I’ll be the one with my heart in my lap

I put this on Tumblr earlier today. It deserves to be here, too, I think:

 

Two things jump out at me in this picture:

1. Holy shit those shoes are huge.

2. I don’t look nervous or uncomfortable; I look genuinely happy. That, combined with my haircut, makes me think that this must have been taken when I was 14, perhaps in the Spring just before I turned 15. This is probably right when Star Trek was starting.

When I look at these cheesy teen magazine pictures of myself— wait. That sounds creepy and weird and awful. Let me try again: When I gaze lovingly at these old pictures, I remember how sad and unhappy and uncomfortable I was for most of my teens, and how much I hated all the posing for pictures and attention from magazines. I was shy, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, I was nerdy and anxious and weak and weird, and being put under the Teen Media spotlight just made me want to crawl into a hole and die.

But this picture reminds me that it wasn’t always overwhelming and weird, and I’m glad to be reminded of that, because it’s way too easy to focus on the awkward and uncomfortable times I really wanted to be alone playing Blades of Steel on my NES, but I was at some teen cheese thing, trying to fit in.

In a lot of the teen magazine pictures, my smile never reaches my eyes, so I'm grateful for those rare occasions when it did.

(Thanks to Chambers1986 on Tumblr, who originally posted this picture.)

23 thoughts on “I’ll be the one with my heart in my lap”

  1. I emailed you a few weeks back – it was the first piece of fan-mail I had sent since I was about 12!
    I do feel for kids in ‘show business’, you do wonder just how wholesome it is. You just have to look at some of the stuff that people like Corey Feldman is coming out with (have you seen him on Dancing on Ice?). You say that you disliked the teen mags, the interviews and the attention? that would be the dream of most teenage boys… but I guess I can understand your view.
    You need to remember that you were in one of the two most iconic films ever made IMO – Stand By Me (the other being the Goonies, obviously)> You were also in Star Trek. You have brought joy to millions and that continues. I loved Star Trek as a kid, and you were great in it. I say I loved it, needless to say I did tell all my friends at school that it was lame. The funny thing is they now all admit to having watched it!
    I read the bit you wrote about Star Trek on your original site (how long have you been in exile now?). I found it to be an interesting read – you do forget that there is another side to everything when you watch on TV.
    I am rambling now! What I wanted to say as it is clear that you have found a great deal of happiness now – computer games, beer and a family… what more do you need?
    FOOTNOTE:
    Oban Whiskey. It is pronounced Oh-Bin, not O-ban. Sorry to be picky, but I am a proud Scot.
    Take care. Keep blogging – I only discovered it recently and I enjoy many of your posts.

  2. I grew up watching you on TNG (show ended when I was 11). I admit, you and Jonathan Brandis were ranked pretty equally in my prepubescent heart.
    That said, as I’ve watched interviews with you and read your posts since becoming an adult, you make me appreciate my teen years. I was one of those that while I got tired of being told how androgynous I was and just one of the guys (I didn’t date until I was 21), at least I can look back and see genuine smiles because I was having fun.
    Thank you for being awesome. I almost cried from laughter when I watched The Nerdist on Christmas Eve. Your normally accepting and tolerant nature pissed out on the Kardashians made my prepubescent heart flutter like crazy (because I agree with you that talentless twats need to go away… maybe they’ll slowly disappear like Palin). :D

  3. It is with age, that we understand that our troubles of youth were really some of the best times of our lives. To quote The Outsiders “Stay Golden.” : )

  4. I think I had that magazine…
    This post will make me look twice at my own scrapbooks. In my memory all those awkward years were full of turmoil and anxiety, but there are plenty of photos of genuine laughs and smiles and goofiness – evidence that it wasn’t all that bad. Thank you for sharing :)

  5. TeenWil: I can’t wait. All the girls are sure to ask me for a date now that I’m known as Big Bopper. I’ll tell them its not a shoe reference.

  6. I can see the happiness in your eyes too! I’m glad you have fond memories of your teen years too. As a parent, it’s hard to watch your own children go through it. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for this. Most of us were so incredibly uncomfortable in our own skins at that time of our lives; being in the spotlight only magnifies that discomfort.
    In a lot of the teen magazine pictures, my smile never reaches my eyes, so I’m grateful for those rare occasions when it did.
    Perhaps you are thinking of this “deer in the headlights” shot?
    http://chambers1986.tumblr.com/post/15419129350

  8. That is indeed a nice picture. And despite reading about your difficulty during those years…I must say I really admire and even envy that you can look back at that point in your life and see the good that you may have overlooked at the time. Since I was very obese as a teen I dread seeing pictures of myself from those days…ack!
    But…maybe I should dig some of them out one of these days. After conquering obesity this past year for the second time as an adult…perhaps remembering something from the past will remind us why we made certain choices that brought us to our current future.
    BTW…Blades of Steel was one of the few sports games I actually enjoyed on the NES…but beating up the other player in the close up fight screen was the only good part IMHO. ^_^

  9. As unhappy with myself as I was as a teen I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have to deal with all those photographs. The attention would have been really painful I think.
    How the hell do you get through that?

  10. I’m pretty sure I had that poster on my wall next to Kirk Cameron when I was younger. And although the crush on Kirk has faded away over time (because he is a crazy person), the crush for you still lingers… like a bad cold. :)

  11. 1. Holy shit those huge shoes were in. (You think those shoes were big, a few years later in Manchester, UK one of the side effects of ecstasy was that shoes grew even bigger…)
    2. It’s awesome that you’ve got a photo of yourself at that age that evokes positive feelings! Like a few other posters here, photos of me around that age bring back lots of feelings of all that awkwardness and other-than-happiness.
    (Hmmm… I wonder if part of the vehemently negative reaction that people have to the Wesley character is that he elicits those same other-than-happy feelings in themselves…)

  12. All the writing about how sad and uncomfortable you felt back then makes me wonder, what did you parents say to you about that? I wonder what I’ll say to my children and hope I don’t forget to tell them how I faced or failed to face my angst. I survived without thoughts of suicide but sometimes just barely, growing horribly morose and wondering what others would say if I were suddenly gone. I understand this is normal.
    Have you written about what you parents did or did not tell you and I have not read it?
    I use to post as gmknobl but now that I have a pseudonym for FB, I’m using that, and my name is still not showing here. HA! I meant to be anonymous anyway.

  13. New flash Wil, “uncomfortable in their skin” describes 99.9% of teenagers, both now and then. Most of us felt we did not fit in. “Back in my day” (TM) I thought it must be nice to be a star and have everybody interested in you and have your pictures in teen magazines. LOL

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