The next five years…

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...
Sometimes, getting your picture taken can feel like a mugshot. Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At this current moment, I am in a strange purgatory of sorts. An age-related purgatory, if you will. I am no longer a teenager, yet I am not 21. That’s right, I have lived on this planet some 20 years and a few hundred days. However, that will soon change. The big two one is swiftly approaching, and that can only mean one thing— a new driver’s license picture.

A brief history of Amanda’s driver’s license photos:

  • Age 16: Amanda got her braces off the day of her 16th birthday. In her picture, she looked excited, young, fresh-faced and happy. It was a glorious picture.
  • Age 18: It was raining the day Amanda decided to renew her license. Amanda had just cut her hair short and was still learning how to style it. Amanda had also read an article that said smiling with one’s teeth was not allowed in DMV photos. To make up for this, Amanda attempted to be extra expressive with her eyes. In her picture, she looked like a drowned rat with ugly hair and a smirk on her face. Oh yes, and the crazy eyes. Don’t forget the crazy eyes.

Yes, it is a brief and sad history. My current picture is awful. Today I am going to take my new picture, the one that will follow me from age 21 to age 26. I want the picture to express my youthful spirit and inner beauty, not my crazy eyes and hair issues. Needless to say, I will be smiling with my teeth.

Upon hearing this, you may scoff as my father did and say something pertaining to shallowness. (Let’s face it, you probably are my father. He is one of the few who actually read my blog.) While I may try to live a life that is not about said “shallow” measures, I cannot help it. I am determined to NOT look scary in this time’s picture.

This is the time in my life that my ID will probably be used the most. I am an expressive person with an expressive face, and by the time I can re-take the picture I will be 26 years old (if I choose not to renew online. That just adds another pressure to this entire process…a beautiful picture can save a trip to the DMV. I know nobody who enjoys the DMV. Heck, the people who work there don’t even seem to like it.). All of my smiling and squinting coupled with the summers I spent in the sun life guarding will probably ensure that I look like my favorite food—a raisin—by the time I am 26. What a cruel and ironic twist of fate is that? (Yes, boys, I am single. This is why. I talk about how I have the potential to look like a raisin.) Raisins are not asked for their identification when it comes to matter of age.

For the record, I am perfectly fine with having a horrible passport photo. I am not photogenic. More importantly, I am not Carmen SanDiego.  I do not use my passport enough to worry about having to impress TSA agents and international security enforcers. Facebook profile pictures and Twitter avatars are easily changed. I do not foresee being asked to sit for a portrait in the near future. This is my only shot to take a good, beautiful and lasting photo.

I am not going to lie, I am more nervous about this picture than I am about writing down my actual weight. I got a haircut yesterday. I have been wearing my retainer. I have figured out the proper angle to jut my chin out at, to avoid the dreaded double chin. I have been training my lazy, glasses-accustomed eyeballs to the harsh reality of contacts. I have been practicing smiling in public, perhaps a little too much. Nah. Just enough smiling in public.

I can do this. I can do this.  I can do this.

It’s just a picture, right? It’s not like this will be forever attached to my name and likeness in some internet database, right? It won’t steal my soul, right?

Sigh. I better go find my wallet.

Growing up is difficult. Wish me luck!


Update: I took the picture. Peter, the DMV worker, became my fast friend. We had a blast and kept cracking each other up. He thought the picture was decent. It is decent. Not my best work, but better than good ol’ crazy eyes Mandar. Now I will not subject any of you to another DMV photo anxiety post for at least five years. You are welcome.


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