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The Evolution Of Junior High Ick This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   When I reached the dreaded age of thirteen, a wave of junior high ick swept over me. Junior high ick is a quality that is attained by entering the confusing world of adolescence. My outer appearance became vital; I began to snap at my parents, and whining was heard more than normal speech. My parents became edgy because they felt their power over me was slipping away. Overall, my behavior and carriage became unattractive and defiant.

I knew I was becoming a teenager when deodorant and showers became important. Back when I was ten, I didn't wash my neck for one entire month at camp. My mother recoiled at the sight of my ring of dirt. Now, I can't wash it enough. When I became a teenager, I discovered mirrors everywhere: from store windows to shiny cars. I noticed that my hands ran through my hair to fix its flaws countless times. In elementary school, kids had cowlicks and gnarls in their hair all the time and didn't care. Because of my paranoia of how I looked, the bathroom, along with the kitchen, became the center of the house.

To accompany my hygiene, clothes became vital. I would not allow either of my parents to buy clothes without my verification. Even if the shirt was nice, I would reject it because she bought it on her own initiative. My mother did however buy some outrageous things, some nerdy clothes which still hang in my closet with tags because I did not have the heart to tell her no. Brands of clothes became more important than style. Pants that were the identical style wouldn't be as acceptable as Bugle Boys.

My mind and feeling towards my parents became distorted as well. I became mortified at their behavior. Whenever either raised their voice, I hid and proclaimed that I didn't know them. I first became aware of their eccentricity when my friends pointed out my dad's weird shirts. We officially dubbed them "cunga-wunga" shirts, because the shirts were of African origin. With his Afro-like hair waving along with his "cunga-wunga" shirts, he was a sight to behold. I implored him not to wear those shirts when he was with me. Unfortunately, he has nothing else in his wardrobe. My mother was the worst offender . When she came to pick me up at parties, she barged in and engaged my friends in conversation. She even would invite them onto the dance floor! Her shrill laughter that could be heard for miles around is her most devastating weapon. People even now stop and look for its source when they hear it. They know what it is when they see my face in my hands.

As I look back on my early adolescence, I laugh at my insecurity. I am still experiencing it, but it is not as visual as it was. I don't look in store windows as much as I used to. I allow my mother to purchase clothes without my permission, and I have almost overcome my embarrassment at my parents' actions. I now appreciate their uniqueness and sometimes bask in the glory of it.n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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SarahNearol said...
Apr. 12, 2009 at 6:00 am
Sadly, I will be a teenager very, very soon, something I am not looking forward to. I'd rather just skip to age 16, (the year I will probably graduate at if I have enough credits), and get my liscense. Now this story makes me look to it less, but hope is there as well as I know I will grow out of the "insecure" part, as you put it.
 
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