My 16th Birthday

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IT IS MY BIRTHDAY.

(Or will be when you’re reading this because right now I’m on a train home from London and my laptop is wiggling about my lap and all I can think about is the leftover Jambalaya chilling about in the fridge at home.)

And I thought, to celebrate it, I’d share a short lil ol’ story wit ya.

I’d take you back an entire flippin’ decade to when I was a teenager and celebrating my 16th birthday. Like what, how has that much time passed already? Time goes so damn speedily with every year you get older, have you noticed? Or is that just me?

I love doing outfit posts and shopping edits and fun, shareable lists but y’know what? Sometimes it’s fun just to let you get lost in the words and let you get to know a little more about my life, my head and my past. About who I am.

I’d spent that summer before year 11 holidaying between Poland and France and writing really lame diary entries and MSN screen names about being heartbroken. There was probably a lot of Destiny’s Child lyrics involved, I won’t lie.

LOLZ.

My boyfriend of a month had cheated on me and I was all the sad faces about it. He was the first boyfriend whose house I’d ever been round and and OMG SO IN LOVE.

I loved my birthday being in September because it was always the first social event of the new school year. The first thing to get everyone excited about, the first thing to bring everyone together and get drunk and create wild gossip. The first thing to get people talking about me and make me feel important and cool and popular.

I’d wanted to have a proper 16th in a local hall. The type where everyone gets parents or older siblings or friends to buy them a couple of those big ol’ sexy bottles of WKD and Smirnoff Ice for and everyone just dances to a mix CD and sits outside and smokes and flirts and feels confident and hot and like anything might happen.

Y’know the ones. You were probably a bit sick down yourself outside one of them once.

Except, well,  I kinda left it a bit late to have it in any of the halls I wanted to have it in, so I kindadefinitely maybe possibly had it in a hall attached to an old people’s home.

Already I’m laughing at myself. There is clearly nothing about this story that’s going to go right.

In fact, I’m not even sure how much I’m going to remember as I type this because OH WHAT A SURPRISE, I GOT REALLY EFFING BLIND DRUNK. Like not a little bit drunk, ALL the drunk.

I decided that my toxic poison of choice would defs be vodka. And, rather than like y’know, mixing it with Diet Coke or cranberry juice or summin’ sensible, I just drank it neat. Out the bottle.

Teenage me was cute.

I was well excited about my outfit. I wore a grey rara skirt. Admit it, you all owned a rara skirt and basically felt like a member of the Pussycat Dolls when you wore it. I also wore a self-customised strap top with a turquoise bow across the front just like Elle Girl had told me to do.

I remember getting ready with my gal pals and sitting about in towels drinking white wine like we were rich or getting married and thinking we were such little elegant sass pots as we loaded up on Barry M glitter pots.

We got to the hall an hour early and blew up balloons in my cobalt blue, fuchsia and lime green colour scheme and started doing some sneaky vodka shots from my new pin-up girl shot glasses.

Then we all signed our names in my birthday party guest book laid out across the piano.

Honestly, I think I’d watched too many episodes of My Super Sweet 16.

We had a blind bar man and my grandparents arrived early and started bulk buying Bacardi Breezers and beer to anyone who wanted them.

I look back and sometimes I don’t understand my own life. It sounds like an episode of The Simpsons.

I actually, if I’m entirely honest, don’t remember so much of the night after that. It gets to about 7pm and I remember the first few guests arriving and then after that I kind of only really know things based on photographs and stories I was relayed in the days that followed. My bad.

I had over 100 guests.

I made the majority of them pose for photos with me.

I was wearing a Disney Princess crown.

We were told to keep the noise down.

I fell over and just chilled out on the floor for a bit with my bum on show.

Some people had some dry sex on the grass outside.

Someone was sick on the carpet.

I cried on a boy I hardly knew’s lap for a good 45 minutes.

The police came.

I ran away.

We ended up at the beach. I think it was raining.

I sat on a wooden fence and fell backwards and banged my head.

And then this is the part I remember again. The part of me lying on a bench on the seafront with a combination of kinda friends and people I’d never actually spoken to in real-life but knew from school. Of me lying there and wanting to be at home. Of people around me saying ‘she’s paralytic’. Of me then getting up and attempting to walk the 30 minute walk home on my own. Of two people stopping me and walking with me. One of them a girl and a friend, one of them a guy in the year above who I’d once kissed at a house party but then been like nah, he’s creepy.

We decided we’d all sleep at my house. The three of us. I think I already knew that a good handful of my friends were already waiting for me and sprawled across my lounge in various states of sleep.

I remember creepy guy kept talking about sleeping naked. I remember me and gal pal ignoring him and just walking along in silence.

I remember getting home and crawling under a blanket on the floor in all my clothes.

I remember my friends having sex next to me.

And I remember waking up, hangover-free and full of WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED LAST NIGHT.

I remember being kind of angry at myself for not remembering a night I’d spent so long bigging up in my head and angry that I hadn’t reached the optimum level of drunkness – when suddenly I’d be this sexy, confident birthday girl that all my school crushes would be like HELLO, HANNAH at. I was annoyed that I’d wasted a good opportunity of being surrounded by people cooler than me, and I remember being pretty anxious about all the things I’d done but couldn’t remember.

Of all the hideous things I’d done to warp people’s idea of who I was.

I am glad I am not her anymore. I am glad I am not that girl who believed alcohol and attempting to behave like a sassy, confident, sexy adult was going to make her happy.

I am glad that the last decade has taught me everything it has, that I am now living a life that would have made 16-year-old me burst with pride and excitement.

I feel like everything I am doing is for her. To prove that it really does get better and she really can have the world.

So today I will be toasting to me and my journey to happiness and contentment (and learning my alcohol limits because lol).

And this weekend I will be drowning in cocktails and nachos and games and gossips with friends that have known me since I was that girl.

I can’t wait.

And even more than that, I can’t wait to look back in another 10 years and say FUCK, WHO EVEN WAS I THEN? Life gets so much better and I had no idea and still have no idea.

I think getting old is going to be all sorts of fun.

Here’s to no longer being screwed up little teenagers forever fighting the world.


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