and some languages that aren't so romantic.
Or, as my mom has told me, repeatedly, my name actually means (according to the baby name book she got it out of) woman with a hidden sorrow until she smiles. So apparantly I am fated only to look sad. Sorrow is to be my default facial expression. As a depressive pisces, I can run with that, it means that I don't have to fake a happy demeanor.
The picture of me in the long hair was taken in 1995. I was 20. I was thick in the middle of my "Disappointed Madonna" phase (and if anyone can tell me which movie that's from they get to be this blog's Honored Pop Culture Scholar of the Day) in which I felt that the more melancholy I looked the less ugly I was. And so I refused to smile for the camera thinking that smiling made my eyes too squinty and the flesh of my cheeks swallow up my cheekbones. Plus, I have a tiny mouth. Tiny little rosebud lips.* And I felt at the time (and sometimes still do) that smiling with my wee bitty mouth just makes an itsy smile in the middle of a gigantic sea of face (as well as thinning my lips almost to nothing).
But that's just justification. If you look through a history of pictures of me you will notice, aside from some very embarrasing pictures revealing how little I actually lived in this real world as a child (if I can find my "flower lion picture" -- the one in which I had a new perm and we went camping and I found a meadow full of flowers and I picked them and stuck them all over my hair in order to be one with nature and get closer to my "true" parents who I just knew were really elves that had had a cruel trick played upon them and were even now searching desperately for me; but instead of looking like a fairy princess, I looked like a rather unkempt lion made out of flowers, or just a really strange little girl, well, not so little, I was 11 or 12 at the time -- I will put it in flickr) that in most of the pictures I look very sad. For example, see this picture which was taken in 1991. "Ah, but" you say, "you are still a teenager in this picture and teenagers are just morbid." To which I reply, well then take a look at this picture which was taken in the fall of 1976 (before my brother was born, so this shows how much I was lying when I told him that he's the one who ruined my life). Yes, yes, yes, I am a toddler here, but I can tell you that you are not looking at an ordinary tantrum, but rather a deep sorrow over the state of the world and concern over the accellerating devastation of the environment and the earth's wild places (or, as I like to think of them, my "real" home, the places where my "true" parents reside). Or it could be that people only took pictures of me when I was deeply unhappy about something (maybe the fact that someone was pointing a camera at me?) and have thus created an inaccurate picture of my mental state while growing up. Or it could be true that I look sad all the time unless strongly moved by some other emotion.
Only the shadow knows for sure. There are silly/happy pictures of me out there, and as I gather them together, I'll post them for you all to see.
*This part really is true, when I had braces we had to find an orthodontist with tiny little hands, and even then every time he had to work on my mouth my lips were always torn and bleeding from being overly stretched out afterward. The corners of my mouth had permanent scabs, people thought I had cold sores all the time. I have never had a cold sore in my life.