I am 20 years old in two weeks. Up until ten months ago, I had (proudly) gone just over 19 years of my life without having a serious boyfriend. No crying in school bathrooms, no backstabbing bitches trying to steal my man, no gossip, no "Why would he Facebook her? She’s so ugly!" (I actually overheard a 13-year-old in hooker heels say that to her equally sluttish friend.)
No, for 19 years and 35 days I was carefree and drama-free. Certainly not boy-free (if you know what I’m sayin’), but there was never anything serious enough to warrant bad teenage break-up poetry or passive-aggressive Facebook statuses.
I took the "How to Be a Cool Girlfriend" handbook and I tore it up, set it on fire, and snorted the ashes. My best friend and I used to laugh at people in relationships. The baby voices for starters. I’m the type of person who will greet a baby by awkwardly muttering, "Hello. How are you?" I don’t coochie-coo, I don’t ooh and ahh, and I certainly don’t squeak or squeal. The crying on anyone who will listen’s shoulder. The jealous bitchiness every time he so much as glances at another girl. The premature "I love you." The text break-up. The "What’s wrong babe?" "NOTHING!"…It was all so lame and melodramatic.
No, my friend and I decided (in the infinite wisdom that only 15-year-olds possess), when we were (finally) in relationships, we wouldn’t be like those girls. We would be cool girlfriends. We had been friends for years and never had a major fight—having a boyfriend would be exactly the same. No fights, no drama. Just having a best friend with a penis who you could have sex with whenever you want.
Then I met Matthew.
In our 10 months together I have cried, screamed, and shouted more than I have in the rest of my life combined. I have wanted to slowly stab and decapitate a certain girl who I "just don’t trust." I have tried running him over with my car. I have caused scenes in restaurants, clubs, and shopping malls. I have told him that nothing was wrong when there really was. I have shrieked myself blue in the face when he hasn’t answered his phone or replied to my texts. I have drunk myself into a stupor while crying to a disinterested barman.
15-year-old me would be judging me so hard right now. I took the "How to Be a Cool Girlfriend" handbook and I tore it up, set it on fire, and snorted the ashes. There have been times where I have been so "girlfriendy" that some of my past behavior makes me cringe. But I guess that’s what you do when you’re in love: You embarrass yourself. Then you pick yourself up and embarrass yourself some more.
Because when you’re in love with someone, you don’t care how the rest of the world is looking at you. If you have to scream until your voice breaks to get his attention, you will. The rest of the world may as well not exist. There are a million things I thought I would never do that I’ve done.
If someone can see you drunker than a homeless person with mascara running down your face, sobbing about ineligible bullshit, and still tell you you’re beautiful and amazing, well that’s someone worth keeping.
Maybe I have something to teach 15 year old me. Maybe, just maybe, I’ve learnt something in the past 5 years. The "cool girlfriend" does not exist. If you care about someone, you will call them out on their bullshit. You won’t grit your teeth and smile through the overwhelmingly stupid shit they do (and guys do a lot of stupid shit). You won’t be scared to fight with them because you know they won’t say "fuck this" and leave. You’ll fight with them but, more importantly, you’ll fight for them.
All I can say to 15 year old me is: You were wrong about everything. You are the typical girlfriend, just like every other girl who’s fallen in love. Maybe I’ve ended up differently than you thought I would and you’re disappointed, but I have my best friend with a penis who I can have sex with whenever I want and I love him so much that sometimes my heart feels like it’s going to suddenly burst. And if it takes a few tears and public scenes to be where I am, then I am 100% okay with that