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Remember them? My parents had a Super-8 camera and a couple times a year we'd get the projector out and watch them. With popcorn. Well, about a decade ago I had my mom send me up a box and I had them transferred to VHS. And, in the never-ending shell game that is trying to keep things archival, I'm now starting to digitize them. I signed up for a video editing class at Berkeley Community Media and they have the equipment that will allow me to do digital capture from VHS. So I snuck in as much as I could before class, during the break and during "free time" in the last 10 min. I'm sure there are still hours to go.

The oldest clips on there are black and white and look to have been taken by my grandfather in the '50s. Then it skips to me as an infant and goes on from there 'til the early '70s. As my dad tosses me around, I wonder who that kid is. Honestly, if I didn't know from context that it was me, I'd never have guessed. I looked so different when I was little. It's odd seeing my parents, who looked so old to me then, and knowing they were only a little older than half my age now. My dad's hair was still red. My mom was still active doing things she doesn't do now.

Then there are the interactions with my siblings. My eldest sibling and I have a really hard time getting along and have ever since we hit double digits. It's a long story. Anyway, there's a clip of him pulling me around in a red wagon. The younger brother pulling the older sister. There's another clip where we're all playing the the sprinklers in my grandparents' backyard in San Berdoo and my middle brother, who was maybe 5 or 6, turned around and handed me a towel, unasked. It was sweet.

I see me playing football with the guys. I see me running around in a bathing suit completely unashamed of my body. I had nothing to be ashamed of, but only about 5 years later I would feel enough pressure from my brothers calling me "fatty" (and my mom's own body image issues that she passed on) that I went on my first diet. Again, being perfectly svelte and not needing to drop an ounce. I see my shoulders straight and confident, not rolled and slumped as they are now from years of trying to disappear, of trying to take up as little space as I can...just from feeling terrible about myself.

It's like I'm watching strangers. Who are these people? Who is this innocent kid?


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September 2014

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