When I was a kid I dreamed of being sixteen. Being sixteen would straighten all my problems out. I'd be tall and beautiful, and smart, and I'd be on my way to Oxford and all the boys would adore me. I'd have big boobs and I'd be learning to drive a flashy car. I couldn't wait to be sixteen.
Now I am nearly sixteen, and I'm not tall or beautiful. I am smart, but in Australia that's not necessarily a good thing. I don't know if I'm on my way to Oxford and 'all the boys' certainly don't adore me. I do have big boobs, but I can hardly walk in a straight line, let alone drive. But I have something that I never thought I would have: a little tiny faint glimmer of wisdom.
When you're a kid you hold on to things, hold life-long grudges. When life is such a short blur the most trivial things cut deep, leave scars. I remember the day my sports teacher yelled at me for 'creeping around his shed' when my teacher asked me to go get some sport equipment. I remember almost every instance of getting into trouble, being bullied, being rejected by countless boys. You forget about the teachers, the bullies, the boys; you hold no emotional connection with them after a little while, but you never forget the surge of emotion that floods the hot little head of your childish self. At least, that's how it is for me. I don't forget things easily, and I remember them because the emotion floods back, as if I were a little six year old with scabby knees all over again.
When I first started high school I fell in love with my best mate, and after one year of stupid hopes and prayers it all came to a rather messy end. To this day I have not been able to adequately explain to anyone how something as simple as that led to a wave of depression - how it sparked such bitterness and anger. He was nothing special, I was nothing special, and whatever we had or did was nothing special; and I have been told that many many times since. There were other boys and other heartbreaks, but this one hit the hardest. There was lots of guilt, too, because here I was being all miserable over some little boy when there were starving people and babies dying of AIDS - people don't hesitate to remind me of that either. God only knows how many friends I lost, how much time I wasted over this, and to be honest, I don't even understand it. I've been through heart surgery and much bigger things, but this was the thing that threw me into the deep end.
To everyone who stood by me through this and everything else, to everyone who was bewildered, frustrated, angered and insulted by my rather spectacular display of schoolgirl patheticness, I'm not going to justify going crazy. I'll just say that that was the Last Grudge - the last moment of bitterness I'll remember from childhood; the last little trivial thing from the early days to bring back that kind of emotion. Life gets longer, and the little heartbreak kid gets wiser - and since then, I have never had one of those moments. But my little nostalgic trips down memory lane is full of these moments of pure emotion that I can recall as if they all happened yesterday: and this, my friend, is one of them. It's these little things that make you stronger.