It’s come to my attention recently that although most of my blog readership is sassy twenty-somethings dreaming of New York City and leopard print coats a bit like yo’ girl herself, there’s a smattering of teenagers on here too.
So this post is for you.
This is a post about all the things I wish I’d known as a teenager, all the things that would have given me strength, a little bit more self-love, and made me more determined than ever to work this curvy butt of mine off to achieve great things.
And hey, even if you’re not sixteen anymore, you might find this list the perfect pop of nostalgia smashed with some life advice that isn’t hideously terrible.
So here’s the things I wish teenage Hannah Gale had known…
1. It often feels like life revolves around your career. Like it’s the most important thing in the world. You study for exams to get you into university so that you can take more exams so that you can get a good job and then work your way up and WERK, WERK, WERK. But one day you’ll look back and say hey, why all the pressure? You know what’s more important than work? People. Friends, family, strangers. All of them.
2. The rate at which the bitch that is cystitis reoccurs can be cut down by a) doing a wee after sex, b) not wearing underwear that is basically a cute combination of floss and chain metal and c) drinking more fluids than just Diet Coke and WKDs.
3. Your self-worth isn’t determined by whether the popular girls like your rara skirt or new Nike trainers. It also isn’t determined by how many boys have called you fit or sexy. So stop relying on the judgement of people who won’t be in your life forever.
4. Ann Summers isn’t as fun and alluring as it looks from the outside. Soz.
5. Don’t drink to become a more confident person of yourself. Don’t drink because you believe that’s the only version of yourself that people will like. You are great. You are brilliant. You are amazing. You are everything that you don’t feel capable of believing. Plus, getting paralytic on the reg *might* leave you with alcohol anxiety as well as parents who don’t trust you and man, neither of those things are ballin’.
6. Pass your driving test as soon as you can. Don’t think about all the Missguided dresses you could buy with that money instead, because you’ll feel v smug when you’re 23 and can whip about in a car when your mates are waiting for buses.
7. There is no fear greater than the fear of the unknown, so don’t sit around waiting for it to happen. Take a deep breath, be brave and face the music, because the reality is never as grim as the reality you’ve conjured up in your head.
8. The contraceptive pill isn’t the only form of contraception. Speak to your doctor, ask questions, be clued-up, be savvy, be aware of your body. Talking about contraception is about embarrassing as eating a slice of toast. DO IT.
9. You look beautiful. You won’t believe that, but you are. And one day you’ll look back at the girl you are now and wished she appreciated how much of a smokin’ hottie she was.
10. Trying to dye your hair blonde with a box of hair dye from Superdrug will pretty much only ever end in tears and ‘why’s your hair yellow?’. Either learn to love your natural colour or save up for one of those colour sales down your local salon.
11. It is better than to have loved and lost than to have never have loved at all. There ain’t no heartbreak pain like the heartbreak pain of losing your first love, but after that, it gets easier. You’ll grow stronger, you’ll grow braver, and you’ll be able to handle anything love throws your way. Promise.
12. First up, by the time you get to your twenties no-one cares whether you lost your virginity at 16 or 19 or 21, so don’t feel the need to rush to fit in, and secondly, a large number of women don’t orgasm until they’ve been sexually active for years and years, it doesn’t mean you’re broken.
13. All those things you want from life? The fancy Pinterest flat, the Devil Wears Prada job, the holiday to Bali, the One Direction boyfriend, you’ve got to work for them. You’ve got to be determined even in the moments when no-one believes you can do it, because you, my girl, have got this. You have got this on levels you’re not even capable of realising. You’ve got to work your butt off, whether that means in a career, or with people, to get the things you want most. And the best asset you can have in the road to success is the belief that you can do it, because you absolutely can.
14. Your period rarely ever leaks through your clothes. People can’t smell if you’re on your period. And if wearing a tampon hurts, it’s more than likely you haven’t pushed it up far enough. Go again.
15. Sending cute little selfies of yourself in your bra to boys you hardly know never tends to end well. Never does keeping said images on your phone.
16. Life gets better. I read this in an interview with Atomic Kitten when I was 15 and I clung onto it desperately. Life gets better. Being a teenager is hard. Really fucking hard. And y’know what? Every year I’ve grown older life has got better, I’ve been happier, more content, and more excited for what’s to come. So remember, this phase of life you’re in now? It won’t last. You got this <3