So, this is how it works. You comment, I give you a year, you write about it.minnesattva
gave me 1994.
This was the year I turned thirteen, and I wouldn't start my periods until two weeks into the next year. I was in year 8 at Burnham Grammar School. We were the first year to be called that, having just made the transition from calling it the 'second year'. Which would be confusing to most people as it was in fact the lowest year at the school: in my day in Buckinghamshire, we did the twelve plus, not the eleven plus.
Anyway, so I'm young, obnoxious and at secondary school, and I still haven't figured out how to make friends yet. My 'best friend' was a girl called Ellie, and as I recall I was a bit overly clingy all over her. I was convinced I was right about everything, probably because I had maths, and when you're naturally brilliant at maths and at secondary school, you're convinced you can do anything. I was big into the animal rights thing. In the summer term I became vegetarian, but didn't tell my parents for about two months, which is a bad idea when you're having regular family dinners.
What? It's a hard subject to broach, at least if you're me. I guess I was never good at the telling people big things.
I was mildly bullied at school - nothing major and not as bad as it got later. My yearbook is, to my sense of nostalgia, ruined because someone wrote GREASED LIGHTNING across it. I don't come from a 'shower daily' background, and as I begun to hit puberty I didn't easily make the transition to having to wash long hair more than once a week. This, naturally, lead to teasing at school which many people I think, didn't think was as bad as it actually was. The boy who wrote in the yearbook in question apologised the minute he saw how upset it made me.
Our form room that year was a science lab, and therefore a room we were not allowed to be in before a teacher arrived, so it resulted in a lot of waiting outside in a small landing for the form tutor to turn up. Unsupervised chaos at any time, but in the long stretches before registration - heavy anxiety inducing for me. I spent a lot of time waiting at the bottom of the stairwell for my form tutor so I wouldn't have to deal with my peers.
Having no actual social skills, my free time was eaten up by hobbies: I learned to ski this year, but I haven't ski'ed since. I was also still taking guitar lessons, and I believe I took my grade one (and only grade) that year. I didn't get on with the teacher at the new school, though, and stopped a year later. I was taking drama lessons after school in a class one of my primary school teachers had set up just for myself and two other girls when we moved on. I believe this was the year I took grade seven - for which my Shakespeare piece was Titania. It was a bad choice for me, but I still didn't do badly. There were also festivals every few months - I think my best piece that year was a monologue called 'Musical Statues', in which I played a Veruca Salt-esque brat. I was riding every weekend, and still had Guides on Wednesdays.pmoodie
gave me 2001.
Seven years later, and I turned twenty. I was in the second year at UCL now, and had figured out the social thing. I even had a boyfriend! (Not my first, thankyouverymuch), but my first serious
. This was a young man by the name of Rob - a little older than me and not a student - who I met the year before at an Imperial College rock night.
For yes, by now I had discovered rock music and stopped wearing those 'colour' things. And not just because my interest in drama had shifted backstage. I was president of UCL's Rock and Metal society, and our monthly Retributions were not only a huge fucking success, I believe they still are, although obviously they're not as good. I was also manager of the Garage Theatre - a small workshop space in which a small play was hosted a week. I was in charge of supervising the theatre, and providing a technician for the plays that drama soc put on. Most of the time I ended up being the technician myself. This was naturally highly stressful and anxiety inducing, and I was miserable, so leaned away from that and towards rock soc. And clubbing two to three times a week: High Voltage was the classic rock night on Thursday (following cocktails at the union), RockSoc pub crawl on Friday, and RockScene on Saturday.
For the first half of the year I was living on the Euston Road: conveniently five minutes away from college, so it was not uncommon for me to roll out of bed at 9:50, go to my ten o'clock, and be back with the boy at 11:10. It was a good flat, but my room was tidy and I did not get on with my flatmates, who were particularly inflexible and liked to nag me constantly, causing me to resent them. During the summer I moved in with Fluff and Richard to the first floor of the house the second floor of which Izzy (my best friend then and now) had lived in the second year. Fluff and Richard were friends, but there were now flatmate issues in the other direction - a lack of help for the communal areas, and the flat was highly student in hygiene. It's also the only place I lived without a washing machine, so I used Rob's.
This year was also the year of the court case: the Boy had been arrested in November thanks to a DNA matchup (those people who are surprised that I support biometric databases for forensics use: this is why) and all I had to do in 2001 was to stand up in court and answer questions about my statement, not deviating from it at all.There was no question about me 'leading him on' or about my personal conduct. It was given that I had been raped, and the only defense he had was'it wasn't me'.Y'know, aside from the fact that his DNA was a close match to the sperm in my vagina. (And having seen him in court, I recognised him, but I had previously declined an identity parade. The court case itself was a remarkably smooth experience for me: Rob and the InnerRents were incredibly supportvie, waiting outside while I testified, and my police chaperone, a WPC (I hate that job title with a passion) named Diane who was quite frankly amazing
throughout it all.
During the summer itself I lived with Rob in his stupid cheap council flat and worked in a pharmaceutical company chasing up invoices. Ah, office work.