Almost a decade ago, I was just beginning sixth form and starting my A levels - a time that is probably super exciting to most - but school was a rough ride for me. I was consistently down, I second guessed myself at every turn, and I failed to find my place in the small pond that is high school. I know lots of people struggle with this weird leap into sixth form, but I felt particularly lost and alone after a series of baaad bad breakups (both friendships and relationships).
With nowhere to vent, I turned to the blank pages of a brown, floral, £4.99 The Works diary...
I recently came across said old diary - the pages brimming with old notes, love letters, drawings and photographs from 7 years ago - and I began to re-read it. It's been a very long time since I felt the way I did then, and reading these back, I wish I'd been able to feel as detached as I do now. As secure in the knowledge that these people are not worth my tears or my anger. So, I thought I'd share some quotes from my diary, and write myself some retrospective advice here on AWT. If anyone is experiencing anything remotely similar to what I was, maybe you can look at it, through my experiences, with fresh, detached eyes (Good Lord, not literally)
*Obvs I've changed all the names - after a quick Google search for 'most common girls names/boys names', let me introduce you to the people who made my school life exactly what it was...
21st Jan 2011 16:54
Today in Economics, Mr Jones used girls as an example to prove the value of money or something... so he was saying that when girls have a boyfriend, that must mean they're attractive so more boys want her, whereas when she doesn't have a boyfriend there must be something wrong with her so no boys want her. I turned to Maddie and said "that's so true..."
Jack even once said to me "you don't realise what you want until someone else has them". Now, with no boyfriend, no one wants me.
Well, except George text me last night saying he's in love with me...but I really don't like him like that..."
After a string of upsetting, unsuccessful relationships (for which I now thank the high heavens for their failure), I went through school feeling v lonely, ugly and like no one would ever be interested in me ever again. I was thrown away, just like Mr Jones tried to explain, and so why would anyone see me as attractive if nobody was interested in me?
How are you supposed to break that logic?
Firstly, what an appalling analogy from a teacher to a bunch of teenagers. Are you ACTUALLY saying those words? That we're less attractive because we're unwanted? How I ever thought what he was saying was okay is one thing. How I ever thought what he was saying was TRUE, is a completely different matter...
This foolish analogy has no real standing whatsoever. You will find someone who is genuinely interested in you FOR YOU - not because someone else likes you and they're a bit jealous. If the foundation for your entire relationship is based on the jealousy that someone else "has" you, and you're alluring because you're unobtainable...this does not a solid relationship make. That is possessive - pure and simple.
So, my little 16 year old self, just know that the most special man is only a couple of years around the corner and he will like you because you're you, NOT because you're taken and he just wants his shot.
P.S. I actually find it hilarious that I was so blinded by my own unhappiness that I have genuinely written the words... "no one likes me" and a few lines later "...apart from George, but I don't like him like that"...!
4th Feb 2011 22:24
Saw Josh today. I was walking to Economics with Amelia and was about to go through the double doors and he's just standing there, not moving, with his mate. Just in front of the doors. He didn't move and completely ignored me so I just brushed past him and ignored him too. I walked straight into the double doors, hitting it with my bag. Later, he text me saying he thought I looked hot...so why did he glare daggers at me? He's so weird at school but then so nice over text?
A boring, daily occurrence to document, I'll admit. However, being ignored day in-day out by the boy you like (who one minute tells you he likes you, and the next is chucking evils at you with his mate), AND THEN embarrassing yourself by walking straight into those damn double doors is all going to contribute to one big confidence knock, let me tell ya.
Oh the ups and downs of a high school relationship - he wants to text you in secret but holdthephone when it comes to being seen with you at school whoaaaa. God forbid his mates say he's "whipped"!
If he's not willing to at least open that damn double door for you, let alone speak to you or smile at you like a normal, polite human, do yourself a favour - cut him out.
Again, you will find someone who is PROUD to be seen with you in public - settle for nothing less.
8th Feb 2011 16:59
Claire has started hanging out in N19 at lunch and break because she's fallen out with her friendship group. I feel like I finally sort of settled down to a group and she comes in and changes it all. After all the malicious, bitchy stuff she's said about me. I'm supposed to just accept her being there and put on a fake smile?
So clearly, 16 year old Lois felt some sort of ownership over N19 - the popular break and lunchtime hangout (GOD FORBID you were caught scoffing Hula Hoops in there though...it is a classroom after all). Anyway, I think Claire had been saying some rather nasty things about me behind my back, spreading rumours, bitching - you know, the usual. So when she moved into my territory after clearly driving away her own group, I was not happy.
YES - adorn the fake smile - go seek comfort in your incredibly supportive friend in the year above, and the fiercely loyal girl in the year below, who are all the way across school in the canteen, because guess what? Claire's just shown herself up to HER OWN FRIENDS and is crawling into N19 for comfort. You won. And she'll soon enough show herself up to your group too (which I think is what happened anyway...) And where is she now? Exactly. Where am I? (That's a secret I'll never tell) No seriously... I'm still best friends with the two aforementioned rocks. Two of the few friends I have maintained from school, simply because they're some of the only people who have been there for me through thick and thin.
HA - BlackBerry Messenger, those were the days. Who else remembers that you could change the colour of the notification flash, so when the boy you fancied text you, it would flash alllll colours of the rainbow?! Besides the point...
Pretty self explanatory, but Jack (the boy I quite fancied throughout most of my school days) starting texting my best best friend, and when I said I'd step aside but that it upset me, he rather graciously offered to delete me and made me feel like he was doing me the favour.
ANY GUY that is going to make you feel like he's doing you some greater good by deleting you and cutting you out to make room for your best gal pal can, in the words of JoJo, leave, get out. You do not need that. That is him trying to make his own life easier to mack on with your mate - it is nothing about you.
Retrospectively, I do find this so laughable and so obvious too - but I do wish I'd seen at the time that this was nothing to do with me...I didn't need to waste time crying when his BBM Pin vanished from my contacts. I could have held my head higher and waved him da fuk on...
14th May 2011 15:22
Amelia tells me later that day that Jack's been texting her on the same nights as me, telling her how special she is, how he'd love to wake up next to her etc. Then he text me saying... "I'm deleting your BBM so I can't hurt you anymore. I'm not happy about it."
I was a bit of a lost soul in my first year at university - I don't drink to excess, smoke or do drugs but trying to find your place in a culture of sicky, bingey nights out can be difficult when you don't like it. And if you don't know or like the people you're going out with very well...there's your cocktail for a shit night out.
I wrote this diary entry before I joined Student Radio, and I wish I'd joined sooner, because I feel I would have had more of the university experience that I hear so many describe.
16th May 2013 14:08
I can't wait to go home. It feels difficult today, like being at uni for such a long time. No one is like me. I feel so lonely. I really don't feel like I've clicked or bonded with anyone and it feels horrible. Everyone else has. I don't know what's wrong with me. I kind of want to fast forward a little bit to being married and I know that sounds so stupid but I just feel like I'm waiting.
As I've written in a previous post, if you don't want to do these things THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FINE. My whole life, I've been judged for being the girl who doesn't get drunk, but I really get nothing from excessive amounts of alcohol (I must be missing out on something, surely?!) and genuinely can have the best time without it. Bizarrely, people don't believe me when I say my best night at Glastonbury was fuelled by a 2 hour nap and a hot chocolate.
But, the people who judge you for the choices you make are not the ones worth keeping around. Rather than bonding over booze, I'd so much rather find those ridiculously tiny things in common with people where you're like "AS IF you've heard of Flight of the Conchords - no one else I know has!" - recipe for an instant bffl.
When I joined Student Radio, I found like-minded people who I truly truly love and still call my best friends to this day. So go and seek out the people like you - because nights out with those people are infinitely more fun.
Also, it may sound like I was wishing my young years away, but I really wasn't. I was just pining after a safe and settled life, living with Aaron - the only person I felt at the time truly understood me (except for fam and close friends). Although not yet married, but now living with said significant other, it's everything I was wishing it would be, so in no way do I feel I wasted my young years wishing to be where I am now.
I see that diary excerpt purely as a goal, which I have now achieved (minus the marriage).
Despite all of the above - the endless ups and downs that school and uni life threw at me - I clearly made it through and came out more than fine. I'm in the best relationship I ever could have imagined possible, and I now save a place only for the friends I know are truly special and loyal.
But I wish I'd known, back then, that things would be okay. Everyone told me it would be, but I wish I'd known what I know now.
Back in 2010, I didn't have the emotional tools that I do now which I could have used to help me handle things a little better. But I suppose that's exactly what growing up is all about?
So, finally! The outfit...
This vinyl trench is new to my wardrobe, and I am completely and utterly in love with it. Terrified to wear it, I chucked it on over the epitome of my comfort zone - mom jeans and a slogan tee - and realised it really isn't a scary piece at all. It's the easiest thing to style casually - just avoid all black (unless you enjoy your sister singing the Men in Black theme tune at you).
Then we have the MUCHAS tee - I don't know what more I can say about this slogan tee except that I LOVE IT. The colour is beautiful (that millennial pink though), and it was SO reasonably priced.
Finally, to tie together a very 80s inspired outfit, I threw on these amazing, high waisted jeans from ASOS - these are the comfiest jeans you will ever own, and I'm obsesseeddddd with that side tab detail.