Friday, May 04, 2012

Julia Williams - One Thing I've Learnt

Julia, aged 18
As a teenager, I was typically awkward and lacking in confidence. Wearing NHS specs, and being a girly swot didn’t help. My mother used to say: “You’re no better or worse then anyone else.” ie. Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others. It took me YEARS to see she was right.

But one day, while at university, I met an old school friend. I say friend. I had admired her from afar throughout my school days, assuming she would never be interested in me. To my astonishment I discovered that far from being in control and confident as I had fondly imagined, she had gone through the same wretched self hating process that I had.

Julia and her twin sister
It was then that I realised that it’s the same for everyone. No matter how old we are. No matter how we project ourselves: with confidence or without. We are all at heart that same scared unconfident teen. Discovering this was liberating, and gave me a confidence I’d hitherto lacked.

Julia and her best friends c 1982
Now I tell my girls when they stress about friends being prettier, cleverer, more popular, that it’s the same for them too.

I don’t expect they’ll believe me till they’re grown up, either.


Liz Harris said...

Very true, Julia.

You took me back to those difficult, gawky teen years. Happily, only in my head, though - I don't think I'd want to go back physically.

Liz X

liz fenwick said...

I would hate to go back to my teenage years...but it is fun to look back now that it's over!

It does all work out in the end!


JO said...

So true - and going through it with one's daughters is almost worse than your own teen days. They just couldn't hear me saying everything would be fine in the end.

liz fenwick said...

hi JO - hadn't thought about that...DD is just coming into this stage!!!


Jane Henry said...

Have two teens so far. Eldest has fabulous innate confidence in herself & goes her own way in a manner I find astonishing. She doesn't give a stuff what other people think, so yay for her! Second, who is nearly 14, is gorgeous. Slim, pretty & clever, and yet she can't see it. She lacks confidence in the way I did and doesn't believe a word I say!
3rd is preteen and also lacks confidence, while 10 yo still bouncy enough not to care. I have a long way to go....I agree Jo, much worse then my teen days!

Karen said...

I'd hate to go back too, and my daughter was just the same despite the benefit of my wisdom.

She's blossomed now though, just as I eventually did :o)

Rebecca Leith said...

So very true, Jules. And meeting old school friends later in life can reveal so many misconceptions we had about them! B xx

liz fenwick said...

Karen - was that because she wouldn't listen or because she didn't believe??? Just taking notes as dd is racing into these years...

Bex- yes it is! I was laughing yesterday because I was didn't out some old pictures for a blog...and it brought back loads of memories...hope we change!(thanks God!)