Caitlin Moran

It's not all rainbows and candy floss farts

I've been one of those relationship people. I always have been. It is what it is. I am a relationship person. I have managed in the last fourteen years, to be in a relationship for thirteen of those (with two people) I have looked back in time and sometimes wished I had had more 'me' time. I have looked back and thought, 'Ooo maybe more first dates would be fun?' Although, you've had a few first dates and they were all a bit, well, awkward. Yes, but you haven't, as a single friend likes to remind me, had 'Bridget Jones' moments, singing 'All by myself with a bottle of wine, in your flat, alone, with the cat licking your fa.......... ce. FACE!!. Apparently you do not know your full strength until this has happened. As someone who has been a serial girlfriend, you are sometimes made to feel slightly less, normal? I admit I feel hard done by that I haven't had those moments (yet). Those moments shape you. They are those movie moments that you tell your grandkids about and you look back on fondly, wisely, knowingly 'I remember when I faced all that loneliness, sadness, emptiness and I got through it. I now know myself. You can't know yourself until you have had to sit with yourself and your sorrow and your cat. I am grateful for those moments' and somehow you do get left feeling slightly worried. Can I be alone? Could I get through A Bridget Jones moment, and does that mean I am not as well rounded as someone who might have been? But then you remember you have been through your own journey and you have learnt about yourself and it's OK. I have had plenty of those 'moments' singing to myself loudly in front of the mirror watching my face crumble and contort whilst Evanescence 'My Immortal' played on repeat.  

  

I always thought, in all my relationship years that, I wouldn't get cheated on. Not because I'm so bloody marvelous, but because I was sure as hell sure I would know. I would sense it, work it out. When I would figure out such betrayal I would stick a cactus up said cheaters bottom. The other thing I was sure of, was the more grilling (nagging) and mentioning of said cactus if they ever did cheat, meant that my partner/boyfriend/meant to be soul mate, would not dare do something so absurd as to act so disrespectfully. 

 

In hindsight, I spent years choosing people I would feel 'safe' with. People I would be sure were 'non cheaters' People I assumed would never hurt me, but I was still always prepared for war. Dressed in my armor of cynicism. Well, it was never going to work anyway was it? Relationships don't last forever. People lie. Break up. In the end, you break up. Breaking up was the easy bit. People fall out of love.  All of the time. People grow up. People change. People move on... and as it turns out, people cheat. You think how awful a person you could be to be so purposefully hurt. How little you meant to have such a disrespectful action go on behind your back, how worthless you really must have been, how shitty a girlfriend you were... and on the flip side, the feelings of self righteousness.  How dare he. How dare you get cheated on, I 'deserve' better.  What a little cock bucket to take such an advantage. You lose sleep over both sides of the fence. Your torn between feeling worthless and worth too much.  

 

But you don't split up because you didn't want to talk about football and he didn't want to talk about the universe or better yet KUWTK, he doesn't cheat because you don't play computer games in your underwear. We had no idea how to love one another. We both needed so much from one another. We were co dependent. Needing the other to make the other feel better, feel loved, feel nurtured, feel attended to, feel whole. In the end neither of us were willing to bare our souls to one another out of spite, fear, resentment. How could I show love to someone who by my standards didn't love me enough. Perhaps we misconstrue what love really is. What it means to love someone. Maybe we confuse need for want and want for lust and lust for love. We have this huge innate habit to belong, needing to belong, to feel wanted. Needing to need someone. None of that is love. In turn I wasn't the girlfriend I wanted to be, thought I had to be, and he wasn't the boyfriend I had hoped I would fall in love with enough to feel OK that I wasn't that girlfriend. I was always pushing and fighting for more. More love and respect. Creating more subconscious tests for them to pass. More barriers for them to get over. Prove how much you love me and show me my worth. Prove how much you need me and make me feel whole. I was always concerned about who he was, how he treated me, what love he was giving me, and never much concerned with what love I gave him or perhaps what we could cultivate together.
 

  "In desperate love, we always invest the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place"-Eat Pray Love 
 

 In all the things that can play with your head, with your insecurities, your ego, of all the things to eat you up and make you second guess your own self, your values, your trust, your love... It would be betrayal.  The biggest question I found myself asking was, what if it happens again? Will I be hurt again? How can I protect myself from it happening again? How do you get over being betrayed? How do you not retort to blame. Blaming him, blaming yourself, blaming the circumstances. How do you trust someone again? Will you ever feel 'safe' letting someone in again, showing them your most vulnerable self? Could you stand there naked, bare your soul, reveal your deepest darkest secrets, share your ugly thoughts, all sides of you, from top to bottom from inside to out? Will you be able to give someone else all of you and trust that he won't break you into a thousand little pieces. Can you find someone who will be kind to you and you to them? Can you bare to let someone in. And close your eyes and hope for the best? 
 

Eventually, the pieces you thought were broken, don't seem as shattered as they had done. Some switch, a light bulb goes on. Every test that has been thrown your way, you decide you don't want to participate in any more. Every sad song that you sing along to in the montagesoundtrack to the scene where you find out you were cheated on, those memories of the last time things were good. And it dawns on you. as you wipe the massive trail of snot from your face with your onsie sleeve (or your cat does the job for you) You're too young to talk it through, work it out. Too uninterested, exhausted, bored to try to make it work. There are seven billion people in the world. You are too curious to fight for something that your instinct tells you is not good for you...   

 

"Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.” -Brene Brown 

 

In all the things you could have asked what I was looking for in a boy (I can't say man it sounds creepy) I never knew how important it was to find someone who was willing to dance naked with you for no good reason. The fear of screaming from the rooftops and being unheard or taken advantage of is suffocating. It's scary. After standing on guard in all my armour for years, you hope to find someone to help you out of it. Someone to hold your hand whilst you fill the void yourself. Someone that says 'Me too, I'm scared too.' Someone that isn't putting on armour himself ready for battle. Someone that's wants to jump in head first and take the risk because its actually easier, more fun, to jump in than to stand on the side of the pool in a wetsuit wondering if you can handle how cold or deep it might be.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves-Brene Brown

In no way do I know what love is as such, nor do I know how to be loved. I am definitely not down with 'How to's' It's just from my perspective the only way to be happy is to express joy/love. I can't be happy only receiving love. It's nice, it feels nice, but I'm not sure it brings an overwhelming sense of joy consistently. There is often shame in expressing love. No one wants a self righteous show of PDA all over the internet. I rejoice in the fact that love is not always rainbows and candy floss farts. There can be throwing bacon and squirting washing up liquid everywhere when arguing about the washing up/hovering behind the door/throwing Tupperware lids. There will be nights someone sleeps on the sofa, or tells you your a fuck wit. If we can just, through all of that, trust that we still love each other. That these things aren't personal, that we can still grow and nurture a connection. How did I expect anyone else to express love towards me when I wasn't showing love to myself. You cannot guarantee that the person you love won't stop loving you, that they won't hurt you, cheat on you, leave you. You cannot guarantee that you will not do the same to them. But I still want to be enthusiastic and gleefully optimistic anyway,  because it's boring otherwise. All I hope is that we keep choosing to be kind to each other. That something in us runs deeper, and we chose to be open, vulnerable, honest and embrace each other. Armour off. Naked. Dancing in the lounge at 3am.

 

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. a true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake"-Eat Pray Love

 

Are you Beach body ready?

I wrote this piece of opinion in a quick response to a conversation I 'over read' on Facebook. I then went to the gym, cooked a high protein lunch and thought this subject was too sensitive to, firstly comment on, then secondly, to not look into more view points or information. After doing the latter I decided that the subject was far more sensitive than for me not to comment on. Whether ten people bother to read this or a thousand. I believe the very discussion of such a subject is progression and therefore thought, why not, what a good debate to walk into. I felt like a kid in school with my hand up waiting for the teacher to pick me to speak... then I realised,  ha this is 2015, this is the internet, I can say whatever I want whenever I want. But I hope to take responsibility in that and not just spout some shite about shite. I even spoke to one of my bestest friends on the subject. Her opinion had been similar to mine when she saw the ad... we then carried on talking and disagreed about some of the subject matter.  We debated about the importance of NOT talking about it, or of the importance of throwing it all out there on blogs and social media. We discussed what the issue really was. A lot of us blow hot air, just wanting to be heard. Her argument was, do we really need there to be a media shit storm about it? My argument, was if there are people going home and questioning whether to be sick after seeing the poster, or questioning whether they can just by a pill, eat crap, not work out and 'get beach ready' then yes, there needs to be talk about it. 

 

I saw the poster and I thought... 'fuck you poster' I thought, 'like I need anything else to make me feel pants about my body...' But I then also thought. 'Ha, as if taking whatever they are offering is gonna make me look like that woman, actually, do I want to?' Shes gorg, but that is subjective. 

 Objectification-To degrade to the status of a mere object. 

In my opinion, this is not a feminist issue. It is a human one. For me this is not about if this women was objectified, or who objectified her. For me this issue is not about her body, whether she looks beach ready, is beach ready, feels it or not, it's about advertising that taking slimming pills could make you look like this woman. My resistance to it, as a trainer myself, is implying that you don't need to work hard, have good nutrition, or work out your mental thought processes on getting beach ready... but, the whole campaign itself brings up far more than just this, as I have discussed further below.

If you're in a bikini with your bag packed and YOU feel comfy in a bikini... then go forth, you are in fact. Beach body ready. Despite not feeling this to be a feminist issue as such, I do believe if a woman had come up with this campaign she would have perhaps put a picture of a woman packing a picnic bag of snacks (healthy and not) grabbing a book off the shelf and checking to see if her bikini line was done. What are most objecting to in this poster? That as a woman, we have been rendered just a mere object in this campaign.  Is it that we have been rendered a mere object by someone who does not understand what it is like to be a woman? By a corporation that is relying on our weaknesses? Is it that that is one corporation's opinion of what beach body ready is, and we feel we don't have a  choice on the matter. THIS IS BEACH BODY READY it says... Does it?

As a woman, I want to go down to the beach and not think about my wobble when I run towards the waves. I want to pick out a costume that 'I' think is pretty/sexy/nice. I want to feel good even when my muffin top bulges slightly in the bikini bottoms. I want to feel comfy in my skin even when my waist is not like Marylins, my thighs are not like Beyonces, my boobs not like Kate Moss's. I do not want to care! I want to be the sort of woman that sees that campaign and does not buy into the fact that I will look like that woman (gorgeous or not, whatever your opinion may be) if I go down to Protein World. As a woman, I want to own my sexiness. I want to stand there sexy as hell and say 'I made this... I created this sexy beast of a WOman and here I am. How did I create her you all ask? Well I woke up this morning and thought to myself, I am dam sexy. I put on a bikini and I went to the beach. That wobble you see, the cellulite that ripples in the midday sun, these saggy, small boobies and this round bottom that I was graced with, this hairy belly button, these lean arms, all of it... Its sexy. Because I said so.'

The difficult thing is that as women in a culture of this sort of advertising, Insta hotness at the quick scroll or a button, magazines with toit, subjectively beautiful women on the front, we have over the years become accustomed to thinking that's what we should look like, therefore that's what we want to look like. Why do we want to look like it? Is the question I want to ask myself. Do I want to look like that because that is what is'attractive'? To who? For who? Do I want to look like J lo because 'I' want to look like J Lo, or is it because men find J Lo attractive and I want men to think I am attractive? Do I want to look like Kylie Jenner because 'other girls' think Kylie Jenner is hawwwt, therefore I want other girls to think I am haawt too. Surely, it has to be a question we answer for ourselves, by ourselves. No poster should be asking if we are ready and insinuating that looking like that is ready? But no human should believe that what someone else is saying is ready, means we are ready? When someone else tells me, go on, your ready to jump out of a plane (with a parachute)... I know for a fact, that I will only be ready, when I feel ready. Not because someone else has told me I am. 

For me and my own body issues, stated in past posts, are a state of mind. Certain things enforce the thought processes that have bought about these issues. But for me,  I don't believe we can live in a world where we can ban everything we don't like. I don't like computer games, I think they affect society in a negative way, are they gonna ban advertising them? I doubt it very much. I take issue in the same way to a poster that says... "Are you gonna have fun this summer?"... and the poster shows loads of 'cool' people at a festival having what looks like 'the time of their lives' in new clothes that the advert is advertising...for me, here I am, on the underground,  heading to a bar job that will not earn me enough money to afford such new clothes to give me the 'time of my life' and I think... hold on... will those new clothes give me that fun? And is that the only way to have fun? As a friend said, advertising is subjective.  I know for a fact that this 'good time' is someone else's worst nightmare. They do not buy into such advertising. So here I am, Loving new clothes, thinking that the only way for me to have a good time is if I  take a snap shot of this image of me in said clothes and post it on insta. Do we ban all campaigns, all Insta pics, that may cause us to attach to a thought process, that may emotionally negatively impact on our lives? How far do we go? For me the thought is the seed and the campaign is the watering of that seed. My wish is to take that seed away. I'm not saying my idea is realistic nor practical, I am not in fact saying I have all the answers and I am firmly saying the less watering the better. Gosh my analogies are good -_-

My stance is that I want to educate my children. I want to not only educate, but to make them aware. I want them to be able to discuss it, I want them to be able to articulate what said poster makes them feel like, I want them to be aware of there own thoughts that are created by such a campaign and freely be able to speak about it, without the back lash of people telling them they are silly to think those things. Insecure to think those things, weak to think those things. In voicing them feelings, they show vulnerability and in no way is vulnerability weak. Perhaps if we were all a bunch of much more aware, concious, zen humans that were educated enough, knowledgeable enough, open enough, to think 'Protein World products will not make me look like that' and also 'That is only their perception of Beach body ready' then that is the place to get to, to work on. In the a same way I don't think Kim Kardashian should be banned (from life I guess) I'd rather just educate my child on what she does, what she has done to get there, explain the shit bits of her 'business'  Discuss it. Discuss what it means, who she is, what her daily struggle may be. (Of course she has struggles people she is human, don't be mean) But discuss it, have humour about it. Always. And discussing it with my kids as a parent won't be enough. My mum was the best at instilling self worth in me. At not letting me believe skinny, conventional looking people were worth more? Valued more? I truly believed that. I had it instilled in me. I was worth just as much as my pretty friend with blonde hair and a fringe. But as I said previously, something along the way changed this thought process. I do not believe it to be posters or magazines. Solely. They do not help, no. They don't help a society that is always trying to fill voids, belong, feel self worth. But other than my mum, no one else was discussing self worth with me. I had a life-skills class once a week and I do not recall one discussion about insecurities, worth, vulnerability, value, courage, self expression, feminism, equality.

 

I learnt how to put a tampon in and that was about it


So I think it's great there is discussion about this advert because it means we are all talking about it. (although drawing attention to the product itself, and reaching far more people than it in fact would have done.-Dam it, maybe that was the whole point) But in discussing it, whether we agree with the campaign or not, means we are more aware of this issue... We are asking the question, what does this really mean for humans? Who are we as a culture? Where do we go from here? Because for me, when I'm at the beach I'm not wishing I took protein world supplements to look like her... because I don't want to look like her. I have image after image of fit women on my Pinterest who will not be someone elses ideal. But when I pin them, deep deep down in my subconscious. Perhaps, maybe, I am drawn to these bodies, not because society tells me they are HOT, but because, after seeing a fun, free spirited girl in a thong bikini on a holiday when I was 14, gives me the subconscious expectation of that when I see these 'particular' bodies. Its a FEELING perhaps I want to recreate. A thought. I want to FEEL beach body ready like that girl looked. I get the exact same feeling when I see Lena Dunham stand in her bikini for a whole episode of 'Girls' I want that feeling there. But why do i not have pictures of Lena Dunhams body pinned all over my boards? That is still a question I am asking myself, something I feel slightly embarressed about, that is one of the reasons I want to discuss all of this. But I am not going to NOT go to the gym in defence of 'protesting against this whole dam thing'. 

Feminism, as Caitlin Moran quoted is, "having a vagina and being in charge of it". If I want to eat healthy, work out, get Beach body ready, be lean, I bloody can! But I will have to do a lot more than taking protein, that in which I do... I go to the gym, I lift weights, I limit my processed carbs, my booze, I take supplements. Not because I think then I will finally be ready, or I will finally look how others want me to look. I will feel better (for me) but I will be assured my worth isn't in the balance of abs like cement, buns like steel and a thigh gap as big as the Grand Canyon.

I am, in all sense and purposes, beach body ready. According to my friends, my boyfriend, even to the mirror, in the right shaped bikini, in good lighting after a day of not scoffing CAKE. I am ready! But my head is not... They should put a brain up there and advertise some therapy, or hypnosis, or group discussions or meditation and then ask the bloody question. I have been a stone heavier than I am and felt it, and I have been a stone lighter, and felt it. I was beach body ready when I was 10, and we all know that I didn't look like that poster then.(nor should I have done)

I'll buy into advertising that I want to buy into. We are objectified. We objectify ourselves when we doll ourselves up and hope we get chatted up by the fit guy at the bar no? It's an issue. But I hope to teach our kids self worth rather than 'only' trying to convince PR/advertising companies to stop what they do. Lets start with our own selves for the change we want. Advertising is strong, but for me the idea is to evolve as humans rather than as a little piece of society in time. You ban beach body ready posters? You gotta ban that advert for fishfingers, or the Cocacola ads with the supposedly hot man, or you gotta ban Rhianna dancing half naked in her vids. The issue is huge. It's deep. But as women as a human, it's OK to want to look like that, it's also OK to not want to look like that. Surely what actually matters is that we know quick fixes do not work and that really it's about how you feel inside. So if you look like that but still feel like the chubby kid not getting kissed in kiss chase, and that makes me feel worthless, then I know and am very aware that my issues lie deeper than in a protein world advert.  

 

 

This is me being beach body ready and sexy because I say I am.

When we blame, we give away our power.

........................

What you give power to, has power over you.

Are you beautiful?

***Just a little side note before I yabber on. I have debated about posting this for days. Not everyone likes honesty, not everyone wants to hear my view point, and it is a touchy subject. A sensitive one. You don't want to say the wrong thing. And then I turned on the telly as I sat down to redraft and there was a debate going on on one of those morning shows... "Are you beautiful?" And I thought, ya know what, that's gotta be a sign right? SO I re named the post and held my breath and went forth... 

Someone I know wrote a really honest post the other day that touched me. I related to it strongly and felt like I got to know her a little better...

This rung true... For the longest time

I wanted to be the girl with the great personality that people wanted to be around because I was funny and wise.

She also talked of how that changed somewhere along the way and therefore begun the high expectations she had on herself to look a certain way, be a certain weight. The pressure she felt to be beautiful and skinny and that this had topsy turvied with her way of thinking and self worth.

Whether it be the guy that needs to be seen as 'strong' or a woman that needs to be seen as 'beautiful' I know I have had these expectations of myself. Put upon myself. Ones that I will never reach, not permanently, or at all. As I have gotten older I get get the impression that there is an importance not to BE strong or beautiful, but perhaps to FEEL strong and beautiful, and to redefine those expectations as they are not the same thing.

My own journey and my relationship with my body, and image, with the way I look and the way I perceive myself along with the way people perceive me, has been tangled with a mix of emotion from as long as I can remember. Mentioned

here

and

here.

From the moment I stood in Tammy girl changing rooms trying on a crop top and denim shorts and knowing that I dint quite look like the other girls... from the time that I over heard a so called friend tell a boy I fancied that I had  no waist, thin lips and saggy boobs... or that time the chubby boy at school asked me out, and after saying yes, an hour later saying he was joking, From the time I over heard a boy that had seen my boobs, tell his mate that I had burger nipples... I didn't clock that these were defining moments in my thought processes. Not for so many years to come. I didn't realise the negative connotations that were associated with these incidents that all had a part to play in my perception of how I looked to the outside world and how I looked to the person standing looking back at me in the mirror.

The summer of ninety seven, whilst Alanis Morrisette's 'Jagged Little Pill' was playing, I stood in the mirror, naked. My half filled, pointy, boobs and over sized nipples staring at me in the face, obtrusively. I blushed, despite standing there alone. My fanny covered in what looked like a comb over, thin, soft, long (new) pubes. I looked odd. I had not noticed them properly until this particular day. I had sat in the bath and watched them as they had floated to the top, frizzy and coarse making their way through the bubbles. These pubes had offended me. Standing there in my full length mirror, my body no longer looked like my own. It was now unrecognisable.  I no longer looked like the person I felt I was on the inside. I had started to shave my legs because the fit boy from the year below had pointed out that my legs were hairy. I'd begged my mum to let me shave,

'Pleaaasseee, I couldn't possibly be the hairy gross beast out of all my friends.'

I had started to use hair mouse and slick down my frizzy 'halo hair' that I had in every school picture until I was twelve. I suddenly had less and less eyebrows after getting pluck happy with the tweezers and then one evening going all out with the Immac that left me with about four eyebrow hairs. Honestly Cara Deleveign would be distraught.

Hairy fanny, bald legs, nearly bald forehead. Check!

I was now a teenager. Hairless (in most places), frizzyless and fatless and far more Self concious, insecure and uncomfortable in my own skin  than I had ever been before and about to embark on a long journey of self obsession and comparison. Loosing weight had suddenly made me visible and judgemental. Of myself, and of others. I was now riddled with ugly thoughts.

It's like I went through puberty, got lost along the way and when I came out the other side I felt so unsure of who I really was that it took me a long time to find that ten year old 'honey monster' that caught myself in the mirror and said'You look pretty today Danielle'

Without judgement. Without comparison. That ten year old statement wasn't coming from a place of ego, as I was to later adopt, but more from a place of love. I had 'felt' pretty. And it would be a long time before I felt it acceptable to'feel'pretty again.

At around puberty, after not being invited to the popular boys birthday, after not being chased in kiss chase. Ever. After seeing the admiration people had for the new pretty girl with big boobs. After being told I was pretty since loosing weight.

It suddenly felt like a necessity to be pretty to keep it up. Looking pretty was the new best thing; right after the discovery of the

secret acoustic bonus track on Alanis' s album. 

I wanted to be chased in kiss chase. I wanted the fit boy with a six pack and 'backstreet boys' style curtains, to ask me out. I did. I wanted the boys to think I was pretty too. It's hard to admit that I wanted this, out loud. I feel shame in that. I felt shame in that. The judgey part of me, as I got older, didn't want to be the girl that needed to be beautiful. But some how, I did.

The shame

 (a talk from Brene Brown on shame)

I built up around the idea of being pretty grew the older I got. What pretty meant to people. There was guilt and resistance. I felt embarrassed if I looked pretty/felt pretty. It felt uncomfortable. It felt awkward. The realisation that all those years when I had felt it, or looked in the mirror with no judgement even. No one had let me in on the secret that frizzy hair, bushy eyebrows, roley bits, thin lips, saggy boobs, legs that touched, a waist that didn't go inwards, was not conventionally pretty... I suddenly felt lost, unidentifiable. I felt like a fraud. Someone decided that now, with only six weeks turn around, I was welcomed into a new way of life, a new group of people. People I thought I'd fitted in with before, only to discover I hadn't, not truly. 'uh uh ahh... you can't sit with us' Yet just like that, over one summer I now had the golden ticket. I was allowed at the back of the bus apparently. The fit boy did seem to fancy me. I think he did, I hoped he did. Did he? Or maybe he'd found out who I really was.

A fraud. And just just like that, I felt like I betrayed who I had once thought I was.

The ultimate dilemma I had discovered was... 'feeling' pretty, having a high self esteem, it came with a whole load of baggage and a truck load of judgement!!!

I had/have always been the girl that wanted to be fun, care free, free spirited, open, kind, intelligent and didn't take herself too seriously... Ya know the one, the 'cool' girl they portray in the films that doesn't have too many friends, but she doesn't care, she has a select few of really close ones, she reads a lot, she knows a lot about a lot, she isn't interested in boys because, well, she is just soo self assured that 'who needs a guy to interrupt her school work and her time she spends playing basketball with her dad out the front of her house.' You know, the girl that wears trainers on her wedding day and never does her hair because, mehhh, she doesn't care (and it just so happens that she always looks like she's just stepped from a Loreal advert). The girl that wore dungarees, but looked 'cute' instead of like a removal van driver. 

(I may have watched way to many 90's american films)

I wanted to be pretty,(some days I thought I was/some days I didn't. It was irrelevant)but I didn't want people to think I thought I was, I always felt like that was an arrogant way of thinking. Do not think for one second that you are attractive, that, is ugly in itself.

Half of me wanting to go back to being unnoticed.  Or to a world of no second guessing or worrying about what people thought. Not caring what people thought. And then the other half of me wanted to be beautiful, to be a member of a group of girls that wore Miss Selfridge boot cut jeans and looked really good in PE shorts with my T shirt twizzled and tucked under at the front to create a crop top. I wanted to be part of the club where the cool boys across the road would gather and whisper and then one of their friends would come over and whisper to another of our friends and she would squeal and clap and then whisper something back and he would return to his good looking moppy haired gang and watch as the bubbly, excited girl would come back to our group and look at all of us and point... and you would hold your breath and suck in and hope that you had your skirt rolled up right and that your smelly armpits weren't noticeable to anybody else and you would pretend to jauntily stand there, 'casj',  uninterested until... 'YOU... He fancies you' and even if you were a part of this gang, this girl group, this members only swaray... you never really felt like you were. Even if the massive WWF finger had pointed at you, there was still this seed of doubt, worry, angst. Was he joking?  Was this all a massive joke?

OK so this is bloody mental. At best, it's just plain exhausting.

So you grow up... you stand in the mirror, naked. a lot. Your small pointy boobs (no bigger than they had been in ninety seven, your waist the same proportion, your fanny, well, far better groomed, your forehead, there is far more eye brow and despite any of that, I see someone far more recognisable. Likeable. You have begun to accept that this is you. I do not see a troll doll (unless it is first thing in the morning and then you can bet my jewelled little belly button that my eyes are just as puffy and my hair just as big). I stand there and accept I am not Belle or Ariel or Jasmine either. I also, now I am older, have realised that these ideals don't really exist. Jasmines thick hair is achieved with hair extensions and those massive Disney eyes, you can buy a two quid set of lashes. Ariel's cute pert boobs... well some are blessed... those characters are somebodies ideals. That are achievable. Down at super drug perhaps more easily than deep in our thoughts. As yall know by now, I have a million and one insecurities. I play with the donut fat around my belly, I pose in the mirror to create a thigh gap, I draw on brows so they look better, I bleach the tash, bronze the face.'

I guess now, there is no time for so much horrendous scrutinising.

For standing in the mirror for hours on end, wishing that my bottom would  be plumper, or my boobs would be a bit pertier, or that my waist would be a lot teenier.

I have met people, or see people that I would like to emanate more than J lo or a Disney princess. People that fascinate me. Conventionally 'beautiful' or not. People I am in awe of. The people I grew up wanting to be just like... Bette Midler, Julie Walters, Dawn French, The spice girls... Or now the people I would love to be best friends with, Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling, Caitlin Moran, Emma Stone, Dawn O'Porter.

What's horrific is I've given pretty women a hard time. I had it in my head for a long time, that if you look good, your less likely to be funny. If you pull all the boys, you are hardly going to be interesting enough to write a book I might like.

If you watch what you eat, your as boring as David Cameron at a Dodgers game... I spent years wanting to make sure I was not as boring as a prime minister at a sports game. That I was open, approachable. Deep down, I felt that 'playing into looking good' was offensive. Arrogant. Obnoxious.

I spent years being so unsure of who I was and what I really thought, and I never wanting to give away the uncertainty, Which in turn made me way less honest, real or likeable. Always relying on other peoples perceptions of myself to feel good, rather than being the person who 'I' liked.

Unfortunately surrounded by a society that expects us look a certain way, to own our beauty inside and out, but berates us for putting up a #selfie... Own it... but not socially. I also feel pressure NOT to conform. Be funnier, be more opinionated, be more laid back, be a feminist. Say no to J los booty video, say no to lipstick, brushing your hair, wearing short shorts. Be the cool girl. Be the quirky girl. We are surrounded by a society that says, 'love yourself' but not too much. Embrace being YOU. But don't be TOO much. Be goofy, but if you look groomed, pretend you don't think you are.

Fucking Nora

... what if, just maybe... my biggest fear was that I wasn't able to tick any/all of these boxes. What if my biggest fear was that I was just mediocre. Boring. Not super pretty, not super funny, not super intelligent. Not super anything. What if I were ordinary? Normal? Was that enough?

There will be days when my tash is so dark It looks like a 40 year old mans bum fluff. Or my eyebrows are so unkempt I look like Bert from sesame street. What I hope I instil in my daughter, is the power as a girl/woman to feel OK with that. To worry not whether people think she is (any adjective) enough, and to be more concerned with how she feels, how she makes them feel. How she treats them. If I have a daughter I hope to tell her one day, when she is standing in the mirror wondering if she is pretty or not (as my mum did, yet other stuff got in the way), I want to tell her she is beautiful. With or without make up. But if she has a kind soul and a smiley face, If she is kind to herself the way she is to others, she will feel content and less concerned with the horrendous crap above that had been so crippling in allowing me to be the best me I could be, because I was having ugly thoughts, not lovely thoughts... I am still on this journey. The days when I don't say hello, or I seem quiet, or closed off, those are usually the days I feel insecure or not good enough. 

Here is Brene Browns talk on vulnerability

... worth a watch

 Ten year old me

I feel prettiest when I am not being mean and judgemental. To myself or others. I feel prettiest when I feel comfortable in my own skin. When I am true to myself. When I am honest with myself, with others. I feel prettiest when I smile at someone and they smile back. I feel prettiest when I share my fears and people say they 'get it'