11 Life Lessons From My Thirteen Year Old Self

“Fuck up at school, and you fuck up at life- it’s fucked”- Jonas Takalua

I was a big fan of comedies as a thirteen year old. I wrote bizarre and eclectic sketches and feature film scripts, aspiring to see them on TV or on the cinema screen. Of course, now looking back, they are so stupid and need so much work I don’t know where to start.

Despite this and how lame I was back then, I did have some form of wisdom worth sharing. It came to me today while I was de-cluttering- clearing out crap in preparation for moving to Glasgow. (I’m going to Glasgow University and turning 20 in September, which I still can’t quite get over!) I ploughed through scraps of writing, old greetings cards, cuddly toys and more useless tat to find a list titled “Life Lessons Learned Either From Myself Or Others”. It had the little quote at the top (from Australian comedy ‘Summer Heights High’), and 31 points. I’m obviously not going to include absolutely all of them for brevity, but here are some of the best ones. (In no particular order)

  1.  “Start winding down and getting ready for bed earlier”

This is a lesson I’m still trying to apply to my everyday life. It’s true though- especially when I could barely get up in the morning for school the next day.

2. “The Spice Girls lied- friendship does end.”

As a young girl and teenager, you’re bombarded of images of everlasting girly friendship from films, TV shows, magazines, adverts you name it. So it only took me the whole of primary school and some of secondary school to learn that friendship does end. People fall out. People grow out of each other. People grow apart. People abandon. It’s never usually personal, except for when it is. It’s a rare time you keep friends you made in school, or anywhere as a young teenager, for the long term.

3. “Don’t try and be a smart alec and make a joke in another language. Especially in a languages class.”

The class will never get the joke, no matter how witty you think you are.

4. “Just because everyone else is doing something, doesn’t make it right.”

I saw most of that lesson from my peers drinking at bus stops and things. I hated not being included in things. Part of me wished that I could be included. But really, deep down I knew I wasn’t missing out on much. Especially when they were talking about when they were sick, as if it was all part of the fun. (Yes I have been drunk before and I know from experience that when you feel queasy that is the time to stop!)
5. “Not all adults have grown up completely yet.”

As a nineteen year old, who has been a school assistant and a support worker, I amend this slightly- no adults have grown up even slightly. It’s a conspiracy and a lie to keep children in line. Nobody knows what they’re doing. Literally nobody. Everyone is making it all up as they go along.

6. “Don’t chase. Boys smell desperation.”

This was a hard lesson to learn. I’d spent the first two years of secondary school jumping from crush to crush, without a clue about how to deal with the feelings I had. I made a real fool of myself for it, and became an easy target.

7. “In the long run, your social status matters much less than your grades. Your grades decide your future but how popular you are in high school doesn’t.”

I’ve only kept a handful of the friends I made in school, and even then I made those when I was fifteen. Although your grades do affect your future, you’re not damned forever for not having perfect grades.

8. “Men and women in magazines aren’t really your role models”

Whereas most people have somewhat distinction between fantasy and reality, not everyone does. It’s so easy to be captivated by these models and writers and hold the unrealistic pictures they paint as the reality you want. It honestly can’t be achieved.

In reality, you couldn’t really sustain a kale and juice diet or screw a porn star. You can fantasise, but you know it won’t happen. Yet the eating disorders, self-esteem issues, addictions and outright bizarre behaviour these things can cause is insane.

9.“Don’t quit a show because none of your friends are performing with you, or you haven’t got a good part.”

This applies to anything else as well as drama, from sports clubs to science groups. When I was younger, I used to spend my summer doing shows with a drama group in Paisley.

In the show before this one, I made lots of friends and had a really great time. In the next one, it didn’t have the exact same people, but there was one boy who went to the same one as me. He was one of the people I was pretty good friends with. Or so I thought.

When we were on our break together with his friends, he snapped at me “Why are you following me around like a puppy?” I was so ashamed, hurt and taken aback that I couldn’t bear to go back. I do regret that, because the guy was quite clearly behaving like an arse and it could have been a really good show. I could have had a lot of fun as part of the chorus.

10. “Don’t take on other people’s problems more than they are.”

I did this quite a lot, especially during S4 and S5. People used to befriend me because I would sit for hours and counsel them through their problems. But quite a few of these people were just looking for a safe space to have a bitch or didn’t have the stones to sort themselves out. It left me exhausted, and I got really emotionally invested when I probably shouldn’t have. By all means, help people. Help your friends because most people will appreciate you being there. But when people relinquish responsibility for their own wellbeing and expect you to provide their happiness is when you detach. They need to help themselves, you know.

11.“Enjoy your teenage years but keep in mind that what you do now can affect you for the rest of your life.”

When I was that age, I fell for the “if you fail your exams, you fail at life” dogma. So to me it was as grave as it might sound to you. But I know as an adult, if you don’t do well at school, it’s not the end of your life. Far from it!

How you are as a teenager will affect how you’ll be for the rest of your life. But that doesn’t mean you’re done for. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll grow from them.

So have fun with your friends, go to all the after-school clubs, kiss every frog, pop all your zits- make the most of every minute, because you won’t get it again!

 

my halloween costumeDSCF9725me in the pace foyer

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Ink Prelude

My mind is a dark room with red lighting and a desk where I create and destroy at my will. It is a continent, surrounded by paper and ink. Like my study, it is cluttered, but unlike my study it has no walls.

There is nowhere the ideas can float but everywhere. That is until I drop them. It is funny to watch them squirm, drown and be forgotten.

Did that scare you a little?

Don’t worry, I’ve not killed anyone.

Well… at least not a real person.

 

NOTE: “Ink” was the first short film that I had been involved in. It was made as part of a GMAC Summer School, and shown at the Glasgow Film Theatre. I added the flier as my image because it is inspired by the film. 

“Ink” is the intellectual property of GMAC film.

Entering NaNoWriMo/Starting the Dormant Queen

Well as you can guess by the title, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. I’ve been Facebooking and Tweeting about it for a few days now, and feel my time there deserves a blog entry.

For those who are unsure what NaNoWriMo is, it is a writing program where participants aim to write 50,000 words of a novel in just 30 days. It takes place in November, with optional editing periods during January or February. If you’ve been wanting to write a novel but have found it difficult to stay motivated, this is a good way to start. You can buddy up with people who can encourage you and cheer you on, or act as an audience.

NaNoWriMo itself is a non profit organisation and website that runs almost solely on donations from participants and its website helps keep together this world-wide operation to get people writing during November. Everyone has at least one novel in them, I believe. If you want to find out more, go to http://nanowrimo.org/

I first heard about it through my friend, who also put me onto Archive of Our Own, who told me it was a lot of fun. I was a bit sceptical at first, just because I wanted to build a short story portfolio at the time. Then during October, I decided to be a little bit more selfish. I’ve had this Dormant Queen novel brewing and developing since 2013/2014, and I felt that the plot and characters were relevant to me now. And I’ve been writing nothing but short stories, flash fictions and poems for the past two years, as I didn’t feel like I could finish a full novel. Now I feel like I should give it a try.

Although I also want to put out a Harry Potter spoof serial of five parts on the website, in time for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them coming out on the 17th. I may have taken on waaay too much. All my motivation is going to my novel.

NaNoWriMo is really working for me. I’ve already written the 6th chapter of The Dormant Queen, and working through Chapter 7 tomorrow. When I first started, I hadn’t actually thought that I could possibly get as far as the middle of the novel as I find it so difficult to finish things. Although it might seem modest so far, especially considering that I’ve started on the 25th October as opposed to the first, I’m so proud of my progress I can’t contain it! It’ll be amazing to have a completed novel, even if it is a very very rough draft.

I had to get it all out! I’m so happy!

Happy writing everyone!