This weekend my videography company filmed an ice skating competition. Watching all the pre-teens and teens in their skating dresses reminded me of the awkwardness of adolescence.
I was one of those twelve-year-old who had reached full height and whose feet were too big for her. It didn't help when other people noticed. I remember getting fitted for skates and wanting to curl up my toes as they took measurements. I wore shoes that were about a size and a half too small for me. I claimed I liked them snug, that I liked the feeling of them molding to my feet like ice skates. But, I think was really trying that whole Chinese-binding-feet thing.
I saw lanky girls in ice skating dresses that reminded me of myself at that age. I saw the horrendous things that mother's do to their children in the name of ice skating. I mean, come on, isn't being an adolescent awkward enough without your Mom adding blond extensions to your pony tail that are three shades lighter than your actual hair and hanging down to your butt? I think this girls pony tail threw off her center of gravity because all of her spins traveled quite a bit. There was another girl whose parents had put her in black skates. Boy skates! It would have been better if she had been in brown rental skates. But, to wear boy skates? I could tell she was uncomfortable, skating with her shoulders hunched up to her ears. I felt sorry for her. Another parent placed what seemed like an entire bouquet of white flowers on top of her child's head. Again, being head heavy it seemed to hinder her balance.
Remembering the awkwardness of adolescence reminded me that as a young adult writer it's important not to forget how uncomfortable our characters can be with their bodies and self image. That being one hundred percent comfortable with your self, ok, maybe eighty percent comfortable with yourself, comes with time and the slow building up of confidence.