No Resolution(s)

I’m not making proper resolutions this year, I’m just going to be kind to myself in 2019 and write. I’m going to write so much that my fingers fall off.

I really don’t like New Year at all but even I can’t deny there’s a certain tingly sensation associated with starting afresh. Autumn is my rebirth season as I’ve mentioned before but the new year does bring with it new diaries and fresh pages – and I can’t help but think this time might be different. Perhaps I will learn to speak Mandarin in 2019, you don’t know, it could happen. (It’s not going to happen).

Maybe I will stop shopping, save a load of money and sink it into a future business, maybe I’ll visit Japan and fall in love with it and stay there forever, swirling endlessly beneath the falling cherry blossoms.

Or maybe I’ll just read a lot and watch a lot of films like I did last year and be more than content. All I do know is that I am so happy to be hibernating for the rest of the year and well into February. In fact I don’t have any wild plans until Valentine’s day when my love and I go to London to hang out with Neneh Cherry (she’s totes going to want to after spotting me in the crowd at the Camden Roundhouse in a t-shirt with her face on it).

I’ve never needed to nest more. December burnt me out (can you relate, I think we all can), not just with all Christmas had to offer but I took a lot on at work too. It’s going well but I want to keep the momentum going so I’m giving myself space to focus on it. I can’t wait to get creative again either, to get back to the Collab and to the podcast with a fresh eye.

So no time for resolutions, just nice things. Fuck knows what 2019 will bring. Things are scary in this country at the moment, so much so that I almost can’t stand it. Burying my head in the sand can only take me so far – all we can do now is face the year head on and take it one day at a time. That’s as close as I’ll get to political talk on the blog, don’t worry.

Whatever you’re doing, whatever your resolutions may be or your goals, I support you. I hope 2019 brings you untold joy and minimal stress.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Confidence

Confidence is key, that’s what so many women’s magazines/style gurus/celebrities tell us and sure, there’s something in the rhetoric. However, is there really a way to become confident if it doesn’t come naturally? I must say I don’t really know what I’m talking about, there’s no secret recipe but I can tell you how I got here, by way of a thousand tears, some self-realisation and a whole lot of tying jumpers around my waist to hide my enormous junk.

People compliment me on my confidence all the time which is nice to hear but means one thing as far as I’m concerned: “You are so confident, despite everything”. I’m not being needlessly cruel to myself but let’s face it, I don’t look like a model, do I? I’m short, round, ginger and over 40 – I might not change a thing about the way I look but I definitely do not fit the ‘ideal’. So where the heck do I get off not giving a fuck?

Take up space, wear what you want and never, ever apologise for being here

The thing is, I do give a fuck and I also don’t. I’ve learnt the hardest lesson of my life now and that’s that I deserve to be here, even in my capacity as a fat middle-aged woman. I’m allowed to love myself with ferocity, I’m allowed to demand respect and I’m definitely allowed to wear fitted jumpsuits and enjoy the fuck out of fashion. How I got here was via a lot of reading, following fat activists and feminists on Twitter and slowly allowing myself to heal from a lifetime of bullshit from every corner. Diet culture, fashion magazines, adverts on the TV – they sell us one beauty ideal and although I know things are changing, they are changing slowly.

A few years ago something in me clicked into place and I no longer felt the need to beat myself up. I started to wear the clothing I wanted to and I started to relish myself. Obviously there are days when the confidence fails or I have a melt-down because I can’t find the thing I want to wear (hello work’s Christmas do last Friday!) but you’re damn right I’m as confident as I can be. I’ve earned the right.

What are your thoughts?

Nap Queen

I love to sleep. I rarely lie in past 9 on the weekend but I am partial to an afternoon nap and truth be told if I know this is a viable option, I will look forward to it until the moment I can slip my clothes off and climb beneath the duvet. The absolute decadence of adding a hot bath into this mix is next level bliss – and I suppose it’s the so-called naughtiness of sleeping during the day that makes this all seem so thrilling.

My only issue is that I always sleep too long and wake up grumpier than Godzilla and with even less grace. Heaven help my loved ones if they try to talk to me post-nap. I need another 30 minutes of total isolation to get myself together. Varying reports from various sources (e.g. fellow nap queens) state 40 minutes is the perfect length to avoid the beast (hence 40 winks) but another friend swears down that it’s actually 22. I tried that on Saturday but slept through my alarm and clocked in two hours instead. Then had to have an angry bath to pull myself together.

One of the things I find hard in my household is that my loved one wakes extremely early and then shames me if I don’t do the same. In jest obviously but he does say he spends hours in the morning just waiting for me to wake up (which might explain why he’s so irritating when I do). Then when I want to nap in the afternoon he doesn’t get that either – so I have to take naps feeling slightly guilty and it’s not on. I’m very vocal that this isn’t my problem and if I want a nap I’m taking one but why is taking time out to rest a bad thing?

This goes back to the people who get all pissy with you when you tell them you’ve done fuck all all weekend and couldn’t be happier. They’re all shooketh because they’ve climbed a mountain/been to a festival/built a house for underprivileged teenagers – and what have you done? Watched almost two seasons of American Horror Story, written three film reviews and NAPPED thankyouverymuch!

I’m a homebody anyway and I try to listen to my body and my mind when they tell me they want a time out. I’m not sleeping because I’m lazy or I don’t have anything better to do – I’m giving myself a chance to recharge so I can be better when I’m not resting. Whether this actually works is another matter but it makes me feel better and I won’t be ashamed. Other people have always got an opinion but I love the balance I have in my life – I love that I know when I desperately need time to myself and when I want to see people. I love my own company and I love to nest like a kitten.

If I could celebrate right now with a nap, I would! 💤🛌

Old Wounds

As a person who worries way too much about what other people think of me, I often agree to things I don’t want to do.

Nothing crazy, just meetings that don’t really hold any value for either party involved, that are arranged just to tick a box. An obligation box if you will.

That might sound harsh but surely we all do it? I’m trying so hard to be more honest about these things, to only agree to things I want to do, see people who bring me joy – treat my down time as something special, a currency to be used wisely.

This week an old, old friend of a friend contacted me about meeting up as she’ll be in the country in July. I mean, we’re Facebook friends and everything but the basis of our relationship was always my old best friend, the one I broke up with nearly seven years ago. They were in a relationship and I hung out with them a bit when I lived in Vancouver.

When she contacted me it felt rude to say no even though my first instinct was to ignore her message. She hasn’t done anything wrong. But really all we ever had in common was my OBF and she’s not someone I feel like talking about over a pint any time soon. I’m trying to let go of negativity, not rake it all back up.

But saying no does not come naturally. Anyone else the same? It doesn’t mean I’m selfless or saintly, it’s more that need I have to please everyone. It’s exhausting.

But after a pep talk from my friend Darren, in which he made me see I have the right to leave the past where it is, I told her it wasn’t something that would work for me. I told her I’d moved on and that I had no interest in looking  backwards again. And you know what? The world didn’t implode and she doesn’t hate me. We’re still Facebook friends.

A lesson was learnt in that simple action and I suddenly feel quite strong. I’m learning to let go and give myself what I need. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to ever again (except go to work). I don’t have to please everybody all the time. There is always a way to be kind but firm about your feelings and it’s a revelation. Aged 40 I’m still learning to be honest.

Now who else can I cancel?! (Kidding).

Watching Girls Go By

I feel like I spend most of my summer months obsessively people watching. Watching girls to be precise. I can take or leave men in summer or any month of the year – but women in the sunshine are something else.

The best outfits come out in the Spring as we tiptoe cautiously into the warmer months and I start to think about all the sartorial possibilities. Hey, if she can rock a blue and yellow print midi skirt with a plain navy tee, then I can, right? Hot pink? Why not? Stripey shirt that looks like a pajama top and mom jeans? I’m in.

I love it, it feels like hope and happiness to me. While the sun itself is sometimes my arch nemisis (ginger, what can I say?), I do like what it brings out in other people and I love witnessing women feeling themselves. They inspire me.

And it makes me think about age again but in a more positive way. Of how I don’t think I’ll ever be middle-aged in my mindset or attitude, how even when my body is heading south and my bones ache, in my heart I’ll still be as hopeful and dreamy and dorky as I was when I was 12. There’s very little difference between the girl I was and the woman I am. Except I couldn’t have dreamt I’d have Wonder Woman tattooed on my arm.

I think about how I’ll still listen to pop music, probably the same ten songs I’ve listened to since I was a girl as I walk to work. How I’m happy to grow up but not too much – and how certain things make me feel ten feet tall: jumpsuits, red lips, my rainbow umbrella. Less material things too: kisses and inside jokes, post-orgasmic chills.

I’m in a good place here, things are blessed. Sometimes they’re hard and sometimes I’m tired but I’m always open. To new possibilities, to new people. I’m surrounded by love and good companions, new and old. Young and my age and I’m learning for them everyday. Through them and through myself I am working out who I am and how who I am is okay. Honestly, more than okay.

All this introspection comes with the sun and with watching the girls go by and maybe to me that’s the best part of Summer.

Ageing

I posted this on Instagram late Saturday night in a moment of candidness and it got quite a heartwarming response. So I thought, why not share it here? It’s one of the things I think of the most at the moment, the relentless passing of time and how it affects my self-esteem.

I know it’s not something I can stop and I know we all feel this way from time to time, or will feel that way, it’s just a subject close to my heart. So sue me.

IMG_20180217_221136_012You know something? It’s hard getting older. It’s nice getting older but it’s also incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re not the young sprite you used to be. I’m insecure about being over ten years older than a lot of the people in my life but I like the variety and I feel more energetic and lucky to be able to learn from them too, I would never change it.

I mention my age a lot like a proper grandma but I wouldn’t change it. I’m mostly comfortable in my own skin and it’s so important to embrace who you are. I got to this place via a hundred funny stories, some loss, hardship and good old-fashioned love. Not to mention with (a lot) of help from my friends. Life is amazing and beautiful and it’s mainly down to the people you surround yourself with.

I wouldn’t change a thing, for all the tea in China. And I really love tea. ❤

What are your thoughts?

Crisp

I’ve had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the year so it is officially Autumn and therefore the real New Year.

Fuck January and the blues that subsequently follow the turn of the year. Fuck wet weather and grey days. This is my new beginning, that beautiful crossover, from Summer into burnt and rusty Fall. I’m here for it more than ever.

It’s corresponds perfectly with the start of my new job which admittedly isn’t brain surgery or saving puppies, but it is exactly what I needed to do and I’m feeling much more myself than I have in months. My last new beginning turned out to be miserable and more than that, damaging to both confidence and general well-being and I am so delighted to be free of it now.

I feel positive again and valued, and that in turn makes me want to start creating. I’m dying to get back into writing more, reading more and just being more present in the projects I love – and with people I want to spend time with. I want to do meaningful things, even if they’re just for me.

I want to be me again – and that is what I’ll be focusing on for the rest of the year (like, the official end of the year). I’m going to be kind and generous to myself – start as I mean to go on, basically.

In other news, my new work crew are all lovely and interesting people. I couldn’t be luckier and again, that’s why I wanted to leave my old job in the first place – to meet new people, stretch my wings, learn new things and mix it the fuck up. Now I’m going to enjoy it.

How’s your week so far?