1. I’m 15 years old, I am a pizza face. I think a lot about whether I’m fat or not and how to get with boys.
I am just about to go on the pill, not because I am having sex (I am having zero sex), but because I am about to start Roaccutane, a quite traumatic drug for my acne that if you get pregnant on it makes your baby come out with no legs and a shrunken head or something like that. Here I artistically picture my acne by jabbing a biro at the page.
In a few days' time I am going to a party where there might be a boy who I once snogged at another party, and as I haven’t been to that many parties or snogged that many boys, this is a big deal.
Despite worrying about being fat (even though I am post-growth-spurt super thin at this point) and having a face, neck, arms, chest, and back that are constantly covered in boils, I definitely tell myself I AM HAPPY WITH HOW I LOOK.
2. Still 15, I have just grown boobs and think I might be an actual lesbian.
Roaccutane cured my acne (temporarily), but left the rest of me covered in angry eczema. The pill gave me boobs and more hormones than I possibly know what to do with. I now want to have sex with EVERYONE, but mainly WOMEN. I am also doing German GCSE and amuse myself with the embarrassingly un-PC phrase “me likely meiner boobies”. Borat was popular at the time.
I want to be a femme boy. I want girls to fancy me. I want to STAND OUT, but also be effortlessly cool. I start watching The L Word on Megavideo, doing my GCSE revision in the 48 minutes you have to wait after watching 72 minutes of content.
I have a weird theory that the pill has made me gay. (And TBH I never came off it and I’m still gay so maybe it’s true???)
3. Very nearly 16. A pervy man came on to me in the swimming pool and I have decided I am definitely a lesbian.
I also think I did very well in my classics GCSE.
4. A week before I turn 16, and I’m craving a stereotypical lesbian dramatic haircut.
I am craving a haircut like only a baby lesbian craves a haircut. I need an end-of-the-teen-movie transformation. Asking why do baby lesbians crave haircuts is like asking why does the sun rise in the morning, except with more complicated gender theory that isn’t worth thinking about right now. Something to do with signalling to your fellow tribe, plus craving change, plus rejecting what’s expected of you as a woman, plus just looking a tiny bit more like a boy.
5. I’m 16, I had the haircut, I feel great.
I feel like me, I feel like the teenage lesbian I wanted to be, I come out to my mum two weeks later.
6. I’m 17 and I’m actually having DRAMMAAA.
Rather than obsessing for months about some boy I snogged once, or inwardly analysing every aspect of myself, I’ve moved on to teenage drama with real boys and girls.
I’m making out with absolutely everyone I can in the parks of London late at night, running on cheap cider and chips. I’m very bad at sticking to just making out with one person, keeping secrets, and being at all subtle in any way.
All my diary entries are incredibly melodramatic. They vary from worrying I’ve fucked too many people to worrying I’m totally unfuckable in the same week.
7. I’m 17 and OMG I'm so horny.
From 2008–2010 my diary is just 50% naked ladies.
8. I’m 18, I’ve been at university for six weeks, I’ve broken up with my girlfriend from home and got a new boyfriend.
I moved from liberal north London to conservative north England. From a place where being gay was cool and edgy to a place where being gay or bisexual was foreign and naughty. From a place where girls want to experiment to one where girls want to find a husband.
I am having really great, regular sex for the first time in my life.
I drew myself as a calm happy buddha, happy with my shiny new boyfriend, even with my weird lesbian haircut.
9. I'm 18 and I'm utterly in love.
I am living in a new city (with a fancy cathedral I attempted to draw in the background). And I have a real-life boyfriend. Fifteen-year-old me would have been so proud of 18-year-old me. I feel hot. I’m growing out the most freaky of my lesbian haircuts, Veeting away most of my pubes, and I’m a sexy bisexual lady now. I don’t want for anything.
10. I’m 18, and we’ve just had our first proper argument.
Apparently the lyrics of Cher are really hitting home for me about now.
11. I’m 18, I’ve just finished my first-year uni exams, and I’m having doubts.
The year of college feeding me four types of potato a day and drinking lots of beer has definitely had an effect, but I am still thin. Still a size 10. I am getting bored in my relationship. Bored of being in a pair, craving independence. The novelty of sex is finally wearing thin. It will take me another four months to fully fall out of love. I will break up with my boyfriend in the first week of second year after we had been going out for 11 months.
For the next three years I will slog out the rest of university having shit sex with (mainly) shit (mainly) men, none of whom I could convince to stick around for longer than a couple of months.
12. Five years later. I’m 23. I’ve just asked out a girl I met at a party six months ago via Facebook.
I moved back to London and felt like me; I moved in with my best friends and found a job I love. I am once again surrounded by liberal people who either are gay or think being gay is cool.
One of the few non-shit non-men people I slept with, just after university, told me she was going to set me up with one of her friends, saying, “Do you remember Lauren? You two should date.” But she never did. Schedules clashed and we both never made it. So I took matters into my own hands and one drunk Sunday night got my friend to take my phone and add her on Facebook for me.
She just accepted to go for a drink with me.
I am proud at myself for taking my love life into my own hands, but for some reason I still wish for a flat stomach.
13. Just over six months later and once again I am utterly in love.
I’ve grown all my pubes back and I’ve got a cat.