No One is Pretty in 7th and 8th Grade

As you walk up the stairs to the second floor in our house, all five of our eighth grade graduation pictures line the wall. I don’t know if this is my parents’ twisted way of showing their affection for us or if it’s to deter guests from venturing up to the second floor. The pictures are just hideous. I mean woof. Nothing like having a picture of yourself in your most awkward stage staring back at you each night before you head upstairs to bed to remind you how ugly you once were. Just to give you an idea, here is my wonderful portrait on the wall:


I just have one word for my 8th grade self: Tweezers. Like would it have killed me to do a little eyebrow clean-up now and then? I guess I was too busy wearing jean skirts, working on my sweet jump shot (That part paid off. We won the 8th grade girls basketball championship – still livin’ in the glory days), and shopping at Hollister to care. Now I wonder how anyone can shop in that place without a flashlight! I mean how are you supposed to find a super cute outfit to wear to the boyz football games in that dimly lit place?!  Anyway, back to my picture. Luckily, I had gotten my braces off two days before the graduation pictures were taken, but unfortunately I hadn’t grown into my teeth yet, so I looked a little horse-ish. Another blessing is that my untamed, luscious locks covered up my extremely large earlobes. I have always been a little self conscious about them and for good reason. Do your ears hang low, do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow? You can’t, but I practically can. I’m surprised the Claire’s employee who pierced my ears at the mall could use a standard ear piercing gun and didn’t have to use a more powerful model. I also wish someone would have splashed a little make-up on my face. I mean yes, the picture was taken in the dead of winter, but I look like I haven’t seen sunlight in months and am suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. A little bronzer would have done me good.

It’s not easy going through that awkward stage, and nobody in my house tried to make it any easier for anyone else. In our family, people found it necessary to point out any blemish on anyone else’s face, even though they knew darn well it was a zit, and it was usually brought to everyone’s attention at the dinner table. Conversation usually went a little something like this:

-“What the heck is that huge red thing on your forehead?”

“It’s a pimple, OK?!”

-“Oh. Wow, that’s a big one. You should put some heat on that. Or some toothpaste, I hear that dries it right out”

Nothing like being reminded of the disgusting and obviously distracting pimple on your face while trying to sit down to enjoy a meal.

I think Brittany Spears captured the essence of the awkward stage perfectly in her hit single “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman.”  Those words perfectly describe me in my graduation picture because I’m sure guests walking up our stairs look at it and think “What is that thing?”

I feel now I am in the middle of my second awkward stage. But instead of singing “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” I’m singing “I’m Not in College, Not Yet Employed.”  I guess I’m just going to have to ride this one out like I did the last awkward stage.  At least this time around I’ve grown into my teeth.


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