A letter to my younger self: YOU CAN’T GO OUT IN THAT

In the case that a very limited and possibly technologically underwhelming time machine were gifted unto me, I would use it to FARSHUN POLICE myself. For real, it would be way better if I could go back a good seventy and have tea with Frida Kahlo in the Blue House, or sit in on some Luther-King speeches, but we’ll take what we can figuratively get, okay? Right. Nice one.

ITEM ONE: The Blue Tights

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God rest ye merry gentlemen, no. I should not have worn these. And yet I still own them? Perhaps as a reminder that no matter what Assignment Minder has in store, life cannot possible steep any, flippin’, lower. These blue tights were of the dusky-blue persuasion. Not a bright blue, not an opaque stocking type of blue, but the shade that looks a bit like gangrene, and a bit like I’d dipped my legs in a sad bubblegum soup. I wore them to Shalom Day, our high school’s birthday. And I wore them because I’d organised my ‘band’ (we formed for Shalom Day), to play a Franz Ferdinand cover at lunch (free cordial and cake, yes you may enter). We played, and it was good*, and then after, a ~cool gurl~ from my brother’s year told me she liked my tights. I thought “chyeah” was a pretty hip reply.

The compliment gave me a wee spring in my wee step. I felt that intravenous hug you get when you know you look FLY and it’s because you’re a STYLE GODDESS. I think I did a little strut to my homeroom’s bag rack and introduced a little bit of a moody saunter en route the bus stop. I’ll have you know it was all very nonchalant, like in the movies even. But all this sauntering and strutting and feeling like a Thread Lord had come at a price. It had nipped and tucked my skirt into the back of my bag. It had, unbeknownst to me, revealed my BOTTOM unto the WORLD. It had SHOWCASED the (DUSK) BLUE TIGHTS IN ALL THEIR STUPENDOUS LENGTH and in ALL THEIR GANGRENE GLORY. It, I now realise, was the reason the high school’s dreamboat boi had ACTUALLY, REALLY SMILED at me. It had pressed upon my psyche that blue tights are out to shame thee, are out to get thee. It had been the moment that Future Anna should’ve/could’ve/ oh my GOD would’ve stepped in and said HAHAHA RUN!

…Maybe at this point in the anecdote you thought I’d say something poignant to my wee self, something that rings true for our generation, promotes a blessed legacy of sorts, but I only have like three minutes to revisit this piece of my history because of this piece of junk time machine I’m using to illustrate this story, so, I have to be linguistically efficient, okay? Yeah, so I’d tell myself to run and not look back and remember this day as just free cake and free cordial and a free life FARSHUN LESSON.

*This word is used interchangeably with a sound guy’s nightmare.

ITEM TWO: Knee-Length Board Shorts and Layered Hair

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Aw, heck, Big W so played me. They got me good. They had year five me (yes we’ve gone back a bit further, not ahead, maybe I should’ve started here, maybe it’s okay to keep going, maybe I’ll just shut u-) wandering the Under 10s section thinking, “yes. YES! Orange boardies with FLAMES and a HUGE blue t-shirt is a GREAT LOOK. I’ll look good. I’ll look SO NICE”. And I mean, it was comfortable. Like the way cotton and nylon are comfortable and allow for the dumb, ill-thought out movements of a ten year old. It was pretty baggy. And I liked that. I liked hiding a bit inside them and not having to worry if my tum looked big. I was kind of the pork dumpling in our grade of girls, for most of school. Most were twig thin, while I didn’t really climb trees because what if the wind blows and my tum shows, or my chubber arms can’t HEFT me up. That all sounds a bit sad and confession-y, and I suppose it is, but then consider that I was also mega scared of heights and it worked out for the best, really.

I had layered hair at the time too. I liked to plait it so it looked WHISPY and maybe even, how you say, EDGY. But I probably looked like a cute sheep at a KISS concert; a bit ruffled, with the applicable but questionable follicle frenzy on my head, and a bit in need of supervision from a parent or parental guardian.

SO HERE I AM, ME, FUTURE ANNA. TA-HECKIN’-DAH.

And I would say one thing to little bb nugget me. One thing, in that mosh pit of tum insecurity and hairdo obscurity, and that is… DON’T DRESS TO HIDE. Because really, I must have stuck out, well and truly. While other mini chiquitas worked Piping Hot sundresses and Paul Frank denims, I camped my body in a Big W tent of FLAMES and TUM DELUSION. Luckily though, I can see clearly now, the Hawaiian print is gone*. In fact, maybe now I’ll even wear it ~ ironically ~.

*forbidden

Words and collage images by Anna

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