Who doesn't love the children's classic? Poor little duckling bullied for her looks, only to bloom into a stunning swan. This story gave all adolescent girls a small glimmer of hope, the light at the end of a tunnel filled with acne, bad eyebrows, non blended shadows and orange foundation. Yes you'll look back at old pictures from behind embarrassed hands and shrieks, but my goodness, it certainly is a proud moment to see how far your makeup and beauty routine have come!
With this in mind, I can't help but look at today's teens with my jaw hitting the floor. I was sent a picture by a friend of a stunning relative. I gazed in wonder at the chiselled cheekbones, subtle highlight and immaculate eyebrows, yes I was dying in a pool of envious admiration over just how flawless she was, did I mention this girl was 15? Yep. I am 13 years her senior and I'm pouring over this picture as though she is some celebrity of a similar age... What? How? Why? Was there a lesson I missed out on at school? How have this generation skipped the awkward, ugly duckling stage?
It'll be easier for me to point the finger at social media, celebrity influences and magazines, or could it be that this bunch are just more clued up? Not to sound like a total grandmother, but back in my day inspiration came from the popular types in school. In my school, even the colour choice of your year 10 jumper would mean the difference between social acceptance or social suicide. All eyes were on the 'cool kids' and we'd all follow religiously, never really straying from the herd in search of any unique and original inspiration. Bare in mind this was years before the iPhone was even dreamt about and your trusty Nokia would only be used to text your mum to say you'll be home late.
These lucky teens now have the entire world literally at their fingertips. In just a few clicks they can spot what supermodels had for lunch, behind the scenes of a vogue shoot and watch a tutorial on how to achieve the perfect feline flick. Truly amazing. Does this make me jealous? No. Does it make me angry? Only slightly. I suppose the greatest feeling I have towards the whole debate is sadness. These girls have missed out on the right of passage. No cringe worthy pictures, no hilarious stories to share and no embarrassing memories to chuckle to themselves about. These little ducklings with their airbrushed foundation and on trend lipstick will simply grow into equally perfect swans. All this (slightly) older, late bloomer of a swan can do is watch from a distance and applaud their effort and skill.
Question is, would I do it all over again with all the knowledge I know now? Don't count on it. Yes the pictures make me die inside. But even to this day, I've never felt as good as I did whilst getting ready for school. Piling on layers of pale purple eyeshadow. Sweeping on my favourite, extra sticky glittery lipgloss. Or even using those tiny sparkly butterfly hair grips to really jazz up my pony tail. Yep, I felt like the bee's knees and I'd leave the house ready to take on the day. Without a second thought about my bare eyebrows....
Do any of you look back at old photos?
I'd love to know!