Grabbing my twenties by the balls!

Three gin and tonics in and whilst setting the world to rights with my high school best friend, a big decision was made. We’re going to leave behind our mundane and meaningless lives, move to another country and start from scratch. It’s time to break free from the suffocating life that I have created for myself and start living.

It’s time to live for the moment and for each day rather than for some thinly veiled semblance of happiness often dictated by payday, reminiscing on happier times and fantasizing about a happier future.

I am rejecting the narrative that I have always bought into. I’m rejecting the idea that at twenty five I should be saving left, right and centre for a mortgage or a wedding or a rainy day. I’m rejecting  the idea that I should be looking to settle down, to marry or to have babies in an attempt to achieve domestic bliss. I’m rejecting the idea that I should have my shit together. So what that I don’t? I’m not sure that any of my friends actually do. We’re all struggling on our own personal treadmills; we’re pursuing careers we don’t like or a domestic life we’re not sure that we want. Few of us are pursuing our dreams. None of us are where we thought we’d be…and it hurts.

We’re wondering if we should stay in our relationships and if we’ve truly found “the one” because, heck, we aren’t getting any younger and the selection of eligible singletons isn’t getting any larger. We’re wondering if our 9 to 5 jobs are the dream careers that we always thought we wanted. We’re wondering if we’re living in the right city and mixing with the right people. These are crucial years, no doubt about it. Every decision shapes our future. We are told that we don’t have the years to squander any more. We simply don’t have the time to settle in toxic relationships or to dabble in a plethora of careers. So we stick. We force ourselves to be happy with our humdrum existences, with our mediocre relationships and with our modestly paid jobs. He will propose, we will start to earn the big bucks, I will go on that vacation of a lifetime. We’re living for the future- a future that may not come. The one thing that we are telling ourselves we shouldn’t be doing is exactly what we are doing. We are squandering our days away as we cash in years of our lives for future happiness. I’m twenty five years old and as of today, I say no.

It’s not about a search for the sunshine. I’m looking to find myself. I won’t let myself trade in one boring life for another away from home. I’m not going to let myself procrastinate, say yes when really I mean no or let my affection for others override my affection for myself. I won’t be the understudy of my own life. It’s time to be assertive. Nobody gains from being indecisive and wishy-washy. Nobody gains when you try to please everyone but yourself. How have I reached this point in my life where my happiness is on the back burner? I barely recognise myself- void of passion, limited aspirations, bored of living.

I don’t care that I’m following in the footsteps of a thousand people before me who’ve taken a year out of their lives to learn, refresh and reflect. I know it’s trite and cliched. I’m not that Instagram-loving, Pinterest board-making graduate looking for a piss up at a half moon party, intent on getting a tattoo in Thailand and looking to develop a love of Yoga. I just want to take ownership of my life. I want to be proud of my twenties and the decisions I’ve made because even if I’m poorer than my contemporaries in a few years, even if I’ve paused my career or even if I marry later than everyone else- who cares? Does anybody ever lie on their deathbed and regret taking a risk, making invaluable memories and experiencing things beyond their ordinary lives? Like anyone else who travels, I’m looking to find myself. I’m twenty five and I’m lost. I might as well be truly lost in a beautiful unfamiliar place whilst embarking on an equally beautiful journey- so let’s embrace every cliche going and actually start to live; Carpe Diem!

An open letter to those who mock fat people.

I don’t remember a point in my life when my weight wasn’t an issue. As part of our school uniforms we had to wear these ugly belts with a moveable silver buckle. Aged 10 I remember my friends and I comparing where on the belt the buckle was for each of us. I wasn’t a fat kid or anything but mine was the widest belt (albeit marginally) and even at that young age I was embarrassed and ashamed by this fact.

Fast forward eight years to university. I remember walking through town to a party with my friends when a drunk, leery guy approached us. “Give us a hug ladies” he yelled out. My friend looked at him with disgust and shook her head and the man pulled a sad face. “What about you?” He said as he drew himself towards me. I just ignored him- “bet I couldn’t fit my arms around you anyway!” he yelled. I was mortified. My friends had all heard. They muttered profanities under their breath about him on my behalf but I still felt horrible. Singled out for being overweight when I’d done nothing wrong and had been far politer towards him than my friends.

I’ve a dozen or so memories littered with put downs like this that never seem to hurt any less each time it happens.

My weight is something I think about constantly. I think about my weight when I dress every morning. I think about it when having sex with my boyfriend. When I sit down on less stable chairs, squeeze into seats on a rollercoaster or have to sit beside a passenger on public transport, I think about the extra few pounds I’m carrying. I think about my weight when I’m on holiday. I think about my weight and how I must look when ordering food at a restaurant. I think about my weight when hugging skinnier people. I think about my weight when hugging skinnier people. How ridiculous is that??!? When thinking about the fact you’re fat consumes huge chunks of your day, you know it’s a problem.

There comes a point when enough is enough. This is a real breaking point because if you’re not fat you can’t begin to imagine what a fat person goes through day in, day out. The looks, the put downs, the “helpful” tips. The battle we have with our appearance. The battle we have with food. A fat person is mocked for being fat and yet mocked when trying to rectify their problem. A heavy person ordering a salad at a restaurant is the butt of a good joke and the sight of a weighty woman donning on sports gear and hitting the gym is a source of hilarity. It’s downright humiliating.

It’s no wonder that fat people have a good sense of humour- we have to have the thickest skin of all. We forever have to acknowledge the fact that we’re overweight before somebody else (and they will) does. Forever having to excuse, justify and ridicule ourselves.

If you’re not fat, you just won’t get it. If you are, you know my pain. We are our own worst critics as it is, we don’t need the rest of the world judging us too.

We know we’re fat. It’s a battle we’re facing and maybe you’ve caught us in a weak moment eating chocolate, maybe you’ve seen us trying our hardest to exercise or perhaps we are just going about our days. We are human. We see that lingering look and hear that nasty remark. We are all facing our own battles. Ours is with ourselves, so please just leave us be to fight it alone.

New year, new me?

Curled up on the sofa watching the countdown on TV, my boyfriend and I welcomed in the new year. No glitzy dresses, no alcohol and nothing Instagram-worthy about our celebration. But you know what? It was perfect.

Wearing my pjs, diving into a pizza and starting a new TV show was just what I needed. A combination of being poor and being a middle aged woman at heart had inspired me to decline various invitations from university friends…and I’m glad I did. I avoided the artificial fun that is New Year’s Eve and the inevitable anti climax as the clock strikes twelve. I also avoided a hangover. I cannot remember the last New Year’s Day I have had that hasn’t been permeated by a need to be near a toilet at all times, an intervention by my mother or spent sleeping until I can finally stomach life.

So you ask; New year, new me? Normally I rubbish the sentiment. An arbitrary date universally chosen for everyone to pick holes in their lives. A date when we decide that we’re overweight, unloved and unhappy and force artificial goals on ourselves that don’t actually mean anything. If we are ever going to change anything in our lives it will only ever be when we want to. Not when our diaries begin anew or because our friends are saying we should.

Yet this year is different. I do want to change. I do want to lap up this rare opportunity for self reflection and a fresh start.

My 2016 didn’t exactly go swimmingly. Against the backdrop of countless celebrity deaths and terrible political decisions I’ve had my own rollercoaster of a year. My relationship has been rocky as hell. A boyfriend who moved in with me out of the blue, a series of lies that have unfolded over the months and some evenings where I’ve been treated like crap. Yet, somehow we’ve made it through. At the time of writing (forever subject to change no doubt) we’re in a really good place. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been- filling size 16 clothes, weighing god knows what and ready to shed my extra few pounds. In February I was fired from a job I loathed. I was relieved and quickly landed myself a much better position elsewhere. Yet, in November I found myself unemployed again. Broke, needing work, chubbier than I’d like to be and with a relationship that needs some TLC it seems that January 1st is a great opportunity to start from scratch.

So with change comes a dozen ongoing job applications, a sparkly new gym membership and this blog. Because hey, why not? I’m so incredibly ambitious yet innately and unbelievably lazy. If nothing else will motivate me, perhaps the sheer embarrassment of failing so publicly might! Here’s to 2017- I hope it’s a fabulous one for everyone.