A Letter to My Awkward Middle School Self

Dear Janel,

June, 1993

Greetings from 2015! Dude, let me tell you — the future is CUCKOO BANANAS.  I don’t want to tell you too much, because Doc in Back to the Future II says you shouldn’t know too much about your future, but suffice it to say all that time you’ve been spending in the library this year putting books back in order for no reason and playing with the Macintosh computers in the labs has really paid off.  Or not, depending on how you look at it.

Also, there are no hoverboards or flying cars yet.


I’m writing this letter out of love and concern, after finding this picture in an album the other day while looking for cool pictures of myself in college.  I feel like there’s a few things you could address right now that would really help you leave that awkwardness behind when it’s time for 8th grade in the fall.  Based on everything going on in this picture, I think we can all admit that 7th grade was kind of a… well, I would use the phrase “rebuilding year,” but since we’re really starting from scratch, let’s go with the phrase “huge, gaping disaster” and move past it, shall we?

Allow me to bring a few things to your attention:

First, I know that those Seventeen magazines that have mysteriously started showing up at your house (REAL SUBTLE MOM, THANKS) kind of freak you out. However, I’d like you to pick one up and flip through the fashion spreads.  I guarantee you won’t see a single person wearing leggings and a man’s long sleeve button-down shirt, buttoned all the way to the collar YET UNBUTTONED AT THE CUFFS.  Who told you this was cool?  Seriously, please let me know who did this because I’m going to Quantum Leap into that moron and set them straight.  Please stop this look immediately, you look like you just got back from elementary school art class.

Next, let’s talk about your glasses.  Oooooooh, sweet baby Jesus.  Now, I know that these things were great for 6th grade, but we’re running with the big dogs now.  You’re in junior high now — time to switch to contact lenses.  I promise you, boys are not into cotton-candy pink plastic glasses that slide halfway down your nose all day long.  Not that you care about boys — you’re so damn oblivious to that stuff that you can’t figure out why you’re pining away for your male “best friend” who moved away three months ago.  News flash: most girls don’t start a shoe box of treasures over “best friends” that they don’t see anymore.


Finally, ah geez, you’re holding your goddamn band instrument.  Most former band geeks will immediately see that you’re holding an oboe, the dorkiest instrument of all the instruments.  It’s your first year playing this gloriously obnoxious contraption, after upgrading from the second-dorkiest instrument, the clarinet.  Wasn’t Mom just thrilled when you brought that thing home! It was a mother’s dream: a loud, squawky instrument that cost her a fortune in supplies, private lessons, and earplugs.  Our mother was probably the only mother on the planet Earth that was HAPPY when you switched to playing the bass drum in the marching band.  Is it too late for you to pick up something cooler, like flute or woodblock?

Eh, what am I saying? This picture is who we are, girl.  There’s no purer depiction of who a person truly is inside than these painfully awkward snapshots.  Here’s a child who has no clue about the social norms she would soon come to think were life and death — she’s acting solely on instinct and personality.  As we say in 2015: you do you, Awkward Janel.

And if the mean girls you meet next year give you a hard time, I want you to remember these wise words once spoken by a yellow-haired prophet:

Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.

I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.

Shake it off, shake it off.

Amen, Taylor.  Amen.

I wrote this post as part of Nickelodeon’s® sponsorship of The Blog University. The series “100 Things to Do Before High School” premieres on June 6 @ 8pm on Nickelodeon.

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One Response to A Letter to My Awkward Middle School Self

  1. Liz says:

    Seventh grade as your rebuilding year killed me. LOL. Looking forward to meeting you. I’d like to think I’ve outgrown my own awkwardness but liking to think something doesn’t make it so!

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