The Awkward Years: A Letter from My Inner Eleven-Year-Old Girl to Her Adult Friends

Dear Friendy-Friends,

First of all, I should probably warn you that I, the Queen of Snark, am about to feel some feelings.  They are real feelings, and I am really feeling them, but as you all know (because you know me so well), I am not often inclined to express emotions, and when I do, it’s often poorly…and often tipsy-ness related, ahem.  However, I’ve been thinking this a lot lately–running has given me even more time in my head than usual–and so I felt it was high-time I publicly stated how much I adore you all and how necessary you are to my well-being and the relative saneness of me.

Growing up, for me, was not the easiest of times.  I mean, it probably wasn’t as bad as I remember it being–I have a tendency to focus on the negative–and I’m not saying I didn’t bring a some of the difficulties on myself.  I was a weird kid.*  BUT, I was a weird kid in a series of small towns where there wasn’t always a place for weirdness and difference.  At best, I was tolerated, and at worst, I was openly mocked.  Toward the middle of grade school, I would pretend to be sick a couple of times a month, just so I wouldn’t have to be in school anymore, and while I had a few friends, we were all definitely bottom of the barrel as far as “social clout” went, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that all of us were friends simply because we didn’t fit anywhere else.**  I also had a few “weekend” friends, girls who went to my church and with whom I often played/spent time with (depending on our age and level of coolness) on the weekends, but they were a grade ahead of me, and so, when it came to school, I was sort of out of luck.  I felt awkward all the time, and I think that most kids do, to a certain extent, but let’s put it this way:  Today, I am still afraid to walk into a room by myself for fear that 1) someone will say something hurtful, or 2) the people in the room will assume that I’m alone because no one wants to be around me.

Is this a ridiculous thing?  Yes, absolutely.  Do I let it stop me from walking into rooms by myself?  No, because I know, logically, that I am not that same girl from the awkward years who can’t understand what everyone is laughing about, who can’t think of a retort quickly enough to defend herself in an argument (and now you know where the snark comes from–it’s armor), who has no fashion sense (big crime for a girl, apparently), eats strange food, has no athletic ability whatsoever, and likes Joey from NKOTB when clearly Jordan or Donny are the correct choices.

And then, when I was 12, we moved, and I met a girl in the library, and when we walked home later she asked if I wanted to come over and hang out, and we sat in her room and looked at Teen Magazine and laughed about stupid stuff.  And it was fantastic.  We’re still friends.  She’s Maddie’s godmother.  And although we’ve gone through some rough patches (mostly middle school, which is basically one giant rough patch with a few bits of smooth sailing thrown in just so you don’t abandon ship altogether), I count her as my first real friend, and I am forever grateful to her for wanting to be my friend, for allowing me to (mostly) be who I was around her, and for loving the weirdness that is me.  I’m not saying things were golden from there on out.  It was middle school and high school, so it was basically cripplingly awkward once every other minute, but I came out of it with a small group of friends, some of whom I’m still very close with today.

Now?  I have lots of friends, and I would say I make friends pretty easily.  I don’t become bosom companions with everyone I meet, but there are probably 8-9 people that I could count on to give me a solid half-hour of their time*** at the drop of a hat, if I needed.  They laugh with me, not at me.  They could care less what I eat, what I wear (unless it’s particularly fabulous), and how far I can run (not very far, friends, not very far).  And they fully support my obsessions with “The Vampire Diaries” and all things Cumberbatch related.

I’m not going to list names or anything because that could, obviously, create some problems, but I did just want to take a minute to thank all of you for being my friends.  You make my awkward, eleven-year-old self happy–you almost make her feel normal and worthy of getting to spend time with such fantastic people.  And for that, you have no idea how grateful I am.

Friends!!!!

Erh, sorry.  The next post will be filled to the brim with sarcasm, wit, and general ridiculousness.

Love always,

A

P.S. – Clearly, the pictures do not include everyone.  I took a quick look through old Facebook photos and grabbed a few.  I also noticed that there are a few people who do not appear in any photos with me, which will be remedied the next time we meet.  You’ve been warned.  (She said in her most ominous voice.)

 

* Also, in 4th grade, I had a mullet, but so did almost everyone else, regardless of gender, so I really don’t think that was the main cause.  Contributing factor?  Maybe…

** This is not meant to disparage these girls in any way.  We had some very good times, and I’m sure we were all grateful for the company.  I’m just saying there’s a difference between the friends you choose and those the grade-school hierarchy chooses for you.

***  We are all very busy people, and thus far, thankfully, none of my problems really merit more than a half-hour of discussion.  Do I sometimes discuss them longer?  Of course.  It is a well-known fact that I am quite long-winded.  If you don’t know this, we’re probably not friends.