For most, this was Middle School. When all these strange things start happening to our bodies. When our older brother suddenly stopped using the bathroom with the door open. Or when you find yourself wondering why you thought it was ever appropriate to shower with one of your parents…
or bathe with your best friends #awkwardddd! Middle school is that place in life where your friends changed. When you had to choose whether or not you were going to play sports or stick with the band. Cheer or play soccer. Run track to get your weight under control or eat Naples french fries with meat sauce every day (#plug to Steubenville- proudly from the valley).
Oh middle school. Home to braces, awkward bras that aren’t really holding anything up, bad hair cuts, broken heart, mean girls, cracking voices, hallway note passing, and growing awareness of whether or not your parents are buying you name brand clothes.
I was in Kmart clothes well through sophomore year. No shame in my game. I was pudgy and loud–bossy even. I was entitled and my daddy just so happened to be the middle school guidance counselor…. Hello teacher’s pet tendencies…. I loved school and it never quite occurred to me that I didn’t fit in. In middle school I had this strange confidence for an overweight short stalky kiddo. I didn’t go through middle school dealing with people making fun of me or not getting invited to someone’s sleepover. I was a successful crowd surfer. I did just enough so that everyone liked me (at least to my face to they did!)
It wasn’t till recently when I saw a middle school cheering picture of me that I thought OMG! WTH *EXPLICIT *EXPLICIT* followed by me questioning my parents on why they never checked me. Like quite literally, Why!? Why they didn’t tell me to put the DQ Blizzard down. Why didn’t they tell me that the school had to special order a cheer uniform for me that fit. Why didn’t they tell me that my friends’ parents complained to them about how bossy I was at times. Why didn’t they tell me not to make an AIM instant messenger name that announced to the world my crush!
Their rationale? There was nothing wrong with me and they were in complete awe of my self-confidence. At 27 I look at that same cheer picture and think “Good God, child, where did you go?” I realize that they same person still thrives, I mean I’m still a little bossy, I have braces, and recently cut my hair, which prompted this post. I looked at my hair and braces and frumpyness and thought– wow, I feel like I just re-entered the awkward stage. Only this time I’m feeling it. I’m feeling the looks and impressions of my changes–My decisions that for some, go totally against the “grain”.
I’m feeling the polite smiles with the undertones of what the hell is she doing. And I’m okay with it. Hell, if I was watching someones’ life unfold the way you all are experiencing mine, I’d be pretty intrigued myself! Why? Because I believe this is my true awkward stage. This is my space where I’m rediscovering that pudgy cheerleader who gave no f**ks. I’m rediscovering the confidence required to stand alone versus blend with the group. I’m owning awkward. I’m leaving crowd pleasing. Don’t get it twisted, it has it’s painful moments. Those moments of Okay, Cierra, really though? What ARE you doing? And as I allow myself to sit in those uncomfortable moments, see that what I’m doing, is so in sync with my being exactly where I am suppose to be.
On the other side of awkward is self love. Watch the Neflix series LOVE and see how relevant modern TV scripts are reflecting on the 25-35 quarter life crisis/ awkward phase. An appreciation for your quirks, your kinky fro, your thick thighs, your loud living (figuratively and perceptively) In the awkward moments I get to see who’s truly for me. Ride or Die baby. (shout out to my parents, rolling steady since the late 80s with this baby Holllaaa)
It’s easy to be the crowd surfer. The people pleaser. The “go with the flow-er”; no one gets hurt when you’re busy pleasing everyone else….. except you.
So this is me. LOUDLY 🙂 owning my awkward phase, delayed, yes, maybe, but much needed and much desired. Embracing the end of one comfort zone, and boldly stepping into authenticity at its’ best