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A Girl and Her Dog

September 12, 2019


This is the time of year when kids get school photos, when no matter how much time you spend getting them picture-perfect, by the time the photographer gets their 5-seconds with them, they look as if they’ve survived a natural disaster…barely.


A few of those photos of me happened when I was in grade school. But when I sifted through my scrapbooks, I couldn’t find them. Which means I did the right thing and threw them out during one of my many “keep only what makes you smile” purges that were ten/fifteen years pre-Kon Mari. Man, I should have marketed my system.


Instead, I came across this one, which makes sense, because it has a dog in it, and dogs always make me smile. But something else about the photo strikes me…that look of defiance I have. What was five-year-old me thinking when this picture was snapped? I mean, I was in my happy place because I had my puppy next to me…and yes, he was a puppy, only six-eight months old then.


We were in our new house, well, rebuilt house, which meant I’d had my pick of bedroom furniture and I got my twin-sized canopy bed. Yeah, I kinda milked the “but we survived a tornado” logic line back then. Who wouldn’t? I mean, a canopy bed!


My worn shoes and mussed hair show I played a lot…even in a dress because that was the year when I refused to wear anything else but a dress. This was a happy time in my life, so where did that look come from?


Maybe it was one of those in-between moments…the instant in the middle of reality and pose when sometimes real character shines through. To me, this picture is the person I’d become: confident, smart, not-gonna-take-your-shit yet able to laugh. Yes, there’s a hint of a smile happening in that picture. How interesting that this snapshot caught me truly as myself well before I knew what that was…well before I launched on the journey to discover it.


I guess growing up is merely finding the person that the camera reveals.

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