How do you write about high-school, without making a piece that’s scattered full of drama, gossip and names?
That’s teenage years right. It would be more of a shock if I told you that none of those events had ever occurred. This post is a type of sequel to my overcoming a sad childhood. But in my childhood post, I played a victim – I discussed what I had to experience. This time – I have to put my hands up and also admit to my faults.
I started aged 11 (one of the youngest in the class) and was as quiet and ‘mousy’ as I had been throughout primary (junior) school. I was routinely going back-and-forth to two different hospitals – one was for x-rays and to discuss my surgery, the other was to get fitted for a back brace.
My way of dealing with insecurity, was to look for objects that could give me attention. I knew all about the big designer brands and on my way to one hospital appointment, I fell in love with the magazine Instyle – despite that I didn’t really know what I was reading. I loved showing off to my friends; my Giorgio Armani lipglosses and my Burberry umbrella.
I was desperate to be popular. I watched far too many American dramas and dreamed of being in some kind of clique. When I befriended one popular girl, I started offering to buy the other one’s burgers and drinks etc, in a bid to get them to like me. My birthday party had to be extra extravagant. I remember my invitation said: bowling, swimming, pizza express, sleepover and cinema.
As most people do, I ended up having the one best friend – that BFF (which I actually still have but it is a different person), and I used to tell her legitimately everything. Unfortunately, she was not as good of a friend as I thought, leading to some major drama.
Maybe it was teenage jealousy; she became rather competitive. This led to copying: phones, fashion, friends – anything that I would have an interest in. I was fairly self-absorbed back then. I probably made my life seem so chic and glamorous.
This ex-best friend, one lesson, evoked bullying with these two other boys. I then went to my next class and told a mutual friend of ours, that this other girl was being mean and that I no longer liked her. To summarise, she tried to make me out as the horrible one who spoke badly of her, which ended as years of rivalry. Eventually, we became friends again but by this point, I no longer wanted to be.
Amongst dealing with the pettiness of girls, boy problems were typically thrown into the mix. There was one popular guy who equally liked me, as much as I liked him. I was too awkward and shy and he didn’t quite have the courage to admit his feelings. Years flown by, till the day that he actually did. Sadly for me, I was still too shy.
Possibly, I didn’t have one single genuine friend. At the time, I truly was convinced that my friendship group had been made forever. Now I realise, how naive I was. Every ‘friend’ had a type of cattiness to them. Backstabbing, lying, gossiping and at stages excluding me. It was a feeling of being in a room full of people, only you are alone.
By the time I was 13, my parents split up, as the affair my father was having became open news. Back then, I didn’t know how to deal with emotion, so I kind of just got on with life. I don’t remember crying much or communicating the loss. I always remember the day that he moved out.
As I mentioned on my childhood post, luxuries were mostly gone and no longer could I sit and boast about the items that I had. This added to my fixation on appearance – specifically beauty. My acne was exasperating further and it seemed that everyone liked a girl who was attractive.
I have probably never admitted this before, but in my dear diary, I would write down steps that I could do, to look more pretty. These included: nails filed and polished, hair cut, learning how to style it better and how to do a smokey eye properly. Each birthday and christmas, makeup and beauty products would be on the list and I remember by 14, I had a cosmetic brush kit that allowed me to blend and contour my eyes.
Sometimes, I would be told off for wearing too much makeup – even though it was just a dark olive-green eyeshadow. I felt that I had to learn cosmetics from a young age, as my skin needed to be covered. I would make a joke, that in a previous life I must have been a dalmatian – that’s why my spots wouldn’t go away.
I was 14, when I had my first big ‘night out’ occasion. My sister had to dress me (I felt clueless) and my friend had to teach me how to dance. I bluffed my way – pretending that I knew all about alcohol. There’s a turning point in school, when you no longer want to have sleepovers – you want to go out. I was never a ‘wild child’ or someone known for not being good. Mentally, I believed myself to be mature and a grown up – I would set personal rules. For instance, don’t drink over this limit or yes you’re able to go out and do this. Standard me, thinking I knew it all – some things never change.
Overall, I recall high-school as me trying to learn – but never being educated. Trying to be healthy – yet starving myself and trying to be some sexy, glamorous, confident, beautiful woman, with no concept of what any of that was. My idea of beauty, was to pluck every eyebrow hair, buy a shimmer lipgloss and to show some skin.
Secretly, I had an inner battle with depression. It was just a topic that nobody talked about. There were days that I didn’t want to be alive and I would just sit in my room for hours. I honestly don’t remember the causes, at that age, it could have been anything! It has come back over the years, though I can’t identify whether they are any similarities.
This was what I had to face. I did realise that I had to get over myself, that the world doesn’t end because a friend is not speaking to you and yes, many moments I am the one that needs to apologise. There were good memories however, life was reckless living. None of today’s responsibilities. I had fun that I wouldn’t relive now.
There’s far more to say, but I am aware that five years, could be a book worth of information; somewhere I had to select the most significant parts. Let me know if anything resonated with you or whether you could share similarity.