Teaspoon of HappyOwn ItSarah May Bates

Coming of age in a nut shell in "Stand By Me"

Wherever you’ve been and whoever you were, your experiences made you who you are today. And that makes them kind of awesome.

The boys from "Stand By Me," an amazing coming of age story

However much they make you cringe, the selves of the past, the memories you look on and think “Oh. My. God.” were things you had to go through and they took you down the strange path that influenced your future. Adolescence is a time when all the rules have to be defined for ourselves and that takes a lot of mis-stepping and trying on of different personalities. Those past experiences, though sometimes painful, are what give us powers of understanding that we wouldn’t have otherwise. And though I don’t think we should all get on a desk in an important meeting and belt out our secrets to everyone a cappella, I think every part of us should be kept and embraced as a swatch of our fabric. A super colorful one that we can look on with acceptance and even embrace.

Acting Dumb Faze

This is typical for many of us, especially girls for whatever reason. Oh yeah! Because main stream media tells us dumb girls are sexy. Well, girls often go through a faze of acting stupid and air-headed, dumbing-down their abilities to get boys to like them. This might be an evolutionary tactic in which case that’s kind of brilliant, like a Venus fly trap, but it’s icky to remember when you’re a self-respecting adult. Well, even this just got owned. Acting dumb is a terrible thing to do and if you happen to be a kid mark my words – not worth it for anyone for any reason.

Mean Girls, sadly somewhat accurate to high school

Reckless Faze

Lots of people have a time in their life when some really painful stuff is stuck inside and they act out as a result of those feelings. We all know someone that went through a life-long faze like this and died as a result of it. It’s terrible and scary but if you went through it and came out the other side, that says a lot about how far you’ve come to be where you are today. Let that be a part of you that you can offer to others that are in need. When you can relate things you’ve overcome to others that need it you have in a small way helped to save the world.

Liz Taylor changed the world just by owning her problems

Heath Ledger, who left the world too young.

Richard Pryor grew past some pain and made us laugh about it

Ugly Faze

Lots of us go through a metamorphosis through adolescence and even in adulthood physically, mentally, and fashion-wise. There’s nothing better than sharing those versions of yourself with your closest friends. Those photos that are locked away are embarrassing but when you share that part of yourself you can feel proud of it. Even the act says a lot about you – that you’re confident and comfortable in your skin today. Where you were at different ages and what you identified with in music or culture says a lot, and when you share it with those you love, it only leads to more closeness and understanding.

N'Sync (yes this image is real)

Beverly Hills 90210. The '90's happened. We have to accept that.

Here’s a personal story that I will own, and for the sake of my future career as a politician (kidding) I will keep it PG. I have several tattoos, two of which I did with two of my best friends with India ink and needles in my bedroom at age 13. Like F-ing idiots. They were terrible. One on my stomach looked like a five year old tried to draw a bee while hanging upside down. Using a burnt stick. But I was too eager to be cool (‘cause tattoos are cool forever) and I couldn’t help myself. I have since had these covered with other professionally done tattoos now but I wish I didn’t. What that symbolizes about me as a person and where we all were is beautiful and it makes me smile.

The Runaways, with a decidedly cooler adolescence.

A still from "Fish Tank" an amazing film about a girl doing some tough growing up

That was a silly example but of course I have and we all have deeper ones that are harder to talk about. By acknowledging all of our experiences to ourselves and to our friends we can feel liberated. Scars are layers to a person’s understanding, and they’re like x-ray glasses into the human soul. Wherever you’ve been and whatever you’ve let go of, moved on from, grown out of, fought against, ran from, own it. And be proud.

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  1. One of my favorite quotes is lyrics from the song Inmates by the Good Life “Life is a series of calluses, this is just another layer”. Yours about scars reminded me of that!

  2. Fish Tank is my favorite movie ever

  3. Awesome post, it’s so important to understand and realize as a grown-up that however awkward/un-cool we felt as our younger selves, that we survived it all and grew up to be fabulous! Plus, it’s always cool to be able to share a funny/awkward story from your past with girlfriends, preferably over a cocktail/alcoholic beverage, you understand you weren’t the only one! But i just wish every girl could read this post and appreciate it – i have come across other girls my age who still look for friends based on what they determine as “cool”, which is totally missing the point in my humble opinion. Thanks for the post!

  4. Ok, so after this post, I am now convinced that you and I share a brain or could have possibly been separated at birth. Haha! Everytime I read one of your posts I have one of those “OMG. That sounds exactly like me!” moments. You’re super awesome, by far, one of my fave contributors.

  5. Inspiring as always Miss Sarah!

  6. Oh, man, “Stand by Me!” That alone brings back awkward phase memories. That just made my day!

  7. I did that stupid Indian Ink thing when I was 21…so 13 isn’t too bad! But it was for a boy, and he was doing it, but then broke up with me before finishing it! 2 years after I finally got it covered and finished with a professionally done tattoo. But I feel like covering it isn’t hiding it necessarily, because I’ll always remember and learn from the experience. :)

  8. upvote