How My Holiday Card Helped Me Embrace the Awkward

Posted on Dec 23, 2012 in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Seasons greetings! Not to brag, but I send out pretty funny holiday cards every year. And it’s always hard to top myself, but this year I think I did it. Take it in… 

Yep, that’s really me in second grade. For years I’ve kept any proof that I used to look like that a secret. Even in high school, I refused to let my mom post any pictures of me from first to eighth grade on the collage she made for my high school graduation party. She’s still mad at me for that. As she kept saying, “But you don’t look like that now.” True, I got braces, contacts, figured out how to deal with my hair, but I still felt like that awkward little girl. I used to have people call me ugly to my face, boys would bark at me and call me a dog. And when I used to look at this photo it made me sad because that little girl had it rough. People are cruel, especially grade school boys.

Then a few years ago, my siblings and I were trying to tell my brother-in-law how “ugly” I was as a kid (that was the word I used as those scars were still there). So I found this picture, one I hadn’t seen in years, but I remembered it quite well. My sister Meg took a wallet sized version and kept it with her and would routinely say to people, “You know my fancy sister in New York, well this is what she used to look like!” She thought it was funny, so did everybody I showed it to. But I didn’t. It upset me. I couldn’t shake those demons. Despite many requests, I refused to give anybody a copy or post it online. My biggest fear would be that I would get one of those annoying e-mail forwards entitled “Ugliest Child Ever” and it would be me.

I don’t exactly know what changed, but one day I looked at it and smiled. Whenever I do an event and see a girl with glasses, or someone going through an awkward stage, I go out of my way to be nice to them. It sucks to be made fun of at any age, but it’s particularly harsh when you’re so young. I stopped referring to young me as “ugly.” I realized that this photo brings a smile to people’s faces for a lot of different reason (the rainbow velour shirt, the glasses, those teeth, that hair!). As my sister always reasoned, “Look how far you’ve come!” I remember when I was young and people would make fun of how I looked, my mom would always say that I was going to be beautiful one day (still waiting on that, Mom!). But now I can smile at this photo and appreciate that yes, I have come a long way. Not just in terms of looks, but self-confidence. Sure, I still have issues, who doesn’t? But if only I could’ve talked to that girl and let her know that things would get better. I obviously can’t, but instead I can talk to the girl who is typing this and tell her to stop being so hard on herself about her weight or her appearance. We’re often our worst critics. 

So I decided to do something I never thought I’d ever do. Send out that picture as my holiday card and post it on-line. I’m publicly embracing my flaws. Plus, I realize it is pretty hysterical. But in addition to having a classic holiday card (if I do say so myself!), I also found a way to embrace my awkward past. And that in itself, might be the best holiday gift I’ll receive this year.

XOXO, Elizabeth (now and in second grade)

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11 Comments

  1. Kimberly
    December 23, 2012

    I love this pic! There’s a similar one of me with big purple glasses at Before You Were Hot. Glad we can both laugh at them now 🙂

    • Elizabeth Eulberg
      December 23, 2012

      Yes, Kimberly! How we’ve grown up! (And after my pink glasses, I got purple ones – we had such excellent taste!)

  2. Sara
    December 23, 2012

    You were adorable as a little kid! My first response to seeing that picture we “Aww!” not “ugly.” Kudos for embracing and rocking the awkward years. I have yet to embrace mine!

    • Elizabeth Eulberg
      December 23, 2012

      Aww, thanks! And embracing it hard, but once you do, it’s magical!

  3. Luciana
    December 23, 2012

    Dear Elizabeth: I watch this picture of that little girl and it makes me think about my self and my little girl and the fact that i was embrace about my little girl too and the thing you do posting your and her picture it makes me realized about the fact that our little kids needs love, because it’s the most important thing in the whole world, we’re all loved and complete and infinite (that taught Charlie from Perks ha) we’re uniques and beautiful in our own way. Anyway, you’re a brave, you have corage and you and your little girl are beautifuls and you’re successful and confidence woman, and you give me confidence to me too. I’m 29 years old and the other day i bought “The lonely hearts club” for my 16 years old niece ( as a present for Christmas) but since Christmas it’s tomorrow i read it and i love it, and i’m gonna tell my niece about what an inspiring woman it’s the author of that book. You are my role model
    Have an amazing Christmas and a great 2013.
    Love Always. Luciana from Argentina

    • Elizabeth Eulberg
      December 23, 2012

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Luciana! And I hope your niece enjoys LHC! Muchos besos!

  4. Emily
    December 23, 2012

    I have to agree with Sara; I definitely “aww”-ed over that picture. It’s awkward, but in an adorable, charming way that only a child could pull off rather than an unnatractive one. Those people sound incredibly cruel, and we all judge ourselves pretty harshly, so it’s great that you could share this and offer support to people who are going through or have bad memories of their awkward phases. 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Adam Silvera
    December 23, 2012

    You’re beautiful – your mother was right! You’re super sweet and mega funny and insanely brilliant. This is such an awesome post. Go treat yourself and Second Grade You to a free movie on Christmas Tuesday. =)

  6. Courtney
    December 29, 2012

    Elizabeth!
    I love the card, I love the post, and I love the girl behind them both.
    xoxo