We all have our awkward years. Some have it worse than others, and let me tell you right now my friends – I fell under that category from middle school through the junior year of high school.
I had the stereotypical long black hair that my mother expressly forbid me to cut or style until I did so very much against her will (there were tears involved). I had the thick John Lennon glasses. I had no sense of what was in and rarely shopped for clothing until the 8th grade, I started getting zits as early as in the 6th grade, oh and I was completely hirsute. I spent years cursing my baba for giving me his nose, cursing my mom for being anti-threading, cursing my genetics for the abundance of hair, and wishing desperately I could Freaky Friday myself with somebody that I considered pretty.
That was nearly seven years ago and in that time I have put together a fairly comprehensive “hot girl” disguise that I don when I choose (shout out to youtube make up tutorials!). However, my uncertain self lurks beneath my freshly threaded eyebrows, and I often wonder if someone will recognize I’m just a socially awkward impostor, pretending to be cool. There is still six years worth of photographs from this period tucked away somewhere deep in the basement, and the thought of them surfacing still gives me a stomach ache.
I like to think that I have come far, in terms of how I present myself, and more importantly how I feel about myself, but six long, brutal, formative years is no joke. I spent a long time ashamed of my “awkward” years, and hoping no boyfriend stumbles across those pictures. However, I need only to look around to realize there is nothing to be ashamed of, or insecure about any longer.
Why? I now have the wherewithal to realize I am not alone in my experiences, and in my Bengali community, as well as the wider Desi community I know there are girls who right now probably feel how I did. I can pick them out at the library, or at the mall with their parents (and usually grandparents as well), or the classmates of my sister. Girls who have yet to go through the hotness rite of passage (getting your eyebrows done, and buying a hair straightener), who wear the match-y outfits approved by their mother, and whose shorts reveal that they are in that weird stage where they have obvious fine leg hair, but their parents haven’t permitted them to wax or use a razor yet. They are probably self-conscious about it, and maybe they even get teased for it – but it is way too embarrassing to mention it to anybody.
Holding onto those feelings of embarrassment for the years I was in the same boat seems almost insulting now, and I realize now those years of feeling uncool and like an outsider have contributed to the best parts of me. The compassion that I feel for kindred shy spirits knows no bounds. It is completely okay to have an awkward past, and the only way to shed the insecurity is to proudly display what I was ashamed of before. If you can relate to these experiences, girl or guy, I encourage you to do the same! So now, without further ado – I present Boudicaspeaks: The Teenage Years.
And there you have it, how freeing! *Wipes sweat off brow*.
EDIT:: Just watched Glee, a coincidental posting on the same topic of embracing who you are and who you were! Vote Lucy Caboosey for Prom Queen! Hehe.