Seven year-old me and twenty-nine year-old me are pretty similar. We love making silly faces, we love being artsy and craftsy despite lacking creativity, we love to dance, and we don’t really care what other people think about us.
The same is not true for eleven year-old me. By eleven I had glasses, bigger boobs than every other girl, and acne. Within a year I’d also develop cold sores and a weird bacterial rash that both conveniently flared up every time my period came, so that each month anyone who paid attention would know that not only was my face more blemished than ever, I was also bleeding out of my vagina. At eleven, I was very different from the girls in my class and from the girl that I had been. Suddenly I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I still tried to play it cool and keep being me, but that’s hard to do when you’re convinced that everyone’s looking at you like you’ve got a booger on your face. While I became more comfortable in high school when my classmates had finally caught up to me, I still tried to be what I thought was cool, instead of just being myself.
What I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t alone. Every young adult says that middle school was the worst because they were so awkward and everything was drama. Everyone just wants to be normal, wants to be cool, but there’s no way to be cool going through puberty (unless you’re one of the lucky three who somehow does go through this transitional phase with dignity in tact; if you are, you’re also one of the ones ruining it for the rest of us by making us look like idiots). Especially for girls, for whom the bodily change of puberty is more pronounced and for whom the change also includes changing how you dress for sports and what you carry in your purse or backpack.
I can’t go back in time to reassure myself, “It’s cool, it’s cool, just be yourself, you’re cool. Everyone’s dealing with what you are, and they’re all having the same insecure thoughts that you are.” Instead, I just have this new music video from Bomba Estéreo (about whom I wrote two weeks ago), which is all about embracing who you are and flaunting it confidently.
Sigo caminando y sigo riendo
Hago lo que quiero y muero en el intento
A nadie le importa lo que estoy haciendo
Lo único que importa es lo que esta por dentro
More or less (tranlsation mine): I keep on walking and I keep on laughing/I do what I want and I die trying/It doesn’t matter to anybody what I am doing/The only thing that matters is what’s inside
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