WFMAD 2: Yearbook Picture

Senior PictureYes, that’s me. Or at least it’s the girl I was a very, very long time ago. I’ve only brought her out of the photo file because of Laurie Halse Anderson’s writing prompt for today:

Find a yearbook pic or school photo . . . . Choose a photo that evokes an emotional response – that gut feeling – even if you aren’t quite sure what that feeling is at first. Don’t think, just write the words that stream through your mind as you look at the photo. Write for fifteen minutes and have fun!

I figured it wasn’t fair to just write about that girl and not share her yearbook photo. When I pulled it out for this writing prompt, my first thought was that poor, naive girl. She really had no idea how messy life would become in the decades that followed.

Senior portraits were taken in a hotel, near the interstate. We were all given appointments. Girls were told to wear dark shirts, and boys were told to wear a white shirt and tie. Girls spent their entire spring and summer trying to make sure that these pictures came out perfectly. Even on that day, the poor, naive girl was missing information on what “everyone” was doing in their photos. She just never had the social skills to be connected enough.

All in all, I guess her porttrait came out okay. If you didn’t know the year that she graduated from high school, there’s not really anything in particular in that photo that would give it away. The hair is rather plain. No trendy haircut, jewelry, or clothing. All rather basic and simple.

I wish I could talk to her. I wish I could tell her of the mistakes she would make in the years that would follow that portrait session. If only I could help her know to take this path–and not that one–at a few crucial crossroads, she might be better off today.

There are moments today though, that I wish she could talk to me. That girl, that silly and naive girl, was rather optimistic. She blundered through school and work, but because of luck or perseverance, everything seemed to work out in her favor. She had faith in the world. She believed things would work out. Maybe it was just luck. But maybe it was that she believed in herself and was optimistic about whatever crossed her path. I wish I could still hear her voice. I wish I were still that naively optimistic and brave.

WFMAD stands for “Writing for Fifteen Minutes a Day.” Author Laurie Halse Anderson has declared August as the 2009 Write Fifteen Minutes A Day Challenge Month. Each day she posts some writing advice, some inspiration, and a prompt to get the writing flowing. For more information, see her blog.