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How to Survive the Awkward Years

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For those of you who are in that most delicate time of life when either your clothes are too tight or too loose, your hair is never right, everything seems to just plain suck, and overall you have become a most singular creature, there is still hope for happiness. Here is how-to guide from someone who has “been there” and survived.


Remember when ugliness was irrelevant? No? Neither do I. The greatest beauty tip I can give you is to invest in a $10 eyebrow wax. For all of those uni-browed people amongst us, an eyebrow wax will change your life. When fixed correctly, the eyebrows can completely transform the face. You can have one done at any nail salon or by your hairdresser. Be brave. If you have glasses, get contacts ASAP. If you are like me, you will wonder why you waited so long.

As far as makeup, keep it simple. Light blue eye shadow and red lipstick together are only for hookers and drag queens. For goodness sake, easy on the eyeliner. You don’t need it. Get a compact powder for all those wonderful blemishes, and make sure the power matches the color of your skin. For eyes, use mascara and keep your eye shadow colors tame, and most important, make sure the colors blend together. Smile right now for me (I know it is hard at this age). See where your cheeks look nice and round? That’s where the blush goes. These are the apples of your cheeks. Blush should match the color your cheeks become when you are around boys.

One last beauty tip — if you are bored with your hair, don’t  bleach it blond. There are many more options. Consult with your hairdresser.


There was time when going to the mall was a most painful experience for me. The dressing rooms always made me cry, and I left feeling hollow inside. Clothes and shoes are the good part of life. Enjoy them. The Juniors section can be a dangerous place with hideous trends and ill-fitting clothing. I would be very cautious in it. Sometimes The Gap is boring, but the clothes are usually always safe in terms of style. Most importantly, wear clothes that fit you. Don’t sweat the size, you will look better and feel more comfortable if you wear clothes that fit. Get the size you are, not the one you want to be.


Join clubs. Leave your room. Meet people. Go to the school dances. If you don’t like to dance, you can at least watch and make fun of people. Do things that interest you. If people scare you, remember we are all going to die anyway, so who cares? The more people you know, the more comfortable you will feel at school.

If you are lacking in the friend department, I have some very sound advice. Make friends with the church people. The God Squad will take anyone. If you aren’t religious, they will probably like you more.

As for boys, forget about them for a while. The nice ones will find you.

That is my short guide to the awkward years. Remember it doesn’t last forever. You will eventually grow into yourself. The daily pains you struggle will only make you a more interesting, open-minded, diverse adult. Good luck!

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About Emily Deck

  • laura

    Great advice! I have stopped looking back at old photos where I looked good and juts accept this is who I am now a little older still looking good!


  • I am not really sure what I was trying to say there..
    more or less, I believe that the most attractive thing about a woman is her confidence in herself, not herself when in makeup and with friends, but when she is alone

  • Who knows, maybe Jesus lives in his heart? lol

    Ow ow, painful article. Ever consider questioning the world? A couple questions come to mind. Why should teens be required to feel awkward at all? Why do people put up with accepting what TV and magazine advertisers tell them they should look like? Is it possible to imagine a confident youngster who doesn’t put so much stock in appearances and lay her self-esteem (and that of the people she judges) at the feet of some company that wants to sell her lipstick to feel better?

  • doug m

    There’s a guy inside you?

  • Also, as for the God Squad, make sure that they are real people, and not cult tools. Too often teens, lacking friends, join these groups for social acceptance, only to get screwed over

  • the guy in me wants to point out how unattractive most of your statements would actually make you…

  • Great advice, Emily, but I would add one more that is just as vital: service.

    I have been working with pre-teens and teens since I myself was a teen, and it’s amazing how by giving time and effort to others, a teenager forgets about how awkward they are.

    I should know – I was a terribly gangly teenager with horrible hair and glasses, to the point that when I look back at pictures I shudder, and yet none of my high school friends remember that, none of my teachers remember that, and, even more interesting, none of my past enemies remember that. All they talk about is how happy I was, and that was intimately liked to the numerous service projects I was involved in.

  • No wonder it took me so long to straighten out. I never left my room!

  • Really great advice. I actually did a couple of those things at the tail end of those awkward years (contacts, hair) and there was an instant reaction. As you say – why’d I wait that long. 🙂