I don’t know about you, but when I see photos of myself from the ages of 12 and 18 years old, I cringe.  (Ok, I cringe at photos of myself now, too, but that’s only because I’m surprised that I look as tired as I feel.) At the risk of sounding like an old fart, kids these days. I mean, really!

When I was 13, I’m pretty sure I still wore jean overalls and glittery shoes and didn’t know the first thing about makeup.  Photos of my slightly chubby prepubescent self adorn my grandmother’s bookshelf. There I sit, my awkwardness time-capsuled on the wooden shelves, in all its stringy-haired, gap-toothed, make-up free glory.  

So, what the hell is wrong with kids these days? Walking down the street, eating in restaurants, shopping at the mall, I am passed by these short, willowy mini-adults.  Hair perfectly straightened, makeup on fleek.  (Is that even the right way to use that term?)

Their outfits look like they have walked straight out of a Teen Vogue photo shoot.  Their makeup is so startlingly perfect, it makes me question my ability to function as an adult.  Why isn’t my hair that perfect? My liquid eyeliner makes me look like a sweaty, abused dog, while theirs effortlessly wings out, like a symbol of some modern-day female version of the Greek God Hermes. What am I doing wrong with my life?

Also, the skin.  Is every teen girl on prescription meds for perfect, dewy skin? Whatever happened to acne, is that even a thing these days? Is anyone’s prom being ruined by that horrible fucking zit on their forehead anymore?

These mini adults breeze by me in gaggles, their perfumed, manicured, straight toothed, glossy selves leaving me in their wake.  And I’m not going to lie, some days I find them intimidating, these 13 year old girls.

But then I start to wonder how much of their perfection is masked on to hide their real insecurities.  Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better, but can anyone really miss out on the awkward stage of being a teenager? Do they feel less secure about their place in the world, and what people think about them, standing in their Jimmy Chu’s than I did in my off-brand, bedazzled high tops?

I attribute my confidence today as a full-grown woman to my intimate knowledge of feeling deeply uncomfortable, less-than, and other in my own skin.  My teenage years were full of braces and awkward crushes.  And as it should be.  It’s a right of passage.  Respect, ladies.


About the author: Isa is a writer, mother and adventure seeker, who dabbles in blogging over at The Wilder Adventure. She grew up in British Columbia and Colorado, but somehow doesn’t know how to ski. She does not adhere to the mommy wars.


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