Thursday, April 11, 2013

Being Awkward, Part I

I was born awkward. The red hair doomed me from the start. I had a temporary lapse of cuteness from age 2 to 4, and then got awkward again—until I was about 15. I am 24 years old. That's 13 years of awkwardness, or in other words, more than HALF OF MY LIFE.

Although I can accept and sometimes embrace my awkwardness now, it tortured me for a long time. I was an awkward kid, yes, but I don't think that I was aware of it until I became an adolescent. And then it set in hard. But until then, I loved being a kid, awkward tendencies and all. Sure, my friends were more athletic than me; sure, all of my friends had their two front teeth even though I didn't; sure, most of my friends' clothes matched where mine did not, but they were my friends. We were little, we didn't notice the difference. We lived in our bubble of innocence, not knowing that there was more out there than what we were exposed to.

So, I was fine with being an awkward kid. But now, I look back at pictures of myself and wince. I was setting myself up for years of heartache by letting my red hair grow too long, not caring about matching, and being, at moments, devastatingly shy.

I made a lot of personal mistakes as a child, most of which I only came to recognize in retrospect. To name a few...
Childhood mistake #1: Making my mother let me dress myself. While my mom is all about creativity and self-expression, I can't wholly place the blame on her. As mild-tempered as I am, I am an extremely stubborn person. This became evident when I refused to stop wearing diapers at age 3. I also refused to wear clothing. I was potty trained, and didn't use the diaper, but I guess I liked the freedom that only a diaper-clad bottom and shirtless top can offer. I was quietly stubborn with my parents, and because I won the battle, the stubbornness rooted. So anyway, from that day on, I dressed myself.  As one can only get away with wearing diapers for so long, I was faced with having to choose real clothes. When that time came, I was a fan of suspenders, stirrup pants, cropped denim jackets, and tie-dye. Worn separately, or to my dismay, all together.

You can't tell in this picture, but you better believe that those are stirrup pants.
Childhood mistake #2: Not brushing my hair. This is common among children, but why? Why the aversion to a hairbrush? My hair was long, red, and often disheveled—not the best for making great impressions.

Childhood mistake #3: Picking out purple and pink speckled round glasses. I was pretty stoked about getting glasses, as they were something new to play with. But A: their large, round circumference did not flatter my face and B: the two-toned pink and purple frames did not mesh well with my freckles. Or match any of my clothing. But I think you already understand my attitude toward matching as a child.

Childhood mistake #4: Taking style cues from Anne of Green Gables. Braided pigtails are cute, but they grow old after 600 days of wear. I guess that because I had a repugnance to brushing my hair, pigtails kept it neat (though not really) and easy to deal with.

Told ya! I have a plentiful collection of childhood missteps. But, as aforementioned, I didn’t care. I was fine. Until I became an adolescent, made a ton of mistakes, and cared about them all.

My awkward childhood only served as a prelude to my devastatingly awkward adolescence. It might not seem possible to some of you, the fact that things got worse for the gap-toothed freckled be-speckled child above.

You know how they say, "things get worse before they get better"? Well, in my case things got much, much worse before they got better. Much worse. 
...which you'll hear about in Being Awkard, Part II (coming soon). I'll warn you, though, it isn't going to be pretty.

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