The Awkward Stick Was Thrown Javelin Style

Studies have shown that the “awkward stage” is officially over. Girls no longer go through this awful transition period. You know that stage during adolescence where your outer appearance is, well, awkward.

Okay, so there really wasn’t a study done on this. It is purely one of my recent observations. I am basing this off of sightings at the mall, pictures on the internet, a middle school volley ball game I attended and lastly on my own two nieces who have managed to steer clear of the awkward stage.

I was always under the assumption that every girl must go through a mandatory “awkward stage.” I certainly know that’s how it was back in my day. The awkward stick hit every girl I knew. Some got whacked harder than others but at least everyone got a few taps.

Apparently, the awkward stick was thrown javelin style straight at me because I present to you my most unfortunate look ever:

My 7th grade picture

My 7th grade picture

Keep in mind this is a school picture, so I can only assume that I was alerted to the fact that they would be snapping a photo of me so therefore meaning that this look was the cream of the crop as far as what I could achieve appearance wise. At least you can kind of overlook the bad hairdo by the size of those spectacles.

If I remember correctly I believe I cut my own hair during this time period. I did this because I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. You see, I didn’t always have curly hair. I had some curls when I was little and then it went stick straight when I was in 1st grade. You can see that picture here. After that it started to get some wave to it.

My 4th grade picture

My 4th grade picture

My 5th grade picture

My 5th grade picture

My 6th grade picture

My 6th grade picture

For some reason after 6th grade my hair got crazy curly and the first picture I showcased was a prime example. Instead of applying mouse or gel to my hair, I would just snip off fly-away curls. Apparently, I had a lot of fly-aways.

By 8th grade, things were getting a little better:

My 8th grade picture

My 8th grade picture

I had discovered mousse and left the years of wacky glasses behind by getting contacts.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the end of my awkward stage. The summer after 8th grade I doused my hair in Sun-In in order to achieve the sun-bleached blonde hair that was advertised on the commercial. After hours of laying in the sun slathered in baby oil and my hair drenched in Sun-In the only thing I achieved was a terrible burn and bright orange hair. I am sorry to report I have no pictures of this to share with you. I think I may have successfully destroyed all evidence of this period.

I think I may have successfully got things turned around when I was 17 years old and began reading Seventeen magazine and got myself acquainted with all of the latest fashions, makeup and hair tips.

I blame the internet, You-Tube tutorials and hundreds of new and improved skin care and hair care products for phasing out the “awkward stage” in this present time. Girls today have so much information at their fingertips. All the girls I’ve seen recently, that fall into this age category, have beautiful, shiny hair. They have good fashion sense. They keep their make-up to a pretty lip gloss and some mascara.

I am happy for these girls and yet I feel bad for them.

They will have nothing to look back on and laugh at when they get older!

77 responses

  1. I think they still go through it, but maybe sooner and then emerge sooner. FYI….I ruined the finish on my parents deck when tanning. You used baby oil….I used vegetable oil. When it drips on wood in the hot, hot sun…it ruins it. Oops!

  2. I have memories of my own awkward phase too! I think we had the same pink glasses! 🙂 I had a mullet type hairstyle – short perm / “party” from the crown of my head forward and long & straight in the back. What was I / my mom thinking?! I agree, it’s fun to look back and laugh!

  3. I think you are being hard on yourself – 7th grade is okay- but those glasses are huge. Besides, your 8th grade picture is cute.
    Now 4th and 5th grade – don’t get me started. I really shouldn’t as this male had an awkward stage as well.
    Btw, I do think kids are more sophisticated these days but they definitely have awkward stages.

  4. I went through an awkward stage myself when I got tired of my straight stick hair and tried to perm it, and it did not hold the curl well. I had straight-ish hair on the top and curly central at the bottom; I apparently got a re-take because the first picture was so awful, though the second picture wasn’t much better. Though honestly, I feel like my entire high school career was awkward to be honest.

    • Oh man, the trials and tribulations we went through with that hair. I clearly should have had a retake on that 7th grade picture but I know it wouldn’t have been any better either!!! Thank goodness we made it past that stage!

  5. You are actually the cutest of life! These photos are treasures, truly. And I still think that most gals – all teenagers really – go through awkward stages. I know I did! It’s funny that you remark about seventeen, because that is the exact same time that I started to move past my own teenage dark ages! Love, loved this! x

  6. Ya, you’re right. They don’t really go through it. Thanks to you tube hair and makeup tutorials, they probably just don’t have to anymore. LOL! And I went through it, too. and my pictures would make yours look downright elegant!

  7. This is so true! These girls and their TBT Instagram posts, they look adorable in them all.

    I’m pretty sure I had those same glasses from your 6th grade photo. For what it’s worth, you look adorable in them all!

  8. OMG… We could be twins. I have a picture that looks exactly like your 6th grade picture. Same oversized specs, same hairdo. Hold it, I think yours look better. My awkward stage lasted till university *cringe*. No way I’ll be posting my pictures from yesteryears… I think I might cause people to collapse from laughter.

  9. Hi Melissa,
    You are so brave posting photos of your awkward stage on the Internet for the entire world to see. Most of us have either burned any proof of our awkward stage long ago or have it hidden deep, deep in the dark attic. I certainly went through an awkward stage followed by a rebellious stage. I had a very groovy hairstyle which was permed on top with an undercut or cut really short underneath. It was a real fashion statement in the mid 80s. That wasn’t too bad but I had a few tragic romantic bust ups and started cutting my hair as some kind of cathartic release. I also tried going blond by putting lemon juice in my hair which also turned my hair a ghastly orange and further denting my lower than low self-esteem. I was just glad to escape school and have a fresh start at uni. Haven’t looked back until right now. xx Rowena

      • Funny how we don’t look funny until we look back and see our funny selves. I wonder if we will look back at our adult stages and think how ridiculous we look(ed). Especially compared to some of those fashions our parents wore in the 70’s!!!! 😉

  10. oh bless you, don’t we just love those snaps that were usually all around the house back at home!!! You’re so right maybe we should frizz our kids hair up or something so they can have a few snaps like that!! xxxx

  11. You’re so brave to post your school pics! I have a few awkward ones for sure. And I agree – I was at my niece’s bat mitzvah this weekend and all the 13 year old girls were lovely and poised (though maybe dressing too old).

    • Well, I really don’t get out too much to see a group of 13 years olds at a dressed-up function but I do know when I go shopping at the stores the dresses…even for the little girls shock me! I have no idea why anyone would want a little girl or any young girl for that matter to look on the trampy side!

  12. The ever trusty sun in. Used it, loved it, until the ends of my hair became crunchy.. lol. Back in the day, we dident have access to all the latest and greatest. I was thrilled to Death when I got my first curling iron under the Christmas tree… As far as Pictures go, your pic are pretty standard. I love that you posted them. Just goes to show how a young girl can bloom into a beautiful butterfly…

  13. I raise your awkwardness by adding ROSE TINT to the huge glasses. Ugh, the styles back then! I kind of love that I finally found someone who went from having straight hair to having curly! My hair did the same thing around 7th grade and it has never been the same and no one else can understand the craziness of my hair! I would give ANYTHING to have the straight hair again, especially now with kids when it would be so much easier! You’re right about all of the information out there for the girls (though it’s WAY too much). I need to find some time to figure out how to tame the crazy like the 12 year olds can! haha!

    • I’m cracking up….”I raise your awkwardness”…I did have rose tint too…I’m sure of it! I went through so many pairs of glasses because I was always breaking them. Apparently my rose-tinted ones didn’t make it into a school picture! So, there…we’re even! Also, I didn’t know you had curly hair too! I think you always have it pulled back in pictures. Since having kids I always keep mine pulled back because I’m not going to take the time to style it if I’m just going to be around the house! I used to spend like an hour on my hair in the morning during Senior year just to get it looking decent…actually, it wasn’t decent…it was big and poofy!

      • I very rarely leave my hair down because it takes so long now (and add in the Florida humidity and it can end up just being a 70’s afro if not done carefully). And, since having the kids, it is STRAIGHT underneath, but still borderline curly/frizzy on the top. so weird. kids have messed me up! 🙂

  14. I swear I was just thinking about this yesterday! My husband coaches varsity baseball and the kids and I went to the game. I feasted my eyes upon more flesh than I cared to, and the girls certainly didn’t seem as awkward as I at that age. My mom claims it’s because of hormones in milk these days. Who knows? All I’m sure of is that I didn’t have the courage (or permission) to wear next to nothing in public. DANG!!!!!!

    • Oh, I forgot about the skimpy clothes. I was basing my recent observations off of winter fashions. All the young girls in their big winter coats, sweaters, scarves and hats is a good look! The hormones in milk???? I need to look into this!!!

  15. Melissa … All those years when you berated me for displaying your school pictures and demanding me to hide them away … and now ….. showing them to the internet world … I always knew they would be prize winners … and fit with your inner sense of humor and true bent to give others a reason to laugh … YOU are a marvel and were always a beauty inside and out …… , although that 7th grade picture did give me a moment of pause !!!
    Be consoled … not only you, but your sister and brother also had a bad 7th grade year as well. The awkward stick bashed them head also …. I was grateful we only had to do 7th grade once per child !!! LOL

  16. Ah, the school pictures! Yours are pretty good — you look like a cute, preppy gal (remember “preppies”? Sigh). I think I always had ginormous zits for my middle school pictures and I remember breaking my glasses the night before my 6th grade pic. My dad fixed them with a dab of gray epoxy glue (on brown frames). Instead of being smart and taking them off for the pic, I wore them — and the resulting photo looks like I had one eye 3 inches higher than the other. A fabulous look, really.

    • Joan, Joan, Joan…I just spit all over reading this comment….the glue…the eye 3 inches higher….Oh that’s beautiful!!! Thank you so much for making me laugh! This was the best comment!! I’m glad all of us gals of that time frame were in this together!!!

  17. Normally I read all of the comments so that I don’t duplicate, but I’m short on time, so if this is a duplicate of someone else, I’m sorry!! I just wanted to point out that I never thought about it until I read this – you are genius! I don’t think that the kids have the awkward stage anymore.. and that’s a shame!! LOL. It builds character! I also think you are right, having the info at their fingertips in Google, YouTube, etc gives them an unfair advantage that we never had!!

    • You certainly didn’t duplicate because no one called me a genius!!! Also, I agree with you…I think it does build character!! Those poor things aren’t going to have all those character building skills I did!!! haha!!

  18. Count your Blessings Myrnie Mae … I think Joan definitely captured 1st place in the school photo description … for spontaneous laughter and spit … I’m still laughing …… What a treasure she has …. she could sell her photo for big bucks for advertising ………… “EYE-Wear ” !!!

    • Oh boy…thanks for busting out the “Myrnie Mae” Mom! That’s almost as worse as the pictures! Joan’s comment made me think of all the times I broke my glasses. I don’t think you ever used epoxy glue but I’m sure if you would have had it on hand you would have!

  19. There is no doubt about that … You and Bruce with glasses were the bane of my existence … we spent as much on gas running to Shopko to get them fixed as the glasses cost in the first place … obviously I didn’t get the ” careful ” message taught too well ….LOL

  20. Oh honey, you and I are twins! Except I didn’t have the curls. I wanted them, but when I got perms the back would go curly and the front would go straight.

    We appreciate the bravery it took to bring us such a great post!

    • Thank you Joyce! It’s funny because when I would say that I didn’t know what to do with my curly hair, people would say, “Don’t you know how lucky you are? Other girls are paying a lot of money for perms.” The only thing was that girls weren’t paying for their curly hair to look like THAT!!! haha!!

  21. Oh my gosh that could be my class picture! You are so right though, we should definitely pitty the poor teenage girls who currently have perfect breasts, hair and teeth. Oh and clothes that match. Where their only hardship will be who she dated! Poor kids…

  22. You know, I hadn’t given this any thought until you brought it up. You’re right! I don’t see that geeky look anymore. Have you shown your children? What are the reactions?

    • Lidia, I haven’t shown my kids yet. For some reason I don’t think they would be the least bit interested! But I will be sure to whip them out if they ever get down on their looks and say, “See, look at this!” I think that would make them feel better!! haha!!

  23. WOW! Melissa! you are too hard on yourself! you look adorable in all your pictures, the one from 8th is the best; you look very pretty! 🙂 (I never had great pictures; I always made awkward faces and my mom always pulled my hair back! Hmmm… I need to talk to her about this now, let me give her a call now!) not kidding you are very cute! 🙂

    • Thank you Ingrid! That is too kind of you! I will probably be getting a call from Iris someday for this same matter. She always wants to wear her hair down but when I let her she always comes home with such messy hair. Most mornings I put her hair in piggy tails or braids! I can already hear her phone call now!

  24. To echo what everyone else said, I think you look adorable. I especially love the 8th grade photo. You should’ve seen what I looked like in 8th grade. My bangs were six inches high courtesy of aqua net. I could’ve trapped a fly with my hair! 🙂

    • Um….Anka….I have seen what you looked like in 8th grade…..remember???? Yes, your bangs were a little high but so was every other girls during that time….(you should have seen mine at the end of 8th grade) but you were definitely gorgeous even during your “awkward stage”!!!!

  25. If I destroyed all evidence of my own awkward stage, does that mean it did not happen? 😀 Don’t I wish because I had weird hair, bulky retainer on my teeth, no makeup (I’m a very pale-skinned red head) and no fashion sense. But, no photos so maybe I made that up!

  26. I am actually howling with laughter… but not at the 7th grade pic… the 4th grade pic did me in. Holy crap! — a teal tie!!!! I blame your mother. I cannot imagine that a 9-year-old child would have chosen this particular ensemble. So funny. Thank you for the laugh.

    • Jackie, I just saw this comment! I know, I know! Can you imagine anyone letting their child leave the house looking like this?? I have asked my Mom countless times why she did this to me! This is only the school picture, you should see some of the snap shots we have!

  27. Oh my goodness, I hated that stage and yes, I totally agree with you! Girls today have so many advantages that many will never experience this. The new awkward stage is now reduced to just social network mishaps and getting caught posting pic they shouldn’t. It’s sad to say goodbye to the good ole days when everyone had cow-licks, widows peaks, and little rascal “Spanky” hair they were totally embarrassed of 🙂

    • I’m happy to hear you could relate as well! I think it’s a stage that all girls took some learning lessons from…good or bad! On the flip side I guess those social network mishaps should make for some good learning lessons as well!!

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