Embrace your ‘awkward’ stage

Carole Hodorowicz, Columnist

I never thought I would find myself saying—or writing—this, but I have a few people I want to thank:

First, I would like to thank my mother for dictating my style in the early 2000’s by dressing me in my brother’s hand-me-downs and giving the woman who used to cut my hair the greenlight to give me a bowl cut. Although I was constantly mistaken for a boy and made fun of for not being able to put my hair in a ponytail, I had nowhere to go but up.

Secondly, I would like to thank 2008-2009 Carole, who developed a deep, intense, no-turning-back “Twilight” obsession. Luckily, she did not have to go through it alone, gaining three life-long friends who also adopted this obsession, while our classmates adopted a strange fear of the four girls who were infatuated with fangs and fiction. Sure ,she owned too many “Team Edward” shirts, spent too much money on special edition magazines, movie reels and book sets and wore too much Crackle nail polish (and she was probably the catalyst for this trend’s tragic end), but she showed unwavering loyalty and passion.

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for making fun of me during these two phases. Haters are my motivators, and look at me now: instead of getting made fun of for my haircut or my giant Edward Cullen poster that used to hang above my bed, I am getting made fun of for wearing socks to bed.

So why am I writing this? It is not for you to get another sneak peek of my memoir.

It is so I can tell you this: 

These so-called “cringe-worthy” or “ugly” phases we went through in the past will make us better, stronger people in the future.

Nowadays, it seems like these phases don’t plague our world’s youth like they once did. Pre-teens are participating in the same fashion trends, wearing the same makeup and branding themselves with the same “I’m young and I’m lost” label that 20-year-olds do. I used to look up to these pre-teens with envy because when I was their age, I spent my nights reading books under my cover with a flashlight so I didn’t get in trouble for staying up past bedtime and spent my days clad in basketball shorts, Aeropostale T-shirts and chunky Sketcher gym shoes walking to Blockbuster with my only three friends. Now, I look at them with sympathy, because they will never know what it truly feels like to “glow up.”

The Carole who went through these awkward phases did not know it at the time, but she was doing a huge favor for the Carole today. She received several strange looks and comments from the people then and is the butt of many jokes and reason for disappointed head shaking today, but she did not care. She stayed true to herself and did what Carole thought was cool—not what everyone else thought was cool.

Because of that Carole, this Carole cares a lot less about what people think of her. As a college student, we are all on display to our friends, family and peers who are watching our every move to see if we slip up or succeed. We are subject to both affirmation and criticism, and most days it feels like we are receiving the latter.

Nothing is a better shield for criticism than confidence. While I still have many things to work on, and while I may look back on this current phase in my life one day in the future and receive a shiver down my spine, I will still be grateful for one thing: that Carole did what she wanted. And that is all that matters.

Be confident in your talents. Be confident in your decision to turn them into a career, a life style. Be confident in the direction you choose to run in as you chase your future.

As long as you have yourself on your side, you have nothing to lose. This is confidence I would have never been able to develop without all of the awkwardness and humiliation I embraced when I was younger.

Let’s rebrand the “ugly” phase and see it as it really was : a time for learning, with a lot of trials and a lot of errors. Let’s look back at this time with more fondness than embarrassment and reflect on how it made us better today.

Carole Hodorowicz is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]