Monday, September 12, 2016

The Awkward Years

Once upon a time I was a greasy faced, pimple poppin’, chubby (maybe still am), awkward 12 year old. It seems like now-a-days that 12 year old's do not look anything like the other 12 year old's in my day. You can’t understand what real awkward is like or truly looked like unless you lived pre social media, smart phone, there’s an app for that age. Which is probably the majority of people reading this, HA! Don’t get me wrong, there were “those” girls that seemed to bypass the awkward phase and that wasn’t fair, but these days it seems like NO one goes through that anymore. Completely and truly unfair. Awkwardness builds character… said no one ever. Or at least that’s how I felt  about it. You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back and relive those days. 

Really though… I can’t say that being a greasy faced, pimple poppin’, chubby kid made me who I am today, other than the fact that it taught me a lot of lessons. Maybe it kind of made me who I am today, I don’t know?? Do I want to admit that? I don’t know that either.

What it did do was drag my confidence through the dirt, and planted seeds in that dirt along the way. Seeds that I didn’t know where there until later on in life. Thankfully I grew out of that a little bit – until I decided to perm my hair in the 11th grade. What was I thinking? I can still vividly see my yearbook picture in my head. Sometime though, over that summer I grew into someone I was always afraid of. Those seeds I unknowingly planted years before started to bloom.

All the praise hands that it wasn’t blooms of more spontaneous awkwardness.

I grew into shoes of confidence I didn’t know I had. I determined that the summer after 11th grade, I didn’t have to live in my shy bubble of being intimidated by my lack of confidence in myself. That summer also brought some other life altering moments. 

Leading up to my senior year there were some decisions I was facing. My senior year was coming up and I was either dropping out of school (seriously thought about it) or switching schools. Dropping out wasn’t an option to my parents, so switching schools it was. The SCARIEST THING IN MY LIFE EVER. Yet, it was also very exciting. The person I grew into that summer wasn’t afraid of what was ahead. Walking into that small school my nerves were all over the place. It was so small that everyone knew about me coming before I stepped foot in the school, ha. That was also so welcoming though, as I was embraced by so many people. As that year went on, I was a part of events and clubs that I would have never stepped foot in, in my old school. It was truly a life saver for me. Not a single person knew what I was going through, or who I was for that matter. The most freeing part of being there was I felt like I could be my 100% self and it was okay. That year literally changed my life. The dreaded awkward years (not just at age 12) before that, I truly believe were purposeful to who I became that year.

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though people don’t know how to embrace their awkwardness. We didn’t know the perfect way to wear our make-up or style our eye brows. I don’t recall seeing mom’s more obsessed with their own outward appearance instead of being a constant appearance in their kids lives.  Oh, I’m sure it happened, but it wasn’t the norm – at least where I grew up. I know for sure we weren’t running around taking obsessive selfies of ourselves that are so filtered you couldn’t see that the morning’s makeup was already smudged off. I should probably add that the Polaroid wasn't that fancy at the time, either! People had birthday parties at the park, or their house and it didn’t cost hundreds of dollars to put one on. We were more worried about calling our friends on the land line after school to see if we could come over and play OUTSIDE until it was time for dinner. 

Today, we’re more concerned with how many likes, or followers we have on social media. We are more fascinated with how perfect our make up and eye brows look. Did we contour enough, not enough, too much? We obsess over how "perfect" other people look behind their camera lens. Kids goals these days are based on what someone looks like on the outside, rather than what is going on on the inside. From young teens and on, sexually exploiting yourself is the normal way to take a picture. 

As mom's, do our kid’s outfits match before I take this picture? We reflect a life on social media that just flat out isn’t always the full story. So many of us compete with a story that is half told. We believe the lies that say you're not the perfect mom if you don’t have a fit size 6 body, with a baby on your hip that you had 6 months ago. You’re not pretty enough if your body doesn’t look like the hourglass shape. You’re not good enough if you work outside the home. You’re not good enough if you eat out 3 times in one week instead of cooking all 7. 

How did we get to this point? Do people even know what it means to be happy, like really?  I’m not hating on social media, it does a lot of good things. But on the other hand, it has DESTROYED our definition of identity.  As parents it is easy to find ourselves caring more about what our kids, friends think about them or us instead of caring about the image we are portraying to our own kids. We are so afraid of our kids getting made fun of that we will buy whatever we have to, to make sure they look the best, have the best, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, I want my kids to have those things and will do what I can in my power to keep them from being made fun of.  This is a hard concept and balance for us social media age driven parents. I’m right in that playing field with you. So how do we get out of this fake world we live in and back to being awkward?  How do we stop pretending to live behind a phone or computer screen and live as who we really are? How do we teach our kids and others to find who you are and embrace it. There is only one you, don't pretend or crave someone else's life, and more importantly don’t disguise your own.

Our culture is so self-driven and motivated that we have become so tangled up in our own web that we block others out. No one like spider webs, am I right? The worst thing ever is walking through one of those nasty things. 

Love yourself, it’s okay. It’s important that we take care of us so we are able to take care of others. However, when we become more obsessed with our own identity we forsake the ability to help someone else discover theirs. If I’ve told my oldest once, I’ve told her a million times. “Life is not all about you” and it’s not all about me or you either. 

Teenager – your awkwardness is really okay – unless you perm your hair in the 11th grade like a poodle, so don’t try that at home or pay someone professionally for that matter. Discover yourself through YOUR awkwardness, not through someone else’s distorted and filtered image on social media. 

College student, single lady, wife, mom, whoever you are… let’s start a revolution. Let’s love ourselves first of all. Just like we are:  short, tall, round, skinny, flat butt, Kardashian butt (real or not), toned, flabby – own it. Diet and exercise for yourself and your own health, not for the applause of others. Don’t compare yourself and your abilities (or lack of, if that’s how you feel) to anyone else. Don’t worry if you forgot to wax your eyebrows for the 4th day in a row.  So you’re not into all things Pinterest, who cares – there are hundreds of women like that in this world. 


Let’s stop defining who we are by the culture around us and start defining ourselves by the confidence within us.

If for a second you think you don’t have any, you are so wrong my friend. You may have to search for it, but I promise you it is there. Maybe you need to go back and look at the seeds you also planted while you were being drug through the dirt and find your moment.  If you’re still plowing dirt, keep plowing. Be real. Be loving. Be kind. Be quick to forgive. Be awkward sometimes. Be unfiltered.  And know for every filter you add to your picture, there are hundreds of women doing the same! 

Take 5 minutes and write out YOUR story in the comments below! I would love to read them!

2 comments:

  1. This was so great Lindsay! YOU ARE BEAUTIFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE! We all are, yes? The great thing about growing, pushing ourselves upward through the dirt (Flowers, plants, etc. are pushing, fighting, striving to "grow up" out of the dirt)is just that...ever growing! I'm 56 years old, still growing, sometimes God has to cover me with His spirit of 'fertilizer', GOOD SOIL, but that's what helps me to continue growing in Him! That fertilizer is sometimes stinky, but once I've grown and gone through the fight, I come out smelling like a rose... Yes, I'm saddened by the social media promoting the life illusions to our young generation, exploiting them to look like they're 21 when they're only 12 (or younger) WAKE UP MOM'S N DAD'S. Focus, focus, focus and fertilize, on your little ones, because if you're not, someone else will, and they may not be very good soil!! Love you Lindsay, keep sharing your sweet, anointed, bold n brave heart xo, Vaye

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  2. So very true. I've said the same for awhile, that girls no longer suffer through that awkward stage. I wish I could delete every pic of me from about 12-17!

    Love what you said about only having half the story. So often what we see of people on social media is the image they want people to believe but that image is far from reality. I get so tired of people being fake. That to me is the ultimate sign of insecurity. I feel sometimes I may be a little to transparent but I guess if people can't handle me as I am they don't deserve me! Not saying that I'm super confident. That's an hourly struggle for me!

    I do fear what will become of these selfie obsessed folks. With their fake pouts and filters. Ugh. I fear it leaves no room for those who are real and who know there is so much more than what you can contort and filter your face into. That isn't life. Life is sometimes ugly, dirty, without makeup and AWKWARD. That's real and real is beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing this and for being who you are. Seeing what you've been going through has been such an inspiration to me.

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