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If 29 Year Old Me Had A Conversation With My 18 Year Old Self: Part One

Me (29) – squinting at the figure in-front of me with a mixture of shock and disbelief: Mate... Mate, your arse cheeks are hanging out of your shorts.

Me (18) – totally oblivious, not looking up from my Bold BB: Yeah? It’s Tuesday, innit, ya dano?

Me (29): I dano? What does that even mean? And why does it sound as though you’re making Tuesday a valid excuse to go out in public dressed like a genuine hooker?

Me (18) - Looking Me (29) up and down and speaking in a slow, patronising tone one might use to address an old, fat Labrador: It’s Arse Out Tuesday, OBVS. On Tuesdays, I wear short-shorts ‘cause I have a double free with all the fit lads in the refec. And on Wednesdays, I wear sweatpants: Sweatpant Wednesdays.

Me (29) – straining to hear over the dulcet tones of Pitbull, streamed by Livewire’s finest: I'm not going to pretend that I understood ANY of that, but okay... Any particular reason for Sweatpant Wednesdays...?

Me (18) – sighing dramatically as if my mere presence is the most tragic thing since Barry M discontinued their ‘fairy dust’ body glitter: Because all the fit lads go to another college to play football, so there’s no-one to look gash for.

Me (29) – Reeling in horror: Did you just say... Gash?

Me (18): Yeah, and what? What you sayin,’ babygirl?

Me (29): Cara, babe, no. You can’t go round saying words like ‘gash.’ It’s not okay. Do you even know what it means?

Me (18) – changes song from Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) to Superbass: Yeah, it means, like, fit. Like, ‘Ah he’s well gash, him. I’m gonna try and pull him at Cage on Wednesday.’

Me (29): Oh, hun. That’s deffo not what ‘gash’ means. It’s actually a vulgar and derogatory term for-

Me (18) – interrupting: Whatever. I need to concentrate while I add this well gash lad off the back of Jack’s broadcast.

Me (29): God, broadcasts; I’d forgotten all about them! I remember the little red light that would flash at the top of the phone whenever someone messaged you on BBM.

I bet it’s weird to think that in a year or so, literally no-one will own a Blackberry. Most people will move on to the iPhone, which means... No more BBM.

Me (18) – Scoffing as if I’ve just said the most ludicrous thing in the entire world: I will NEVER get rid of my Blackberry. The iPhone will never be a thing. Apple won’t even be a thing by, like, 2013.

Me (29): Well, actually, you’d be surprised-

Me (18) – Interrupting again: Surprised, maybe. Interested, no. You done? I need to start getting ready.

Me (29): Ready for what? It’s a Tuesday night?

Me (18): Tuesdays mean two things: Arse Out Tuesday, and Koosdays. We go to Tiger Tiger every Tuesday after coll.’ On Wednesdays, we go to Underage Cage – it’s well good there; Kelly’s not 18 till July but she can get in with fake ID – they never check! Then on Saturdays, we usually go to either Barcode or The Ritz. The Ritz is ‘angin, but they do a 10 minute Pitbull mega mash-up to end the night, and we move the bar stools onto the dance-floor and slut-drop against them.

Me (29): Right... And how do you afford all of these nights out? You walked out of your waitressing job after two weeks because ‘the heat in the kitchen dried out your blonde highlights...’

Me (18) tossing my absolutely f****d bleach-blonde hair out of my eyes: I use my EMA. I get, like, £30 a week off the government or something, ‘cause Mum and Dad are divorced. I think I’m supposed to spend it on, like, educational stuff, but I use it for nights out and fake tan, ya dano?

Me (29) – dubiously eyeing up the almost-nuclear orange skin-tone of Me (18): ... I see. I’m not sure St Moriz is really achieving that natural, sun kissed ‘glow’ you might imagine that you have right now...

Me (18): Good. I don’t want to look natural.

Me (29): Oh... Well, in that case... Anyway. You mentioned Mum and Dad. It’s been three years since the divorce. You holding up okay?

Me (18): Yeah, it’s sick! This is why I don’t need a job – I get double pocket money and EMA! The 4am Maccie’s-stop McFlurries are always on Cazza B!

Me (29) – trying not to lose my patience with this clueless, naive, self-absorbed orange mess in-front of me: Yeah, but money aside... Are you okay?

Me (18) – sighs dramatically... again. Rolls eyes: YE-SSSSSSS. I’ve got more important things to worry about!!

Me (29) – Softening slightly: I guess you have. Worried about A-Levels?

Me (18): A-Levels? Nah, I’m not arsed about them. I already know that I’m gonna’ have to retake my first year. I can’t wait – I love college! I get to snurge for another TWO years! But if you really wanna’ know what I’m worried about, then I’ll tell ya.’ So you know I really like Jase?

Me (29): Like him? Hun, you’re obsessed with him. Unhealthily so. You pushed a girl down the stairs at your 18th because she spoke to him... It’s weird, babe. You need to chill a bit. He’s never going to like you, no matter how often you post black and white selfies with cryptic Taylor Swift lyrics on your Facebook.

Me (18): Well, ACTUALLY, that black and white selfie got 102 likes, SO THERE! And that pic of me in the navy crop top and leather shorts got 167 likes, and gash Tommy from Molly’s BTEC sport class liked it, then poked me on Facebook!

Me (29): It doesn’t mean anything! Facebook ‘likes’ and, God forbid, pokes, do NOT define you as a person! Omg, you have so much growing up to do. We’re 29 now, with a mortgage and a pending divorce. Do you really think 167 likes on a 2011 Facebook photo of you dressed like an Amsterdam window staple have made a blind bit of difference?

Me (18): A pending divorce? Why would you ever divorce Edin Dzeko?

Me (29): Oh, Cara. You don’t marry Edin Dzeko. Of course you don’t. I hate to tell you this, but you and Molly... Well, you're never going to be WAGs. I know you think you have it all planned out, but life doesn’t work like that. You really, really need to start taking college seriously, because you are NOT going to make a career out of sponging off footballers. You marry Josh – he’s a travel agent.

Me (18): LOL, BANTERRRR! Me and Molly ARE going to be WAGS. I have this guy on Facebook, and he says he’s got a try-out for STOCKPORT COUNTY! He sent me a winky face when I posted that pic of me in my Hollister hotpants at Connor’s house parteh'

Me (18) looks so proud of herself that Me (29) has to refrain from slapping her luminous, tangerine cheek.

Me (18): Anyway, I’m going for my shower. You can chill in my room, if you want. There’s a smiley-face potato sandwich on there if you’re hungry. But don’t drink Anna’s Peach Snaps! She’s going to want that for pre-drinks later. Oh, and don’t touch my Paul’s Boutique bag. It’s fake, so all of the charms fall off every time I pick it up.

Me (18) connects her pink iPod Nano to her Union Jack portable speakers and saunters off for a shower (which takes a full hour).

Me (29) waits patiently and enjoys 2011’s horrifying back-catalogue of ‘tunes...’

Yeah 3x – Chris Brown

Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO

Don’t Wanna Go Home – Jason Derulo

Loca People – Sak Noel

Where Them Girls At – David Guetta

Mr Saxobeat – Alexandra Stan

Headlines – Drake

Me (18) - shouts in from the bathroom when Earthquake by Tinie Tempah comes on: I LOVE THIS ONE! You know I failed GCSE maths five times? Well I have to do this special class at college, and my teacher is called Simon, and we always sing this song to annoy him, cause one of the lyrics is ‘HEY SIMON.’ It’s PROPER banter!!

Me (18) has a coughing fit in the shower she’s laughing that much.

Me (29) doesn’t really understand the ‘banter.’

Me (29) – quietly, more to myself: Failed GCSE maths five times, but now works in payroll.

The next songs comes on: What The Hell – Avril Lavigne

Me (18) – sings along enthusiastically: ALL MY LIFE I’VE BEEN GOOD, BUT NOW... I’M THINKING, WHAT THE HELL?!

Me (29) smiles. She’s not wrong, this peculiar, misguided version of myself. She really has been good all her life. As cringey as she is, and as questionable as some of her life choices are, I’m actually secretly pleased that she rebelled this much. This 18 year old... She’s one of the happiest people I have ever met. I like her, despite myself.

Me (18) reappears, still a startling shade of Satsuma, despite the 60-minute shower.

Me (29): Woah, woah – what’s going on now?! What are you doing with that St Moriz?! Cara – step away from the St Moriz!

Me (18): I’m applying my base coat!

Me (29): Your base coat?! You’re wearing that much bloody fake tan it’s probably added an extra five stone to your weight! If this is the base coat, what the fresh hell were the previous 25 layers?!

Me (18) – Sighs (AGAIN. Grr, this girl and her self-importance are getting on my nerves now...): They were the base-BASE coats. This is the actual base. Then in an hour, just before the girls arrive, I’ll do the main layer. Now, move away from the mirror. I wanna’ do my makeup.

Me (29): Is that... Dream Matte Mousse? And... Why the actual f**k are you covering your lips in concealer?!

Me (18): It’s called FASHION. Clearly something you’d know nothing about. Why are you wearing black paperbag trousers? You look like you’re going to a funeral. It’s Tuesday – you should be in hotpants!!

Me (29): I’m wearing smart, black trousers because I’ve been at WORK. You know, the place you go to earn actual money to pay off your actual mortgage when you’re no longer eligible to rinse the government of £30 a week? And funnily enough, my employers do not actively support ‘Arse Out Tuesday.’ Maybe you should- HOLY SHIT!!! What in the name of Christ is going on now?!

Me (18): What?! I’m just putting my bras on!

Me (29): Yeah, exactly... Bra-S. Plural! Why are you wearing two bras?!

Me (18): Because I have no boobs. And nor do you, apparently, which isn’t exactly promising. Maybe I need to start badgering Dad for that boob job again. I can’t spend my life wearing two La Senza ‘Maximise Your Assets’ push-ups – my back is bloody killing me!

Me (29): You don’t need a boob job. Just be happy as you are! You have so many qualities, and not of all of them are aesthetic. There is so much more to life than-

Look At Me Now – Chris Brown sounds through the speakers.

Me (18) - holding her foundation-stained hand over my mouth: SHHH, shut up, I love this bit! *Sings* I don’t see how you can hate from outside the club – you can’t even get in!

Ha! It reminds me of the time this girl started on me at Barcode cause I hugged her boyfriend and she came over and grabbed my hair thinking I had extensions in, and I was like ‘HUN, this weave is REAL!!!’ and she got kicked out and we were all singing this song out of the window at her!

Me (29): Um, girl? I’ve been watching you try to wiggle into that Miss Selfridge dress for five minutes now... Are you sure it fits? And can you please STOP spraying Britney Spears Fantasy? I’m starting to feel a bit sick.

Me (18) doesn’t appear to hear. She finally pulls the size 4 black mini-dress over her bum. She stands looking at herself in the mirror, turning this way and that. She looks utterly ridiculous: five foot of florescent fake tan, Girls Allowed false eyelashes, GHD poker-straight hair with trademark sweeping fringe, and a dress so tight that I fear a collapsed ribcage before she has a chance to catch the last train to town at 10:50pm. But she smiles. She feels absolutely gorgeous – a prospect so alien to her for the longest time prior to starting college and finding herself.

I look at her, and though partially blinded by the glare of St Moriz, I can’t help but smile too. This girl, this 18 year old version of me, was such a huge part of my life.

I’m grateful for everything she made me (for example – confident), and everything she didn’t (for example - a WAG).

Me (29): Before you go out, is there anything you want to ask me? Anything you want to know about the future, or our life, past 18?

Me (18) appears to be deep in thought for a few moments, and I dare to wonder whether I've finally gotten through to her, and made her think of something other than fake tan and Pitbull for half a second.

Me (29) prepares myself for a reel of deep questions and mentally starts assembling philosophical answers to queries such as 'are you happy?' And 'what is the true meaning of life?'

Me (18): Does Barry M ever re-release the fairy dust body glitter?

Cara Jasmine Bradley


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