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22/05/2017 10:34 AM AEST | Updated 22/05/2017 10:35 AM AEST

Hang On To Your Youth, Even When Society Expects You To Grow Up

Growing, ready or not.

"Take whatever you like along with you into adulthood, from that Spice Girls Impulse to that half-up half-down hair do."
millann via Getty Images
"Take whatever you like along with you into adulthood, from that Spice Girls Impulse to that half-up half-down hair do."

I was a late bloomer. This always bothered me because I was surrounded by girls who were always two steps ahead. I had a best friend who was all tits and tampons well before me, and sisters who were happily sporting their double Ds. While me -- I was stuck with little mozzie bites you could barely see.

I was desperate to grow up, to graduate from butterfly clips to a belly button ring. I remember a friend showing my sister and I her first pubic hair. It was this big event. We walked out to the middle of our farm's paddock for privacy; she pulled down her pants and pointed out the one sole hair. I was enamoured -- I wanted some of these black curly things! Who knew years later I'd spend a pretty penny and many painful hours fighting to get rid of them.

Puberty for me was bittersweet. The changes (finally) came; hair, blood, boobs and moods, but so did the expectations. Suddenly, I was expected to act like a woman. Gone were the days of sitting sans undies, cross-legged and carefree.

Why does naked frolicking in sprinklers with friends suddenly have to stop?

As a kid I used to run from the bathroom to my bedroom stark naked -- fresh from the shower I felt free and uninhibited. My family were my obliged audience and they never cared, until now. I distinctly remember my Mum sitting me down and explaining it was inappropriate for me to continue this morning ritual now that I was a woman. I get it now, I imagine it got wildly uncomfortable for Dad who was seeing his baby girl grow into a buxom, full-breasted babe, but at the time I remember thinking 'wow, being a woman sucks'.

I felt this dichotomy -- a yearning to grow up versus a wanting to stay the same. I couldn't do both, which is something I still don't fully understand. Why does naked frolicking in sprinklers with friends suddenly have to stop?

I guess you start becoming sexy (also running with no bra starts being not so fun). But I feel like girls in particular aren't given a chance to ease into sexuality. Your body changes and all of a sudden everything you did as a kid transforms into erotica; licking an ice cream, pillow fights, pool parties, Twister. My body had jumped ahead but my head was still unknowing and innocent.

Moreover, things I loved were suddenly not kosher in my new adult life. I had to let go of stuffed toys, acting in home movies, building pillow forts and cubby houses. One of my happiest memories, which plays like a Super 8 movie, is of me and my sisters navigating a ship (mattresses piled four high) through the Bermuda triangle (for some reason we were obsessed with the Bermuda triangle and I still have no idea why). We were all young with nothing but fun and adventure on our minds.

I don't want to finish with this post with something trite like a plea to treasure your youth. Rather, fight to keep it -- everything fun, unrestrained, blithe and bold. Don't let societal constructs or third-party opinion shape you. Take whatever you like along with you into adulthood, from that Spice Girls Impulse to that half-up half-down hair do.

Just do you.

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