This teenage heart

I believe that no matter how old we get, our true self is our teenage self. During puberty, we are a pure, distilled version of the adult we will become. We are watered down and rounded off by other people's opinions, pop culture we consume and the mistakes we make. I read my electricity meter last night and made soup for my packed lunches but when "Just a Day" by Feeder comes on, I'd have to dance like a maniac like I did as a 15-year-old at house parties.

The 15-year-old me is the one who still sings Paramore in the shower, watches the Napoleonic drama "Sharpe" on Sundays and freaked out when she saw Ewan McGregor on the tube in central London. But she's also the one who will cry on a "fat day", speak without thinking and is a whole lot of bitter about a whole lot of things.

When the Harry Potter series was still only a book, my granny bought me a Harry Potter tshirt. I was thrilled and wore it to P.E one day. The boys tore me to shreds and my reputation as a swotty, nerdy, teacher's pet was cemented forever. I'm proud to say, it didn't occur to me to change; I could only be myself. I kept reading Harry Potter, had Star Wars marathons and saw The Fellowship of the Ring four times at the cinema. 

It's the teenager inside that's bitter when she sees the people who picked on her enjoying the things she was ridiculed for. 

When the longest friendship of my life ended last year after 20 years, it affected me more than I ever could have predicted. I still dream about her on a regular basis, asking her, "Why?" over and over until I wake up. She is in every childhood photo, every memory of school trips and birthdays. Other important friendships ended last year, but I was able to shrug them off.

It's the teenager inside who's bitter that I wasn't good enough for her.

Now I'm in my late 20s, I think the time has come to...what's the phrase...get a fucking grip? Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are mainstream. So what? MORE PEOPLE SAW A NEW HOPE THAN JAWS, LAUREN. The guy who did crosswords in Mrs Hird's empty English classroom at lunch is the one who was really having a shitty time in high school. So Susan isn't your friend any more; Had I considered whether I still want to be friends with someone who would treat me this way? Of course I wouldn't!

I've realised, as many of us have, that the adults in our lives were pretending all along. They were always muddling through like we are now, with their teenage selves at their core. Just as I still want to dance to Feeder, my mum wants to dance to Kate Bush. But by letting my core teen self rule anything more than my taste in music, I'm doing myself a disservice. I've been through too much to still have a teenage head as well as a teenage heart.

PersonalLauren Aitchison