Saturday, 8 October 2016

3 SIMPLE THINGS IT'S TAKEN ME 21 YEARS TO LEARN

Essentially a list of things the world has always known, but that it’s taken me 21 years to get to grips with.


1. Making your own money is WAY better than being handed it

You might read this first point and be like “well, obviously, what adult doesn’t like making their own money?” ME. I DON’T.
The thing is, I’ve always been an extremely hard worker when it comes to something I’m passionate about (take writing for publications - I’ll have my work in on time, every time. Organising a fashion show – I’ll be there an hour early with a bag full of pins and scissors and extra call sheets), but hanging up clothes I can’t afford and being paid a pittance for it? I’m a self-confessed Lazy Girl. I’d like to think I’ve always done my fair share of a tasks when on a job, but given the chance to pick up an extra shift or borrow a tenner and shamefully, it’s always been a no brainer for me.

Or so I thought, until I recently graduated, quit my summer job to intern and volunteer and am now surviving off the dregs of my summer earnings. Being scared about money is shit. A well paid mate treating you to a coffee is lovely, but shit. Being wired emergency cash from my parents when a phone unexpectedly crashes is very helpful, but shit. I really miss the rhythm of getting up, going to work and complaining about a terrible 12 hour shift whilst being secretly proud I did it. I miss working hard and seeing a tangible result. Who’d have thought it?

2. Boy best friends are brilliant

Before your eyeballs roll back into your skull, hear me out on this one. I too understand the image of that girl we all know, who exclaims at every given opportunity: “All my best friends are boys - girls are way too much drama,” when really, the definition of drama was scribed at co-incidentally the exact moment she was spawned from the womb. I am not that girl.

Since I’ve been a baby, all my best friends have been girls. I’ve been surrounded by a sister and aunties and millions of female cousins all my life, and I went to an all-girls high school. For me, having boy best friends is a relatively new concept. I met some of my best friends 2 and a half years ago when I was a little baby fresher and a few of them just so happened to be of the male persuasion. A few important things to note:

1) They’re not all gay.
2) I don’t secretly want to have sex with them.
3) They are all bloody brilliant friends.

A lot of the misconceptions about men I’d been fed growing up have certainly been dispelled through these friendships, which I’m eternally grateful for. Not all boys are inconsiderate. Not all boys are laddish and loud and vulgar. Not all boys just want to shag you then forget about you. I’ve been taken home sobbing after one too many trebles by a very kind (male) friend. I’ve been cooked dinner by a best (male) friend when I was homesick and quite literally could not afford a can of spaghetti hoops. I’ve just finished having a gossip with one of my lovely (male) friends who Facetimed me all the way from Barcelona for a catch up.

Men. As friends. Who would’ve thought it? (Everyone else in the world bar me, it seems).

3. Other girls are not benchmarks, competitors or threats. 

Print it out and stick it on your forehead.

Much like the infamous Finding Nemo scene where Bruce the shark is made to recite “fish are friends, not food,” a similar Girl Power mantra should be made part of the curriculum at all-girls schools and recited daily. Actually, hourly. Every minute. Hell, just paint it on the bathroom wall, Chamber of Secrets style.

Years and years of observing hierarchical lunch room layouts and selective party invites (of which I’ve been on both sides) has taught me that one-upmanship and unhealthy competitiveness is just Not Worth It. It’s nasty, it’s draining and it’s destructive. I’ve never really been one to bristle, ready for attack, when I feel threatened by another female, but I’m certainly guilty of inwardly collapsing when faced with what I deem a cooler, happier, more successful version of myself. You used to catch me lowering my hand and zipping my mouth on the reg when surrounded by confident girls, because why would you want to listen to my opinion when you could listen to hers?

Whilst we’re all familiar with the concept of bullying as a reaction when one feels intimidated, what it’s taken me a little while to realise is that both these aforementioned reactions are negative, and both equally damaging. I wish someone would’ve sat my peers and I down aged sixteen and truly drilled that into us. Dulling your shine because you think someone else’s is brighter is not going to make you feel any better, as much as it’s not going to help you to steal limelight from someone else. Yes, it may offer short term benefits, but you’re going to feel fake, and they’re going to feel robbed.

On the first day of an internship a while back, I looked around at the all-female team in complete awe. These women were incredible writers, fiercely funny and insanely talented. I felt that familiar bubbling feeling of inadequacy rising up in my stomach during the first hour or two, convinced they were all going to hate me, expose me for being beneath them or dismiss me as utterly rubbish. After a while, determined not to give in, I decided to adopt a ‘fuck it’ kind of attitude and poured myself wholeheartedly into the work. Turns out, the whole ‘Girl Power’ thing isn’t a myth at all. The team welcomed my ideas, made me feel at ease and went above and beyond to help me out.

Girls are stronger together. Great things happen when you build another girl up. The karmic wheel goes into overdrive and shoots out a rainbow of cotton candy, or something similar, I’m sure. Next time you see a girl with a cool outfit on, instead of looking down at yours in disdain – compliment her. When you start a new job and sit down next to the most talented girl you’ve ever met – ask her for some pointers. Viva forever. 


What about you? Are you as slow as I am or have you always had this life thing down? Lemme know.



Sara x

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1 comment

  1. The last one is so important !

    Sara
    www.thecrimeofashion.com

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