Thursday, 29 May 2014

Being a teenager

Having to go through puberty is one of life's crueler jokes. As a rule, I try not to think about it much - it is a period of my life best left in the past. Oh, you are wondering why? Okay, you asked for it:

That's me at 15 with my first boyfriend. We were at his sister's wedding. Yes, this was my outfit for a wedding. Also, fun fact: after coming back from the bathroom, the skirt had been caught in the waistband of my tights, exposing my sticky-out bum to everybody. I walked across the full dance floor before my boyfriend saved me by pulling it out. Yes, it was the first time I had been invited to a social function of his family. Amazingly, they invited me back. 
That's me and him. Teenage love!
Our first real vacation together: we went to London. I'm 17 in these photos.
I thought I was hot sh*t. Red streak, leather pants, dressed all in black. 
The chubby phase had started. Look at that moon face! I was 19.

I saved the worst for last. Do you remember photo booths? I think they may still be around, but I haven't set foot in one in about 15 years. In case you are wondering why, here is the answer:
Worst pictures ever. I hesitated putting these up, but couldn't pass on the entertainment value. 
Fun little anecdote: The photo to the right was my passport photo. Back then we were still allowed to use photos where we creepily smiled. One time when I went through customs, the customs official laughed out loud when he saw that picture. Not very professional, now is it? I know for sure he laughed about the photo, because he then looked up and told me: "Nice picture!".  

All I can say is this: I will be eternally grateful that we didn't have cellphones with cameras back then (it was the 90s, kids). And believe it or not, nobody took their camera with them when we went out. Hard to imagine nowadays, isn't it? As you have seen for yourself, that was a huge blessing in my case. 

Why am I bringing all this up now when I try so hard to forget those dark times? 
Yesterday I had a brush with teenagehood, and all the memories came slamming back. 

Being 18 is so celebrated, like it's one of the best times in your life. This couldn't be further from the truth. 
People still treat you like a kid, yet expect you to have your future figured out. 
They expect me to know who I will be, but I don't even know who I am right now.

All their questions are hurting me, so I have to hurt them back. 
I feel like shit afterwards, but too awkward to apologize. 

All these thoughts in my head are getting too much, but I don't know how to switch them off.
Who are my real friends?

There are a million different paths out there, how in the world am I expected to figure out which one to choose?
I don't know what to do with my life. 

I don't want to disappoint my parents. 
My parents don't understand me. 
Why can't everybody just shut up and leave me alone?

How do you know if you love someone?
Should I break up?
But if I break up, I will be alone.
Does everybody feel so lonely, or is it just me?

I'm ugly. 
I need to lose weight.
I smoke to lose weight. 

Nothing makes me happy. 
Why can't I be happy?

I need somebody to tell me what I should do. 
Don't tell me what to do. 

Does everybody feel this way?
Or is it just me?

I haven't thought about this time in years, not in great detail anyway. But yesterday I did. And I remembered what a truly awful time it can be. 
Don't get me wrong, it was also fun: hours spent at the skate park with the guys, epic parties, the feeling that your friends are your family. There was a time when I would walk into our favourite club and knew so many people, I felt like a (very minor) celebrity. Nights spent just kissing and kissing for hours. Dreaming big of all the amazing things I would do. Sometimes, knowing that my entire life stretched out in front of me like a blank canvas, waiting for me to fill it with colour, was an exciting feeling. 

But more often, it paralyzed me. The sheer responsibility of it made me want to give up. And the many uncertainties were awful. Not knowing who you really are was one of the worst ones for me. 

But listen up kids: It will get better. You will figure it out. I promise. Time helps; but also, trying things out. (No drugs, though! It's never worth it.)
You learn by trial and error. And by talking to older people. You don't have to do what they tell you to; just listening is enough. Maybe there is part of their story that you can relate to. Something that strikes a chord.

Don't forget:
  
What do you remember from your teenage years? Good memories? Bad ones? Share below!

Lots of love, Miriam

Linking up with Nicole

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7 comments

  1. This is a very relatable post! My teenage years were also quite awkward, painful, and just rough. I don't like to look back to often, but when I do it is with similar sentiment. I wish I could go back and let myself see how wonderful everything becomes. I never would have expected it.

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  2. Ugh...I don't think of the past too much. There were certainly some fun times and high points but I remember a lot of the same feelings and feeling lost, lonely, and not knowing what direction to take and how to handle relationships. I actually think most of that started once I graduated High School though. I have fond memories of my junior and senior year of HS. I'm more of a look ahead kind of girl :)

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  3. Oh, also you should have done a side by side of your old passport picture and you now! You look quite different! I hate looking at old pictures too, but you really don't look bad, a little punk like in your 17 year old ones. It's fun to get to see the younger version of you :)

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  4. My teenage years were a very imbalanced perfect and hilarious and absolutely horrible. I had the worst depression ever, I took a lot of sedatives and would sleep for days and days at a time. I would have crazy highs and have the best times of my life - seriously like, falling in love with every single one of my friends and hoping that I could just stay that way forever.
    I'm so happy things can balance out a bit. Medication helps.
    I was so awkward (isn't everyone? did ANYONE have an OK teenage experience??) and just always felt like I was copying everyone and trying to be original at the same time. No wonder we were all crazy.
    I will dig up some photos and show you!! (A LOT OF BIG PANTS AND CRAZY COLOURED HAIR AND FACE PIERCINGS)

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  5. My awkward years were so bad I wont' even show them, hahahaa!

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  6. I love your wedding outfit. Ha! Fashion is funny, I definitely wore my fair share of platform shoes in the past.

    Growing up is tough! Talk about awkward; I was 5'8" when I was 11 years old. The boys at my school were about as tall as my waist. But, oh my gosh, all of those crazy experiences in my younger years have molded the person I am today. Life is a roller coaster!

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  7. Ahhh, the awkward phase photos. We all have them, huh? I was so skinny with hunched shoulders and shyness oozing from every pore.

    I so remember the platform shoes. Haha!

    -Amy

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