Well... you asked for it. A throw-back-Thursday post to prove that my teenage years were OH SO AWKWARD. (And since this is me we're talking about, it got long. And attempted to be inspirational. Feel free to ignore the words and just look at the pictures. I won't blame you.)
Oh my word, I'm seriously so regretting offering to do this. Okay. Deep breaths. Everything is going to be okay. Right?
There seemed to be quite a number of you who didn't believe I had any awkward photos. My worst years were definitely 5th-8th grade. By 9th I was starting to kind-of, sort-of feel a bit less like... well... a total geek/freak. Which on the social hierarchy of middle school = loser. I was 5'9" by the end of 5th grade. Do you know the average height of 5th grade boys (and girls for that matter)? It is NOT 5'9". Add to that naturally curly hair (that I didn't have a clue what to do with because I didn't realize just how much curl I actually had), massive glasses (I was afraid they'd hide my eyes, so my mom got me really big ones so people could see my eyes better), very, erm, interesting clothing (did you know that K-Mart and Shopko don't really sell the greatest fitting pants for a scrawny girl that is 5'9"?), and the fact I constantly had my nose in a book or was writing a book? Yeah. Those were the glory years.
Okay. No more procrastinating. Here you go:
I really LOVED to dance... in spandex. And layers. Flashing non-offensive signs.
See the big glasses? Nice.
Here I am with my rat.
Here I am with my horse.
Here I am with my door. (What the...????) As you can see, I eventually did get contacts. And I also kind of figured out how to fix my hair--when it was curly. But then there were the pathetic attempts when I would spend an hour and a half trying to straighten it because everyone else had the "Rachel," and I had this weird, lame curly hair. This was the end result of all that effort.
I don't even know where to start with this picture. Other than I've gotten a lot better at looking dramatic in pictures without also looking scary. But hey, there's my curly hair! And a t-shirt. Tucked into khaki pants. And big bangs. And I'm randomly sitting on a staircase. Awkwaaaaard. I think it's safe to say that we are all glad I didn't pursue photography.
Okay, this one isn't actually too awkward. (Except for the super dark eyebrows and roots with the blonde hair. During my junior year, I was informed that I had mousy brown hair and should highlight it back to being blonde, how I was as a child. So I did. Totally looked natural, right? It was fun to be blonde though, I still toy with going back to it sometimes. Also, notice how the lack of humidity really does make a difference.) Anyway... the point of this picture is not to embarrass my friends who apparently didn't have dates to the zoo (I believe the caption below this one said, "so I shared mine" with a picture of us three with the one boy who came, who probably wasn't actually my date either...), but to say things eventually got better. I figured out that my hair was VERY curly and that it actually made me kind of unique. I got a job as a lifeguard and started buying my own clothes. I still read a ton and wrote books, so I never did shake the whole "being a nerd" thing. But that's okay. In case you hadn't noticed, that's kind of worked out great for me now. ;-)
So what's the point behind this (other than sharing some embarrassing pictures)? The point is that if there is anyone out there reading this that felt like I did--that I would never be pretty enough, popular enough, cool enough, or (fill-in the blank) enough to be happy/successful/get the boy/fill-in the blank---don't let yourself believe it. Figure out what makes you unique and embrace it. OWN IT. Dream big and then do something about it. Don't let yourself get boxed in by the lies or false expectations media/other people/fill-in the blank feeds us. You don't have to have the Rachel haircut to be pretty. You don't have to be short and bubbly and naturally blonde to fit in. And if you are short and bubbly and naturally blonde with the best haircut ever, then Yay! Try not to dwell on wishing you were tall and had longer legs or whatever else you wish was different on you. We are all different--and we are all beautiful and awesome in our own ways. OWN IT.
All those things I was embarrassed about and tried to change about myself? Ironically, now I love them. I love being tall, I love having curly hair. I love that I love to read and write and well, okay, I never did embrace the glasses. I got Lasik and it was a miracle. And I no longer have any desire to have a pet rat. But the rest--LOVE. Hang in there, and learn to love what makes you YOU.
(P.S. I think I should have made you do a lot more than just say "yes" in a comment to earn these pictures. Wowza. Now where is my spandex so I can go dance?)