I just found a picture of myself on my grandma's porch swing. I think I was twelve. I know I wasn't thirteen because that was the year that must not be uttered--the year of the BAD PERM. At fourteen, I had a pixie cut, having cut off my curly locks in a failed attempt to gain back some sort of social status.
But at twelve....
|I'm just hanging on Grandma's porch swing, being 12, imagining I'm in an English garden in 1901.|
...at twelve, every corner of my grandma's house was explored as we tried on junk jewelry, old chiffon dresses, and fancy hats with netting and peacock feathers. I used to love to dress up and pretend that somewhere, in another world, I fit in.
This whimsy didn't disappear when I turned thirteen. Or fourteen, for that matter. While the girls around me were trying on coral lipstick and painting their toes various shades of neon pink, I was fumbling toward fourteen, holding on to those younger ages with all of my might, reluctantly watching my sister play Barbies because I was too "old" to join.
At fourteen (the spring before I went to high school...gasp!) I even had an "old fashioned" birthday party. We wore formal, grandmotherly dresses. We ate lunch on fine china. We sat for black and white photos taken by my dad. We drank tea. We MAY even have used British accents, but I don't remember. While students around me were having their first kisses, or listening to Duran Duran, or sneaking out to toilet paper, I was...being awkward! The beauty of it was that I had friends willing to join me!
In my defense, I wasn't a completely lost cause for a kid in the '80's. I loved Madonna but I dressed up like her only on Halloween because that was the safest way to publicly announce that I really liked that crazy girl who sang "Like a Virgin," a song which shocked and horrified my parents. For other girls in my small town, loving Madonna was fine, even normal. For me? Scandalous! Tomboy poetry writer cowgirls DIDN'T love Madonna.
I liked boys at fourteen too, but wouldn't admit it. My friends and I didn't talk about boys we liked, nor did we prank call boys. We rode horses, wrote poetry, made up secret words, and read books, but didn't talk about boys. SECRETLY, I wrote a letter to Ralph Macchio after seeing "The Outsiders."
Despite the Madonna costumes and the unrequited love for Ralph, I remained pretttttty awkward throughout middle school and into high school.
I went from this:
|I'm eating snow and not matching, but I'm having FUN and I DON'T CARE! (5th grade?)|
|MOM! Just take the picture! I am wearing a Gunny Sac dress and I have a boy's hair cut and I'm slathered in make up...could this BE any more uncomfortable? (8th grade graduation)|
I made it through.
And now? I embrace the awkward. I love the nerd within who gets excited about books and poetry and Shakespeare and gets paid to get teenagers to like all of it too. *Sigh!
|Dorky English teacher embraces Shakespeare while at the Huntington Gardens on a field trip with the Poetry Club (which students actually VOLUNTEERED for!)|
As Emma and Grace begin their journey toward preteen/middle school/awkwardness, I hope to instill in them the ability to be different, to have empathy toward others, to be confident with their choices, to remain close to God, to give back to others, and to love, because "Love Never Fails." (That verse is how my mom got me through all of the awkward!)
Heee heee heee....wish me luck!
To be continued...
|Oh My Gosh...What are we to do? Our Mama is awkward. We have no hope!|
To be continued...