#TBT: Vanity Strikes: I Buy My First Lipstick

January 3, 1987


The bright pink lipstick looked way better on my mom.

Today, mom and me went to the mall. We both got the same lipstick at the Clinique counter! “Mauve Crystal” or something. It’s so neat! But I hated to put it on my cruddy face. Yeah, it looks nice from afar, but it was peeling and dry, YUCK! Why can’t I have nice smooth brown skin, like other girls? I have to use moisturizer, special soap, go to the dermatologist. We ran out of vitamins a while ago and the corners of my mouth are sore and peeling. UGH!

Boy, I really do make a big deal about all that vanity crap when I should be helping the world, helping a little old woman across the street. I sure am a jerk, aren’t I? I also think too much. Good night!


October 2, 2014

For the record, this wasn’t a great color for me. That cool silvery pink looked much better on my fair-skinned, blue-eyed mother. And anyway, it didn’t matter what I put on my face—it was always my face that was the problem. Anything else I added was a hopeful improvement. (Where I had this idea that all “other girls” had smooth brown skin is a mystery.)

But how important it was to have my very own lipstick! I remember the surprising weight of the cool, metal case, the waxy, unscented lipsticky smell as I drew it across my mouth. I was hooked. I couldn’t wait til I had grown into my adult face, and out of this rash of uneven pre-teen skin, so that I could be worthy of it.

Sadly, Clinique discontinued Mauve Crystal years ago. It was the only lipstick my mother ever wore then, and the only cosmetic, aside from a bloom of rose blush on each cheek.

On the drive from the Livingston mall that afternoon, I held the case in my hand until it got warm. From where I sat in the backseat of the blue Toyota minivan, I could see my shiny, pink mouth in the rearview mirror, smiling the whole way home.

#TBT: “I’ll Never Have a Boyfriend!” (April 1987)

I wish I could tell the 12-year-old me in this picture not to worry so much. That once she gets her braces off and figures out what to do with her hair, things will come together.

What follows is unedited, unfiltered self-loathing. 

April 22, 1987

I need to tell whoever is reading this, why does Kim have a boyfriend, and no one will even look at me? What the hell is wrong with me? Am I a spaz? I don’t agree that I’m beautiful, but that bad that no one likes me?

I used to think being 13 would be fun. It’s okay, but most of it is just WAITING–till someone will accept you, till you can drive, till you can be as good as everyone else.

In 5th grade, I liked Bryon Cunningham. Now, the 6th grade boys and 5th grade girls are getting together. The 6th graders back then hated us. I missed out. Here I am, 8th grader without a boyfriend, even anyone who would think I’m pretty. How I wish I looked better.

My sister will always have men at her door, breaking it down. My door will be untouched–I’ll have to put up big signs saying “I’m alive!”

How I wish I was a different type of girl. A cute, lovable girl, not a worry-wart, ugly girl with glasses that only mothers can love. I wish so hard I wear myself out!