Now Playing: Dear John by Taylor Swift (don't you think I was too young to be messed with, the girl in the dress cried the whole way home)
So let me tell you a story, another story in this long list of stories that is my life.
It feels like I'm writing to an old friend, but I know that is little more than an illusion. My dearest friends read this, but so do my worst enemies. I know that.
But let me tell you a story.
I don't remember much of being thirteen. I remember brief flickers - the agonizing pain each month as I struggled with hormonal imbalances. I remember my school uniform being far too big for me, and food being a constant obsession. I remember my first day in year nine English. But other than that, not much.
Except for two boys. The memories of both of them are very much intertwined, at least the memories from when I was thirteen. I remember one of them being sweet and beautiful and untouchable. I remember being so afraid of him I could barely look him in the eye.
I was friends with the other boy. I vaguely remember us being quite close, but I don't remember the specifics. All I really bothered to remember was how he hurt me.
And I remember that rage was still something very childish and dark and uncontrollable, back then. I wasn't cool and calculative like I am now - now I know how to pick my fights and how to play people even when I'm almost blind with rage. I remember wishing I could be him. I hated how much power he had over me. I wanted to hurt someone as much as he had hurt me.
In my silly thirteen year old head, it made sense. Revenge was revenge, no matter who it was exacted on. And I guess it stuck with me, even as I was growing up. I wanted to be like all those people who hurt me. I wanted someone to get a taste of the kind of bitterness I thought only I had ever felt.
It's only when you're seventeen you realise that little boys hurt little girls without really knowing or thinking about what they're doing. It's only when you're seventeen when you realise that you get over silly teenage heartbreaks - eventually.
But something else has changed, between then and now. Thirteen year old me never had a reputation for being nice - now I do, at least amongst certain company. Thirteen year old me didn't have the friends I have now. But some things haven't changed. I'm still as lost and confused as ever.
And it's only when you're seventeen when you realise that being on the other side isn't any better. There's no joy or satisfaction in hurting others. It's not so much revenge as a massive guilt trip that hurts almost as much as all the other times you've been on the receiving end. It's not empowering or impressive in the slightest that I'm finally in a position of power over others. Letting others down is just as hard as being let down.
But you know why I'm here? Why I'm not eleven years old and saying yes to anything and anyone who came my way? I'm seventeen. I've been in love, and I remember it, vividly. I remember the butterflies, the rush, the crazy rollercoaster. I know what it's like to feel like you were born for someone, to feel that irresistible pull even though you know they're trouble. That's something you can't forget or erase. I know what it's like. Every day I relive those moments - I remember what it feels like, to be thirteen and in love for the first time, to be fourteen and devastated by your first real heartbreak, to be fifteen and finally get what you wanted, to be sixteen and have your first kiss under the warm winter sun, to be seventeen and inexplicably attracted to the beautiful boy with the beautiful smile who showers you with little presents and makes you feel like a princess, just for a second, before the fairytale is snatched away before you get to the happy ending. And you know when what you're presented with in the here and now has nothing in common with those beautiful, fearless, reckless, dangerous, painful memories. I'm seventeen, and as hard as it is to walk away and as guilty as I feel for doing what I hated other people doing to me...I'm not the naive little girl I used to be, without all these memories and experiences. I don't know what I want, at all. But at least I realise soon enough what feels right and what would just be a bad repeat of childish mistakes.
Dearest Thirteen, a dream came true. You can finally be as cruel as the people you know. But it doesn't bring you any happiness, dearest Thirteen. I wish you knew that. Because this is one dream I wish you never wished for.