Dear Teenager: Let’s talk about boobs.
Being a teenager is a strange concept, how is that the moment we pass from twelve to thirteen our lives suddenly become so complicated? In reality we all know it doesn’t really happen that way, we don’t go to bed the night before our thirteenth birthday a child and then wake up the next day with boobs, or a deep man voice. No, in actual fact the process is much slower and somewhat more painful than that.
We are all, at some point in our schooling, educated on puberty and the changes that will happen in our bodies through our teenage years, however, no one ever tells us about all the other things that will happen as an effect of this, the ripple effect that will occur as you and your peers pass through the teens. There are a few things that I wish had been shared with me in that sex-ed class about what puberty really entails…
Maybe this is just me, but growing up I couldn’t wait for the day I was old enough to wear a bra; I thought it was such a symbol of femininity, wearing a bra, the initiation into womanhood.
However, I never planned on starting to develop boobs at 12, which I did, and so starting to wear a bra suddenly became an awkward thing. At first, I was proud of my neon purple beginner bra, wearing it under my white polo t-shirt with pride, “look at me, I have boobs before anyone else”. Not everyone enjoyed my purple bra as much as I did, and very soon I started to be teased about the fact that I had boobs before anyone else. What no one tells you about developing, is that everyone is self-conscious about it; I was self-conscious about my purple bra because I was teased about it, I was teased about it by girls who were probably self-conscious about the fact that their own boobs hadn’t sprouted yet!
Eventually those girls got boobs, by the time we were in secondary school, and they began to parade around in their neon coloured bras in the changing rooms after PE. I had now discovered the nude colour bra, designed to blend in and create the illusion that I was not wearing a bra; but when you’ve already got a serious rack at the age of thirteen/fourteen it’s kind of hard to hide the fact that you’re wearing a bra. Now those girls had something else to be self-conscious about, I had BIG boobs, they had training boobs, boys could see that I had boobs and wore a bra and I didn’t even need a padded neon bra to get their attention! Unfortunately I didn’t fully understand the power I had over young men at that point in my life, and I tried to cover up and hide my greatest assets because I was ashamed of them, because insecure girls made fun of me.
Lesson learned: boobs are great and everyone should rock a neon bra under a white t-shirt at some point in their life!
Ah, the opposite sex, what a mystery they become during puberty. For one, they either smell really bad or else they smell like they work in a Lynx factory! What happens during puberty that changes a boy from someone that’s easy to talk to, comfortable to be around, into something that causes extreme tension and awkwardness in a room full of girls?
Maybe it’s because I went to a school that was girls only after the first 3 years; I didn’t really have much opportunities growing up to socialise with boys and so when I was reunited with boys in secondary school they seemed completely alien to me, and for some reason sounded like an out of tune instrument. In a way I feel sorry for teenage boys, it must be difficult waking up one day and hearing a crack in your voice, knowing you’ll never sound the same again and for a long time you’ll sound like a cartoon. Then there’s also the fact that boys too get spots, zits, pimples, whatever you chose to call them, except they can’t attempt (badly) to hide them under make-up.
How do boys make up for all this awkwardness brought on by puberty? In my experience, they begin to talk about girls as if they were men who had a clue! For some reason, kissing a girl some how cancels out the breaking voice, and touching a boob is better than concealer for spots! Teenage boys are complicated, they don’t understand their changing bodies, and the hormones coursing through them make them even more confused about women; don’t expect them to get any sense for a while. If you really want to impress them though, touch a boob.
Lesson learned: boys smell bad, sit far away, stop obsessing over them and wait until they pass out of puberty to commit to one. Or, just go for an older man with more experience, that’s what I did!
If I thought boys were complicated going through puberty, girls were a nightmare! It’s like bitchiness is an extra hormone released in girls during puberty that no one ever warns you about! Boys will say out what’s on their mind, they won’t filter even when they should, but teenage girls are different; never trust what a teenage girl says, because what she really means will be completely different.
Girls are mean. From personal and professional experience, this is not a theory, it’s a fact. Boys fight and punch, girls are psychological bullies. I always wondered going through my teens, how girls were so good at hitting each other where it hurt (and to be honest they are just as good, if not sometimes better at doing this as adults too), but as I’ve grown older I’ve realised that women know where it hurts because it hurts them in the same place too. Take for example the girls who made fun of my bra, they hit me where it hurt them, they were the ones who had the insecurities but twisted it back on me.
Lesson learned: Girls are mean, sit beside the smelly boys instead, at least they like your boobs.
Being a teenager sucks; your body changes, you smell, you have mood swings, you’re hungry all the time, then you’re chubby because you eat too much, school is hard, everyone around is smelly and cranky too and then let’s not forget about those mean girls preying on your flaws and insecurities acting like they don’t have a care in the world themselves when in actual fact they probably hate themselves more than you do.
Being different when you’re a teenager is the worst thing in the world; no one likes anyone who’s too talented, too smart, too politically informed or too genuinely funny. Here’s my advice, if you want to be a successful, popular teenager then blend in, follow the crowd, wear loads of Hollister or Pull & Bear, own Ugg boots (and wear them with your Hollister), act like you don’t care about school, make fun of your teachers and never study. Other things that may help include trying smoking at some point (stupid), drinking alcohol (even more stupid) and having sex when you’re not really ready for it (very stupid).
However, if you want to be successful in the rest of your life, then embrace your differences because they are what will set you aside from everyone else in the working world; those differences are what will make an interesting CV, a great job interview or even a successful career.
Lesson learned: you only have to live with being a teenager for a few years, you have to live with who you are for the rest of your life. Don’t change to make other people happy.