I’ve always loved musicals, it’s probably down to my Disney upbringing. I’ll be the first to admit I have a terribly embarrassing iTunes library, and at least 75% of that is filled with various musical soundtracks. Where my most played might have been things like Annie or Wicked back in my younger years, my poor twentysomething existence seems to be plagued by the soundtrack to Avenue Q. Admittedly, I first started listening to this soundtrack when I was probably about sixteen– little did I know how hauntingly accurate the lyrics would be in just a couple of years. Now when I listen to it, I still find it funny, but there’s also the overlying ‘oh god, this is me’ message that I can’t help but shake. Hilarious and depressing at the same time. I’ve seen Avenue Q twice now, once as a sixth former and the other as a student, and I think if I ever saw it again I’d be asked to leave the theatre due to me hyperventilating on the floor, surrounded by a pool of my own tears.
- You’re not supposed to be an adult yet. Give it a few more years and you’ll long for the days someone cooked your food for you. Embrace being a kid. Sure you can’t get served at the pub yet, but when you’re 22 a lot of the time you’d rather stay home and play Pokémon anyway.
- A lot of people are gonna tell you that if you don’t get a C in GCSE Maths then you won’t get into university. This is bullshit. Don’t waste your time in revision classes and let the stress of another re-sit paper take away from the exams that actually matter– you don’t need it. Take your D and move on, you will literally never touch another protractor in your life.
- I know you feel that starting sixth form and finally abandoning the oversized school jumper you’ve worn for the last five years means you have to dress ‘normally’ now, but ignore it. Keep dressing quirkily, it was adorable. Wear your Doc Martens and weird charms around your neck, if people won’t hang out with you because you dress like a Beetlejuice era Winona Ryder, then you don’t actually want to be friends with them. You won’t care about 99% of them as soon as you get to uni anyway.
- You’ve probably just started posting videos of yourself on the Internet– it’s gonna end up being one of the best decisions you ever made. People are gonna make fun of you a lot for this, but they’ll never be as important to you as the people you’re about to meet online will be.
- On the same sort of topic as the people being dicks thing (which is a constant theme here, because you were surrounded by them at this age), don’t let it get to you when people tell you that you’re weird. There’s no such thing as normal, and it certainly wasn’t what was considered it at school. You’re still gonna find those things boring seven years later.
- Although I said to give up on maths (and German, whilst we’re at it– you’re gonna learn more Spanish in four months than your four years of German anyway), try really hard at the stuff you’re actually interested in. I know school is kind of shitty place, but you actually enjoy learning, don’t let other people ruin that for you.
- You’re debating taking Media Studies as an A Level option: do this, it’ll be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever study. I know it’s totally out of your comfort zone, but it’s gonna open up a whole new world of things you never even thought about it before. And all your university friends in first year will be totally jealous that you already know how to reference an essay with the Harvard system. Also: don’t take English Language or ICT. You’re gonna regret it for a long, long time.
- Try new things. You’re always so anxious to do this but whenever you’re finally pushed to make the plunge, you really enjoy it. Yet it’ll take you another good few years before you finally make this correlation. If you don’t enjoy something, change it. You don’t deserve to be unhappy just because other people make you feel that way.
- CUT TOXIC PEOPLE OUT OF YOUR LIFE. You wasted so many years being friends with people who constantly put you down instead of spending time with people that actually make you happy. You lost out on a lot of good friendships because of this and some of them will never fully recover.
- Don’t feel bad because you’re about to go the next two years without really crushing on anybody: it’s because everyone you know is a literal piece of shit. As soon as you’re 18 you’ll flip to the opposite side of the spectrum and spend five minutes in love with the people who hold doors open for you or have nice hair. It’s super fun.
- Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. There isn’t a mould you’re supposed to perfectly fit into; physically, mentally, or otherwise. In a few years you’re gonna look back at photos of yourself and think your hair was super cute– just because you’re the only person you know who cut all their hair off doesn’t make you any less of a girl or even a person. In 2014 it’s gonna be totally cool.
- Liquid eyeliner isn’t scary and you’re actually gonna be pretty good at it. You’re welcome.
- Stop putting everyone else before you. Girl, you have so many issues with self-worth. You aren’t the worst person in the universe, you’re actually a pretty great person and it’s not your fault that people take advantage of you. Speak up, say no, tell people to go fuck themselves. I’m sure they’ll get over it.
- That being said, you don’t always have to be so cold. I know you have a whole bunch of trust issues, and I don’t blame you, but I want you to know that you’re not a terrible person. The company you keep affects your personality a lot. However, with those people, I think it’s okay for you to be a total bitch some of the time. Go nuts.
- It’s okay to feel overwhelmed with being told you have to practically plan out your entire life as a teenager. So what if you’re not 100% sure you want to do an English degree? You’re gonna get to write essays on Disney Princesses and 17th century prostitutes, I think you made a good call.
There’s no other way to say it, I spent the last half of 2013 and the first half of 2014 stuck in a giant rut. I slept all day, shut myself off from everyone I knew, and pretty much traded in reality for Netflix. Other than my cat, I stopped caring about everything and everyone. I was living the existentialist dream… which just so happened to be a normal functioning human being’s nightmare.
I didn’t know I was depressed. I was so deep in negative thoughts that I didn’t even feel like I could justify how I felt by calling it depression. I hated myself so much that I didn’t feel worthy of having a mental illness. It was only around May 2014 when I finally managed to drag myself out of my dark thoughts long enough to make a change. After giving up on my year long job search (which just made things worse really, I probably would have been less full of self loathing if I didn’t regularly wake up to job rejection emails), I had a bit of a ‘fuck this’ moment. Since I hated literally everything about myself, I decided to do the most out of character thing I could think of: move abroad to teach English. Heck, I even picked a country that I (thought I) hated. How un-Rosy like was that?
Over the past year or so, I’ve spent a lot of time on this blog writing about ‘what it means to be a grownup’. Or, at least what I think it means to be one. I’m totally convinced I’m still a child. I’m 22, I moved to an entire new country, and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m just winging it really. That been said, there’s a lot of people on my Facebook feed who’ve been unnerving me a bit lately. People getting engaged, having babies, buying houses. What? There is no way I am ready for any of that. There is no way I want to do any of that.
What do you mean I’ll eventually run out of alliterations for these travel posts? YOU’LL RUN OUT OF ALLITERATIONS FOR THESE TRAVEL POSTS. No, but really– this little excursion to Segovia definitely was a stroll. It was short and sweet, but that’s all we really needed. You would have thought after the hassle we had trying to get to Toledo that we would have thought to book our train tickets in advance… nah. Upon arriving at Chamartín we discovered that the high speed train was all booked up, so it was either go the long way around or go home. We chose the former. But it actually turned out to be super great! I’ve always thought that Spain was some disgusting desolate rock country, but it was actually kind of beautiful to speed through the countryside with the mountains looming in the background. I mean, I couldn’t have done it twice in a day (we got the high speed train back to Madrid), but it was really worth two less hours in Segovia.