In honour of the release of Cally Jackson's recently-released new adult novel The Big Smoke, today I'm taking part in her ‘The year I turned 18′ blogfest.
Here's what Cally has to say about the blogfest:
Seeing as both Ceara and Seb (the two main characters) turn 18 throughout the story, I thought it might be fun for us all to post about the year we turned 18. Your post can be about anything from that year – something momentous that happened, what your hopes and dreams were at that time, diary entries, anything that comes to mind. If you could include photos of you at 18, that would be doubly awesome! And if you haven’t turned 18 yet, you might like to post about what you hope will be happening for you in the year you turn eighteen.
I turned eighteen in 2001. At the time, I was at college studying A Levels in Psychology, English Lit & Language, and Media Studies. I lived in a flat in Birmingham with my dad, but I was pretty self-reliant as he was out a lot. I was just getting into the Goth clubbing scene, and after a period of loneliness, when I first moved to Birmingham and knew no one, I was building a group of friends. Getting into the alternative scene is what really helped me meet new people, and I bonded with a girl from college named Sarah. We formed a friendship over our shared love of alternative music, and wrestling and I started hanging out with her group of friends. When they found out it was birthday, they invited me to the local rock club, XLs, to celebrate.
The week before my birthday, I had a massive family party at the Greek restaurant Ulysses, ended up dancing with a cute waiter, and got very, very drunk. My aunt's boyfriend at the time, Juan, got a Champagne cork, and somehow implanted a £1 into the cork. He told me to keep it for good luck, and I did for many years. Sadly, it got lost when I moved house.
On the weekend of my birthday, I met Sarah and her group of friends at Xls. Before going clubbing, I spent the day shopping, and getting my hair done. I had pink hair extensions fitted, so I had pink streaks in my hair, which I then wore in pig-tales. I bought a pink, sequin bra and thong set, which I wore under jeans - which I wore low to reveal the top of the thong - and a sheer black shirt, in the style of the former WWE Diva Lita (she was my idol at the time). The night I went out for my birthday was amazing. It was only the second time I'd been to Xls (Sarah inviting me to go with them for Halloween a few months before), but I'd grown a little in confidence since then. As it was my birthday, I was the centre of attention and everyone was gathered around me buying me cocktails. I danced to all my favourite songs, and was especially pleased when the three I liked best at the time (Limp Bizkit's Rollin', Linkin Park's One Step Closer and Kid Rock's American Badass). The night ended with me snogging Sarah's friend, Rick, who I'd had a crush on since meeting him at Halloween and we went back to his place ... it was a great birthday.
After going to Xls with Sarah and her group of friends, it opened up a whole new world for me. Soon me, and my college friend Emma were going to Xls every week. It was an amazing time in our lives; we were meeting new people, kissing boys, drinking and dancing all night. In the span of two years - between turning eighteen, and having my son at twenty - I went from knowing no one, to knowing a large group of people, and being fairly popular/ well known and soon I was going out three times a week. During that time was when I started having more 'adult' relationships (as an oppose to the sweeter/ innocent relationships I'd had when I saw 16 and 17), and it was also how I met my eventual husband (in the November of 2001). When people ask if I ever regret having a child so young (my oldest son was born in 2003, a week before my 20th birthday) I always say an emphatic "no". I spent two years having the type of my life, and got all the drinking and clubbing out of my system before he was born. I look back on that time, almost ten years ago now, with fond memories.
I'd love to share a million photos of my late teens with you, but sadly a lot of them were taken on a Polaroid camera, or by my friend Emma, whom I don't have much contact with anymore.
Sorry about that! :(
I did, however, make a ten song YouTuble playlist of popular rock/ alternative songs from 2001, many of which I danced to at XLs. Enjoy!
Ceara’s desperate for love; Seb’s desperate to get laid. Ceara adores reading novels; Seb hasn’t finished a book in years. Two strangers, both moving from small country towns to Brisbane – the big smoke. As they prepare to attend the same university, their paths seem set to collide, but they keep missing each other. Maybe fate is keeping them apart, or maybe it’s just chance.
When the semester starts, things get complicated. Ceara’s best friend withdraws from her, Seb’s closest mate turns into a sleazebag, and the relentless demands of university make their stress levels soar. Before their first semester is over, both Seb and Ceara will be forced to question who they are and what they want from their lives. Will they have the courage to find the answers, or will they crumble under the pressure? And when they finally meet, will it be love at first sight or a collision of headstrong personalities?