How different growing up would have been had I known that awkward could be an asset. More often than not I was the kid standing in a group, pretending to know what’s going on.

I was, and still am, an overly-excessively-insanely-analytical person; it’s easy to get wrapped up in one particular moment while life goes on around you. Quickly, the state of mind changes when you wake up from your thoughts and see one, two or three people waiting impatiently for a reaction to something you 100% missed while off in analytical-la-la land.

The overthinking shenanigans is where I believe the awkward roots planted themselves deep within me.

There is a logical explanation as to why my father’s mantle of pictures include my younger sister’s tennis photo, my brother’s football picture, my older sister’s cheerleading picture… and my prom picture.

I tried lots of sports, but as soon as they made me run, which was always before the team photos, I’d quit. I joined track thinking I could just do the shot-put. I joined swimming… and they still made me run. Had I put forth the effort I probably could have been at least decent at something. Growing up awkward I was consumed by opinions of others. What happens when the clumsy girl totally fucks it all up?

So, instead of trying I silently willed and chanted:

please don’t come to me

please don’t come to me

please don’t come to me

please don’t come to me

please don’t come to me

…Whenever there was a chance I’d have to participate.

Don’t get me started about running a mile in gym class, or the standardized physical fitness testing. Yes, I did awkwardly hang on the pull-up bar and climbing rope and no, I did not even try.

Proof that Mindy Kahling is my awkward soul sister.

Everyone goes through an awkward stage (or three) and others just have awkward woven into their genes. The perks of those come later in life, after you’ve had the chance to outgrow the inner thoughts that lead you to believe every person is harshly critical and making note of every last flaw.

I learned while trying to figure out adulthood that inappropriate wit and quick comebacks have the power to turn awkward from weird to likable. I have grown into this mess of weird thoughts and klutzy movements. The best part is that my decent amount of awkward tendencies no longer make me uncomfortable. I want to over analyze. I want to stare at people all weird and wonder how I can incorporate them into a story. Lacking a filter, unapologetically, is something I’d like to stick around well into my 90’s.

I’ve been scribbling down and compiling my most embarrassing, outlandish awkward memories and realized my school days, and even my thirty-somethings are a giant compilation of, That-Awkward-Moment-When memes.

Stories for days.

book cover
Awkward: A Memoir – Coming Soon





Daily Post Prompt: Toot Your Horn: Most of us are excellent at being self-deprecating, and are not so good at the opposite. Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

Throwback Thursday: Because I Was An Ugly Kid

I understand that everyone went through an awkward phase; but mine was especially cruel. For the past few Throwback Thursdays, I have shared pictures of myself on social media.

Figured…why not share it on Properly Ridiculous?

I wonder what I would do if I was a cute kid back then – would I still share the pictures? Would that be like bragging? Am I still bragging when I share the ugly ones…seeing that I ended up looking at least normal?

No matter what… I think it’s funny [and maybe I can give some hope to ugly kids].


And for good measure… I’ll grace ya with a few more.



I loved that color changing windbreaker more than anything.


There’s a good chance I matched the puffy headband with my flannel.


At this point, I’m just happy I grew into my teeth.


Yep, again with the teeth. I believe the huge pink hair piece was supposed to distract from my chompers.

There were many more of these pictures during my wedding slideshow…


So there you have it ugly kids…

You still have a chance to turn out looking normal.

Social Media & A Childhood Friend

Before social media sloppily exploded over everyone’s computer screen people actually had to attend high school reunions to ask (like, verbally…with their mouths) former friends what they’re doing with their lives.

In this day and age: I can tell you how many children, what they do for income, what they drive, who they’re married to, when their anniversary is…and what they wore to work yesterday (thanks to the selfie).  Social media makes it simple to be involved in people’s lives… even if you’re not an active part of their real life.

It’s kind of weird & unnatural, really.

real ife

Real Life : Noun
  1. life as it is lived in reality, involving unwelcome as well as welcome experiences, as distinct from a fictional world.

You might assume that I’m going to go off on a rant [I do that sometimes…] about social media, like I did here. Today, I’m going to surprise you by doing the opposite of a bitching.

I’m going to praise it.

We all had friends we bonded with as a kid that changed our lives for the better. It’s not hard to come up with memories when you think about these people; while some of your childhood memories might be foggy – the ones that include these people are never unclear & almost always fond. I have someone on my social media that comes to mind as I write this.

What is a friend? I will tell you…it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself. – Frank Crane

We jumped on her trampoline. We sang karaoke to stuffed animals. My mom would drop me off at her house in the morning to catch the bus… and I remember her all ‘sleepy-like’ slouching on the breakfast bar eating her cereal with 5 minutes left to catch the bus… but her mom never rushed her. Her house was always filled with happiness. I remember having sleepovers & waking up way before her…cause she always slept way later than me – I’d flop around hoping to wake her up “secretly” so we could continue the concert we started for the animals before crashing the night before.

[Sidenote: We were best being Ace of Base; she was blonder I always had to be the brunette. Oh, the troubles of a 8 year old girl]


I remember playing in her back yard… pretending there were witches behind trees we were hiding from. I remember her telling me the song that played at her Grandpa’s funeral that made her cry every time she heard it.

I have not seen her since childhood.

It’s absolutely normal for childhood friendships to move in different directions for no good reason other than  just growing up. These are the friendships that make me grateful for Social Media even for how much I complain about it.

I’ve seen bits of sadness in her life over the years & prayed for her. I get to see her little siblings who were nearly just babies when I was frequenting her household – and what awesome people they’ve appeared to turn into. I’ve watched from afar as she got married and had babies. I get to see her adorable little girls growing up with the same loving essence I watched her mom give to her day after day.

My largest hope is that my own child will be lucky enough to have this sort of special friendship in his life as he grows up.

Thanks for the memories, friend.  

amber bakke

This was written in response to a Daily Prompt – provided by The Daily Post.