Three little letters

No one I know would choose in all seriousness to be 13 or 14 again. No one.

They make cute films about teenagers getting stuck in adults’ bodies (Big, for example, and Thirteen going on Thirty) but the idea of it actually happening is enough to make you lose valuable sleep.

Unfortunately, teenagers getting trapped as adults isn’t just the stuff of lightweight comedies and nightmares. Thanks to three little letters it’s horribly real and happens with a regularity that should make you fear for your personal safety.

P. M. T.

It’s the teen beast within every woman. The creature that tells her she’s too fat and ugly to function, that takes the most lighthearted banter so personally she weeps, that makes her act dangerously unpredictably.

It’s a kind of lucid madness where you’re aware that you’re being crazy but feel powerless to stop yourself. And then all of a sudden you get filled up with a sense of self-loathing that you recognise. It’s the self-loathing your spotty, hormone-ridden thirteen year old self lives with everyday. It’s that overwhelming surge of emotion that made you cry and shout for no reason.

Three little letters.

Adults aren’t supposed to be rude, antisocial, erratic, angry, slapdash, forgetful, disorganised, violent or weepy without legitimate reasons.

If you’re lucky you can try shutting yourself off from the world until the moment has passed, until the adolescent has retreated back however many years it came forward from.

If you’re not lucky you’ll call your friends names, throw things at people you’re trying to impress and fail to get your work done in time and then feel a huge sense of horror as a civilised you looks on.

P. M. T.

For three or four days, those three little letters can ruin your life. It’s a good job there’s three or four weeks afterwards to fix the damage before the beast appears again.

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