It's hard to get past the hair.
I was born with a natural side part and thick hair with a lot of body, which I eventually learned makes me pretty blessed in the hair department. (Unless its crazy humid and I look like a tumbleweed.) And yet, for a large portion of my teen years, I permed my hair and tried to part it down the middle. I then tried to blow out those curls I'd artificially put in, and feather the sides so I would look just like this...
I NEVER looked like this.
And even if my hair had been suited to this style, I didn't have the patience or the skill to make it happen. So now, when I look back at my illustrious teenage years, I cringe and wonder what life would have been like if I'd had the wisdom to know what looked good on ME?
But with time, I've come to think there would have been a downside to being so self-possessed at such a young age. Years later, maybe it wouldn't be quite so easy to remember and write what it feels like to be a teenager--the lengths one goes to in order to fit in.
And in the end, perhaps it's not the details of the embarrassment that count the most, but the general feeling of horror that lingers long after the event that makes the writer. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.