They say only a few things in this world are certain: death, taxes, and hating your life in middle school. Okay, I made that last one up. But hating your 4th-8th grade self IS a certainty a good 99% of the time.

Why? Because braces, acne, lanky limbs and training bras, for one. I bet that on cue, without even thinking about it, you can recall a few cringe-worthy instances of your adolescence. Or, if you can't, you're a sensible, intelligent human being and you have buried such instances deep, deep down.

The problem with middle school isn't that your ugly, not-funny, and an all around dork, although those things don't help. No, the problem with middle school is that it's the first time that you're trying to figure out who the hell you are, and you go through a good amount of phases to get there.

There's the ADTR-groupie-I-only-wear-black-t-shirts-and-have-a-bad-haircut phase, the-pseudo-skater-rebellious phase, the wannabe-athlete-that-racks-up-$300-worth-of-sports-equipment-they-never-use phase, and the "preppy" phase, to name just a few.

Need I remind you that this is a time in your life where "crap" is a bad word, and you your curfew is 8:00 PM, and you ride a school bus home. A school bus.

Yeah, middle school sucks.

I probably, in some way or another, thank the universe every day, thank time and God and space, that I am no longer in middle school.

I do this for a lot of reasons, the first being that it was a time before I grew thick skin to relentlessly mean comments, and a time that I cared so desperately about what other people thought. It was also a time I had choppy side bangs and wore hand warmers—and I didn't even pretend-cut myself like the other emo/goth try hards in my grade (If you're over twenty years old and out of the loop, middle school is a time where tweens pretend to self harm as part of a "trend"). Like everybody else that wasn't a Top 5 Popular Kid, I was bullied. I was also deprived of certain truths because I was taught by a public school system, aka I was beginning to theorize intellectual or existential concepts that no one really explained to me until I got to college.

For emphasis, and because I don't have a problem with embarrassing myself on the internet, here are some pictures of middle school me:

This picture was taken in front of my computer webcam, after I was inspired by Miley Cyrus' 7 Things music video and determined to prove my Rock N Roll soul. (Notice the black jelly bracelets on my right hand, an obvious middle school trend.)

Here's another webcam selfie featuring the jelly bracelets:


Here's a picture of one of my best friends, Maddi, and I, which I have absolutely no explanation for except that we had way too much time on our hands:

Yeah...middle school induces endless shutter-worthy moments for me, and I might as well stop while I'm ahead because these pictures aren't even the worst of them.

When I was as old as I was in these pictures, the highlight of my week was going to the mall on Friday nights with my three best friends and finding equally awkward guys to talk to that I would kiss on some stranded aisle of Macy's, text for a week, dump or be dumped by, and then make a Facebook status about being "heartbroken".

Yeah, ten-to-fourteen-year-old me was melodramatic and hypersensitive, and not even in the ironic, semi amusing way that I am now. I was annoying, shallow at times, and obsessed with wanting people to like me.

And hell, I still am all of those things. But it's so much better. I think we need to start a social movement where we make it our personal responsibility to tell every middle school kid in America that middle school is supposed to be awkward and horrible and God-awful.

And when you're older, the #GloUp—both physically and mentally/emotionally, will be so worth it.

I'm so glad I'm not in middle school anymore, f*ck middle school.