Are You There, God? It’s Me, Evie

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Words: Evie Hylands (She/Her)

TW: Disordered Eating

The good, the bad, and the very ugly – puberty is a vulnerable time for every young person. The sudden transformations bring a great deal with them. Shameful new training bras hidden in rolls of baggy fabrics. Boys persistently teasing each other about the blinding red shaving cuts signifying their lack of ability to wield a razor. New blazers and shirts you suddenly cannot button up anymore. Wild hormones that you do not understand suddenly become part of your everyday life. Doors slamming in your parents’ faces. Screaming arguments with your siblings in fits of uncontrollable teenage rage. 

Puberty meant that I was suddenly plagued with concerns over my appearance. I dreamed of being tall, leggy and blonde; just like the girls that were plastered all over my new Instagram account. The 2014 Tumblr craze made me obsessed with being stick thin. All my friends were limiting themselves to one apple (or maybe an orange) a day. We ran together after school, hoping that next time we compared the waist sizes on our Topshop Joni jeans there would be a marginal difference. With curling irons, we would scorch the dip dyed ends of our hair in the hope that the rest of our peers would find us attractive. The new Sunday ritual consisted of a weekly shopping trip to Victoria’s secret, where we purchased ridiculous push up bras, before going home to fake tan in our futile hopes to appear more grown up. 

For me, it became a time of loss. The loss of love for the sport I had played for years, after quickly being concerned my rigorous training schedule would make me bulky, not powerful. I lost the confidence and the comfort that I used to find in my body. I lost my love for food, and instead began to obsess over calories instead of how food could fuel my body in a healthy way. I lost friends as we began bickering over crushes, parties, makeup, and clothes, leading us to neglect our lifelong friendships. 

Puberty was undoubtedly one of the largest changes I have ever gone through, the abrupt surges of hormones threw me into a frenzy of drama and shorter hemlines. The need to suddenly be grown and beautiful was overwhelming. It’s something I cannot imagine going through again. But the way I was able to grow and change allowed me to move into a new chapter. I found my people and was blessed with a group of friends that brought positive energy into my life. I wish I could have told my younger self that everything would eventually fall into place because, at times, it was hellish. My transformation, though an extremely unwelcome one, made me who I am today. It taught me how to heal myself. It allowed me to learn to love myself and my body again. It taught me how to be resilient, stand up for myself, and how to cope with sudden and unwelcome change. I did not realise its importance until it was something I was no longer experiencing. 

The issues that we face as young adolescents become vital life lessons. All the acne, new hair, and sudden stretch marks, paired with issues of conscious insecurity, ultimately led to a journey of self-discovery and growth. Would I do it again? Absolutely not. It was horrible, and there is no point pretending that it was not. Glorifying the greasy skin, ‘back-ne’, and concoction of medications I took would not allow me to appreciate the rawness of the period. It is the first time life forces us to fully appreciate the art of self-transformation. Though at the time I hated every second, now I wouldn’t change a thing. 

I wish I could convince  my younger self  not to worry so much. I would have encouraged a younger me to love everything about all the little moments, as now they are memories I look back on somewhat fondly, shaking my head in disbelief that one little girl could waste so much time being so insecure. Puberty is something that is not pretty. In fact, it is ugly, but it is something we all gain from. We gain perspective, empathy, and understanding of how it feels to change. So, whether right now it is good, bad or ugly, always remember to appreciate the little moments of growth, because you’re not in it alone.


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