[Note from Frolic: We are so exited to welcome author Lindsey Kelk to the site today! She is sharing life lessons learned from her teenage journals. Take it away, Lindsey!]
I was an extremely committed childhood diarist, scribbling down my every thought from the age of eleven – what I wore, where I went and obviously every last little detail about my crushes. Admittedly, most of the entries aren’t particularly interesting (if you desperately want to know how I felt about the results of WWE Survivors Series 1994, or the OG Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger, DM me) but having read through my diaries during lockdown, it seems as though teenage me did have a few useful life lessons to pass on
1. March 2nd 1995 I love me! I know, I never thought I’d say it but I’m finally happy with myself.
You’ll be pleased to know this singular moment of enlightenment didn’t even make it through the end of the day but for one brief shining moment in 1995, it was totally true. I completely missed my teenage calling as a self-help guru, if only Instagram had been around in the nineties.
2. My heart will never hurt the same way it did when a friend told me my crush had made out with another girl in a sewer.
We were at the school disco, I was wearing a carefully selected new outfit that almost certainly included high heeled loafers and I had been planning how to make my move for weeks. No, I did not grow up in a Netflix tween drama, but it was a very small village, and the lesson here is ALWAYS SHOOT YOUR SHOT. If you don’t tell your crush how you feel, there is every chance they will snog another girl in a sewer while you sob in the toilets listening to Cotton Eye Joe blasting out of the speakers in the gym. Still can’t hear that song without wanting to cry. But then, who amongst us can?
3. I am regularly asked when I knew I wanted to be a writer and I always say I can’t remember not wanting to be one.
Now I can give an exact date! 4th July 1995 I’m starting my career as a writer. I’ve got to write a 1,100 word story for J17 and a risqué 1,300 word story for More. Reader, neither of them were published. Bliss sent me a very polite ‘please go away, you little weirdo’ letter and given that I can’t remember it at all, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even try my hand at teenage erotica for More. Something for which I think we can all be grateful…
4. Even though I am now very wise, there are some questions I cannot answer for my younger self because I still don’t know why vampires are so cool.
They just are. I remain in complete agreement with my 14-year-old self in that I am still not sure I’d actually want to be one, no matter how cool Interview With a Vampire might be. If only I could send the Sookie Stackhouse books back in time, baby me would be obsessed.
5. There’s a good chance I was smarter when I was fourteen than I was in my twenties.
Today I realized that there is no need to be completely devoted to one boy at 14. I was so right! I also didn’t even snog a boy until I was seventeen (and a half) so this was an aspirational notion at best. But still, pretty smart, teenage Lindsey!
6. Even when I was very tiny, I was a big reader and worked my way through the kids’ section of the library far too quickly, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say someone should have stopped me from reading Virginia Andrews novels when I was eleven.
Also James Herbert. Also Stephen King. Also Barbara Taylor Bradford. Also Jackie Collins. It made going back to Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High a real anticlimax (in every sense).
7. It wasn’t just books.
I was a pop culture junkie, constantly apologizing to my diary for the massive amounts of TV I was watching, while I was watching even more TV. Happily, I stand by most of my teenage tastes; The X-Files was cool, Heathers is still a ten-out-of-ten movie and Oasis were very good, but I do owe Bill and Ted an apology. The first film was not ‘more like a mediocre adventure’, it deserves better than a six-out-of-ten and Keanu is not the only good thing in it. I am ashamed. That said, Bogus Journey remains terrible and I will go to my grave with that hot take.
8. Is there a more aggressive term for boy crazy?
Because I just don’t think that covers it. Every. Single. Entry. Is. About. Boys. I would like to give a special shout out to the day I dedicated my diary entry to explaining to my future children that if Darren (my biggest class crush) was not their father, they shouldn’t be too upset, because even though I would never love anyone as much as I loved Darren, I probably still loved their dad. I showed it to my cat and my husband and neither of them seemed especially upset so I guess the diary entry worked?
9. Stressing out about my weight began to appear in my diary when I was thirteenish, coincidentally when I started being bullied.
I’d like to be able to tell you when I stopped stressing about my weight, but I literally never have which is wild because I’ve totally forgotten everything else they used to say. You’d think twenty-five years would be long enough to realize what other people think really doesn’t matter, wouldn’t you? But no. Still working on that one.
10. In the words of wise woman, Taylor Swift, ‘When you are young, they assume you know nothing’. Not true.
Today, I am a writer, who can’t turn down a vampire book, show or movie and still watches Bill and Ted movies. The day I don’t have a crush will be the day I die (yes, I’m married but I’m a Libra, so harmless crushes only) and the theme music to Friends still makes me happy. One of the biggest things I noticed re-reading my diaries was how little I’ve actually changed since I was a teenager. The world might get more complicated as we grow up and life may put more things on our plate but we’re still ourselves. Sometimes, I think it can be important to remember that.
Oh, also, I totally guessed Who Shot Mr. Burns and my brother didn’t SO THERE. Lindsey is the greatest I.D.S.T.
About the Author:
Lindsey Kelk is an author, journalist and prolific tweeter. Previously a children’s book editor and columnist for Marie Claire, Lindsey is now a full-time writer and lives in Los Angeles. She is published in 22 countries and her novels, including the I Heart series, the Tess Brookes About a Girl series and standalones, have sold over 2 million copies worldwide. You can connect with her and her community of fans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Her most recent standalone, In Case You Missed It, is available now!
In Case You Missed It by Lindsey Kelk, out now!
‘I loved it’ Mhairi McFarlane, bestselling author of If I Never Met You
When Ros comes home after three years away, she’s ready to pick up with life exactly where she left it. But her friends have moved on, her parents have rekindled their romance, and her bedroom is now a garden shed. All of a sudden, she’s swept up in nostalgia for the way things were.
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