A better understanding

In 1981, I was a Kristy McNichol look-alike, but with slightly larger, Bugs Bunny teeth crowding my oversized-smile. My thick, mousy brown waves had a life of their own and always seemed to lose the battle with the Hawaiian island humidity. I was an average sized tomboy who tanned easily with an SPF army of sun freckles splashed on the bridge of my turned-up Irish nose. I was a perfect tropical storm of adorable and awkward.
When we weren’t in school, my friends and I spent our days body boarding the Free Disneyland waves of Waikiki Beach. I loved the outdoors, and like a true water sign, spent most my waking days in the ocean. My favorite pastime was riding those Waikiki water-coasters.
I LOVED my new bike!

On dry land, I tore up the neighborhood on my yellow Schwinn bike, complete with tasseled handlebars and glittered plastic banana-shaped seat. It was a time when childhood danced with freedom and Mother Nature was my discothèque.

Then I turned thirteen.

One day after noticing sporadic red bumps on my temples, forehead and cheeks, I asked my mom to pick up some CoverGirl® make-up at the drugstore. I thought I would slap some liquid loveliness on my face and poof; easy, breezy, beautiful.

My color selection and application skills were non-existent, so what I hoped would transform my face in to the next Christie Brinkley, made me look more like an Oompa Loompa. Like most teen-age girls experimenting with face-paint, I completely missed the mark.

So there I was, my bumpy pumpkin face hiding behind matching orange Pee Chee® folders, running around school in leg warmers and shoulder pads.

That same year, MTV exploded on the social scene, so wearing heavy Blondie-like make-up helped support my Glamamouflage cause.

Left profile following scar excision surgery

Theater tricks aside, my skin issues were far from concealed. The little red bumps quickly graduated to full blown golf-ball sized cysts and they were erupting all over my body.

I was diagnosed with Grade IV Nodulocystic Acne Vulgaris, a very severe skin disease consisting of deep seated fluctuant nodules and cysts. Most of my face, chest and back were infected and I would go on to have several surgeries on my face to remedy the scarring.

It was the beginning of a life-long struggle to ever feel normal-looking again.

Next up: Stripping to feel beautiful.

Christine Macdonald

A legend in my own mind

While the average young adult was cramming for mid-terms, I was lip-synching to Def Leppard and Bon Jovi on stage.
When I first started stripping at nineteen, I was too young to dance topless. I shook my tail-feather in nothing more than a string bikini while wearing a halo of denial and naiveté. The type only a drug addict could know.
Selling $5.00 a dance in-between performances, I provided some PG-Rated entertainment for lonely military boys stationed on O’ahu.
Looking at this photo reminds me just how young I was. The look on my face says it all. Channeling my inner supermodel, trying to convince the world I was worthy.
I still have occasional periods of feeling less-than. The difference now is, instead of trying so hard to convince myself of my worth, I let go and remember…I’m already there. 

“I am older than I once was, younger than I’ll be and that’s not unusual.” ~ Paul Simon
Here’s the part where you tell me: Where were you at nineteen?
Christine Macdonald

80’s Flashback Café

Keisha Knight Pulliam was on Chelsea Handler this week. She played Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show — wait for it — wait for it — 25 years ago.

Kevin and I looked at one another with that wow, we are old look. You know the look. Your forehead raises a bit and your eyes open a little more. It’s the same face you make when you find yourself explaining what a cassette tape or typewriter is to someone born the year you graduated High School. The same face 20-somethings will make years from now when explaining what an MP3 Player is.
With impeccable timing, a box from home arrived yesterday filled with old photo albums. I had a great time going through memories and laughed out loud when sharing them with old friends.
For you youngin’s – photo albums are these books that used to hold our pictures. We used to have to wait three days before viewing the photos and the packets came with negatives. Negatives are little strips of film…. oh never mind.
Here are a couple fun flashback photos.

My dress was from Contempo Casuals. I think his hair is biger than mine!

I am in the middle with short hair. Those pants just kill me.

Wait. I drank shots?

I was trying to anyway….


Christine Macdonald