Oh man, did I have them! I look back at my years in middle school and highschool and just think to myself, “Where were my friends?!?” and why the heck didn’t they say something to me!
I used to wear my hair SO tight to my head, in fear that it would have fly-aways, and I look back at pictures and you legitimately might think I am bald. Like I wonder if I took Advil everyday to help with the headache my tightly gripped hair probably caused.
I was a BOSS at Greek dodgeball. I didn’t care that I was the only girl playing and quite possibly looked like Helga…I just wanted to win.
I microwaved a bag of cool ranch doritos in the microwave in middle school and blew up the microwave. I then proceeded to put the mini bag of doritos on a keychain LIKE A TOKEN and put my house key on it. I guess it was like a badge of honor?
I wore shirts with actual fuzzy elements on them. I actually PREFERRED that my shirt have the fuzzy part, like a fuzzy butterfly shirt was my go-to.
I attended a Pokemon trading card competition. Yes, you heard me correctly. Did I know how to trade Pokemon cards? Absolutely not. I just knew I needed as many Jigglypuff as possible.
I started a secret hideout in my attic and would willingly spend countless hours in 110 degree heat with my BFF making signs of all our “cool club sayings”.
My best childhood friend and I tried to make perfume out of mashed up flowers and water and gave it to our moms for Mothers Day. I can’t remember what my mom said but poor woman- I mean what do you even do when your kid hands you that?!
Needless to say, I was not shorthanded when it came to weird, hilarious, awkward times in my life.
But you know what? I had SO MUCH FUN!!!
I look at kids going through middle school and highschool these days and I just pray that they let themselves, and their parents let them, experience the weirdness. I learned the power of being myself and how much beauty there was in authenticity.
I mean, I would’ve been my friend! I was truly confident that whatever I was doing during that phase was totally acceptable and cool.
You know when I started to freak out? When I tried to be like everyone else. When I let their thoughts about me become the truth I accepted. When the mirror became my first and last stop of the day and I let someone’s definition of a “loser” affect the habits I had and the activities I chose.
I’m not saying that it wouldn’t help a sister out to have loosened my ponytail or taken my Pokemon cards away EVENTUALLY, but had I not of gone through the awkward times, I would not be who I am today!
We all go through our seasons and guess what? We all turn out just fine.
It’s better to be a beautiful odd-ball than to be an insecure groupie.
And did I mention, the awkward phase continues into adulthood? Yeah, I said it. Except it’s no longer about not having the latest posters in your locker or wearing umbros every day of the week, it now just gets more complex.
You get to be 25 or 30 or 40 and all your friends are married, with children, and their favorite hobby is to set you up on a blind date. Yeah, because those are just BUNDLES of fun and not awkward at all.
Or you get to be 50 and realize your skin is starting to age and you have wrinkles….and suddenly pictures get awkward again. How did that insecurity you experienced in 6th grade just peak its ugly head again?!
You get to be 80, have a minor heart attack and lose your peripheral vision and suddenly you get your license taken away. Your lack of independence now puts you back to being 15 but instead of asking your parents for a ride, you are asking your kid for a ride. Awkward.
The awkward phase? It’s an evolutionary, constant struggle to figure out who you are, what your values are, what matters, what’s next, etc. in each season of life.
Life is a process. A journey of discovery. Trends end and new fads come into play and “cool” has an ever-changing definition.
So cheers to the awkward years! The times when you are figuring out what this whole “life” thing is about, who you want to be and what matters to you.
For everyone, that looks a little different.
So when someone else’s journey is different than yours, why don’t you cheer them on being who they are instead of trying to convince them otherwise?
You may be right but keep that tucked away right now. They don’t need a control freak, they need a cheerleader. Everyone does. Whether their in their 8th grade awkward years or their 80 year old awkward years, encouragement to be yourself is always welcomed, appreciated and needed.
Awkwardly awesome, all just the same.
So, thanks mom, for taking my watered down perfume and letting me be myself! And thanks dad for pretending like my love for freeze-tag in eighth grade was normal. You guys rock.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2