Last week, I sat in on a Grade 6 class at my old primary school at the invitation of a friend who now teaches there. It was a lot of fun to chat with the students and field their questions, most of which were about the transition from primary school to high school. I then took a look at their ‘Question Wall’, on which they were free to (anonymously) ask any question at all. Many of these revolved around the onset of puberty. I remember having a lot of these questions myself. Whenever I worked up the courage to ask someone, they suddenly had an appointment to get to or something. (Luckily, the book, ‘What’s Happening To Me?’ answered most of my questions in a factual but comical way.)
All of this reminiscing took me back to my first year of high school, 1993, when Will Smith was the Fresh Prince, rhythm was a dancer and Whitney Houston was every woman. For everything you need to know about the early 90s, please refer to the following educational video:
It wasn’t easy answering the earnest youngsters’ questions. I found myself saying things like, “In a year, you’ll be completely different, but still the same,” and they were understandably baffled.
It made me think, What were the questions I had at that age and how would I answer them now? I should probably have a bit more of a crack at it in case some pre-pubescent e-wanderer stumbles upon this page, or to prepare myself in the event that I ever time travel back to 1993 and meet my younger self (granted, this is unlikely and as ‘Back to the Future’ fans will know, it would create a potentially catastrophic disruption to the space-time continuum). Right. It’s decided, then. In the spirit of ‘Dear Me’, I will now answer some questions that my 12-year-old self may have asked.
Will I get my head flushed down the toilet at high school?
Hard to say.
In high school, will I have the same friends as I do now?
Some of them will be the same and some of them will be different. This is not very helpful, is it? Sorry.
Does puberty hurt?
Ummm…. no. I don’t think so. I don’t really remember.
What’s your favourite film?
Hmmm… So many to choose from. I like ‘Apocalypse Now’ and have you heard of Francois Truffaut?
No. What about ‘Sister Act’?
Well, ‘Sister Act’ was good at the time, but you’ll come to appreciate films with a bit more gravitas.
What does gravitas mean?
Weight, seriousness. Something deeper to them.
Why didn’t you just say that?
It’s a better word.
You’re boring and old and trying to be cool. I bet you still like silly movies, too.
Let’s just get back to the hormone questions, Foureyes.
Will I be the same after I go through puberty?
In essence, no. You’ll still be the same person. But actually, yes. No. Completely different. You won’t be the same. But you will be. In a way. Kind of. It’s hard to ex.. Sort of.
What is a period?
It’s what the Americans say instead of ‘full stop’.
So, you really don’t like ‘Sister Act’?
It’s fine. Actually, they made a sequel: ‘Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit’.
What is a wet dream?
It’s when… ask your parents.
Will I get pimples?
Yes. Probably. Although some people don’t. I did. Still do sometimes, and I’m 31.
If you like someone, how do you get them to like you?
Ah, this one’s easy. Just be yourself. But better. Sometimes they won’t like you, though. That won’t be very fun but the bright side is that you’ll now be able to relate to Bon Jovi’s pain.
What’s it like to fall in love?
It’s great. You’ll love it.
How do you know when you’re in love?
You just… this is hard to answer. These are difficult questions. Any easier ones?
Who wrote the book of love?
Now you’re just being silly.
What is masturbation?
Righto, listen. There’s this book called, ‘What’s Happening to Me?’. It should answer all your questions. I’ve got an appointment to get to.