Today I came to the shocking realisation that its 11 whole years since I collected my GCSE results. Congratulations to anyone who has just got theirs (or their A Level results). I’m sure they were excellent and reflect a lot of hard work and application. I clearly remember collecting my GSCE’s with my Dad and then walking around the Millgate Centre in Bury eating toffees after enrolling at my Sixth Form.
Anyway, off the topic of food for a day, I was thinking of what i was like at 16. I was certainly less sure of myself than now and uncertain of trying new things. I think if the last 11 have taught me anything its to throw myself at opportunity when I can, life is too short to look back over past events wishing you’d done things differently. So maybe that’s the most valuable lesson I’ve learned since properly growing up and moving away – nobody cares what you look like half as much as you unless they’ve nothing better to worry about. Possibly the second best thing I’ve learned over time is; if a male you don’t know is talking to you when you’re out with the girls and they won’t take the hint, there’s always the option of hiding in the toilets for a few minutes.
Anyway, onto a few of my teenage concerns.
- My hair. Before I discovered styling products and GHDs I felt like i was constantly battling against my hair which was very wavy during a period when it felt like everybody had identical poker straight hair. The slightest spot of rain left my desperately covering my head – woe betide any drops of water that might make my hair frizzy. Mum if you are reading this I sincerely apologise for the mornings I kept you waiting when you gave me a lift to school because I was busy straightening the front two strands of my hair.
In hindsight these two particular pieces of hair were like straw from overheating.
- Never having had a boyfriend. Oh the hours I spent pondering this one! I went through periods of constant angst over my lack of ability to flirt and talk to boys. I think this is a pretty common concern, but really I needn’t have worried. Once I got to college and everyone got a bit more confident and new friendships formed I myself got a boyfriend and I watched as most of my friends did. Now I see my friends happy and settled – some married and some still single and I think of the fun we had. Not just my boyfriend and I, just my friendship group as a whole, and I sort of wish I was less intense about it. Looking back, relationships develop over time and some of my happiest memories are just doing stupid things with my friends and enjoying the last couple of years at home with my mum and dad.
- That everyone secretly or not so secretly thought I was weird. This is no longer a worry. Every single boyfriend I have had has confirmed I am weird. I think everyone is and it’s what makes us unique. Embrace how you make up the rich tapestry of life (even I am not sure if I’m typing that with any level of irony!)
- Being that one girl in the statistic who mysteriously became pregnant and was in such denial about it that nobody knew until she was giving birth. I can confirm that this did not happen to me. Being busy with so many extracurricular activities, violin lessons and teenage house parties never left much time to miraculously conceive.
- Not being one of those cool girls who goes to gigs all the time and knows about all the latest bands. Even at 27 I wonder how I managed to A) meet a music journalist who would invite me into his world B) Maintain this relationship by feeding said music journalist a steady diet of pie, meatballs and cake. Who knew I possessed such charms?
I think these are the worries of most teenage girls in a happy, cosy home. But thinking about all the people I know of collecting results and things I can’t help wonder how their next 11 years will turn out.