The Awkward, Ugly, Phase

I had a nice night out yesterday with a few old friends that I have known since high school. The great thing about these friends is that they knew what I looked like nine years ago and still chose to be my friend.
Picture taken in 2006

Let’s face it: EVERYONE had an awkward or an ugly phase in their lives. Whether it happened in middle school, high school, college, or even after college, the period of our lives where we feel like ugly ducklings instead of the swans we are is inevitable for everyone.

For me, that phase was in high school. I was a bit chubby for my height and I never had the right clothes. I wore glasses, I hunched, and I had crooked teeth. It was not pretty.


In high school, there were girls who were so pretty, had the right "look," wore the right clothes, were skinny, etc. And then there was me. No matter what I did, I couldn't be those pretty girls that all the guys wanted to ask out on a Friday night. In fact, most of my Friday nights were spent in my room with a mug of hot chocolate, curled up with a good book. I didn't want people to point out how ugly and awkward I thought I was so I shied away from attention. I kept to myself and I made sure I was never in a position where there would be many people looking at me. I was never bullied - in fact I got along with everyone in school but to be honest, this was just a defense mechanism - I only got along with everyone so people could say I was the "nice girl," not the "ugly girl." 
Picture taken 2013

Then, I went to college and I grew into my looks. I got thinner, I wore clothes that flattered my figure. I found a good hairstyle that worked for me. I got taller, I stopped hunching, I got a boyfriend and I learned to be okay with my glasses and even feel confident in myself.

But I never ever forgot where I came from. I was still an ugly girl deep down, and I realized today that I am incredibly grateful that I had an awkward and ugly phase.

See, without that period in my life, I would never have figured out that I am capable of doing so much! I would have glided through life expecting things to be handed to me instead of thinking I had to work for it. I got to be editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper and I pretty much ran the school’s morning announcement broadcast my senior year. I was in student government and was one of the top 10 students in my graduating class.

I've met so many women who place self-worth in their appearance, and I’m sure everyone knows someone like that as well. My awkward and ugly stage taught me to look beyond that and place a person's worth in things beyond appearances. I'm not afraid to look ugly and neither should anyone else :]

I’m glad that no matter how much I change on the outside, I can be comfortable being myself because I used to be ugly and awkward. I also wish an awkward and ugly stage for my future children someday so that they may look back and be glad of the impact it had on their lives as well. And I wish that everyone who reads this will also look back fondly to the time in their lives when they were ugly or awkward, or both. It is because of that phase we can truly be beautiful - not just "pretty." Beauty is more than just skin deep. It is the essence of who we are. If we can be happy, confident, strong and be good not only to ourselves but also to others, we will always be beautiful. It is because of this awkward, ugly period of my life I realized my true worth. I know this sounds cliche but I truly believe all of my readers are beautiful as well! Trust me, as an ugly girl, I know what it means to be beautiful ;]

I will always be grateful to the friends I made during this time because I know they are true friends. If they weren't afraid to be seen with me in public back then, they are the the greatest friends anyone can have.

Did you have an awkward or ugly phase? When was this? Let me know in the comments below!

27 comments

  1. I think you look adorable no matter what age! my awkward phase was definitely while I had braces/headgear!

    MI VIVERE .

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  2. This is a really lovely post. I think you look cute in your first picture but the second one is definitely beautiful so I see what you mean about how beneficial the awkward stage can be! At the beginning of secondary school I had braces and acne >< Annoying but I learnt to live with it haha x
    Freya's Fashion Chapter

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  3. I wouldn't call it the ugly phase, because no matter what, we shouldn't say we are/were ugly! And you definitely weren't! :)
    I would call this the awkward phase, as I had it too! I think mine was at the first years at high school, when I had this really not my face fitting hairstyle, I was trying out many styles (therefore my style was all over the place!) and I was extremely shy as well! I didn't go to many parties, nor did I had a boyfriend! I was a sappy girl who loved wathcing all those Disney kind of movies ( High school musical, cinderella story etc) and dreaming I would ever have something like that!
    And right after I started studying in University I found myself, I found piece with how I look, I became more confident, made a lot of friends, dated few guys and currently I have been seeing a wonderful guy for almost to years already! :)
    Anyways, long story short, we need to live through that awkward phase to get where we are now! :)

    www.callmemaddie.com

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  4. Beautiful as always hun! Today is my blog's one year anniversary! Hope you come by at some point <3

    xx

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  5. great post!let’s follow each other on gfc&bloglovin?
    flw me and tell where u’ve followed me!

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  6. Aww, I think you were cute as a high-schooler! Certainly a head-turner now, though. :) We all go through awkward phases, and they teach us something about who we are (or aren't, rather). And who wants to peak in high school, anyway?! No way! Onward and upward. :)

    -Ashley
    http://lestylorouge.com

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  7. I think I'm still going through my "ugly stage", because I think I look ok now but in a few years time I'll look back and think "why...". You mentioned a great point, that you learn to look beyond looks from going through that stage.

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  8. This is so so true. I had a really horrible awkward stage and I did basically what you did...I just tried to be nice so people wouldn't be mean and I did what I could to hide. It definitely teaches you a lot about judging yourself and others based on looks and that inside everyone is something beautiful.

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  9. Awww, I feel ya on the ugly/ awkward thing. Growing up is tough. But like you said, it just shows how beauty and personality really aren't skin deep. And now you're a stylish gal with a successful career :)

    Mili from Call me, Maeby

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  10. Hi Deborah, I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit!!! =P I DO NOT THINK you were EVER ugly!!! Ugly is such a subjective term... and no one (including youself!) should be attached to that word! :) You're a gorgeous SMART woman who is so much more than how she looks like on the outside! I'll be rooting for you all the wayyyyy

    xoxo, Kerynn
    MangoRabbitRabbi.blogspot.com
    Fall Outfit: 3 tips to elongate your legs

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  11. Dearest Deborah, many thanks for your honest and thoughtful post although I want to mention that you obviously never were ugly only maybe not as beautiful then now.

    But I know what you mean and I think I had many ugly phases in my life until I decided to work regarding my look ... and I know also how much I have still to do ;) But I think each person is able to dress and make up to enable to look better but it takes indeed time, time and more time (and money) to find which style is the best for one.

    I like you really, that you are still so modest (I hope this is the correct translation for the German word "bescheiden") although you did and reached already so many great and successful things in your life! Keep it up <3

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    www.dressedwithsoul.blogspot.de

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  12. Deborah, you are NOT ugly!! You look so cute and pretty before too! :) Haha, but my "ugly phase" was in jr.high and a bit into high school. xD I used to try not to care and would rather stay at home with a book than go to our school dances/parties. :P But I'm also grateful for those phases too when we're growing because we learn and develop! :) take care, gorgeous! xx

    -Nikkie
    ChicNikkie
    Bloglovin' | Facebook

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  13. i went through a very awkward phase in high school and actually for most of college! i look back at photos in the past and barely recognize myself! its crazy time can change so many things

    http://oyouclassy.com
    http://oyouclassy.com

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  14. ha. totally had an awkward ugly phase. i agree, i think everyone probably did.
    Jenn
    A Beautiful Zen

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  15. I know that I definitely had an awkward phase! Is it just me or do kids these days not have an awkward phase!?
    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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  16. Of course we all have that phase. Mine was in 9th grade unfortunately… but then in 10th grade, I came back to the beginning of the year with new hair cut in a short bob and had matured more and bam! I was me and who I was meant to be. The awkward phase happens just before your true beauty comes through!
    xx Easy Outfits, by Pip

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  17. Looking back at photos and videos, it's quite possible to point out lots of awkward moments I had, haha! They never felt awkward at the time, but sometimes I shake my head at what I was wearing...the important thing was that I was having fun though, and that's something that my parents taught me. Be yourself and have fun, and who cares what anyone else thinks! :)

    Away From The Blue

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  18. This is definitely one of your best posts :)
    Really liked what you wrote.
    And I don't see an ugly girl in the 2006 picture, honestly. Even though you look much more polished and grown up in the 2013 one.
    Once again, great post :)

    mykindofjoy.blogspot.com

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  19. Oh I really don't see ugliness in people, I always try to find the beauty in them. You were cute to me even then! ;) XO

    http://stylesensemoments.blogspot.com/

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  20. first, this is such a great post! i had the same feeling when i was a kid, but now i'm know that everyone have even a small beautiful part.

    have a great day deborah!

    http://herlifeinstyle.blogspot.com

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  21. Hey, really nice blog you have! Drop by my if you like :)

    / / Line
    www.Linebiine.blogspot.com

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  22. This is such a sweet post! Really enjoyed reading. You are beautiful, inside and out.

    <3

    Kelly
    kellyinthecity.com

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  23. Adorable pictures! Im glad that you had a wonderful time with friends, especially those good friends.

    -Vogue&Heels
    www.vogueandheels.com

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  24. actually i wouldn't even called u an ugly duckling in your self-proclaimed "ugly" stage. u were friendly & pleasant looking back then. And of course u have blossomed into a prettier girl now.

    i definitely had an awkward ugly stage (trying hard to forget them) and tons of "I feel ugly days". that's why i try to make an effort to doll up to make me feel better about myself.

    xoxo
    mochaccinoland.blogspot.com

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  25. You were beautiful then and even more beautifuller now ^^

    www.hellojennyho.blogspot.com

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  26. yup i sure did :))) i think its normal but we shouldn't let it define us nor hold us back <3

    http://www.pinkoolaid.com/

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Thank you for your comments! I read every single one :]