Elizabeth Trach, MA

Senior Writer

A professional writer and former teacher with a master’s degree in English and Creative Writing, Elizabeth is the author of Both Sides of My Skin, a collection of short stories about pregnancy and motherhood. With a Renaissance woman’s interest in all forms of human interests and expression, her broad knowledge base elevates her work and makes clients’ projects sing. As an avid gardener and suburban homesteader, Elizabeth is particularly interested in the domestic arts and the unsung talents of women who worked to care for their families.

As a Story Terrace writer, Elizabeth interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Breakdancing Without an Audience

I have only one photo album of my childhood that’s not packed with pictures of historical markers from a long road trip. The creaky faux-leather cover opens to reveal yellowing pages of typical milestones: birthday parties, egg hunts, Christmas wrapping paper in piles on the floor around a tree.

In all of these pictures, I’m sporting the world’s worst haircut. I was born in 1976, the year that Dorothy Hamill won her Olympic gold medal for figure skating. Her iconic short haircut became quite a fad — one that was surely past its prime by the time my mother cut all my hair off when I was a toddler.

It was, you see, too much trouble to comb out my hair every day. My stick-straight, baby-fine hair was prone to tangle, and I suppose no amount of whatever people were drinking in the 1970s could take the edge off a daily battle with a squirming, shrieking girl-child. Make it a double: My younger sister also went under the scissors.

To call my haircut a Dorothy Hamill would give it too much credit. It was more like a bowl cut, but with bangs that stopped where an ear-covering cascade of jagged edges began. I was finally allowed to grow my hair out only after another parent explained to my mother that the girls at a “Bring a Friend to Brownies” event refused to let me touch their Cabbage Patch Kids because I wasn’t a “real girl.” To this day their sneering taunts ring in my ears about my “boy” haircut. There is a series of photographs from the summer just before school that stands out in that album of otherwise pretty standard stuff.

My sister and I are in our neighbor’s yard, doing our best approximation of the incredible breakdancing moves beamed into our home on our brand-new favorite channel: MTV. We must have taken turns snapping the photos on my sister’s Kodak Disc camera because we aren’t in any of them together.

Our arms spread wide and our gangly limbs all akimbo, the thing that gives away the fact that these are action shots is our hair. Even the shortest strands stand out, the raggedly chopped edges suspended in midair as we gyrate.

And the joy! You can see on our faces that we see ourselves as real. Real dancers, real performers, real everything. This is what it felt like before we knew what we looked like. And before we cared.

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