When I Was Thirteen

Image Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Image Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

I was thirteen when the worry began. I remember trying on my new school uniform, so thrilled to finally arrive at my teens and head to College. Twirling in front of the mirror, life felt full of possibilities.   

Then I noticed my knees. 

I’d always been a bit rough and tumble. This was particularly hard on my knees. They were often battered and bruised, with scratches and grazes and those half-healed scabs that I couldn’t help picking at.  I was clumsy, always tripping over, falling off my bike, or out of trees. I’d never noticed before, but now I realised my blimmin' knees were knackered.   

My concern for my knees arrived around the same time as my passion for romance novels.  Yes, at thirteen I discovered Mills and Boon. Life would never be the same. It was then I  realised I had been led astray by George from the Famous Five, always having adventures and never letting anyone boss her around. I needed to be more girly, like Anne. 

Why had I envied Cathy from Wuthering Heights, running around on the rain-swept moors with a moody Heathcliff? Dying young and tortured didn’t really appeal. No - clearly proper grown-up girls should be passive and ladylike, wafting about being pretty and impressed by everything.  There was no hope for a stroppy tomboy like me. 

It wasn’t long before that worry spread.  Like a nasty rash, I would find new things to scratch every morning.  My boofy hair, my freckles and boring brown eyes, my chubby thighs and flat feet - even my good grades were becoming uncool.  I had to change everything!   

But first, I needed to sort out these hideous knees.

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