The Awkward Years Project Proves We All Have an Inner Geek

The best thing about bad hair and braces? We grow out of it -- and here's proof

Braces, bad hair, bullying -- is it any wonder so few of us look back on our adolescence with fondness?  

That's where The Awkward Years Project comes in. It's a new blog aimed at showing kids that, yes, it really does get better.

The project began when Utah-based graphic designer Merilee Allred posted a photo of herself holding her 6th grade school picture -- complete with nerdy glasses and crazy crimped hair -- to Tumblr.

It's hard to believe, but the now-gorgeous 35-year-old Allred was bullied for her looks in school -- a fact one of her friends found so unbelievable, it inspired Allred to post the photo in the first place.

“I was probably one of the tallest in my class so I stuck out like a sore thumb," she told TODAY Moms. "I was clumsy, and because I was shy and very quiet, I couldn’t stand up for myself so I think I was just an easy target.”

Allred's project has since inspired other users to submit their own photos of their awkward years, helping to shed light on how painful bullying can be and how we can work to stop it. Talk about an inspiration!

Check out these other amazing transformations from The Awkward Years Project below.


Awkward Years Project

Laura, 41, Salt Lake City
(Age 12 in photo)

Awkward Years Project

Matthew, 20, Las Cruces, NM
(Age 12 in photo)
 Tristin and Cory

Awkward Years Project

Tristin, 29, and Cory, 33, Salt Lake City
(Ages 12 and 9 in photos)

Awkward Years Project

Cori, 31, London, Ontario
(Age 13 in photo)

Awkward Years Project

Stacey, 28, Murray, UT
(Age 11 in photo)

Awkward Years Project

Mark, 38, Salt Lake City
(Age 19 in photo)

Carina Belles is a contributing writer at iVillage and a senior at Ohio University. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Google+.

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