Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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MY, What Big Teeth You Have And Other Tragedies

Y'all ready for this? It's worse than war photos of injured Iraqi children. Truly. Since arriving at Mom's house I've been confronted with unfortunate photographs from my past. Last night I was knee deep in remnants from back in the day. Some photos should be put away forever.. Or posted on the internet for all and sundry to mock. Photos such as this:

The awkward years and THE worst photo of me ever taken. How did Mom let me outta the house with that do? It must have been an unfortunate incident of self-scissoring is all I can come up with. But please don't mock the dress. It's a particularly beautiful example of Polygamist Mormon wear.
QUESTION: What would ever possess me to post such an atrocity?
ANSWER: I get emails accusing me of narcissism and such. Perhaps this will go far in explaining my penchant for taking photos of myself and photo-shopping away the zits that ravage my chin on a semi-permanent basis. If you once looked like this, you would embrace photo-shopping in much the same way. Moving on...

This is me in my ninth year of life.

The hair is a bit better but can you hear the ear splitting scream of those teeth crying out for a pair of braces? I certainly can.

Fifth grade

Hmmm.. Again, the hair has come some way from the partial mullet but those teeth have all but given up hope on ever meeting a pair of braces. Let us now venture to what I can easily say is the second worst photo of me ever taken. Was I trying to distract from my teeth with the frantic explosion that is my hair? When your hair doesn't fit in the picture frame on either the sides or the top, you know you've done something wrong:

Sixth grade

Sweet Jesus! The hair is a shellacked mass of wrong. If those bangs don't claw your eyes out, the blue eye shadow will render you blind. Isn't this fun? Let us skip forward a few more years:

Ninth grade

FINALLY! Someone got wise and wired some metal to those gigantic buckers that are also known as teeth.. In case you were wondering, that giant expanse of shiny skin dominating the photo is known as a fivehead. As opposed to a forehead. Shit, I think we can safely call that enormous skin canvas a six or sevenhead. But I AM wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt and really, that was all that was important. Well, Ralph Lauren and the fact that I was, like, a CHEERLEADER! That made me SO much better than you!

The pep! The passion! It's amazing to behold, isn't it? I know it's hard to tear your eyes away from such cheerleading spunk, but we've got high school dance photos to marvel over! Like this one:

The braces are finally off! But is that a retainer, folks? It certainly is! Forget that though. Feast your eyes on that beautiful mass of permed hair. Jesus says girls aren't pretty unless they've long hair, you know? And look at those matching outfits. Just ADORABLE!

Rockin' the big sleeves and the floral print in the archetypal Mormon ensemble. Jesus would be so proud! That sassy ponytail is so becoming.. I particularly like those two chunks that hang sexily in the face. LOVE IT!


Big Homecoming Hair. That is all.

The hair swept to one side? I'll have you know that was a trademarked "sexy look" in my high school years.

Junior Prom

Someone needed an intervention with The Fake Bakers Anonymous crew.

We are the coolest! All dressed alike in our GAP overalls. We are, like, the most popular, coolest girls, like, EVER! Everyone wants to be just like us!

Graduation 1995 - Evidence I am scholarly and such

See? At one point I was a productive citizen. I know, I know.. What happened??

The Bad Family and their promiscuous dog Spliffy

College - 1996

Rockin' the platinum scene in college. I look like Gwen Stefani, right? I am totally walking in the spiderweb, RIGHT? Platinum? Not so much. How about brunette:


Okay, maybe brunette wasn't working either. Now I'm raging against the Mormon maching and cutting off all my hair. Because, like, I'm totally going to be a news anchor. Do I look official? Do I look cute and sassy like Meg Ryan? No? What did you say? My head looks like a giant pumpkinhead? Girls with hair thicker than donkey hair should probably not cut it off, you say? It tends to stick out. A lot. Yeah, you're right. I should probably grow it out. After all, Jesus does like long hair:

The awkward growing out my hair in-between phase:

Longer and blonder and looking a bit more like the heathen that I am:

But I'm tired of lookin' at myself and I'm sure you are as well. More stories from the great Beehive state to come.

Reader Comments (19)

I feel stalkerish being the first to comment. Is that weird? I've never been the first before...

Anyway, I'm sure you don't care but I have to get my two cents in here. I think you look great with brown hair and also with shorter hair, even though obviously you don't think so. Oh yeah, and also with wavy hair.

Hope your trip has been pleasant.
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterm
sixth grade you, just make me crack up loud :))) omg! I've got so funny photos of me in my album as well...okey, now your post make me have a look at my album and have a good laugh of me:)
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterana
Don't feel so bad. My bangs were bigger than my entire head back in the day. And my awkward years? I don't even show those photos to my husband. It's so funny to see these pics of you!
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
ah ... but you did not have the triangle hair! i had my hair cut at shoulder length and permed ... christmas tree head!! oh ... and add sun-in to that ... orange christmas tree head! sex-ay! ;)
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermichelle
I will find my grade 9 yearbook photo, which is EXACTLY like yours. Long, straight blonde hair, braces, polo shirt (mine might have been a button down rather than a t-shirt). I even had that little bit of volume at the front there. Then there are the junior high years which have receded into a cloud of Aqua Net. I used to sculpt my bangs into something resembling a giant claw. At my softball games it was common to see girls pulling off their batting helmets only to have massive fountains of hairsprayed bangs poof right back up again. Frosted green eyeliner was one of my best friends in those days.
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPurr Meow
This was like looking at my own pictures. How is it possible that young girls in Utah learned to style their hair in EXACTLY the same way as young girls in Illinois? Was Tiffany or Debbie Gibson the common denominator?

PS. I can relate to the overalls (why was that cool again?), but are those RED LEATHER PANTS??? OMG. Like, awesome.
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteramanda b
Isn't it funny how you look at your parents pictures and think how stupid they look, then proceed to think that you will NEVER feel that way about yours. I did this not too long ago. Who ever told me that big ass bows and side ponytails were cool? Seriously.
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHales
All I can say is FOXY!!! I HAVE GOT to find my fourth grade photo .. puts your first one to SHHHHHAME!!!!! What was the deal with our mother's doing such obscene things with our prepubescent hair?? Anyhow . .I'm glad we all look so much better now.
Thanks, that was fun ..
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwendy
You've just become my inspiration to show off a picture of myself circa 1988. The only excuse I have is that I was only five and so my mother was still dressing me. It's heinous.

You my dear, have some great pictures though. It's strange how we're always our own worst critics.
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.
If anything, you showed us that you've always been really pretty. :) Take it easy.
November 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHen
You looked so cute! Especially in your 9th grade yearbook photo. I’m surprised to see we had similar tastes in polo’s circa 1992. I probably still have that same long-sleeved polo shirt somewhere at my parent’s house. I wore the white-t under it just like that.

You were given allot in the looks department. It got better as you got older. You looked very career minded and sexy with your short hair growing out smiling straight into the camera with confidence photo. That photo says “I'm a news reporter" or I will be one in the near future... I wonder where you were when that photo was taken. You actually look like someone I would be incredibly attracted too. How frightening.

You were probably only a few years away from actually becoming a news reporter. You could have gone back to college at least part time for your broadcast journalism degree then earned a couple certifications etc. Who knows maybe you would have eventually been transferred to the big apple by another company. I wonder what your life would have been like…

…and you chose to go astray instead. Now you’re all corrupted. Look at where you’re at now. It’s not too late though... you can still do anything if you put your mind to it.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
haha! i had a huntch, but i know secure know! Michael is always mean to Mon ;) but he said a nice thing also once in the while. It made me confused in the start . Not no more!! Michael teasiing in the hate and LOVE categore; You shall not fool hamad no more!


like the yankee say: michael and monica sitting ind a tree, K I S S I N. LOL
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHamad the detectif
What is it with the fake tanning? My friends and I were all a lovely shade of orange in the early nineties. Some of them still are. It is so Paris Hilton hideous. How did we ever think we looked good? Great photos! Everybody goes through the ugly giant teeth phase. At least you got braces. :)
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
I love your short hair! I am sorry, but short hair makes people look younger!!!! LOVE IT! Love you with darker hair as well!
Why are we defined by our hair? You gotta admit, the number one thing we all noticed was the hair!
You look great and are growing old gracefully!
How is Utah doing?
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Great fun Monica. Thanks for sharing. And who are these Michael and Hamad characters. They are freaking me out! lol
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCassie
Your pictures made me laaaaaauuuuuuuugh! By the way, I was laughing WITH you, not at you because your commentary was utterly hilarious.

Isn't it fun to look back and... shudder!? I hope things are going well in Utah.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaren D.
Sweet hair!
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
Long time reader, first time to comment...OMG! I think (no, I know) that I have the same photos in my albums. Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it.
November 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCrystal

Seeing you wear overalls just makes me want to burst with pride!

October 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Williams

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