Everyone has an awkward phase -- a mouthful of braces, a stupid haircut, and a clothing style that seemed totally tight at the time -- but even if you destroy the physical photo evidence, there's an evil reminder lurking in some long-forgotten drawer: Your old cell phone.
It's a digital time capsule that would give your enemies enough blackmail to ruin your life. In case you aren't already running to destroy it, here are 11 things you can expect to find.
1. Old texts
There was a time when typing "LOL" meant meant pressing the "5" key three freakin' times just to get the first "L" down. You loved texting back then, and if you had a crush, you'd better believe you cost your parents $40 a month on "Wuz^? LOL!" and "Do u LIKE like any1?"
It's like you wrote your own awkward memoir in 160 characters or less. As embarrassing as they were then, those texts are even worse now, especially when you discover...
2. Old sexts
Ever want to mortify yourself so much that your entire body breaks out in hives? Boot up your old phone and scroll to someone you were hooking up with in the days of Blackberrys and flip phones. Shudder at the fact that you were THAT bad at being sexy, and double shudder when you realize your game has barely changed since George W. Bush was president.
3. Low-res selfies
The selfie has become a parody of itself, as well as a marketing tool for any company attempting to look "cool" and part of the zeitgeist. ABC canceled that "Selfie" show after airing only six episodes. But when camera phones first debuted, it was genuinely pretty cool to be able to take a picture of yourself.
If you find your old-ass flip phone and boot it up, you will undoubtedly find grainy, 2.1 megapixel pics of your dumb face from the only angle possible: Staring into a mirror. Very "MySpace," if you aren't too young to remember what that is. And those pictures will not do you any justice.
Why were you so obsessed with your patchy little peachfuzz beard? Did you really have to make that muscle pose in your JV soccer uniform? Oh god, did you SEND this to anyone???
4. Picture texts
Oh boy, you did. There was a time when texting cost money, and "MMS" texts cost even more. How much did you waste sending dirty-mirror selfies of yourself, or your brand-new first-gen iPod, or some cool flower you saw on the walk home from school? God, you were the worst. Hopefully you didn't send any...
We know now that the Cloud is the enemy of all privacy, and that anything you send could potentially get hacked. But back in the day, you were taking tiny pictures of your junk and whipping them across the airwaves without a care in the world. Even worse, you seriously thought that scrawny body would bring the hotties running.
6. Notes about your feelings
If you went through any kind of emo phase, you have a phone full of sad little poems and half-scrawled song lyrics. They need to be put on a rocket and shot into the sun. You were not deep, and your heartbreak was not special. You also had terrible spelling.
7. Music nobody listens to anymore
Before iPhones, getting music on your phone was so difficult that you had to make it count. (The first iTunes-compatible phone, the Motorola ROKR, limited you to 100 songs.) That's why it's great you ripped...every "Now That's What I Call Music!"
Kids have awful musical taste, and yours is forever captured on a weird little Kyocera with tinny little speakers that used to pump out the "High School Musical" soundtrack on your school bus.
Even worse, you paid $1.99 for a little 8-bit version of "Baby Got Back" that would play every time your best friend called. Forget the fact that all phones are on permanent vibrate now and ringtones are exclusively for old people in movie theaters -- you loved that crappy version of that song so much, you waited an HOUR for it to download and let it ring every time someone called.
9. Ringback tones
OH MY GOD. You SERIOUSLY thought that when people called you, they wanted to hear a Smash Mouth song instead of a dial tone? You were actively forcing people to listen to your music when they called you. And since none of your friends actually called you, the only people who heard that stupid ringback tone were your parents.
You totally went to the little kiosk in the mall and got a rhinestone case. Half the rhinestones fell off on the way home, and the other half fell off when you dropped your phone and watched your new case (and phone screen) shatter on the cafeteria floor. Was it worth it? Did you really love Hello Kitty THAT much?
11. Old flames
Finally, the worst thing of all: Your exes. If you've transferred all your contacts from phone to phone, they're still lurking in your address book. But if you've been diligently deleting along the way, you'll see these names for the first time since you broke up.
Prepare for a flood of memories, and be glad your phone is no longer active so you can't call them and start screaming until you pop a blood vessel. Burn your phone, and never think of them again.