rowing up is hard, and unfortunately, you mostly just have to wait out the “awkward” phase. There’s no good way to predict how puberty will unfold for you, let alone rush yourself through it, so when your mom said you’d outgrow those problems eventually she was about right. Adolescent young animals are absolutely adorable, but sometimes things aren’t quite so pretty in humans. Admittedly, turning into an adult human is a little less straightforward than growing a different set of feathers or whatever.
Though you can definitely feel awkward about yourself at the time, much of this only becomes apparent in retrospect. By now, you’re likely well past your own awkward childhood-into-adolescence phase and at a safe temporal distance from which to reconsider it (what a relief). People’s childhoods unfold and end in different eras (I was a ’90s kid myself) and these have their own unique defining features (glitter everything, anyone?) At the same time, some general features of the twilight of childhood remain the same. If you’re ready to take a trip down (painful) memory lane, read these things that epitomized your awkward childhood phase and weep. Whatever the future brings, at least you’ll never have to go through that again.
Are you are a child or are you an adult today? Who knows! One minute, tween you was insisting she could be left alone at the mall until 9 p.m., and the next minute she was ordering plain buttered noodles and fries off the kids’ menu. Or maybe the dentist gave your kid sibling a toy, and you felt unexpectedly jealous. Even if you haven’t pitched a fit in public since you were 5, mom refusing to buy you those stretch jeans might set you off now. One foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood is emotionally exhausting.
Braces and breast buds? Acne, size 10 feet, and no hips? Eventually, your whole body will reach adulthood, but no guarantees as to which parts will get there when. Thirteen-year-old girls who look 25 and 20-year-old guys who look 12, we’re sorry for misjudging you.
Too tight, too loose, just plain ugly — our late childhood fashion has it all. Shiny, printed polyester shirts, and actual bellbottom pants were staples of my late childhood wardrobe, and I topped it all off with poorly-applied, mismatched makeup nipped from my mom’s discard pile.
I’m not sure it’s been scientifically proven, but managing a growth spurt is no joke — and last time you had to deal with it, you were an innocent baby. Personally, during puberty, I managed to break my toe whacking it against a door jamb and to break my finger grabbing a friend’s pant leg during a yearbook signing period. Whoops.
Does anyone really like the celebrities marketed to us by record labels? It’s unclear. But when your friends like One Direction (or Jonathan Taylor Thomas), you swoon right in line. Or maybe you’re trying to have more “grown-up” taste by, for instance, drinking coffee from the hotel lobby on that family vacation. Tastes like chalk, bottoms up!
Awkward young people are able to observe and emulate adult behaviors long before they understand or internalize them. Learning by doing is rough, and becoming an adult involves mostly on-the-job training. I’m still embarrassed about the time I ostentatiously said “I beg to differ” to a waiter when it wasn’t the right phrase at all. Just think of all the fake mature moments you can’t remember because you didn’t even understand that they were happening. Ugh.