One day I was trying on my favourite bikini to check it still fit for my holiday. It did. Like a glove. To be honest, I thought I looked great. I’d been working really hard in the gym and actually remembering to feed myself at regular intervals throughout the day (instead of you know, eating nothing all day then eating my entire house and the complete cast of Newsies when it got to 8pm). So yeah, overall I was feeling pretty hot. And then I saw them. These long white stripes across my bum cheeks. I have stretch marks. Continue reading “How To Survive Feeling Like a 2/10 (When Everyone Else Seems like a 12/10)”
I’ve always been told I’m headed for great things. I’d like to believe that. Who knows, maybe I am? However, right now I can categorically say I am not doing great things. I am nothing out of the ordinary. I’m average. I’m a student. I drink, I write essays and hand them in on time, I maintain a good grade, I go to the gym. I know that sounds quite productive, like the usual good student having fun but remaining studious, but it’s average. Masses of twenty year olds in the country are doing the same.
Now, that thought may seem like a belittling, negative one, but bare with…
All my life, I’ve been reassured by loving parents, grandparents, sometimes even strangers that I’m the “prettiest” , the “most intelligent” , and a “very promising” girl. That could be correct, given the right circumstances, but it’s probably not. This isn’t an “oh boo hoo I’m so ugly/stupid/useless” post, it’s positive, I promise, I’m getting to it. Basically, my whole life I was conditioned to be something special, something exciting. I was going to be a performer, I was going to be something so admirable, and exciting and I’d have hilarious stories to tell quirky strangers in bars. There was this huge pressure on me, particularly through college, that being ordinary, being like everyone else just wasn’t enough. That’s probably because it was a performing arts college, leading us all into a competitive industry, however, I do believe at some point everyone feels this same pressure. This pressure that to be important and popular and unique is everything.
I used to spend ages scrolling through Instagram looking at people I thought were the most beautiful. I wanted to look like all these girls with perfect make-up and gorgeous clothes, and I wanted to be surrounded by these gorgeous, edgy male models drinking gin and flashing their watches. They were the best, the elite and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted this lifestyle that involved gorgeous people, with cool creative jobs, who seemed to just effortlessly stroll into VIP Lounges and tell people stories about the time they met such-a-body from the radio or how they partied with such-a-body from TV through their most recent acting job.
Basically, I used to spend hours convincing myself I had to be something more than what I was. I’m not the sort of person who gets into VIP just by strolling in. I don’t even like clubs that much anymore, I’d really rather be in bed by 11pm. My stories are somewhat quirky, but they’re usually at the cost of my own dignity, and don’t often involve celebrities or much more than me making a fool of myself. I like gin, but I’d really rather drink it with my friends on a weekday than with some guy in a snobby bar who just wants to tell me how much his watch costs. I used to think I had to do all these things so I’d have something to impress everyone with, so I could be the kind of person who had a witty anecdote if ever needed. But really, how often are they needed? And who am I impressing?
The fact is, being cool, being new and exciting is nice. If you are cool and exciting and you have all these amazing stories and interesting careers, really, more power to you and keep up the good work. I admire that, and there’s still this part of me that wants all of that, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting that. But some of us aren’t there yet. And that’s okay too.
It’s okay not to be the most beautiful. It’s okay not to be the most intelligent. It’s okay to not have everything together yet in a nice Pinterest-worthy package of a life. You probably are headed for great things, but your parents will be proud of you if you’re happy. It’s equally as impressive to have what you need and not want more, to have a quiet life with a small circle of loved ones. Your job doesn’t have to be the most exciting to strangers if it’s exciting to you. You don’t need to post a quirky picture of “the best night out everrr [insert party popper/champagne emoji]” on Instagram every week to make people think you’re interesting. Doing the ordinary isn’t settling. Doing something you’re uncomfortable with is settling. Never settle.
I hope this made some sort of sense. If you need a summary after my rambling: Ordinary is okay. Most people are ordinary and they’re perfectly happy. Just be happy, and do you, boo, do you.
Okay, admittedly, this is kind of inspired by my trip to see How To Be Single this weekend,(excellent film, by the way, definitely recommend) but I’ve generally found it to be an awkward subject throughout most of my life.
We’ve all been in the family party situation where your Gran, Uncle or Great Auntie Anne turn to you and loudly question “Have you found yourself a boyfriend yet?”, often coupled with a follow up question of “You’re not one of those lesbians are you?” or “Why not? What’s wrong with you?”. In all honesty, I’m never sure what the correct answer is. “No, actually, Great Auntie Anne, I prefer noseying on Tinder and drunkenly kissing strangers in nightclubs, then regretting it when all my friends put it on their Snapchat stories the next day. Thanks for the concern though, Hun.” I imagine that wouldn’t be appreciated.
So, why is everyone constantly asking this? No word of a lie, I just got back from visiting my Grandparents and was asked by three different family members in the space of twenty minutes if I had a boyfriend yet. And when I said no, I was compared to my parents, my Auntie, and my sibling. The word “yet” is probably what makes us feel so inadequate when we have to grit our teeth and force out a sigh and say “No, not yet.” It’s like they think you’re just lazy, like a relationship, trusting someone with your feelings and welfare, is the same as emptying the dishwasher. It appears that people think you go to university, and BAM. There’s the girl/guy of your dreams, waiting at your door, with a ring, two kids, a dog and a Volvo, when in actual fact, the only thing waiting for you is your macaroni cheese ready meal and a bottle of £5 wine. For some reason there’s some great pressure to be in a relationship as soon as you hit your late teens-early twenties, until you actually have one. Then everyone’s telling you you’re too young to be tied down, that you should focus on “finding yourself” (whatever that means?) and that it’ll only serve as a distraction to your studies/career/social life.
As the family member everyone, I’m certain, views as “terminally single”, I’ve grown to realise you can’t win. There is no correct answer to the “do you have a boyfriend yet?” question. If you tell them you don’t care, don’t have time, or simply haven’t found anyone you like that much, you’re either boring or lying. If you just say “no” you’re met with a sympathetic “aaaaaw” and the promise you’ll “find someone one day.” Thanks, but I don’t need your sympathy. Honestly, I’m not exactly wondering round with a giant butterfly net, on the hunt, but at the same time, I’m not some bitter, old cat lady, avoiding anything with a penis. I’m just enjoying myself, and I know this is the case for so many people. Maybe that’s the correct answer? “No, I’m just enjoying myself.” It’s not like I’m isolating myself from the idea of a relationship, I’m just not forcing myself into one for the sake of it.
Being single isn’t actually something to survive. It’s just your natural state of being and it’s fine to be comfortable in it. You don’t constantly have to be searching for someone else. Sure, at some point, there’ll probably be someone that makes you no longer want to be single, but it doesn’t matter how far away, frequent or rare that is. So I suppose the “how to” part of this is answered by realising you’re not surviving or enduring being single. You’re enjoying being in your natural state, for however long that may be.