Everyone's got them (at least I'd like to think so): those awkward, early adolescent photos capturing an era you'd rather forget. Think acne, bad glasses, and braces. But instead of hosting a yearbook bonfire, one woman is bravely flashing her geek picture to the world.
According to an article in Today Moms, Salt Lake City graphic designer Merilee Allred is the first to admit she was “queen of the nerds” back in the day, but now she's showing kids the pictorial proof, to prove that "it really does get better."
“I was bullied and teased over how I looked,” said 35-year-old Allred. “I was probably one of the tallest in my class so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was clumsy, and because I was shy and very quiet, I couldn’t stand up for myself so I think I was just an easy target.”
When a friend demanded proof that Allred had been bullied because of her looks, she decided to start the Awkward Years Project. The blog welcomes users to share their growing pains via a 'before' and 'after' photo which in many cases clearly shows that the dorkiest ducklings can indeed turn into graceful, confident swans.
But it's not about gloating. Allred claims the retrospective allows people to take "pride in who they are and how they survived those years."
Already teens have taken heed from the site's affirmation. Even adults experiencing a blip in self-esteem could do with asking themselves this very simple question.
Were you an awkward teenager? What would you tell your younger self if you could?