When I was 15 years old, I knew everything. Anyone in authority was wrong, and I laughed at them and their shitty advice.
I wasn’t old enough to legally buy a packet of fags, but that didn’t worry me. My brain, mind, thought process, whatever, was about 25. (At least, I believed it was)
I did what many people do at that age. Smoke, drink, drugs, whatever. It was all just fun. Big, grown up me, laughing at the boring consequences. But where did it get me? I had already left school at 13 and fucked all that up. Here I was, in College with the older kids. School was shit. College was great. I could wear what I wanted rather that a stupid uniform. I could be myself. I listened to music I enjoyed without having the piss taken out of me, and I just generally felt more accepted.
I made a friend straight away. Lee. Lee, Lee, Lee. He was, and is just lovely. We all knew he was gay but he didn’t ‘come out’ for about a year after we met. I remembered him from school. He was the year above me and I had seen him before, in the school ‘Sex Ed’ play as a matter of fact. He played the lad that got a girl pregnant after unprotected sex, which we chuckled at a couple of years later.
I noticed this lad at College one morning, jeans, leather jacket, huuuuuge red mohican and a lip piercing. I showed Lee my discovery and he went and nabbed him for me. Result!
Once again, 15 year old me knew it all. Me and MoRed had different lesson times and I would skip my classes to hang out with him. 15 year old me didn’t notice at the time that I missed my classes, but he never missed his. He ended up at Uni in Portmouth and becoming a teacher, and I ended up working in Burger King. Well done, me!
I know I was young, and stupid, and I regret all that now, but more than 12 years later, I still have to explain that shit in job interviews.
“And where were you educated?”
“Well, I left school at 13, went to College briefly at 15, missed 2 of my exams, left one early to hang out with my boyfriend and skipped my second year entirely to work at Burger King”.
Since I had my daughter and moved away, I had pretty much been a full time mum, which no onr has respect for. It is assused that you are lazy and looooove living on benefits.
In my case, I moved to a town where I know no one apart from my daughters dad, and he went out and left me at home so I never got the chance to meet anyone. I had zero confidence and just retreated further into myself. The only conversation I ever had was from the checkout people at the supermarket.
People are out of work for all kinds of reasons. Sure, there are plenty of lazy people that either don’t want to work or are stuck in that rut of endless rejection and just give up; but there are many others that are looking for a job. Thousands of people that don’t have a gleaming CV and need someone to take a chance on them. Everyone needs to start somewhere.
Go back a few years and all you had to do was walk in the local butchers and ask if they needed any help, and that was that.
I have skipped entirely over the years of doing drugs and getting in to trouble and generally fucking about with my boyfriend and out ‘friends’ at that time. It was a fun time and a stupid time. It’s a time I look back on and wonder what the fuck I was playing at. It scares me to think about what my kids could get up to when they are that age. I Just hope I have done/am doing my job well enough that they will follow a better path than mine. Some of the things I got up to could’ve killed me.
Telling a teenager that they don’t know it all is pretty pointless, isn’t it? We all go through it and learn the same way that our parents might possibly, maybe have been right about something.
Still, I wish I had paid more attention. If I had, I might be in a better position to set a better example to my kids.
Well played, younger me.