Being 13 years old was very much a transitional and discovery phase for me. Although I find it difficult to pinpoint what I was like when I had my thirteenth birthday eight months into 2009. I was still trying to solidify who my friends were and discover what I truly liked in terms of the media I consumed.
I’ve always been a big fan of music, right from when I was younger when my Dad used to play The Beatles' music and it was really my father’s love of music that ignited my love for it also. 2009 was a BIG year for pop music and I definitely think a lot of your life and events that happened in the year can be signified by the music released. Lady Gaga made her debut into the mainstream pop world (a debut I am very grateful for in my life now). When I look back on the popular songs of that year I’m so incredibly nostalgic for them. I’m fairly certain my friend sent me I’ve Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas via Bluetooth to my phone! 2009 was the year that the now iconic Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it) by Beyonce was released. I vividly remember the first time I saw the music video for Single Ladies on TV. I was so captivated by the dance, I think I was sat approximately five inches from the TV screen! It was the love of music that brought me to my first ‘fandom’, of a popular boy band, that started to grow in the year I turned 13 and was a momentous part of my teenage years to come. I find it difficult to think of other things that were particularly ‘momentous’ to me when I was that age as I feel like I was very much half the human I am now.
Perhaps I just have an awful memory but I never tend to think my life has been particularly exciting or dramatic. A lot of the drama that occurred between myself and my friends were due to awful mistakes I made and quickly came to learn from. I was always drifting from friend group to friend group and in 2009 plus in the year I was thirteen, I was very much figuring out who my friends are and finding out who actually supported my when horrible incidents occurred between me and other people. My year group at school was rather small so everybody basically knew each other. These two girls I knew who I had been acquainted with previously decided it would be fun to essentially bully me for one afternoon, on the bus home from school. One of the girls decided to throw my coin purse out of the window and then the other prevented me from getting off the bus by blocking the steps allowing me to go down to the lower level of the bus at my correct stop. Meaning I had to walk back home from several stops after the one I was meant to get off at. That would become a slight foreshadowing to an incident that happened several months later where the police ended up getting involved. This time by a girl from another high school who simply thought I was ‘looking at her funny’ whilst walking home and proceeded to pull my hair, punch me in the head, break my glasses and then throw them into the middle of the road.
Some people might say those kinds of incidents ‘build character’ but I don’t particularly agree. I don’t remember anything changing about my character due to those incidents. I was still a shy, quiet girl who just wanted to be liked and have friends (hey, almost ten years later and not that much has changed!)
This isn’t a particularly major secret but it’s not something I tell many new people about as I find it quite embarrassing. As well as having a love for music from a young age, my parents also sparked a love for reading in me, by registering me to our local library at the age of 4. I continued to go to the library into my teens, but not really for reading by the time I turned 13. I went to the library as much as I could to use the computers; something I didn’t have access to at home along with an internet connection. Due to me still being a child I wasn’t allowed access on the library computers to a lot of websites, such as YouTube or Facebook but I somehow still managed to make a Twitter account at that age (which, by the way to any 13-year-olds reading this, I wouldn’t recommend). I think I’m mainly embarrassed by this secret because, amongst my peers, it was seen as deeply uncool if you were behind on technology. I feel like even now if I told people about simply my lack of home internet connection when I was a child I’d just feel ashamed. Although this is probably due to my own insecurities. However, very soon at my parents/family house, we did end up getting an internet connection and home computer so being 13 did end up being a transitional phase for myself, and my home life (in the sense of the technology we had).