 7th-8th grade and included the exact time I was beginning to write (9:36pm), the mood I was in (OBBBsessing over ❤ Mason ❤ ), and entries frequently interrupted by, “OMG G2G MOM IS COMING UP THE STAIRS” or “oh gosh I have to poop so bad…okay I’m back it only took me fifteen minutes”. Stuff like that. You know, what every 7th grader writes in their diary about.

I loved to read, and reading made me especially imaginative at a young age.

In high school, I retained my image of weirdness. The deadly combination of being the only freshman on my varsity volleyball team, having awkwardly long, pale arms and legs, and a knack for Youtubing the dance moves to Soulja Boy vids did nothing to make me more cool. In class I kept my “weirdness” under wrap. I specifically remember one of the most popular girls in school asking me (she only asked because I was sitting right next to her in government class) a question and I completely blanked out and couldn’t believe she was talking to me. I don’t think I ever answered her question. She’s probably still desperately waiting to find out the answer to question 14c.

Sup.

Sup.

Crazy stuff. I would say I didn’t care about fitting in, but the fact that I freaked out there makes me rethink ever affirming the “I don’t care” line.

The amount of time I also remember spending perusing the online sale and clearance on Abercrombie, Hollister, and American Eagle is bat sh*t crazy. The evening after I received my birthday money for my 15th birthday I purchased a pair of Hollister jeans that I considered “cool enough” but ended up being ill fitting and entirely uncomfortable. I would unbutton them while sitting in class because they were too tight to keep buttoned. There were times I was able to get full priced items from these stores of course (more often than not) and I would always jump at the opportunity for my shirt to visibly sport the little moose, seagull, or eagle logos I had grown to love. The more obnoxiously present it was, the better. I think many of you girls can relate- how many times did you throw on a tight button down in navy, pink, grey, or cream with a lace cami underneath with a pair of jeans and some Ugg moccasins or boots? It was the height of cool back in ’09. Or at least in my mind- it’s what the popular kids would wear.

And of course here’s a little disclaimer for those of you who knew me in high school- I was never the kid who was bullied mercilessly by her classmates. I was extremely average and had a decent high school experience. I don’t want to make it seem like I struggled hardcore every day, because I didn’t. I had other struggles of course, but I wasn’t like those Napolean Dynamite kids or Carries who lost their shit at an #$% backwards school. I was the kind of kid who knew several of the older girls at school because I participated in one varsity sport, but yet the kid who carved her initials in her violin in orchestra, and spent hours painting in studio art classes. I also had my friend group change around my junior year of high school. The typical high school stuff. I was never part of the “drinking crowd” and had myself convinced that I would never drink alcohol in college because “Mountain Dew got me so hype and I couldn’t imagine something better”.

…I’ll just leave that there for ya.

Very cool, very swag, the height of coolness.

Very cool, very swag, the height of coolness.

So basically, I was just a weird kid with friends who actually had social skills and put up with my lack thereof. And I’d still say the same thing to this day.

As many of you probably know (where my Instagram fam at?!) I spent a majority of my junior year in college trying to beat Spyro: Year of the Dragonfly, Gallop Horse Racer, and ATV Off-Road Fury 1, 2, 3, and 4. In my off time I would make Instagram videos of myself mini golfing and heating up potatoes in the microwave.

You know, the stuff a 20-something year old does (see what I did there? That crap is called a “call back”!!! I think.)

But truth is, in everything I’ve learned from high school to college, turns out that being okay with being myself works for me. Like I said in a previous post, when I’m comfortable with me, others tend to be comfortable with me as well. In some ways I find it somewhat unfortunate that I’ve figured out how to do my hair and makeup and dress myself, because on the outside (and in any tagged pictures you’ll see of me on Facebook) I appear to be someone a lot less weird than I actually am. And I’m proud of being weird and having a couple diaries and numerous sketchbooks filled with crude drawings of my old cats (S/O to Clarese and Sashi ❤ ❤ ❤ ).

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Alright. Even though I’ve clearly had a time and a half talking about myself here, I want you to be able to apply this to your life. Because why the heck else would you want to read about Kristin Hovie being a cat? You wouldn’t. Unless you have found my highly elusive cat diary, which I am still searching for after five years and are about to text me, letting me know you stole it.

So if you have a weird side, freakin’ embrace it. It’s what makes you, you. If you’ve already graduated high school or college and have already reached this conclusion on your own, great. I think it’s highly important. If you haven’t, tap into it. Why not? There are too many people that try to fit in (oh god, this sounds like one of those motivational posters with a picture of the world surrounded by black space) so switch it up. I wish I wouldn’t have spent all those years wearing those Hollister jeans- because I would have saved myself a lotttttt of indigestion and farting.

Be proud of being completely and utterly weird if you are blessed enough to have been dropped as a child. I’ve gotta say that through everything I’ve gone through in my life, being insane has kept me sane.

And once again, this is where I’ll leave you.

Stay weird, my fellow weirdos.

No one bought the camper I was modeling for sale. Might've been the braces...

No one bought the camper I was modeling for sale. Might’ve been the braces…