Dear Mother Nature,
I’d like to lodge a formal complaint. I feel like I’ve been thoroughly mis-sold to.
When I was a kid, it was all about rattling through your birthdays as quickly as you possibly could in order to get to adulthood. Adulthood – according to my peers and the glossy magazines you found in doctors’ waiting rooms before they realised just how many germs they harboured – was basically the holy grail of life.
Well, that turned out to about as true as that £350m additional NHS cash we were sold during the Brexit campaign, didn’t it? In fact, it turns out that there is a period of maybe six months just after you turn twenty-four when your body, your mental state, and your bank account are not at actual crisis point. Outside of that… yeah, you’re pretty much screwed.
The first thing I would like to take issue with is my weight. When I was a teenager and wanted to be thinner I was told it was puppy fat and would melt away. Then I got pregnant, and was told I’d be a dead ringer for Kate Moss just as soon as I started breastfeeding. After that, it was apparently the case that my sylph-like figure was going to totally appear just as soon as I STOPPED breastfeeding. And then someone broke it to me that now I was practically menopausal, my metabolism was fucked and I was never ever ever going to be thin until I was dead. Marvellous.
Then there are spots. I was plagued by spots when I was a teenager and everyone promised me that they would absolutely melt away when I hit my twenties, or maybe when I turned thirty, or perhaps it would be when I reached my mid thirties, and now I am thirty-six and hear stories of people in their nineties still getting rogue spots which pop up anywhere they damn well like (I had one on my knee the other day. My KNEE.) and I realise that will they fucking stop, my arse.
Oh, and every time you hit a new decade, you keep getting told that this is when you will be in the absolute prime of your life. Well, in my teens I was a crazed hormone-ridden spotty weirdo, in my twenties I was pregnant and sporting an arse the size of the Hubble telescope, and now in my thirties I could be sponsored by Tena Lady and have hairy toes. HAIRY. TOES. In what part of your evolutionary plans did hairy toes need to be a thing? I fucking dread to think what’s going to happen in my forties.
So, could we try a slightly more honest approach to marketing please? Being a kid is shit: the grown ups are always in charge. Being a teenager is shit, because everything about being a teenager is shit. You’ll have a brief moment in your twenties or early thirties when things might just about feel alright, but then you’ll remember that you’ve got an overdraft the size of a small Scottish island, that the people in charge of the world are all stark raving mad, and that based on current house prices you’ll be able to afford a place of your own when you’re approximately ninety-seven and a half. And you don’t even want to know what parts of your body you’ll be growing hair on by then.
With love (and hairy toes),