There have been times that I have found pictures from my awkward years (which was about 9-13) and felt my cheeks burning up in embarrassment. I had very wavy hair with a bad haircut, huge glasses, braces and had horrible social awkwardness. The fact that my family would make jokes and laugh about my pictures did not help matters and just made me hate the pictures more. I hated how I felt during those years but now looking back I am happy I lived them. They were full of bullies and things were said that I still carry but I think I am who I am today because of those experiences. I think I can read a person better, I am not as naively trusting that I used to be.
I think my most embarrassing moment was 6th grade when I had to go write on the blackboard (yes with chalk, this was 1996) and I went to put my notebook at the end of my teacher’s desk on top of piles of other paperwork and proceeding to topple the whole pile all over the floor. The whole class laughed and even my teacher sighed like “Can you be more awkward? Please?” There was also the time I had a bottle of Gatorade dumped on me on the school bus in 9th grade because a girl thought that I was stealing her boyfriend because he told me that I “look nice today.” I lived in a secluded neighborhood so the bus dropped me off about a 1/2 mile from my house and I had to walk home soaking wet while the other kids laughed at me. It destroyed me then, I literally cried for a good half hour when I walked into my house. Now, while I’ll be honest and say I’m not going to be best friends with that girl, I’m also not going to bring up at our next reunion. I think once we become adults we can look back and appreciate what those years were better.
The Awkward Years is a new site on Tumblr where people chronicle those years with picture proof and talk about how those years have made them who they are today. It’s amazingly brave. I admit that I want to submit my picture but I’m a little terrified about it. The picture of you in your “ugly duckling” phase is like a bleeding wound that you are not sure you want to share or not. I will be going through my old photos to see which captures those years of “Boy Meets World” and Lisa Frank binders, but I hope I can work up the courage to submit it to the project. I encourage you to check out this site and maybe look back at the years when we couldn’t wait to grow up.