You know when you are reading an article and it just resonates with you so much? Well that happened to me yesterday when I was reading 'Stylist Magazine' on the train home. The title of the piece 'Why do women care so much?' really made me think deeply about a few things, about myself, my anxiety issues and blogging. The main premise of the article (although I don't agree with everything in it) talks about our obsession with what other people think of us.
"The fact is, most of us do care. Very much. It matters if people think we’re intelligent, decent, generous and attractive. If we nod to the latest trends, make the right decisions and show up at the ‘right’ social events. From the language we use to the information we post on social media, caring about what others think infiltrates every aspect of our lives. "
I am saddened to think that to an extent this fits with the kind of person I am. I don't blog for gratification or for vanity but I sometimes find myself think 'What will people think of this outfit I am wearing? Why am I not invited to that event? Will this tweet I write be offensive to someone? I am always over thinking about the way someone has said something to me or why they perhaps haven't said anything at all and at times it is suffocating. Starting my blog has helped me leaps and bounds to increase my confidence with the way I dress, and act, but I still find myself questioning my own personal sense of style. As I was reading on I was thinking YES YES YES to lots of things that were written. Does being the nice guy always pay off? Or does being the nice person who stays on the fence in order not to offend people end up being the one who suffers the most?
"Women, especially, are expected to tiptoe around clutching their lifetime report cards to their modestly covered chests, proffering them meekly up to family, friends, loved ones and complete strangers alike, forever doing things they don’t want to do and not doing things they want to do in the hope of a few tacky gold stars for good behaviour"
When I finished my degree in Human Rights and Religious Studies I said that I wanted to be a career woman who would work for a charity, travel around the world and do something extraordinary When I graduated it didn't quite work out as I planned, getting into the Charity Sector was harder than I thought, even with my previous voluntary experience I was still only getting offered unpaid internships! I worked three jobs at one time to pay for my rent in London so unpaid just wasn't an option. Whilst I was job hunting some of my friends went off to travel the world and at the time I felt very bitter and upset that I couldn't go. When I finally took my current job as a Receptionist and Administrator in a world renowned university I was really happy, ecstatic actually that I manged to secure myself I well paid job in a difficult economical climate. As time has gone on I have found myself sometimes worrying that if I tell people that I am a mere receptionist that I will be judged, that those who know I went to university will think that I couldn't get to where I wanted to be. The truth is I love my job, and my plans have changed. I thought I wanted the high flying job, but I don't. I love working with people, I love working somewhere I don't have to take my work home and a job that gives me the flexibility and time to blog in the evenings. I love seeing my boyfriend everyday and enjoying the wonders of living in London. Is it terrible that I sometimes feel that I have to justify this to people? In reality I am sure they couldn't give two fucks about what I am doing.
"While caring how others perceive us isn’t all negative – it can act to censor us – taken too far, it leads to a loss of self. We waste hours over-thinking when we could be enjoying; we fail to follow our passions for fear of what peers might say; we stay in jobs that don’t satisfy us because they give us social recognition. We behave within safe, group-defined boundaries. We aren’t our true, authentic selves."
Blogging has also highlighted to me my need to please others and has both been a release and a burden on how I think of myself. At times I can post a picture of myself in what ever I want to wear and I feel immensely confident, and getting girls email me to say that I have helped them feel more confident makes me burst with pride. Other times blogging makes me want to wither away. Being featured heavily in the media recently I have had to learn to get to grips with peoples comments about my weight on various articles some of these comments have had be crying in the corner wishing I never ever created a blog. Now I don't read the comments, and day by day I am feeling more strong willed and quite frankly not interested in what people think. In time I think I will learn to get a balance right, of caring about others whilst not letting peoples opinions of me get to my inner core. I will start saying no to doing things that I don't want to do and stop spending 3 hours over thinking that text I sent to my friend worried that she is pissed off at me, I will post shameless selfies because I think I look nice and not worry that people are judging me for being a 'poser' or vain and I will wear anything I want as a fat woman and not have to justify why I am overweight. I will most certainly not be justifying why I am happy being a bloody receptionist! None of us have to apologise for the way we are, unless of course we are inflicting discomfort on others lives, but in everything else we don't have to justify our fashion choices, our lifestyle choices, our lives full stop to anyone.