Thursday, March 20, 2014

Throwback Thursdays: The Awkward Years

Ahhh the awkward phase. Paul and I were having a discussion about them recently. You know what I'm talking about, right? I mean most people are pretty cute as kids, then as they hit college and beyond they might have some weird clothing choices but generally are fairly decent looking under it all. But those years somewhere in the middle....those are the ones. Generally people just don't fair well there. 

Paul and I were trying to nail down which were each of our actual most awkward years. I think mine were 12 to 15 (Junior High). He was suggesting that his was like 14 to 16, but having seen many a photo it would seem 14 to 19 were the awkward years. He was initially offended that I was suggesting his awkward lasted two years longer than mine, but I can assure you ages 12 to 15 felt pretty dang long in my life. And to be fair, after creeping some old photos of him, I'd happily ammend his awkward years to 14 to 18, and state that 18 was a decent year for Paul once he started growing out his hair :)
Speaking of awkward, this photo was done on purpose, so I feel no remorse posting it here for the world to see

Anyways, back to the point at hand. Going into Junior High I mostly looked sweet. 
In my camp photo below you can see me in my turtleneck - that was my Kristy from the Babysitters Club Phase. 
I love this camp photo. Camp was the highlight of my year growing up. Especially when I got to be in a cabin with my then best friend Amy. This is the year I made friends with Lisa, also from Port Alberni. I also thought our camp counsellors were SO COOL and I wanted to be just like them, and later when I counselled at camp I remember thinking, "Yes, I've made it."

At times I would try to hit the fashion of the day - here's my blossom look. While the outfit is hilarious and outdated, there is still a cute sweetness about my looks that hadn't hit really awkward yet. 
At Nana's for Christmas, showing off my sweet duds. 

I love this photo with my whole heart - I'm at Nana's, so I'm comfortable. And I'm showing off my NEW JEAN JACKET - check out my moves, nice hip thrust. Obviously a model in the making. 

And then the awkward begins - here's a photo from my surprise 13th birthday party.  Nothing screams awkward like a ratty pony tail, waist tied sweatshirt and a solar themed mens tee.

Cleaned up for church - the hair really helps save this outfit, but the floral skirt is a real loss.

And then grade 8 hit and the awkward phase rolled in with vengeance. 
Who is this you ask? The mitchell daughters? or might we have the Mitchell boys here?

Often people in the awkward phase have a belief that they are cool. Clearly I'm suffering from that in this photo.

And enter grade 9 Grad - note to self: never go for updos...always wavy curls. 
You looks like a boy with one long curly bang. Yikes. Also, lose the flower print - never good.

Ahh yes. The awkward years. What a joy. 

I was quite hesitant to post the final 3 photos. While my awkward years were similar to most, the bullies at school did quite a good job convincing me that that was my forever, and not just a passing moment. To think I am willingly putting photographic evidence of how I looked and felt at that time on the internet where those bullies can see -'s a big gulp for sure. While generally movies and life show us that even bullies mature and grow up, that doesn't stop the fear that they created or the shame that they taught us. I know that we're grown up now, and so the odds of a junior high bully from my past taunting me are slim, but that sliver of fear remains. And yet, what is the point of awkward years and security and growth if we can't look back and laugh at ourselves?

I think too part of what is so scary about the awkward years is that while you're in them you have no idea you're in them. You think you look great. No idea that later you'll look back and shudder. Or that others are judging the style choices you're making. You think you're doing ok at least. It's like with the Awkward Family Photos website - at some point someone somewhere thought every one of those was a great idea. I mean, I picked out that Grade 9 Grad dress! I chose that Alberni Hoops outfit. At one point in my life I voluntarily wore boys clothing and got a short haircut. These choices weren't thrust upon me, I chose them willingly. It makes me question my taste, and my ability to judge the now objectively. Clearly I'm unable to lead my own life, that much is obvious. 

Thankfully with the help of pinterest and friends, I think Paul and I are doing much better now. 
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1 comment:

LeAnna said...

I don't even have to look back at photos to know that Junior High was the height of my awkward phase. I think that's generally the norm for girls!

I'm also always surprised at how long-reaching, over the years, the effect of bullying is.


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