In response to Nicky Cawood at Curly and Candid who has bravely bared her soul to give us an insight of her life as a fifteen year old – here’s my two pence worth!
I was brought up in a wonderful family of four children, two girls, two boys with me being the eldest in a seaside town in southern Ireland. Life for me revolved around studying hard and “being the top 10” to gain my Dad’s approval for being a good student. During summertime the town got turned into a permanent fairground with the usual blow ins of “amusement boys” who seemed to have no end of female admirers hanging about the carousel each day and night. I was not one of them.
The night air was always filled with the scent of salt and vinegar, fish and chips and my friends and I looked forward to the Saturday night dance at the local disco which seemed to be filled with the most awful bunch of eejits you could ever lay eyes upon. I didn’t care for them – dancing around handbags was just as good fun with the girls instead of dealing with the awful breath of someone who’d had too many drinks and had just fallen out of the pub. I just liked having fun with my friends really.
Teenagerhood was scary for me I think I was full of angst and drama and I wondered if I could ever fall in love with anyone or even if anyone would or could ever love me. I didn’t really fit in, thought deeply about everything and had only a handful of friends to hang about with. Life was a mix of “Im not in love” by 10 CC and secret listenings to a pirate radio station at nighttime under the covers as if I was up to something illegal listening to the radio. Whilst the songs played on, my heart was usually smitten with the odd teenage crush but the reality was I always dreamed of a prince charming to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away to somewhere different.
Having a daughter has helped me so much to see that in many ways she’s so like me but at least I can hug her and reassure her that things really do get better and life goes on.
Back then I really believed those Janis Ian lyrics “at Seventeen” which went like this –
I learned the truth at seventeen That love was meant for beauty queens And high school girls with clear skinned smiles Who married young and then retired The valentines I never knew The Friday night charades of youth Were spent on one more beautiful At seventeen I learned the truth And those of us with ravaged faces Lacking in the social graces Desperately remained at home Inventing lovers on the phone Who called to say, "come dance with me" And murmur vague obscenities It isn't all it seems at seventeen
Looking back on photos of me I don’t think I was unattractive however I really didn’t have much confidence in my looks or my ability to turn heads. If only I knew then what I knew now – I’d hug myself and say “you are beautiful”.
I still remember the night of my prom with absolute dread – that night was meant to be one of joy and happiness at graduating. Mine was a blind date that turned into a lecherous nightmare. Again I say to the me at fifteen – “I can’t turn back time but – you were lovely and you deserved better than him”. I had a lucky escape. Many other girls felt forced to sell themselves short. I’m glad my parents brought me up well and that I had respect for myself. I found that love is found in the heart of one who believes you are beautiful and has eyes for no one else.
My prince charming is more than I ever expected him to be and loved the real me. Thank you Paul – you’re the Best!