Thursday, September 5, 2013

Throwback Thursday: My Future Career

When I was a kid I wanted to be a famous actress, or maybe a singer or a fashion model. I fancied myself the 6th Spice Girl, or the 4th Charmed sister (5th, if you count Paige). I thought maybe I could carve out a place for myself in the modeling world in the niche short-and-fat market.


But even then I was a realist, so instead I decided I needed to be an architect. Mike Brady from The Brady Bunch was an architect, and their house was really cool, and I wanted to design cool houses too. My role model growing up was that lady from Beethoven who, when asked if she had any kids, responded with "We have a career."

I wanted my career to be as important as her lapel was large.

I later learned that I had confused architecture with interior design, or better yet, professional Pinterest browsing. But by then I had moved on to writing.


I wanted to be an author mostly because I already had the glasses. But also because I learned how to read and write way back in 1st grade. Architecture would have taken me two college degrees, and even then there's no guarantee I would have been able to weather the disappointing job market.

I wrote short stores for school and for fun. My teachers forced everyone to enter a short story contest every year--I'm not sure why, considering some of us weren't even capable of holding pencils correctly at that time. I guess it's only fair though, since they forced me to participate in Field Day. That's right, I had to compete in the 50-yard dash with the best of them, even though I had a body like a lima bean.

Still do, in fact.

I won the story contest a couple of times, and I was pretty pleased with myself. However, I soon realized that my stories were basically glorified Babysitters Club knockoffs, and there would never be room in the market for both me and Ann M. Martin. Since Ann came first, I figured I better step off. 

It was around this time that I discovered boys, makeup, and Limited Too. I slowly replaced my Babysitter's Club books with YM, Girls' Life and Seventeen magazines. I had to rent the Seventeens from the library and hide them under my pillow though, because my mom said I was too young to read them, given that I was not 17 yet. A few years later I pulled the same thing with Cosmo. Now that I'm disillusioned with Cosmo, I hide AARP under my pillow.

I said I discovered boys. I didn't say they discovered me.

I was insatiable for magazines. I read my magazines cover-to-cover as if they were, well, dirty magazines. But they were clean. They offered fun tips such as "paint different colored stripes down the center of each nail for a fun summer look!" and "to make your eyes pop, try eyeliner!"and "hold a contest with a friend to see who can grow the hairiest leg by the end of winter!"  I painted the stripes. I tried the eyeliner. I wasn't old enough to shave my legs. It was awesome.

But now magazines are going the way of the dinosaur. Literally, I heard a giant asteroid hit the CosmoGirl! offices a while back. (No, but seriously. Does anyone know what happened to Atoosa Rubenstein?) 

I just got a notice that my Glamour subscription, which is probably over a decade old, is ending, and instead of renewing it, I threw it away. How can I be sad about magazines dying when I cancelled all of my subscriptions, bought a Kindle and published an eBook

So now I guess my career aspirations involve writing for the internet, which I'm already doing, and it turns out that doesn't actually pay. Perhaps it's time to go back to giving Ann M. Martin a run for her money. Or I could become a squirrel.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

12 comments:

  1. My mom said the SAME THING about Seventeen magazine - you're not 17 yet! But then by the time we actually were 17, the magazine wasn't cool anymore, and we'd moved on to CosmoGirl. But for a long time, I wanted to be a writer for Seventeen, because I liked the idea of helping teenage girls through the rough years. I would probably still take that job if it were offered to me.

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    1. I would take that job in a heartbeat. If that magazine even exists anymore.

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  2. Even though, I read and wrote all the time, and was told I had talent for it, my disillusioned first generation Asian-American self knew I had to become a doctor or nurse or amazing engineer. My apparent lack of talent for sciences became quite clear when we weren't just talking about the parts of a cell, but what they actually do, and limiting reagents and stuff like that. I also wanted to become a therapist, because I believed myself to be wise. I started to really like education, and I think I still want to go to school, get all those degrees, and become the hottest history professor a college campus has ever seen! I could read, write, teach and counsel students. All the things I like! My parents remain skeptical. I guess I did ok when I married a science guy.

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    1. haha same here. My parents were so sad when I decided to be an English major. My biggest contribution to the family was marrying a future doctor.

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  3. Are you me? I also used to check out Seventeen magazines and hide them under my pillow! See also: Sweet Valley High books when I was, like, 11.

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    1. Yes, I'm pretty sure I'm you. I never actually got into Sweet Valley High, but I tried reading Sweet Valley University and there was a sex scene and I got freaked out hahaha

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  4. I wanted to be a ballerina, and shortly after that I wanted to be an author, so I, too, started writing short stories in elementary school, only mine were more like ripoffs of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy stories. (And then in middle school I discovered the world of fan fiction online and learned I could work with pre-existing characters and actually create my own stories, as opposed to the other way around as I had been doing...) Then I wanted to be an English teacher, and then a math teacher, and then I decided I wanted to actually afford a house one day, so I became an engineer! :D

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    1. Ah yes, fan fiction. When I was 14 I submitted a Charmed fanfic as my writing sample for my application to the school newspaper. They were like "this is copyright infringement." They didn't get it.

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  5. Poor Atoosa Rubenstein, I always felt like she just understood me, you know? Anyway, I wanted to be a teacher until I realized they are severely underpaid and decided to become a lawyer. And then I decided I wanted to act, but only for roles where I would play a lawyer (a la Ally McBeal). I feel like I kinda ended up in that role exactly.

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    1. hahaha you crack me up! I'm kind of jealous of the name Atoosa. I always thought it sounded so exotic.

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  6. Haha once we accidentally got a subscription for People magazine and my 12-year-old brain devoured that like no other. I always wanted to be the president. But it looks like more and more work the older I get. Bahaha

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

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  7. I loved me some Atoosa and CosmoGirl back in the day! I too thought "where DID she go?" So I went to the ol' Google and as it turns out she's living large in a $8.8 million place in NY with her rich husband and their offspring, carrying a Birkin bag and "fornicating" (yes, that was a quote from the article). Perhaps I should have taken her monthly words of wisdom more seriously in my CosmoGirl... although it still lists her having a MySpace account, so maybe not....

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