The Awkward 12-year-old in the Mirror.

A good friend told me the other day that I was stunning. (And don’t worry, this whole post is not going to be me humble-bragging about being pretty. Bear with me, will ya?!)

Conceited paragraph: I am smart, educated, have an amazing job that I adore, a beautiful apartment that gets me style compliments with every new showing and makes my heart content. I am healthy, have a large supportive friend group, and partake in a plethora of social and physical activities. Some people even think I’m funny. I love my life. I got it good.

But underneath that confident, self-assured and content 31-year-old woman still lurks a ghost of Me-Past. I still declare that I am awkward. I still see myself as that weirdo 12 year old who sang “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda” at my 6th grade talent show. (I wish I was kidding.)

Not in most ways. Just in the physical/visual sense.

– – – – – – – –

I wonder what it is within us as humans, I don’t think this is a gender specific thing really, that makes us hold on to the past. We cannot shake elements of those phases we are least proud of in our lives, whether we were sporting glasses, rocking an ill-conceived perm with bangs, wearing our brother’s hand-me-downs, outside of the in crowd, or nerdy before nerdy was cool. (Game of Thrones was a book first and came out YEARS ago.)

All of the above are factual about my life… That 11-13 age range was ROUGH.

George Clooney - Via: pixgood.com
George Clooney – Via: pixgood.com

Luckily I was blind to it all. It’s only really in retrospect that I look back at that and cringe. I was content and I was happy; nerdy glasses on and book in hand with a couple really good friends by my banged forehead and side.

I wasn’t so awkward to be picked on really ever, so I never felt bullied to change or hide who I was. (Two big and slightly overprotective older brothers might have helped too.)

I was somewhere solidly in the middle of the pack as far as looks and popularity went. It was a happy place to live out those most awkward of years. This protective bubble of middle-of-the-road let me grow my intellectual and nerdy side in safety, biding my time until my childhood loves became mainstream (LOTR, FTW). It also let me ride out those aesthetically tricky puberty years until my look and style matured, them was molded by the living catwalk that is New York City.

Taylor Swift  - Via: list25.com
Taylor Swift – Via: list25.com

– – – – – – – –

Don’t get me wrong. I KNOW I’m lucky to not have been one of those people who peak visually (and in other ways?) early on in life. I’m glad to not look back and think, “Man, I was SO much more attractive at 17 than I am now.”

I have no right to complain.

I just wish I could get the contentment and confidence of the inner 31 year old I am to apply consistently to the outside package too. I don’t think I’m ugly or unattractive at all. (Sheesh, this is turning into somewhat of a conceited post after all.) I just still see myself, most the time, as solidly average in the looks department. I still glance in the mirror subconsciously expecting to see that terrible perm or those blue circle rimmed glasses on my face.

I just don’t see visually stunning.

– – – – – – – –

The funny thing is, I want my friends to see themselves the way I see them. Yet everyone has those little chains linking us to our own pasts; perceived faults and flaws, in-betweens and phases.

Via: gopixpic.com
Brad Pit – Via: gopixpic.com

We grow out of our awkward, but never get entirely over it.

Should I want to perceive what others see when I look in the mirror? Even that deep wrinkle on my forehead? I’ve learned to grow past my 12 year old self internally but not externally. Perhaps it’s high time I realized that the 31 year old staring back at me is what everyone else sees too.

Or maybe not.

– – – – – – – –

Perhaps this is the most important reason to find and build good relationships… for those unconditional love fueled rose-colored glasses others see us through. Because it is completely impossible for us to see ourselves truly in the way the world does, most particularly in the way those who love us do.

It might be for the best that we have these little, lingering insecurities within us all. It’s reasonably ideal that we cannot see the forest for the trees, so to speak.

Maybe the subjective nature of the eyes of the beholder exists for a very good reason.

Because otherwise we would all be insufferable, narcissistic jerk-faces.

And then no one would be friends with us.

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