Personally, the awkward phase for me started around 2009. I had not gotten braces yet (think snaggletooth), I had attempted highlights, and my skin was “acne-prone”. Those were the golden days. Besides the physical awkwardness, I was also hopelessly pining after some weird ginger who, in retrospect, was not worth it and ultimately forgettable. This did not stop me though from secretly sharing my feelings with friends and always hanging onto a shred of hope that he would look past all of my awkwardness and realize that we were “meant to be”.
Flash forward to 2015. I eventually got braces, grew out the highlights, and gained control over my skin (and hormones). I have long forgotten that ginger who caused my heart and head so much grief all those years ago. Some would say that I had finally outgrown my awkward phase.
But have I really? I struggle remembering to wear my retainer every night, I recently dip-dyed my hair, I still pick and struggle with my skin, and last, but certainly not least, I still pine for boys who don’t give a shit. I am still struggling with situations eerily similar to those that characterized my “awkward phase”.
6 years have passed and I really can’t say that I have grown up that much. Sure, I am now able to drive and stay home by myself, but mentally, I am still that same awkward kid who felt everything too strongly and put importance on things that ultimately amounted to nothing.
But this is okay. I am still growing up and slowly, but surely, working towards being a more put together person. I still have my bouts of awkwardness and make irrational decisions, but unlike 7th grade me, I no longer feel the need to apologize for my actions and feelings. I have learned that forgetting my retainer for one night won’t kill me and that purple hair fades into an interesting shade of pink. I have learned that sometimes skin will act up with no rhyme of reason and that hurt feelings over boys fade quickly. Nothing is as permanent as it may feel in the moment and some things can be easily fixed or changed.
In the end, despite what appearances may lead you to believe, no one has actually completely exited their awkward phase; some have just learned to navigate the road a bit better.