Like everyone else on this planet, I have a unique and personal back story. I have gone through trials, and I have had glorious moments. I have felt the sting of failure as well as the jubilation of success. Recording the history of a life is no simple task, no matter how long or short the life has been. It’s an emotional process that takes time and delicate care, so that when the stories have all been recorded, the reader will get a concise, honest portrait of one’s soul.
Or, it can be fast and hurried. Like this:
Before me, there were Becky and Paul:
My father makes some variation of that, “wha…we’re taking a picture???” face in every photo ever.
It was the late 80’s. Right around the time that conservatives were mourning the fact that they couldn’t have Reagan around for a third term, my parents decided that they wanted a baby. They were no longer content with living an awesome “young 80’s couple” life, complete with big hair and outrageously designed shirts. No, my parents decided that it was time to bring Niendorff number 3 into the world. This yellow monkey creature was the result:
You know, my jaundice might not have been so glaringly noticeable if my parents had dressed me in ANY OTHER COLOR EXCEPT YELLOW.
It’s cool though, I got cute eventually.
No, not yet.
Ok, I was Cute-ish
For a couple of years I persisted in being adorable in various holiday outfits
A halloween before I knew how scary clowns actually are
Things were pretty sweet for me starting out. Not only was I an only child almost 4 years, but I was also an only grandchild for one side of the family. Tara was the princess.
Then, right around the time that conservatives started mourning the fact that not only was Reagan no longer president, but they were actually going to have a democrat in the White house, my parents decided they were not content with only one yellow-monkey child. It was time to have another jaundice-ridden baby to dress in yellow. Instead, this perfect Aryan boy was born.
Then HE was the princess.
And then we were a complete family. Notice how my mom and my brother are making normal faces and my dad and I are not at all. This is a trend that stayed consistent for all of our family photos.
Since my brother Travis was obviously going to be the beautiful Gerber baby of the family:
Seriously, every photo we have of him at this stage of life is like an unintentional baby gap photo shoot.
I made the decision to stop being an adorable toddler, and transitioned into a childhood where I looked like the token chubby nerd friend in a Disney coming of age movie.
If my life was a Disney movie, my best friend would find an alien in her back yard and I would be the nerdy friend who brought over my insects, and calculators, and books to solve the problem.
Early on I was different from the other kids. Around the age of 6 it became clear that I was going to be bigger than everyone else. I wasn’t just going to be their nerdy chubby friend, I was going to be their GIANT nerdy chubby friend.
Who let the teacher on stage with the kids?
Childhood progressed pretty normally for me, unusual largeness aside. I participated in all rites of passage, I played terribly at team sports,
Just kidding, this isn’t a team sport. Being sweaty on the playground was as close as I ever got to athleticism.
I went to birthday parties,
There were matches on the table, and I was trying to make a joke that I had just burned myself as this picture was taken. Instead, I look like a mentally unstable person invading this innocent child’s birthday party.
I was adorable in dozens more Halloween costumes:
At one family gathering I even staged a mock wedding between my 6 year old brother and cousin, just for the purpose of being adorable. Here they are, looking like two perfect children from a Norman Rockwell painting, while I look…yeah.
One of these things is not like the other.
I guess I got jealous of everyone else looking fabulous, because for a while after that I stopped making crazy faces for photos and started going for a “demure young beauty” look instead.
It’s almost…artistic how wild my hair is in this photo.
The “demure beauty” aspect of this photo is somewhat lost because the perspective makes it look like that is MY hairy knee in the bottom left…which it isn’t. It isn’t!
Then I entered adolescence, and the big change to my life then was that I decided to grow my bangs out.
I have been searching for a way to include this picture in the blog for a LONG time. I don’t even know how this was possible. There has to be magic at work for a Child’s hair to look THAT bad.
And that, is the short version of my childhood. As I got older, my hair got less wild, but I continued to grow larger and larger. From age 10 to age 14 I grew approximately 11 inches. I also gained A LOT of weight. It was because of that weight gain that I eventually had weight loss surgery. That’s the other half of this story that I plan to tell another day. Until then you’ll just have to know that miraculous and special things happened to turn me into the smart, sexy, independent woman I am today!
Sigh. Ok, Sexy-ish.