|That's me; end of the front row on the left. Thankfully, you can't see the acne.|
"Wear your damn glasses!"
If the acne and the glasses made me feel ugly, my lanky hair and ever increasing bust made me feel like a freak. I wanted to be like the beautiful, popular girls at school, the ones with tiny skirts, big hair and bigger jewelery. Their biggest worries seemed to consist of what they were doing at the weekend and crisis over running out of lipstick. Life seemed so much easier and exciting for them, and I would've done anything to be included in their circle. They seemed so perfect. It's only now with the benefit of experience that I can see how vapid and shallow these girls really were. They seemed beautiful because they caked themselves in make up which only goes to show just how insecure really they were. And as a lot of these girls ended up having kids before the age of eighteen and ended up getting dead end jobs, maybe they weren't so perfect after all.
"Don't let the bullies win."
"Don't succumb to peer pressure (part 1)"
I had my first boyfriend at the age of thirteen, and I hated him. He was ugly, smelly and kept trying to paw me liked some rabid animal. And yet I stayed with him for a good few months. The reason? Actually, there were two. The first being that his sister was a thug and threatened me with all kinds of horrors if I didn't go out with him. The second was because all my friends started getting boyfriends and I didn't want to be the last one. Yes, he was low life scum that I wouldn't have wasted my spit on if he was on fire, but hey, at least I had a boyfriend. It was one of the prices I had to pay to keep up with my peer group. And it really wasn't worth it. I don't know why I was so desperate to fit in the first place, but I guess that's the mentality you have when you're a teenager.
"Don't succumb to peer pressure (part 1I)"
"You're never too old to learn."
I started the 6th form with every intention of doing my A levels. I was thrilled when the day came that I could walk into school without having to wear the uniform and I spent a lot of my time lounging around the common room between classes. I left six months later. I felt as though I was just so sick of school, of being treated like a kid (even though technically that's exactly what I was). I wanted to go out and get a job and get on with life. That was probably one of my biggest mistakes. I should have gone to college if I was that unhappy at school, and got some qualifications that way. Yes, I got some reasonable grades in my G.C.S.E's, but I could have got so much more. It was such a waste.
"Choose your friends wisely."
So that is what I would talk to the younger me about. Of course, there are lots of little things as well, like no matter how fashionable pale pink lipstick is, it's not a good look, don't waste all your money on boy bands that will no longer exist in a few years and don't eat the burger you ordered at Burger King at your friends party because it will give you food poisoning, and many other words of wisdom too. But what would you say? If you could have a one-to-one with yourself as a teenager, what would be the one thing you would tell them? Leave your comments below as I'd be interested to read them.
But then again having thought about it, maybe I wouldn't say anything to myself. I think at that age, I just needed someone to listen.