Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Awkward Years

Everybody had them. Some were briefly passing, others were long drawn out grueling affairs. And a few never quite ended.

Through exhaustive research (as I personally lived through adolescence and haven't gone senile yet), I have determined that most people encounter their awkward years somewhere around the age of 12. This is a hard age in life, as one attempts to move from childhood into the not-childhood-not-adulthood phase which can last up to another 12 years in of itself.

And Mother Nature doesn't help matters by making all sorts of strange things happen physically at this very same socially awkward time. Overnight you become too tall, or too short, or not developed enough, or over developed, or developing in all the wrong places at all the wrong times.

The dentist puts you in braces, your skins has a new crop of zits awaiting every turn, and you have the horrible awakening that day you suddenly realized what deodorant is for.

And even though nobody else is actually having a better time with it, insecurity crops up more often than pimples and you quickly become convinced of others' superficial superiority.

Your peers become the base for everything (which really is stupid, since they're just a bunch of awkward zit faced clueless punks too), your parents live on another planet, and your time is consumed with trying to figure out social roles and norms and how you possibly fit into them.

These years are fleeting, popularity in high school means very little a few years later, and nobody else will remember that big zit on your nose.

BUT.... there is something that isn't fleeting. It will stay with you for years and years, always that little nagging reminder of what things were. Sometimes this can be good, for it boldly shows how far you have come. But sometimes it just serves to remind you that moving past the awkward years has been more of an elaborate illusion [LINK WARNING: LANGUAGE] than any true achievement of personal growth.

It is the infamous framed family portrait of you in the awkward years proudly displayed in your ancestral home. For reasons I do not yet comprehend, it seems to be a favorite stage with parents and grandparents to immortalize upon their wall that picture of you with ratty hair and braces and big round geeky glasses.

(A babysitter who has known my family for a few years now was remarking on mine the other day, and joking about me bringing all future potential boyfriends home to see it. I am consoling myself with the knowledge that potential him's potential parents probably have an equally bad one of him proudly displayed on their potential wall.)

And you know what? I want to see yours!! I want to celebrate in all the awkward years un-photogenic glory, as a wonderfully reassuring message that everyone had them.

(No really, I do want the physical evidence consoling me that everybody had them.) 

So what I REALLY want from you is an awkward years picture. If you're so inclined, please feel free to also include one of you now (you know, to assure the world that you did leave the 80's big hair and questionable fashion choices behind eventually).

My hope is to get enough of these together to make an awesome blog post with them, but what all I can do with them does depend somewhat on how many get sent in. So, should you happen to also have your spouses/siblings/evil ex's/random guy who lives next door/cousins awkward years photos available as well, by all means, send those in too!


PS~ I thought about bribing you with promised shameless self promotion for whatever blog/website you keep (or random one you just really like) to go up with the pictures, but then I thought that it might be more of a deterrent than incentive depending on how much you're embracing your awkward years pictures these days. So at this point that's totally your call on the amount of internet anonymity you'd like to keep. I will be putting up at least one or two of my own, to lead the way in publicly embarrassing the crap out of oneself, and would love for you join me :-)


  1. I should send you mine & my daughter's to compare & laugh at.

    I look like a huge dork in my school pics...from the kindergarten bowl haircut, to the 5th grade palm tree hair (permed on top & the rest straight - thanks Mom!!) to the 11th grade = 1990 - no further comment needed there!!

    The girl is going into 9th grader this year & she looks like a freakin' model in all her school pics!

    What is in the water these days????

  2. I have a theory that each generation is a little less dorky than the one before it until you reach maximum undorkiness at which point the next generation is Steve Urkel.