Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh Jr. High, Thy Name Is Awkwardness!!

Jr. High: In which there were cool people. And then there was me. Full disclosure: this was me in Jr. High, too tall, worried about my weight all the time because I was the size of a full grown adult in 8th grade, and covered with the extreme kind of acne covering my face, chest, arms and back, this pic was on a good day (though looking at it now, I just think, aww, you were prettier than you knew, and what a lovely shade of hair! my hair hasn't been it's natural color in so long I've forgotten):

Another blogger mentioned the on-going popularity contests we engage in, even as adults. Which makes me think, spot on. Believe me, to anyone who's still lingering in the morass that is Jr. High and sometimes High School: IT DOES GET BETTER! Sometimes I read intense YA books or watch shows with teen characters, and I think, lordy, I'm so glad I'll never have to re-live my teen years!!

But at the same time, for better or worse, so much of who we are, how we respond to life situations, is formed during those angst-ridden, hormone-raging years when you feel equal parts invincible and terrified every moment.

Friends I'd had in the preceding years ditched me, and as much as it's a cliche about 'finding a seat at the lunch table', I was one of those 'seating optional' people. Some people had the established seats, but there were a couple at the end of the table that if I scurried quick enough, I could grab, but if I didn't, it was lone dining for me!

For years afterward, through a lot of my college and early adult years, I was wicked shy because of it, a total people pleaser, would be a doormat if it could ensure I'd have a spot at whatever adult version of 'The Table' is. I was meek and quiet, made a mask I knew was socially acceptable, didn't voice my real opinions. And yeah, if you can't tell by my loud pink hair and unapologetic love for tattoos? I finally got over it. Grew comfortable enough in my own skin to be okay if people didn't like me, to be loud enough to finally make my voice heard, and to have enough confidence in what I had to say.

But oh, it still lingers, that awkward Jr. High girl's voice in my head, wanting to be liked, to have an established place at life's table, to have incontrovertible evidence of my popularity out in the world! So let's all raise a glass to all those scrambling voices inside us, and maybe I don't want to entirely 'overcome' that shy girl I was--I had plenty of awesomeness inside too, I just didn't realize it till later :) --but maybe we'll learn to embrace our past selves and let it make us more compassionate in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this post Heather. I understand the adult popularity contest, it's so easy to let it start sucking you in before you realize it.