Girls should not wear tuxedo shirts made for men.
Especially 13-year-old girls with newfound breasts and fresh insecurities too big to hide beneath unforgiving fabric.
But that was part of her uniform in 1987 at the Lincoln Theater in her tiny hometown:
- tuxedo shirt, thin
- button-down vest, maroon
- black bowtie, clip-on
It was her first real job.
There are times when it would be hard to argue that growing up in a small town can be a limiting, I-just-can’t-breathe experience.
And there are other times when there is beauty in the everyone-knows-everyone way of life. And the lines of faraway big city rules blur in your favor.
Like landing your first real job years before it is considered “legal”.
She had always been a few steps behind cool. She had a handful of friends, but she never found herself comfortably in the right space, in the right crowd, at the right time.
She was not setting trends.
She was not passing notes on Monday morning, recounting the amazing party on Saturday night, with words written in whimsical cursive and heart-dotted “i”s.
She wore her anxieties under baggy rugby shirts and last season’s Guess jeans. But she also wore a thin tuxedo shirt, a maroon vest, and a clip-on bowtie.
She had a life outside of her teenage angst and she would punch her fears of not being “enough” every time she slammed her weekly time-card into the metal slot in the clock.
She had this.
It was an adrenaline-infused rush for her to fly behind the concession counter at the frenetic start of a Friday night, scooping buttery popcorn with ease. Counting change in her head while lining up wax-coated cups down the length of the soda machine, timing each one so that the perfect amount of liquid was dispensed without spilling a drop.
She had this. It was hers. And there were no stories good enough on Monday morning to take it away from her.
She made just pennies over 3 bucks an hour.
Her first paycheck was 56 dollars. And she felt like the richest girl alive.
I’m submitting this story to a wonderfully supportive community called Yeah Write! A great place for bloggers who write and writers who blog.