However, the most important thing is, I'm happy. I'm not sure what my first memory was; I remember being in nursery and wearing those sparkly pink star stickers you used to make 'art' with as earrings, and then being taken on our first 'trip' from nursery to 'big school' at 4 years old. I remember holidays in Scotland with family, even if they're all fuzzy and rough around the edges. But to reiterate, I don't know which, if any, is my first real, lucid memory. Not my first word, or my first step or the first time I rode my bike without stabilisers. But my parents do. It just depends what is important to someone I guess.
I'm proud to say I've achieved a lot since those days. I completely primary school and came out of those doors one last time on a sunny Friday afternoon, and bursting into tears after I promised myself I wouldn't cry, a slightly different person from the first time I set foot through the doors. Secondary school, I was still quiet. If I had a £1 for every time someone used that adjective to describe me. You'd think it would be spun positively, but it isn't really. 'Quiet' makes people wonder why you don't speak, what you're harbouring or holding back. It's like they either think you're disinterested with a tendency to lash out or they think your confidence levels are so low you daren't breath a word in front of others. Well, I don't honestly know why for years I barely spoke. Hundreds of questions were whispered to my parents and relatives at 'home time' or parents evenings, including "does she speak?" To which my mam and dad used to laugh, or smirk, and say "she never shuts up."
Luckily, I eventually, in time, came out of myself. I established myself, got myself a personality, or defined the one in a public space I was always so sure of privately, I even had all of my hair cut off at 14 because I wanted to. I didn't care what other people thought of me because of it. At 15, I think I probably became my own person. I stood up for what I wanted and what I thought was right. Screams and fights and spat-out thoughts you can never take back. Friendships irrevocably ruined. Making the choice to walk away from a poisonous friendship, and holding my head high.
16 sparked a new chapter. Year 9 meant we chose our GCSE options, and okay, I passed them with flying colours. Everything changed, for the better. I established some friendships that would last a long time, and others that would break over Facebook and silly comments, but then again were they really up to that much? I chose my A-levels, passed them (well we won't talk about French) and got accepted to uni. Lost some people close to me and made some new friends. I fell in and out of relationships, made enemies and really bad decisions. Drank too much, swore too much and spent too much money on clothes. I pierced my ear and discovered sambuca and started speaking my mins a bit too much. I established what I needed and what I wanted from life, as well as who.
Twenty years later, I'm smiling and hungover and the bags under my eyes are showing a bit too evidently. I have two decades worth of photos and memories, and they're pretty brilliant to be honest. I love everyone in my life and I'm so grateful for them and everything they do. So with laughter, smiles and the occasional tear, I say a fond farewell to my teenage years and welcome the next stage of my life with fairly open arms. Oh, and a double vodka in hand.