13 July, 2015 Teenage Me: Lessons Learnt
I’ve seen a few of these blog posts pop up on various sites I always read, and it’s so intriguing to me to learn about the experiences and embarrassing memories of fellow writers and bloggers. With blogging, there’s a constant expectation to portray your life as perfect, with no room for unmade beds, lurking under-the-skin spots and raggedy nails. Teenage throw-backs are a refreshing insight into a part of your life that wasn’t constantly under surveillance, or (in my case) wasn’t documented in minute detail on Instagram. We made mistakes, learnt from them, and, in my case, provide hours of material for stories our parents love telling.
I thought a post documenting my often-awkward teenage years and the lessons I learnt from them might be interesting – and if not interesting, a chance for a chuckle at my expense. Dig in!
1. Nuder-than-nude lipstick is not your friend. There was a trend from ages 14-17 to wear MAC’s Myth (or Hue) slathered, extremely liberally, over your lips. I don’t know who exactly to blame for this, but I know that my Facebook feed was constantly littered with what looked like corpses pouting. I was guilty of rocking this super-natural look on Saturday nights, and would top up en route to house parties – armed only with my Hoola bronzer, an oyster card and slouch boots on my feet. How my parents allowed me to leave the house looking like that, I still don’t quite understand.
2. Don’t shave your eyebrows. Yup, this happened. The day before my 13th birthday, I shaved the tail and front sections of my eyebrows because they were too ‘bushy’. I have always had thin eyebrows and have no clue what possessed me to do this. If I ever have a daughter, the first life lesson I’ll teach her is to leave those bloody brows alone.
3. A large social circle doesn’t equate to strong friendships. Back in secondary school, it was all about how many ‘best friends’ you had. Friendships were unpredictable, and I remember being in floods of tears because a best friend had a new lunch partner or pal to go out with on the weekend. Looking back, it’s easy to trivialise your adolescent memories, but the pain was real. I wish I knew then that as you get older, you develop fewer, stronger friendships, that are far more rewarding than lots of superficial ones.
4. Save the red hair dye for the salon. In Year 10, I decided to dye my light brown hair black, then red. The combination was revolting – patches of bright red mixed with murky black, and it did not bode well for my fairly pale complexion.
5. The male opinion is of little to no importance. What boys thought of me when I was at school was crucial to my general happiness. Like so many other teens, I had boys on the brain, and felt validated when I had attention from them. It can be so damaging to a young girl’s confidence to be called names, or hear through the grapevine what so and so thought of you. I’m lucky to have great parents who always listened to me and told me (in my dad’s erudite manner) to ‘ignore the wankers’, but it’s still up to you to block out the hate, and focus on being fabulous, regardless of what they thought. Now that I’m 23, I’m thankful to have met a great guy who loves me for who I am, and not just based on what I do (or don’t) look like.
6. Everything will be OK. It was always easy to fall into the negativity trap of ‘exams are hard, life is hard, I’ll never succeed’ in my teens, but I do genuinely wish I had been a little more positive. Somehow, everyone finds their way to being happy – or they work towards it – and even if you think you might never find your place in the world, you’re bound to meet people to help you fit in. My advice would be to seize the moment – be confident, take chances, follow your passion – and it will help you become more well-rounded and content with the world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little detour down memory lane. As a reward, please enjoy these two pictures of me in various stages of my adolescence:
Meet 11 year-old me. My mum got carried away dressing me up as her idea of a punk for Halloween (notice the edgy tattoos and bangle), and I got my first taste of the 90s lip trend and hair mascara. I also realised back then that bunches and leather vests weren’t my look.
Meet 16 year-old me. The black/red hair combination had been dyed out at the hairdressers (thank the lord), but I had just discovered MySpace, so weird posing selfies were de rigueur. As you can tell, I’m wearing a delightful combination of MAC’s Myth and Hue – and a lot of fake tan!
I’d love to see your take on teenage life lessons – share yours in the comments below, or if you have a post on it, send it over!
With love (and embarrassment),