It was the first Christmas since my parents were divorced and my brother, mom, and I spent it in Hawaii. Why Hawaii? Because it was as far away from my dad and his girlfriend as my mom could get. At least that’s what I think.
So here I am, 12 about to turn 13, in 7th grade and everything was THE most important thing. You could not convince me otherwise. My hair was still yellow, I still had braces, my t-zone (you know whole forehead and nose) was home to a colony of acne, and I was squeezing those love handles (I now knew the name for them) into jeans too small for me. I was hot. How could the beach boys NOT want me? This was going to be a great trip. I would meet a boy and have a whirlwind Hawaiian Christmas romance. Maybe I was a little boy crazy, but that was an issue for another time.
We spent afternoons on the beach where I was would flaunt my bikini, swim in the ocean, and read books in the sand. My signature “get the boy move?” Swim out into the water, flip my wet hair over my head mermaid style.
Where was the flock of boys?
They were probably not coming to what I assume looked much closer to:
but wet, yellow, and coming from a girl with braces. So I can’t blame them for not flocking to me.
What could I do to get the attention of the boys? Braids. This was a two fold plan. 1) It was new and interesting and made me look exotic while letting everyone know I was on vacation. 2) When I went home everyone would know I was on vacation.
Now here is the worst part of my plan. While you can see and envision my braces, what you are missing is the metal spring I had on the right side of my mouth that was helping my overbite. I was the whole package. Well, the spring was busted and kept tearing up my cheek, so what should I do? Remove it. I sat in our hotel room while my mom and brother were out enjoying Hawaii and I yanked on the spring and pop off came a brace, then another, then another. Soon, I was brace-less, braided, in a lot of pain, and ready to hit the town.
The only problem was hitting the town meant hanging out with my younger brother who was worried that Santa wouldn’t find us, and my mom who was trying WAY too hard to pretend that this was normal.
No matter how many pearls my mom bought or how sunburned my brother ended the day, I couldn’t shake the need for a boy to notice me. None did (remember the image of a 13 year old Tori here, it’s ok I’ve moved on) but this is when I really began to notice that the value I put on myself was based on two things. Boys and the stories I could tell at school that would hopefully attract boys or be about boys. Ok, so really my value was all one thing – boys. While I blame a large part of that on being a 13 year old with 13 year old hormones, it wasn’t a pattern that was about to end any time soon.
So, Mele Kalikimaka to me. I promised myself that next time I was in Hawaii, I would enjoy it rather than pull my braces off, get my hair tangled, and look at every male that walked by as a potential romantic interest.