Five Minutes on Lost Time

I am who I am due to both the good things and bad things that have happened in my life. I don’t say this flippantly and nor could I ever assume that everyone should look at their lives this way; Many people have experienced traumas which should never ever have been part of their story - My bad experiences, though unpleasant, are not on a par with those of many women (I’m not trying to minimise anything here, rather, acknowledge my privilege).

This morning, I was thinking about the girl who made my life a misery for many of my teenage years, and you know what? I couldn’t even remember her name. I spent every day for two years trying to work out what I’d done wrong to make this person hate me. Why I was so bad that I deserved the way she treated me. She was every other thought that passed through my mind for two years.

And. I. Cannot. Remember. Her. Name.

This is both wonderful and incredibly sad to me. What could I have done with all that wasted time? (I’ll level with you here, I was 13-14, I would have been watching Leonardo DiCaprio films and listening to Radiohead. I would not have been doing anything even vaguely productive but that kind of ruins the point I’m clumsily trying to make here)

When I was 20, I’d put some weight on (LIFE OVER *Sigh*) I dramatically threw a shitload of my clothes out of the window of my flat because they didn’t look how I wanted them to look then spent the night crying in bed about how terrible I was and how my boyfriend was probably going to leave me (He should have done, I threw a shoe at him not long after that, a white shoe). I also had some excellent fried chicken which I could just eat now but even that didn’t help.  On that night, my friends ended up having one of the most unbelievably enviable Rock 'n' Roll nights which I missed due to my own self-pity.

Tears over entirely inappropriate men, skipped meals, missed nights out, unreciprocated effort on terrible people and all those self-loathing thoughts that, as women, we’re conditioned to feel.

What could I have done with that time?

On the flipside of this, “wasting time” is not always just that. At 23 I was trying desperately to make an unsuccessful engagement work. He was (and still is!) a wonderful man; kind, attractive, hard-working and everything I thought I wanted from life. But I had a constant pain in my stomach, I’d pick issues that didn’t exist, I’d obsess over how him looking at other women, spend all our time together thinking that he deserved better, I lost track of what I deserved. We’d bought a house and gotten engaged young (Which I don’t regret at all – We had some awesome times together) but I was bored and lonely and didn’t know who I was without him.

Calling time on this relationship a year later was one of the best things I could have possibly done for both of us, and I’ll tell you something, I am an infinitely happier person for the things that that I learnt from this shitty episode.

Today, I thought about what I would tell a daughter or, more likely, a niece as they leave what I sincerely hope will be a carefree childhood and enter the real, quite cruel world of adulthood. I would want to tell them all of this, that what seems like the end of the world now will be forgotten entirely until you’re 32 and feeling irritatingly nostalgic. 

But we learn these things ourselves and can have REALLY good fun making up for that time lost. 

Em x