Caught in the Middle

It’s a well known fact that middle school is one of the most difficult and awkward transitions in life.  Hormones spiral out of control as we cope with the changes of puberty. And we’re trying to understand life and struggling to find our place in this great big world.  This is the time when we move from being a child frolicking about the playground to moving from subject to subject in hour long class sessions.  We begin to get the notion of freedom. We gain more responsibility and expect more freedom to make our own decisions. 

 I can line up my middle school pictures next to my peers and fit right into the collage of craziness.   The era of stonewashed denim, backward worn overalls, bright colored baggie clothing sets and A-symmetrical haircuts were in full effect. Though I’m sure we can each look back in horror and wonder why our parents allowed such atrocities, I went to school most days with a confidence that read I was just too cute. 

For a moment I thought that maybe these years were a moment in the timeline of fashion evolution for terrible style. Perhaps middle school students of the late eighties/early nineties were only victims of style-less options.  I do believe that this is largely to blame for my school picture tragedies. However, I have to accept some responsibility.  No one forced me to tease and stiffen my hair with a half can of hair spray.  I didn’t have to peg the legs of my pants or fill in my eyebrows with dark eyeliner to make them look much too thick.  I did that to myself.

Fast forward to present time, not much has changed. Of course middle school students are not wearing the same outdated style of my middle school days but the style innovation and confusion is equally as bad. It is painfully obvious which students have parent intervention and those who freestyle their own brand of fashion. 

It’s a humorous evolution. And I figure that these middle school days must be a natural progression to not only establishing one’s identity but learning what styles best suits your personality, shape, size, and lifestyle. It’s just unfortunate that tangible evidence of such tragedies serve as objects of amusement and horror when those middle school years have passed.  

The good news is many students grow out of this phase as they move into high school. Trends and styles hold more weight in young minds and clothing selections that once were held dear become Goodwill donations.  The bad news is the past can’t be erased and whenever an ex-classmate decides to look at their old year book, there will be pages filled with that transitional moment.

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