A Teenage Manifesto

It’s 1994, you’re 16, and all you want in life is a brand new tattoo of Sylvester the Cat holding a red rose. It holds the answer to all life’s problems, and will sum up everything you are as a person to anyone who sees it. You will be a badass. A person to be reckoned with, someone who is far too cool to be concerned with the likes of bullies, grades and stupid homogenous girls in a rural secondary school who all look the same. Not you though. Oh, no. You’re an individual. You loudly proclaim that you prefer ‘Bleach’ by Nirvana, as opposed to their more obvious ‘commercial’ release ‘Nevermind’ like the rest of Transition Year.

So you gather up your courage, turn down your Soundgarden CD and casually stroll up to the sitting room to put your case forward for getting this life-altering skin picture to a woman who can’t understand why you would willingly put needles on your skin for fun, and thinks tattoos are for soldiers and prisoners. And so far, you are neither. She says no. You’re devastated. This is an affront to your civil rights. You are being oppressed. You can no longer express who you are as a person. How is Alan in Sixth Year going to know you’re cool and not like all the ‘normal’ girls if you don’t have a Sylvester the Cat tattoo?? Life is as good as over.

So you storm off down to your room in a rage, full of righteous indignation and an ever-expanding martyr complex. Then you decide to do what many afflicted artistic souls have done before in the face of adversity and suffocation on behalf of a corrupt authority. Something which will shake the system to its very core, and lead to your mother throwing herself on your mercy and begging for forgiveness and even paying for your tattoo which will change your life for the better.

You write a poem. In your diary. That’ll show ’em. An unpublished tour de force that that nobody will ever see.

Until now. God bless the internet.

I regret nothing.

Viva La Revolution!

The things I learn so you don’t have to…

If The Universe has decreed that you’re due a fall, it will never be in private and out of sight. It will always be in public, and always in front of people you would rather glue your eyelids shut than lay eyes on ever again.

There’s a lot of things that can make you look sexy. Eating a donut while driving is not one of them.

If you’re in a queue and you’re eye level with the elbow of the person in front, they don’t know you’re there and they WILL step back onto your toes. It’ll hurt like a bitch but the fright they get after it happens will totally be worth it.

If you make jokes about stealing your sister’s awesome dress after borrowing it and you find it in your suitcase after you come home, she will not believe it was an accident. (sorry Amy!)

If you don’t drink, you are forever assumed to be thought of as Taxi Friend. However you can play your cards right by accepting payment in Red Bull form.

Wearing a pink wig will NOT make you look like Natalie Portman in ‘Closer’. Not even slightly.

Just because you’re alone in your car doesn’t mean you’re invisible. Singing your heart out to ‘Dick In A Box‘ while driving past a school at break-time will not help your teaching career.

For every bedroom spider you destroy with immense satisfaction, be warned. It has ten brothers of varying sizes, and they’re going to burrow their way into your ear canal tonight.

When you use a GHD, you’re pretty much calling God out and openly challenging him to a duel between your newly-straightened hair and his weapon of choice. Which will invariably be Humidity.  Or a gale force wind. Or both. He’s mad for mixing shit up.

For every person you look at on your Facebook news feed and think: “You’re full of shit”, there’s at least four other people thinking the exact same thing about you. Make a note of that, then shrug it off and keep going. I know I do.


I haven’t changed a bit…

I got a notion this morning to have a look at my very first diary, after seeing @anniewestdotcom chatting on Twitter about her youngest child finishing primary school, and I remembered I had started writing a diary around the time I was embarking on that new exciting phase in life. When I found it and checked the date, I got an awful shock. Twenty years ago exactly (plus 3 days) I sat in my room armed with my favourite Staedtler red pen and my brand new hardback, peach-coloured crushed velvet effect diary and sat down to write my first ground-breaking masterpiece. I’ve been writing ever since. So here’s the second entry, the first one mentioned names and I didn’t want to drag any poor unsuspecting souls into my madness! I had to smile when I read through it. Life is pretty much the same now, just add bills and paperwork for added adulthood.

So here you go, a little glimpse of my past, a small snippet of how an ‘almost thirteen’ year old thought on this week in 1991. Don’t get all misty-eyed now…

I love that I tell you straight up that my thoughts are 'very interesting'. Cocky young one, so I was...

I called myself a 'dufus'. Must have been watching a lot of 'Saved By The Bell'.

Before you ask, I can’t remember which boy that was. I had a list of about five boys at any given time who tickled my fancy. I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of ‘narrowing down’. I also can’t remember which friend that was either. ‘Copsewood’ is the secondary school I went to, what a place. The six years that followed in that institution deserve a book all of their own.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this mini trip into the mind of a 90’s adolescent Irish girl, with all her insecurities about her looks and her height and getting nervous about talking to boys…and an apparent ability to feel ‘good, angry and depressed’ in a single mood moment. As the title says, I haven’t changed a bit.