Here’s to sixteen– the year I thought I’d wasted because it wasn’t like the Disney Channel films that I’d grown up watching or even the John Hughes coming-of-age comedies I graduated to in my preteens. I thought I’d misspent all of sixteen studying the things that I’d been told I needed to learn. Making sacrifices in my social life for a grade sheet and the brief nod of approval that comes with an impressive string of grades. I look at the other 16-year-olds out there, like Greta Thunberg and occasionally envy their passion and sense of direction. I had the impression that I’d have it all figured out by now.
On paper, my sixteenth birthday itself was a car crash that did not fill me with hope as it set the tone for the year as ‘disappointment’. But you see, it’s much easier to long for the things that didn’t happen and regret the things you didn’t do. The reality is that sixteen wasn’t devoid of colour- it was the year that I travelled across the world without the watchful (and occasionally overprotective) eye of my parents. It was the year that I briefly moved out and had my first experience with the whole ‘adulting’ ordeal. The year that I got my first job and I moved school again. I finally understood that I did not need to feel insecure in my body.
My tolerance and ability to be vulnerable and meet new people grew. I got myself through the most difficult challenges that I’d ever set myself: pushing myself to get proof of my dedication to my studies over the last 3 years. Scratch that. The last 12 years. I won’t ramble on too much about GCSEs but you can read my reflection here.
Make no mistake, a lot of fun was had too: I made an absolute fool of myself at prom with my honorary sisters, whilst wearing a fabulous dress and falling over shoes that ought to have come with a safety warning. Time that’s spent living isn’t ‘wasted’.
What I’m trying to get out of writing this, is acceptance of what this year was, not what I wanted it to be. I need to learn to feel proud of it and, not let myself define what seventeen is going to be to me.
This post is rather messy, but it reflects my mind as a count in seventeen tonight. It’s definitely not cohesive and I’m trying to keep the adolescent dread to a minimum for all of our sakes…
It’s the year of the dancing queen and just you watch me romp and frolic through it.