Maddison went on the mandatory year 7 Sydney/Canberra trip last week with her school. To put into a word the look on all of the expectant, waiting parents at the airport on Saturday, I’d use excited. The word to describe my eleven year old daughters face when walking across the tarmac – weary. Her teacher – Rooted.
It seems she had a great time, with stories of Questacon, a crossed eyed bus driver and friends farting in their sleep amoung the many, but in the last few hours, she had a fight with her very best friend. Maddison claims they are no longer even friends, let alone best of ones. She was teary, moody and very unreasonable. In fact, she must have been working on her sulking skills whilst away because if it became an Olympic sport, I do believe she’d be a contender to take out gold for Australia.
Ahh, the memories. See, I can remember the me of grade 7. Grade 8. Hell, I vividly remember the graduating year 12 version of me. These are the tween/teen years and Justin Bieber is only the very start of what is oh so wrong about them. They are angsty. They are full of confusion, and as was my case, chock full of spiral perms. So if I could go back and whisper in my teenaged ear, what would I say? Maybe this: Dear Miss Bernadette Clarke:
SPIRAL PERMS DO NOT MAKETH THE GIRL: The year was 1988. If you didn’t have a spiral perm you were basically dead to the rest of the school community. Put it this way, with my already half frizz ball/semi curly head of hair and the outright denial for any hairdresser love from my mother, I was at rigor mortis stage. So to my tween self I would say, don't worry baby, you get your curls. Sure, everyone else will be straightening theirs by that stage, but don't worry, at some point in your life your hair will come into vogue. Wait it out.
BOYFRIENDS ARE OVERRATED: God I wanted a boyfriend. Desperately. See I had gotten the entire way through primary school, kissed DAVID and that was it. Meanwhile, my friends were peeling off left right and centre and “going out with” boys. I wanted in. And I got in. And I got my heart broken. Actually maybe I shouldn’t deter my 13 year old self from doing this. I mean, it makes you tougher right? Being invited to Dreamworld, dropped within the first twenty minutes and then being forced to endure the whole day with the group only to be ignored by your ex all day is good for you right? No. In hindsight, having my heart smashed to pieces and listening to Extreme’s “More than Words” on repeat for 24 hours was EXACTLY what I needed to do. It was fantastic practice for what was to come in the future.
LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: Oh, you know how you think your mother is an old troll who knows NOTHING? Yeah, well, she’s more switched on than you know. She knows that if you go to that party unsupervised you will spew your guts up when you drink too much Malibu and smoke too many cigarettes. She also knows that when you say you are “sleeping at a friend’s house” you are really going over to a boyfriend’s house. Either learn to cover your tracks better or don’t be a dirty little stopout. OK?
BE NICE TO YOUR BROTHER: You will need him later. To introduce you to your future husband.
APPRECIATE YOUR FIGURE: Because it is the best you will ever look. You are not fat. In fact, don’t join that gym in three years time. It will completely fuck with your interpretation of your body. Oh, and if for some reason you ignore this advice, hear me on this: do NOT wear the G-string over the unitard. This can never be undone.
LISTEN IN CLASS: This should be point number one, but I know how you young kids work, you tune out. So here it is. Listen in class, study, work. Oh and whatever it is that you enjoy doing now, writing, adding, looking after animals, reading about aeroplanes, whatever the hell it is, that’s probably what will make you happy in life. Gear yourself into subjects that will get you there in the long run. Nothing is more soul destroying than being 40 years of age and being in a job you cannot stand. OK.
IT WILL ALL BE OK: No matter how badly you think you have messed up, no matter how bad it feels when the “love of your life” dumps you, it will all be OK. Ride it out. I know. today, it seems like the end of the world. In ten years time, it will all be but a memory. A fond one at that. Seriously, believe me on this.
LISTEN TO MUSIC: Constantly. Don't let the top 40 dictate your selection. You have no idea how much music will influence your life. Keep continuing to seek different sounds your entire life.
That's it I think.
Any advice you’d give yourself as a kid starting out in the big wide world of high school? Stay off Facebook? Moisturise? Don’t touch Pro-Active? Love to hear it.