Friday, May 22, 2009

Busting Out...

When I was 13, my family moved from Santa Monica
to a new home in the San Fernando Valley.
I still wanted to attend Saint Monica's High School with my friends.
Every morning I commuted with my dad to Santa Monica.
Dad dropped me off at Gran's at 6:00 a.m., where I caught a bus for school.
Gran would be up, waiting for me.
Occasionally, she bestowed little 'pearls' of advice to me:
“Nancy, don't ever dress like a tramp...”

Dress like a tramp?
How could I?
Roll up my green plaid uniform skirt until my knees were showing?
Every morning we were made to kneel before school began—to make sure our skirts were touching the floor.
Wear makeup?
The nuns made sure all of the girls looked like wallpaper paste.
Makeup was forbidden, though I knew some girls cleverly disguised the fact.

After 2 years, I transferred to a public school in the Valley
for my junior and senior years.
I'd had enough of 5:30 risings.
Gran was really worried then.
I'm sure she thought I was going to hell in a hand basket...

I cut up my uniform with intense joy!
The baggy, white gym shorts were shredded.
Mom bought me a few dresses, blouses and skirts.
I replaced my suede buck shoes with pumps.
I lingered in the cosmetics department of our
drugstore, buying my first tube of lipstick, mascara,
and blush.
I felt emancipated.
I'd peeled back the veneer of years of stringent policies,
revealing my authentic self.

My personality bloomed, all in a good way.
It felt great.

Grandma worried over nothing.
Just look at me now...

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