By Zofia Rose, October 23, 2023

Read time: 3 Mins

Cool Image

You will think you are almost ‘cool’ at ten or eleven. 

When you start looking at the teenage girls on the high street a different way, a way that in retrospect could be sensual. 

The thirst for perfume, eyeliner, sweet lips, hips, hairless arms, sweet skin, sweet long hair, long nails, thick eyelashes. 

Every girl that walks past works their way into your mind, under all the fleshy, gooey layers of brain, lives those girls amalgamating into a ‘soon-to-be you.’ 

I will have her locks and curves and kiss-me eyes and cool girl jeans.

I will not have her teeth, her laugh, her hairy arms, her bloated hips. 

You will be thirteen and sunburnt and have dark hair. 

Your body is changing, you will challenge yourself in the mirror everyday until you do what you think you should do and chop your hair off, or dye it a colour you are not even sure you picked.

You judge girls now, you are not mean. You are horrendously dynamic, and hideously contradictory in a way only teenage girls that saw too much can be. The things you say will one day make your stomach ache and your forehead sweat at night before you fall asleep. It is okay, you were thirteen.

You at sixteen are silly and sad, a constant overflow of words. The art of shutting up either is perfected at this age or hopelessly abandoned along with kissing well and being a loyal friend. 

Tumbling out of you are jokes, copied from your mother’s tongue or cutting comments stolen from your father’s mouth. You see so much in them that is now you. Or pieces of you planted in them. It will take you a while to figure out where those seeds are planted and in which veins things grow. Which ones to let soar, which ones to chop down. Some you will preserve in a jar, some you will let rot for a while. 

Sixteen is allowing them to slip through the cracks in your head, let loose on your mates, run wild through a city that isn’t designed for any of you. 

Seventeen, Eighteen. Two ages where things seem to blow up, then the fire truck comes with a hose, the flames seem to go out effortlessly, before someone or something douses the designated area with petroleum. 

It’s okay and then it isn’t, it’s fine and then it isn’t. It’s okay and then it isn’t. It’s okay and then it isn’t. 

Circles widen and shrink. People stay for too long at the party, but your favourites leave too soon. The party then dies down and you realise who is left, you wouldn’t mind if they stayed forever and ever, until the laughs dry up and the lipstick wears off from kissing and loving each other. 

Acne goes away. (Does it?) Hair grows, and you hack it off, you don’t question why or for who.

You want to shake fourteen year olds shoulders and shout this letter in their face but it seems kinder to let them figure it out themselves.

You smell sweet, you have straight teeth, you can afford lipgloss, you feel skinny today, your ass looks plump today, you dressed ‘cool’ tonight, you treat your friends warmly.

You are ‘cool.’ 

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