March 12, 2011


Jack, age 12
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma (1987)

This photo is more about my mom than about me. As you can see, I was an aspiring decorator in my mother's classroom at age 12. I loved any holiday, and we had decorations for all of them, but Christmas took the cake.

As a teacher's kid, hanging out at the school after hours, but before everyone went home, was a magic time.

Only other teachers' kids would truly understand the power of feeling like you OWNED the building.

I have such a clear memory of the day this picture was taken.

I BEGGED my mom to let me decorate her room for the holiday, and of course, she let me. Why I chose to wrap myself up in all this  tinsel like the love child of Lady Gaga and Jayne Mansfield, I don't know.

I remember performing a little dance around the room to some bad 80's music, for all of the other teachers' kids. Getting other people to laugh was a constant coping mechanism for me, and I remember consciously thinking to myself:
"They can't hit you if they're laughing - even if it's AT you."

My mom came in the room to witness the scene, thought it was hilarious as always, grabbed her camera, and took a picture. She always pushed me to try new things, but never deterred me from being myself, which may have included a (very, very short) stint as a local fashion model at age 13.

Now as a happy gay man in my early 30's I can't tell you how lucky I was to have a mom that just loved me, for all I brought to the table. Even in Oklahoma.

As much as middle or high school can totally suck, the message I can leave with those reading this small snippet of my life is:

Love yourself in the now, and for all that you bring to the table.

A testament to that is I can now OWN this picture, and love me for who I have always been. Though I am a bit ashamed of the ugly cable knit sweater...


Bottled Tite said...

What an awesome picture! Stay fabulous! ;-)

katielea said...

I'm a teacher's kid, too! I totally understand that feeling of the school being YOUR school!

Rory Wright said...

Don't worry every one had a cable knit sweater from grandma or mom at the time. ; ) LOL