The Middle Years by Abigail Herbst

I don’t think there is a single person on this entire planet who can say that they are not at least slightly embarrassed by their middle school self. From awkward physical to mental changes, to bright fashion trends, I can confidently say I did not peak in middle school.¬†Unfortunately for me, I entered a “photography phase” during my middle school days, thus my middle school career is very well documented.

I recently came across a series of photos from a photoshoot I had with a friend after school one day. Needless to say, the pictures were horrific, and for lack of a better word, cringy. Many thoughts ran through my mind. The first being “Oh my God!” to “What am I doing here?” to “Who let me wear THAT?” to “Why did I think that obnoxious filter was a good idea?” While these photos were slightly horrifying, they were extremely entertaining to look at.

Back in middle school, I would have loved these pictures. In fact, I remember confidently posting one in a since deleted Instagram post. Five years later, my reaction is not the same. Am I more self conscious now than I was in middle school? Probably so. Somewhere along the line, my expectations rose, and I lost the confidence I once had in my middle school photo shoots. Today, in the height of social media, there is a lot of pressure to look your best in every day, to come across a certain way online, to have a certain aesthetic. Although they were mildly terrifying, I miss the simplicity of middle school days, where we shamelessly did whatever we wanted and did not worry about the judgments of others. I am glad I have grown out of my awkwardness, but I wish I kept that attitude of not caring what others thought with me.


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