Last night I was cleaning out a bedroom cupboard. You know the one, crammed with important stuff you never look at. Filled with mementoes you were sure you’d keep for ever.
I found an old exercise book from school one that I’d carried round in my anxious, insecure and constantly worried hands at the age of 14. Boy did it show – it was filled with dreadfully crafted poetry, scrawls of love for a certain boy and more moments of total and utter despair than I think I’ve ever experienced since.
It made me laugh out loud, a little nostalgic and maybe a tad sad too.
Here are some of the edited best bits:
“I walked to French with him today but he only went as far as the tennis court – why???????”
“Today I saw him looking at me from his mobile.”
“Oh god, he’s going out with Maria – I don’t want to carry on at school. I just don’t want to carry on.”
“I hate him and I hate her. She’s got thin legs and mine look like tree trunks. I’m going on the lose a stone in a week diet.”
“Why does Rachael hate me, apparently because Helen told her to and now everyone does. Can’t play netball any more because they turned on me. Hate my life.”
So, to me at 14, here’s what you need to know…
- Don’t worry! That’s in general – I know you will but to say it is comforting.
- Those girls who turned on you – in less than a year you’ll have new friends and in five years those horrid bullies will have reached their peak in dead end jobs. Now, more than 20 years later I sometime see or hear about them. Believe me you won’t want to be friends with them!
- Have confidence in your appearance. You really are rather lovely, peachy-skinned, beautiful hair and a fantastic mouth.
- Don’t write realms of crap poetry and send it off – you’re a great writer but not of poetry!
- Have confidence in your talents. Believe it when someone tells you how good you are. Make decisions based on this voice not the one telling you you can’t.
- You will be 14 for a fleeting moment, revel in its intensity and come through the other end. Oh wait you did!