Blogger’s note: It was still Tuesday when I started writing this but time happened. And beer.
When Fantasia and Lucinda came to my hometown for the grand opening of my brother’s new bar, we had a bit of down time during the day at the hotel. We were sitting on the beds, just catching up and laughing, always laughing. Lucinda, who not only knows about my worst closeted skeletons but also participated in some of them, giggled and said “You have to show Fantasia your Texas driver’s license”.
I have known Lucinda as long as I have Fantasia. Not much about my appearance had changed between the time my Texas driver’s license photo was taken and when I met the girls. Maybe really good friends block out incredibly bad haircuts and extra weight. Maybe they saw the current version of myself six years ago as I was just starting to scramble out of that cocoon I’d built around myself. Maybe they only saw the good parts of me because that’s what people who love you do. Regardless, the license picture shouldn’t have been that big of a surprise to Fantasia.
I still carry my Texas driver’s license in my wallet as a reminder to myself on my worst days of how far I’ve come. Lucinda knew that so I dug around, found my old license and presented it to Fantasia, who promptly laughed so hard and for so long, she almost puked and nearly fell off the bed. I took it as a compliment.
I wasn’t always the way I am now. I’ve lost and gained a lot of weight over the past six years but overall, I’m still around 70 pounds lighter than I used to be. I was rather uptight when I was younger also. I’m incredibly shy and although you may think that’s not true, I call few people “close friends”. Unless I’m back home in Texas, I’d rather watch a movie or listen to new music alone than be out with a crowd of people. My fashion taste was fucked up. I’ll just lay that out right now. I’m not sure if it was due to my weight or being a new Mom to a child with health problems, just trying to survive day to day, but I wish someone would have snatched the Keds off my feet and used them to beat some fashion sense into me.
Let’s back it up a bit. It’s Texas law that as long as you don’t mind using your old picture, you can renew your driver’s license online. That was what I did when we moved to Alabama. We had literally just gotten here and were staying at an extended stay hotel. Our house in Texas was on the market and we were looking for a house here. I didn’t even have a permanent address, technically, so I just renewed it online to buy some time.
When this photo was taken, Landon was two years old. He was sitting in his stroller and right before the picture was taken, he amused the teenagers behind us by belching. Loudly. I’d like to blame this picture on that incident but I’m even calling bullshit on myself on that one. Behold, the old Steph.
I don’t know where to start. I need a beer. Hold on.
The hair: Oh, the hair. I’m not sure if I was going for a Dorothy Hamill or if I was wrestling with my sexuality. Now I’m just insulting lesbians in my shame and pain. I’m so sorry, my lesbian friends. You don’t deserve that. Dorothy Hamill totally did, though.
The earrings: I can’t even wear earrings. I gave up long ago due to very sensitive ears so those had to be clip-ons. I don’t frown upon clip-ons, I still wear them for dressy occasions but they are mostly devices of torture I choose to go without. Maybe I was into pain at the time. Or they were edible.
The makeup: What makeup? I could literally contain my whole makeup collection at that time in one makeup bag. It looks like I threw on some grandma rouge and matching lipstick I bought from Avon.
The sweater: I can recall perfectly where I bought that sweater. I found that gem at JC Penney and the brand was Alfred Dunner. You’ve never heard of Alfred Dunner? That’s because you need a fucking AARP card to even get into the Alfred Dunner section at JC Penney. I must have had a real hard on for that sweater to evade being carded. It also had cherries on it. Betty White would kick my ass if she saw me wearing that sweater out in public. She probably will still kick my ass after reading this even though I haven’t owned that sweater in over a decade and I deserve that ass kicking.
Oh, dear God, please tell me my clip-on earrings aren’t cherries. I need another drink.
Shortly after getting settled into our current home, I tried to be an upstanding citizen and ventured down to the DMV to get my Alabama license. I was told that I had the “wrong” birth certificate, even though I had my original in hand. I eventually obtained the correct copy with the official Texas seal on it that Alabama deemed necessary but I was kind of over Alabama by then, took my ball home and told Alabama to go fuck themselves.
So, I had been driving around Alabama illegally for six years with a Texas driver’s license. Yeah, yeah. Lock me up and throw away the key. I’m a real badass. We were getting ready to leave for our cruise this past March and my Texas driver’s license had finally expired in January. I have a passport but E, as usual, was the adult in this marriage and harangued me into getting my shit in order.
Several locals told me to go to Bumfuck, Bama to get my license. At the time, you could easily spend half your day in line at a Birmingham DMV. Bumfuck is one county over, about a 30 minute drive. I was told that if I hit it just right, I’d have little to no wait but there was a caveat. The caveat was that there was one woman who worked the entire department. She’s been there for years and is rather abrupt. “Abrupt” was the kindest description I heard, bless her heart, and it was incredibly accurate. I was also warned by almost everyone that this lovely lady seemed to go out of her way to take the worst possible DMV photo of you ever. It’s like she got bonuses for making you look like a backwoods fucktard.
I had been living with that picture on my Texas driver’s license for 15 years and I despised it. I wasn’t that person anymore. No one even believed it was me anyway when I did have to show it. I almost didn’t make it through Customs when we returned from a cruise two years ago. I didn’t have my passport at the time so I used my Texas license as ID and I almost didn’t make it through because the difference between the current me and that photo is just too much.
I was determined the real, new me would show through in my new license picture. I mentally prepared myself for this picture. I was like Rambo, going into battle. I was ready. This was going to be my first ever actually good DMV photo. It was the DMV bitch versus me and DMV bitch was going down.
I kicked DMV bitch’s ass. Fantasia, through her laughter, said my facial expression is all plucky and “Fuck you” and I agree. I had to show my new license at Sephora about a month ago. The young cashier looked at the picture then said “That’s a really good license picture!” And I agree with that also. It’s the best government photo I’ve ever had taken. I’m coming for you next, you Sam’s Club bastards!
What was your worst government issued picture ever? Spill in the comments. Bonus points if you post the picture!