Sunday 11 February 2018


Ahead of Valentine's Day, reader Imogen talks about how to spot a crush... and why it's not the same as real-life love...

Imogen says:
We've all been there. Totally in the thrall of that cool boy (or girl) we're actually too shy to even speak to... and kidding ourselves there'll be a happy-ever after. It can feel so overwhelming it takes over everything - when I had a crush on a boy from the Sixth Form when I was thirteen, I was obsessed. I made my friends hang out opposite the sixth form building every lunchtime in the hopes of catching a glimpse of him. I drew his name and mine inside a heart at the back of all my exercise books. I cried about him at night, and when he started going out with a girl his own age I hated her with such venom it made me sick and shaky for weeks. And then the feeling faded, as fast as it had arrived, and I had a new crush - a less dramatic one. When I was fifteen I started seeing a boy a year older than me, and suddenly real life relationships seemed more appealing than imaginary ones. So how do you know it's a crush?

- You dream about him all the time... but you've never actually spoken to him.
- He's a lot older than you, or unreachable in some other way... a teacher, a pop star, an actor.
- You know that NOBODY else in the world could ever understand you the way he does...
- ... even though you don't actually know what his personality is like.
- You practice writing your name with his surname in the back of your books.
- You plan your day around catching a glimpse of him.
- If he ever spoke to you, you'd panic so much you'd probably be speechless.
- Your friend threatens to tell him how you feel and you are horrified at the very idea.
- If he's a public figure, you collect as much info on him as you can.
- You are devastated if he gets a girlfriend.
- You happily turn down dates with real life boys because they're not HIM.

No matter how real the feelings may seem, they are a practice run for a real relationship and a part of growing up, so remember that and keep an eye on the bigger picture. In time, the fantasy love affair will fade, and you'll be ready for the real thing!

Illustration by Cathy Cassidy.

Cathy says:
Wise words from Imogen! Have YOU ever had a crush on someone who is way out of reach? COMMENT BELOW to share your story!

1 comment:

  1. I've had 2 strong crushes in my life (and 3 maybe crushes that weren't too intense but I just thought they were cute and would have happily dated them if they'd asked. Not all at the same time, obviously!). One of them was definitely unrealistic because we were 8/9 and she definitely only thought of me as a friend but that was OK for me. I was just happy to get to spend time with this pretty, clever, feisty girl. I kind of had a breakdown when she moved away. My other crush wasn't that unrealistic, if only I didn't turn into a stuttering, red-faced mess whenever she was around. She was in the year above me and effortlessly beautiful, tall and dark-haired with freckles and a smile that made her eyes light up. And she was so smart. She was fluent in at least 4 languages and I ended up teaching myself basic Japanese to try and catch her attention. She was funny and sarcastic too, plus she loved cats. We weren't close friends or anything but we spoke occasionally (or she spoke whilst I turned into a human tomato) and when she complimented my hair or asked my opinion on something, I melted inside. After a year or so of silently dreaming about her, I asked her out but she'd just got out of a relationship and wasn't looking. I think it's nice to remember it as it was, a crush that made me feel all fuzzy and made me want to better myself and be smarter and more creative to impress her. Crushes are an integral part of life for most alloromantic teens so even though it's intense and kind of scary at the time, it's nice to look back and smile when you think of how silly you acted around them. I still chuckle when I remember accidentally emptying the entire contents of my schoolbag over my head because I was too distracted by her smile to pay attention whilst getting my bag down from the lockers. Fun times!



Reader Emily, aged ten, explains how a Cathy Cassidy book inspired her to raise money for a refugee charity... Emily says: The Cathy Cassidy...