You know those girls who seem to gracefully glide through puberty without so much as a pimple on their face? Yeah, that wasn’t me. My awkward stage lasted for at least 10 years, maybe even longer. Some days I think I may still be going through it.
Shows like The OC never helped either. Even Seth – the so-called nerdy one – was hot! WTF, Hollywood?!
Chubby, with frizzy hair I hadn’t yet figured out how to control, and glasses, the only way it could have been worse is if I’d had braces. Thankfully the good Lord cut me some slack when it came to my teeth.
It didn’t help that my best friend growing up was Cathie – a very blonde, very beautiful, very outgoing girl who all the boys seemed to love. There were often times my own sister seemed to prefer her to me! Next to Cath, I was Shrek.
In high school, I was cast as Augustus Gloop in our production of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. That’s right, I played a dumpy German BOY! I know what you’re thinking – hot! I went to an all-girls school, so I guess somebody had to play him, but still…
My “style” evolved three times during puberty…
1. The Tomboy
It wasn’t so much that I was a tomboy. Not at all actually. I couldn’t/can’t catch a ball to save my life. My tomboy phase all came down to the simple fact I wasn’t coping with the, uh, changes my body was undergoing, so I decided to hide it under baggy clothes I’d picked up from the boys department in Target. I used to wear two sports bras – one on top of the other – to flatten out my boobs, and my go-to uniform was a pair of overalls, Converse sneakers and a flannel shirt. God, I loved a good flannel shirt…
2. The Hippie
To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I ever fully outgrew this phase. For a while, all my clothes came from India Fox (a hippie store) and smelled like incense. There was cheesecloth. LOTS of cheesecloth. I used to wear my hair in two braids with flowers at the ends. This was also around the time I was contemplating changing my name to “Butterfly” and moving to Eumundi.
3. The Accountant
Definitely not my finest moment. I didn’t even realise I had an accounting phase until my sister found some old photos from my friend, Lea’s 18th birthday. While everybody else was in party dresses, I wore a grey pencil skirt with a purple shirt and sensible court shoes. Clearly I was the life of the party. A few months ago, Lea told me, “Yeah, you used to dress really badly.” Not for a job interview, Lea! Not for a job interview.
There were also hats. Lots and lots of hats. I think I thought I was Blossom…
It took me a really long time to figure out my style and feel comfortable in my skin. Today, whenever I see teenagers who seem to have it together appearance-wise, I think, “Ugh! I hate you! You’re that girl!” Then I slap them and run away really quickly before they even realise what just happened.
The bottom line is, puberty is tough, and despite what Hollywood tells you, it doesn’t just take Anna Paquin with a pair of tweezers and a set of contact lenses to transform you into Freddie Prinze Jr.’s dream girl.