Portraits by Sian
If I were to say one thing to my younger self, it’d be this:
There will come a time where you’ll celebrate the quirks you’re bullied for and where you’ll feel unadulterated joy in just doing you. You’re doing just great.
A few weeks ago on a quiet Sunday morning, I sat in bed with my bullet journal reflecting on the past decade. It was a transformative one like countless people have already said, but a whole ten years was always going to be. Personally I entered adulthood, graduated University, kick-started my career, founded a business and raised a puppy. It was pretty great. In between all of these huge achievements though, I found that I was able to gloss over the not-so-great things. Being bullied at University (yes!!). Having a fellow content creator (most frustratingly, she is now incredibly popular) and her Dad threaten me with legal action even though they didn’t have a real claim or a leg to stand on. Being dismissed as wait staff at a PR event. Feeling as though I’d never get to where I wanted to be. Feeling far too shy, nerdy and gawky to ever feel accepted.
In life we’re thrown all manner of obstacles. Road blocks. The real story unfolds in how you choose to tackle them. Head on. Side stepping. Not at all. During times where I felt low, less than or completely dumbfounded at my life’s course, I took comfort and solace in the things that made me, no matter the external opinions. Whether that was listening to my favourite K-pop artists on repeat and staying up all night for the much-anticipated comebacks or spending hours on Maplestory and Animal Crossing to unlock achievements, it was wholly embracing my interests that eventually led to me feeling content. Me. Assuredly so.
Once upon a time I’d go to work on a Monday morning and feel horribly ashamed at my real answer to ‘how was your weekend?’ I’d either lie about my weekend and pretend I’d packed it with exciting events, or force myself to do things I didn’t want, just so that I could talk about them. These days, well, not only have I almost done a 360° in terms of career, I’m open about what I did. “Harvey and I had a lie-in, then we popped for a vegan brunch, came home and gamed in our pyjamas until dinnertime.” “I got into my daytime pyjamas, filled up my Yuyu hot water bottle and read two books.” “I went to the gym, meal prepped and had an early night.” No pretences, no living up to this odd-beyond-odd millennial trope that the clickbait media is still spinning.
There’s real beauty in finally noticing that you’re completely at ease with yourself. The very best part is that there’s no ‘big’ moment when the gates to heaven open up or doves fly or any of those other clichés. It’s that one day you’ll be carrying on in the way you always do, but a weight lifts from your shoulders and you notice you give many, many less f**ks. It’s pretty great. I wanted this post to feel as honest as possible, and so I’m not going to veil it with any confounding thoughts that you need to follow this step and do that thing because I promise you: you’ll get there all on your own.