Friday, 28 March 2008

Closet teenager

Christ I am 35 in 2 weeks. What the feck is that all about? thirty.... five. It's a new box for starters. In any questionnaire, job application thingy.25 - 29? 30 - 34? and eek - 35 - 39!!! One day and suddenly - boom! You are a whole year older (wiser?) and well... I just don't feel it. Don't get me wrong, on days Sproglet runs circles round me, I have PMT and husband makes me contemplate 1st degree murder - I feel 156. But most of the time - I am still 17!! I am a sucker for a John Hughes movie, I love Dawson's creek, my music taste is firmly planted circa 1986 and I would have sleepovers if it wasn't illegal at my age - I am still a youth! Make-up excites me, I love boy chats and would spend half my life on the phone if only someone else would chat at length with me... I am a closet teenager at heart. Heck, I still get spots.

Do you remember Jackie magazine? I started reading it when I was 9 to collect (swoon)'Adam and the Ants' posters. It was meant for girls who had periods and wanted to know about french kissing and whether or not pedal pushers worked with tuck-a-boots or not but I aspired to all the problems on the 'Cathy and Claire' page and read it to feel older and and more mature - even though I had no idea what 'discharge' meant amongst other things. I moved on to Just 17, then mags in my Mum's hairdressing shop that had tantalising problem pages and excerpts of Jilly Cooper's 'Riders' to pour over. It was great to get an 'in' on subjects that were far removed from my suburban dull teenage existence in Belfast. I couldn't wait to escape my mundane life. The same boring pub every weekend. The same tedious rugby boys to have crushes on (or not as the case may be - I loved a boy called Gareth who never washed his hair and wore pink baseball boots - I called him, 'the artist' when actually he should have been called 'the wanker').

Point is - I wanted to get the hell outta there so bad. And now as I approach this number - a number that doesn't feel remotely like ME or anything to do with me - I crave the simplicity and ok, drama of a teenage life. Better than stewing about a job at Eastenders or a fucking mortgage offer eh? If only all my worries were getting a politics essay in on time, whether or not my teenage love was going to call me that evening or 'to take or not take' the pill... I kept diaries all my life - they are truly sad. And amazing. And sadly not so far removed from who I am now. My good friend Eleanor went to school with me. She had about as much interest in french as I had - so all we did was pass or throw notes to each other - and I got a sore neck from trying to oggle 'the artist' in the classroom behind. Eleanor secretly kept all these notes and recently gave them to me. And weirdly, I had some of her scribblings too. They made me laugh and cry. Laugh at how ridiculous and (shock horror) overly dramatic I was. Cry - because I was so full of potential and inspiration and niave ambitions. It would be years before I became the bitter old lemon that I am. Eleanor got pregnant at school. I was shocked - I didn't even know she was having sex - in fact she was the kind of girl I wasn't even sure knew how to have sex. Anyway she had a baby and did her A levels 2 days later. Passed with flying colours, went on to Uni, did a PHD etc. - is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. She sweetly kept a letter I wrote to her(aged 17) when I learned she was expecting - I read it again - age 34, and oddly I would write the very same letter today.

Inwardly I am still that 17 year old - desperate to get amongst it and be challenged, succeed against all costs and make something of myself. I still am a sad old romantic at heart and would watch 'The Breakfast Club' until the cows came home. My favourite times are still with folk I knew when I was 17. I still get a thrill out of an illict cigarette (being a preachy non-smoker for 7 years). So as I approach such a ridiculous age - if anyone fancies a sleep-over, smoking their first joint and talking about which base to go to with the captain of the rugby team - give me nudge, I'm there in a heartbeat. And can I bring Madonna's 'True Blue album?'

1 comment:

teganturner said...

are we the same person???? Here's to 17, the Brekky Club, phone gossip and unfortunately ticking the next box whilst still getting spots! Am turning 32 next week and it is like u read my mind..... Really enjoying the log - wish i had time to had more.