The Eye-Opening 'Awkward Years' Project

The Eye-Opening 'Awkward Years' Project

Have you ever opened an old drawer and found an old picture of yourself, only to discover how funny you looked back then and how many insecurities you had? Merilee and her friend were remembering their teenage years. The conversation took them to the point where her friend wasn’t convinced that Merilee had any awkward years back then. This wasn’t true.

She had to wear glass because of her poor vision, was the queen of nerds, didn’t know how to do her hair, had no budget for fashionable clothes, and was very shy. All this turned to bullying which she survived with the loving support of her family and true friends.

However, the friend was still not convinced, and as proof, Merilee sent her a photo from her nerdy years taken 20 years ago and asked her to keep it private. The ghosts of the past still bothered her. However, this awkward discussion turned to a wonderful awkward project. Side-by-side pictures of past and present worked as proof of how far Merilee has come, and she decided to make it public so others could see what she saw when holding a fifth grade photo of herself.

We’ve all had those awkward years in one form or another. Whether it was braces, big glasses, zits, awfully styled hair, or victims of terrible fashion, we can all think back to at least one photo that is especially incriminating. I have several! I might show more of myself as time goes on. In a way, it’s very healing for me.

To follow the project, read all the stories, and submit your own, go here

Images used with permission of Merilee.

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Emma Grigoryan's picture

Emma Grigoryan is an award winning Fine Art/Fashion photographer based in Armenia. She enjoys styling and creating her own sets and looks: be it a conceptual shoot or a beauty look. Her biggest inspirations are diversity, color, water and geometry. Since 2012 she is a contributor for Art+Commerce and Vogue Italia.

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"i was ugly back then but now im a bombshell, so there's hope for you too" - seems to be the moral of the story when you read some of their stories. Which i find kind of sad. It's like they(not all) have become the bullies they were once victims of.

I fail to see the correlation between being proud of your personal growth and being a bully.

Not in their behaviour but in their values. Many of them, when they talk about their former selves essentially becomes their own bully. One of them even said that if she could go back in time and say something to her childhood self. It would be to fix her teeth and get a hair straightener. Most of these peoples bullies from back in the day have moved on with their lives a long time ago but themselves they continue to make everyday life choices with their bullying in mind. They are making an effort to proving themselves towards the bullies in their head even today. I just find the whole thing so sad. Sry for poor english :P