Suburban Drool, and embracing my younger awkward self...


I've been trying to write this post for a while now. Some things are harder to articulate accurately. But let's try. First of all, one of my really good friends from high school sent me copies of her 'zine that she wrote back when we were in high school (full disclosure: I graduated HS in 1997... oh yeah, I'm THAT old...). The name of her 'zine was Suburban Drool. And I LOVED it.
Liz was one of those friends that no matter what she did, it seemed cool, and I always admired her and was even jealous of how effortless she made "cool" look. Even to this day, she's still really cool. I mean, she and her husband have their own band (called Diehard), and they're starting a food truck business (called Snap) too! Oh yeah, and they live in New York. I'm not sure they could get any cooler, right?

But anyways, back in high school, Liz wrote a 'zine. And I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I would read and re-read it from cover to cover, and I was always answering questionnaires and reader polls and writing her letters. Imagine how stoked I was to appear in the 'zine a few times even! Check this out:

best place to

Yep, that's me, Jenny Miller (maiden name, duh) ...and there's my high school sense of humor... You know, it probably hasn't really changed all that much. Hmm.
Another time, I wrote her a note (hee hee, remember passing notes?! Waaaaaay back before email, and definitely before texting?) and included a top ten list she had requested from readers in the previous 'zine issue:


I think the code names might have been in case enemy forces intercepted our notes. I always thought the name Cheyenne was super cool back then, so that was mine.

top 10

So here's the thing: I'm sharing these little excerpts of high school Jenny because "high school Jenny," for the most part, embarrasses me. I used to think that everyone was embarrassed by his or her younger self, but I've learned that this is most definitely NOT the case.

Take my husband, for example. He is so proud of all his old toys, photos, clothes, haircuts, glasses... you name it. And he had horrible 80's glasses and a mullet back in the day (middle school, not so much high school. He was super cute then.) He wears his awkwardness like a badge and is proud of his younger self. At first I thought this was weird. But now I wonder why I'm the one that's so self-conscious... I mean, when you read these things I wrote, you take into consideration that it's a high-schooler with high-school ideals and dreams and interests. It doesn't seem so bad to look at it with an outsider's eyes, as though it were written by some stranger... so what's up with me?

I think that when I look back, I remember how I felt at that particular time, and how awkward high school can be. I thought I knew everything. I was super opinionated, and kind of bossy about it to other people, even when I should have just minded my own business at times. In the end, I did okay, and the friends that I made were really great, and the ones I lost weren't worth my time or energy anyways...

But I feel like I was a different person back then, like it was a lifetime ago. When I look back on some things (good friends like Liz, my awkward friendship/crush on my -now- husband, a slew of other awesome friends, high school jobs, writing for the school paper, driving a car…), high school gave me some really good things. But it also made me self-conscious, pessimistic, sarcastic, and afraid to take risks. Kids can be really mean.

But I feel like I need to stop being embarrassed of who I was, and embrace it for what it is. You can't go back and change things, and I'm not so sure I'd want to anyways. So I’m putting it out there for you guys!

In conclusion, I leave you with "High School Jenny's Thoughts on the Summer After Graduating High School:"

summer 97

Is anyone else out there embarrassed by their younger self? Any thoughts on getting over it?

now playing:
Just Like Heaven by The Cure on Grooveshark


  1. Oh my god Jenny!! It is so touching that you wrote this post. It means a lot to hear that my zines were something you loved. I'm not sure where I got all that creativity and bravado in high school. I didn't feel that cool, but somehow I just didn't give a shit. As I got older, I got more self conscious. As a women in her 30s I think I'm more embarrassed by myself and unsure of myself than I was back then. Where did that confidence go? Maybe it just hits us at different points in life. And in high school whether you are shy or self conscious or full of swagger, I think it's all just a little more amplified at that age.

    In any case, riding around in the back of your woody station wagon after school and singing along to the radio was the epitome of high school carefree.

    1. I'm glad you liked my post. I was hoping to do it justice. Every time I look at these 'zones it all comes flooding back to me...

  2. Those zine's are so cool. I was really embaressed by who I was the first half of high school, some of my best friends had twisted it into my head that I had to stop being who I was so I pretended to like pop music and convinced myself that I wanted to be like them, and then one day I finally got bored of it and became myself again and went through the torture of bullies that people who liked to wear blue lipstick did. But do you know what, I'm proud of that version of me and I'm glad I never went back to being what some people wanted me to be

    1. That's awesome! I think we all went through a certain amount of experimenting with who we are in high school, trying to fit into one group or another. Maybe that's why I feel so awkward looking back - you remember the times where you were trying to "fit in" when you obviously didn't belong, and just needed to be yourself? Hmm...


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