Sunday, 16 October 2016

What's in your bed right now?

If your answer is a person (who doesn't physically repulse you), then you can sod off with your happiness.

This morning, I woke up in a bed of books, questionable stains, electronics, empty food wrappers (that may or may not be over a week old), and definite disgust. I'm not sure if it's the epitome of loneliness, or the epitome of freedom.

Given I'm writing this with an overwhelming sense of shame, it's probably the loneliness thing. Either way, I know it's not something I should be sharing on the internet; I guess it's just another example of how far I'll go to help the fight against social expectations / I sold all my dignity and self-respect for attention years ago. Potato / patato. 

So, am I lonely? 

Well comrades, I can confirm the answer is No. Yes. No. Probably. Okay, definitely maybe. But, probably not. Who the fuck really cares? 

On paper, I most certainly sound really fucking lonely. I'm extremely single. I live in a shared house, with people I met on SpareRoom (thank God none of them are knicker-sniffers, or too passive aggressive / aggressive about my hair forming a revolting bathroom rug). I eat a concerning amount of microwavable meals (my body probably contains more radiation than any Marvel plot). And most of my friends and family live quite far away, which is unequivocally my own fault for moving to Manchester. Seriously, who cares if feminism originated here? It's a right fucking ball-ache to get to from the south.

Anyway, a friend recently asked me if I've ever been in love. At the time, I most definitely answered with something super mature like 'love is for losers' or 'lol wtf bbq mayo; eat shit, dick-brain'. 
Unfortunately, I'm not as emotionally stunted as I like to make out; I have been in love, and I'm currently in love. Sadly, I can't have 'adult sleepovers' with any of my victims because my affection is either unrequited, or it'd be illegal (to clarify, my sisters are the loves of my life - I'm not into bestiality or necrophilia, and I've been CRB checked...multiple times).

It's a depressing state of affairs, but it's of my own doing really. I actively avoid dating. I won't reply to messages. And the idea of going out 'to pull' makes me want to sew up my vagina with a rusty needle and thread consisting of a corpse's pubes. 

It's not that I think I'm 'too good' for anyone, or that I 'deserve better'. In fact, my ego is quite terrible, despite my contradictory, narcissistic Instagram posts, which is probably why I lost my virginity to a guy off of MySpace (retro) after he gave me a compliment that one time. (In fairness to him, he did also buy me a £1 pizza too.)

The truth is, I'm actually a rude, obnoxious bitch because I've learnt that being with someone for an ego boost is like picking a curry for its colour: you're going to end up with korma, every single time. Ultimately, if someone originally likes you for superficial reasons, then it's unlikely they'll like who you fundamentally are. 

(Massive disclaimer: this is just my experience because most people won't still like you when you make sick, dark jokes / take your clothes off in public / do terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions / state your first rejection came from the local sex offender / listen to Cyndi Lauper constantly / take Cluedo too seriously / force your entire fist into your mouth as an ice breaker / genuinely love Chalet Girl / use aggressive war chants as dance moves / anything I do or like.) 

Thankfully, in my wise old age of 25, it's become increasingly apparent to me that I don't want to be with anyone because I need to be with them. Be that emotionally, financially, spiritually, physically, or anythingally. The thought of being in a relationship that’s based on a sense of duty, or comfort, genuinely terrifies me. This stubborn need for independence has even had me helping my dad with his building work (yeah, I totally have the skills to renovate my own house now because I'm totally in a financial position to own my house #lol). 

Fortunately, I'm one of those lucky bastards who grew up with an education, a home, and people who'll love me regardless of my questionable behaviour. This means I have this rare luxury where there's absolutely no need for me to spend time with anyone other than people who make me the best possible version of myself. Why the fuck would I waste this luxury? For cheaper rent? For someone to bring me all of the tea in the morning? For a guaranteed shag? 

No thanks. I've done it before, and I won't do it again. In my opinion, there's nothing lonelier than going to bed with someone who doesn't 'get' you. Yeah, I'm extremely conscious of how petulant and punk rock circa 1999 this sounds, but it's my fucking prerogative as an independent woman, who don't need no man. 

I'm also well aware that we're approaching 'cuffing season', and I want no part of it. Sure, it's nice not to have to spend every single night in crippling isolation, but I'm not very good at the casual thing. In spite of my 'don't fucking look at me / don't touch me' exterior, I'm a whimsical romantic.

It’s infuriating, but I'm currently wasting my best years (concerning that these are my 'best' years given the current physical state of my body) pining over something that's never going to happen. I should be using these years to gain copious notches on my bedpost, and Sunday mornings should be spent wondering how the hell I'm going to get home. 

Don't get me wrong, I've undertaken my fair share of 'strides of prides', especially when I've got on board the train to Seshville (made love for the sesh, obvs). But as much as I love proving just how liberal I am, it always leaves me feeling terribly nostalgic. And I've said it before, and I'll say it again: nostalgia is the real cancer of society. 

Unfortunately, even though I'm obvs still mega liberal (have I mentioned how liberal I am?), I've recently developed this rather old fashioned mindset where I believe in love, and it's such a fucking cock block. It's really difficult to fall in love with someone new, especially when you make absolutely zero effort to do so. Guess it's a good job I enjoy being so painfully alone. 

If anyone wants me, which is unlikely given the theme of this post, I'll be the one crying to Bat for Lashes in the shower, again. 

So, if any of you see Renée Zellweger, tell her there's a new cliché in town, and at least she's modernised her 'my right hand is all I really need' soundtrack. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Beck's boys and gyrating gurls.

When I moved to Manchester, it was on a complete whim. I had no money, no job, and the only person I knew in the city was my friend who was kind enough to let me stay at hers. (Although I'm not as terrible to live with as people assume, even if I do listen to Shania Twain regularly, and without irony.)

I left Swindon, rather rashly, because there was no real reason for me to stay there anymore, and I had cliche dreams of pursuing a more 'creative' career. So obviously, like anyone else trying to avoid a 'real' job (aka becoming the latest animal to enter the financial farm), I conned someone into hiring me as a bartender.

For those of you that care / are avoiding having to make eye contact with anyone you're currently with, here are some of the things I 'learnt' in my brief bartending career.

There will be sick.

It might be your own, but it probably won't be.

The most graphic sick-cident I ever witnessed happened around 5pm (obviously prime chunder time), and it was a few days before Christmas. The bar was packed with families binging on burgers (fuck you Jamie Oliver; they won't do what you tell them), and there were a few groups of  #ladsladslads trying to make the most out of the festive 'it's always Beck's o'clock'  period.

Without warning, a 'lad' stood up, opened his mouth, and power-washed the bar floor with his own vomit. When he'd finished violating the place, he simply sat down, and carried on eating his burger. He was impressively nonchalant; the epitome of 'no fucks given', and the complete polar opposite to all of the other punters.

In hindsight, I probably should've done something about it, but I definitely took the 'underpaid and under appreciated employee' approach, and tried to act like I hadn't just witnessed social terrorism. Thankfully, my boss actually cared about his job, and he dealt with it for me.

Unfortunately for me, my boss wasn't always there to be my knight in vomit armour, and occasionally I was forced to physically deal with a stranger's tangible regret.  I won't go into graphic details (not that graphic anyway), but there was at least one incident where I had to finger semi-solidified Sambuca into a sinkhole. It was like the most repulsive one-night stand anyone could ever have.

You'll learn that it's okay to tell customers to 'get dead'.

Okay, you might use nicer words (sometimes), but the sentiment will remain the same.

When you work in a bar (especially one in a city centre), you'll come across complete knuckle-fucks all of the time. There'll be guys who think it's okay to grope you when you walk past, there'll be people who talk to you like you're nonce scum (just because they've had to wait a little bit for their Jagerbomb), and there'll be girls that get really aggy when you try and move their gyrating arse out of the way. (News Flash: bartenders only get in the way because they want to do their job. We definitely don't get in the way of your 'Beyonce' moves to try and cop off with 'your' fella, especially when we've just seen him try and finger bang you in the corner.)

Anyway, the point is that you'll meet a lot of douche bags. At first, I'd always make sure I used my P's and Q's, but I quickly learnt it wasn't that effective. Dropping bombs might not be the best way to solve a conflict (soz Johnson), but dropping verbal bombs does seem to shut down a dickhead-drunk (at least temporarily). And if you ever say anything too offensive, you can always run away and hope they're too illiterate to leave an aggressive review on trip advisor (or too drunk to remember it happening, which is much much more likely).

(It also helps to work in a bar where the managers and bouncers genuinely respect you as a person; they'll immediately back you up if they need to.)

You'll hear a Drake song at least 74083928 times over the weekend.

Accept it, and embrace it. Although whenever I hear the intro to 'Hotline Bling', I immediately start pouring shots of tequila, so maybe Pavlov was onto something (soz for slagging you off in all my assignments at Uni, m8).

Games are great.

Let's not beat around the bush - working in a bar can be hella boring. You will need to play games, otherwise self-harm starts to look like a welcome distraction (or you could be a nerd and do something less drastic, like your actual job).

Sometimes, a 'game' might be as simple as filling up a martini glass with crushed ice, and seeing how much of the crushed ice you can eat whilst you keep the glass perpendicular to your mouth, à la hungry hippo.

Other times, you might risk another terrible trip advisor rating by seeing how uncomfortable you can make a customer feel (it might've only been me that volunteered to do this, so it was probably less of a game, and more of another desperate demonstration of my need for attention).

And if your work colleagues (at best) are slightly disgusting, you can always play 'how much money would you need to...?'. Although I did resign temporarily from that game after I ate a cigarette butt for £8.50. In my own defence (look at me mum, finally being all laweyery and that), I did originally ask for a tenner, but I settled for the change the 'challengers' had on them at the time (reason 32425 as to why I'd make a terrible prostitute).

You'll see a lot of first dates. 

I resent other people's happiness, so my favourite first dates were the ones that made spending a day in Fritzl's basement seem like a rather romantic alternative.

My least favourite dates to witness were the ones that had taken the 'let's get blind drunk, so we find each other physically attractive' approach. These dates would inevitably end in the pair performing a terrible sex show, and they'd rarely have the decency to move to the shadows. True romance might be dead, but the art of dry-rubbing is well and truly alive.

For me, this kind of date is worse than watching a painfully public break-up because I find all forms of PDA visually offensive. Even when my friends (all two of them) hold hands with their loved ones, I immediately try and moonwalk out of the situation. Seriously, doesn't anyone else understand that affection is for the weak? #bebitternotbetter

You'll learn how to make a cocktail.

When I say 'you'll learn how to make a cocktail', I mean 'you'll learn how to pretend you know what the hell you're doing when someone asks for a cocktail'.*

Step one: when a customer asks for a drink, do not panic. Remain calm, collected, and confident. It's a good idea to reply with 'one ineffably delicious cocktail coming right up', or something pretentious like that.

Step two: if you can't remember what goes into the cocktail, improvise, and improvise with flair. And by that, I mean tell the customer to take a seat, and that you'll bring the cocktail over to them. If the bar is too busy for that, simply grab whatever alcohol is nearest to you, and make sure you add all of the sugar to counteract the poisonous taste of whatever it is you've just created.

Step three: when you're shaking the cocktail, shake it with finesse. If it's not too loud, say things like 'oooooo baby, can you hear the rhythm of the ice there?'.

Step four: before you pour the cocktail, try it yourself. Even if it tastes like you've just licked a rotten carcass, react as if you've just tasted the nectar of the gods. Your pretence will give the customer confidence in the monstrosity you've created; it means they're less likely to complain.

Step five: pour the cocktail, add an insta-worthy garnish, and serve the cocktail as if you've just finished painting the Sistine Chapel.

Step six: once the customer has got their cocktail, run away. Seriously, go and make out you need to spend some time in the toilet, and hope your boss didn't just witness any of your heinous cocktail crimes.

*Fortunately for the bar, everyone else I worked with actually knew how to do their job properly, and some of them are true connoisseurs of cocktail making.

You'll make friends.

And not 'work' friends, but real, genuine friends. Friends who become your new, incredibly warped, and slightly incestuous, family.

I think you become so close because working in a bar is different to most other jobs; you go through a lot together in a such a short space of time. Being a bartender is probably the modern equivalent of fighting in the trenches. I mean, you're not actually at risk of trench foot, but you will ruin all of your shoes, which I'm guessing is pretty much the same thing.

It might also have something to do with the fact that some of the greatest people work in bars, as long as it's not the kind of pretentious place where people are hired just because they're 'pretty'. In more 'alternative' bars, you tend to find the kind of people you want to be friends, because you know they'll make you more interesting through default.

Even your managers become your friends, so you get to be yourself nearly 100% of the time, and when you have a fair few Gary Glitter based jokes (like I do), that's pretty bloody rare.

So, I might've worked inhumanely long hours, for minimum wage. I might've put on weight. And I might've become a borderline alcoholic (I'm only saying borderline in case my current boss ever reads this). Despite all of this, I had a pretty great time being a terrible bartender. Because, when all is said and done, I got paid to lark about with my friends every single day. Yes, bartending might've taken away my health (not that I've ever been a poster girl for healthy living), but it gave me lots, and lots of lols.

Oh, and I also once served Fizz from Coronation Street, which makes me makes me pretty big time in Manchester.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

How much does it cost to get a terrible stomach, sunstroke, and sleep deprivation?

£228, plus £5 booking fee (according to the internet).

This weekend, an extortionate amount of people have been frolicking in mud and (probably) having the literal time of their life. I resent them all. In fact, I resent them so much, that I sent my friends (who are currently at Glastonbury) the screenshot of BBC's infamous typo before they went.

Yes, I know you should never joke about rape. But I'm bitter, alright?

I'm bitter because I tried, and tried, to get a ticket, but the internet Gods were not in my favour. I was so devastated, I actually cried. Although that could've also been because I was extremely hungover, my friends were making out upstairs (quite vocally), and I was just sat there, on my own, refreshing the 'sold out' page, again, and again. Honestly, I felt like more of a loser than the time I wasn't allowed into a house party, but the people I went with were. (I've never been cool.)

In hindsight, I was probably being a bit dramatic. But it's because I know there is nothing more euphoric than being a few days into a festival, watching your favourite band playing your favourite song, and carelessly dancing with your favourite people (apart from great sex, being naked in the ocean, and finding an estranged tenner in your pocket...obviously).   

I've spent a fair bit of time this weekend watching Glastonbury highlights, which hasn't really helped my bitterness. So I started to think about all the shitty (often literally shitty) parts of a festival.

First of all, getting to your campsite is terrible, especially if it's been raining. Seriously, it makes Frodo's journey to Mordor look like a casual stroll to the park. Your fingers start to blister from the bags you're carrying, and the bag on your back becomes more painful than listening to someone justify the need for Farage. It all gets terribly stressful, and there's a chance that a few of you (particularly if there are couples going) will argue on the way. Some people might even get left behind; it's a dog eat dog world after all.

But getting to camp, and setting up camp, is just the beginning. Because then (and this is probably the big one) you begin to face the toilet situation. For guys, I doubt going for a piss is too much of a problem. I know whacking out your schlong, and simply going for it, isn't really 'good for the land', but I doubt anyone cares about that once they're a few beers in. For girls, going for a simple piss can be quite challenging. If you're at a main stage (and you don't want to leave), you either have to accept that everyone around you is going to see what you had for breakfast, or you have to force your friends into forming some kind of vagina shelter.

Even if you do go to a toilet, especially one that's in a campsite, it's unlikely you're going to want your skin to make contact with the toilet seat. This is when shewees become the best thing since sliced bread. Although I would advise practising at home first; the first time I used a shewee, I terribly misjudged how to use it, and I pissed all over my only pair of shorts. I had been at the festival for half an hour, and I had four days left. It wasn't a strong start.

Also, if you're quite tall for a girl, using a shewee can be pretty awkward; you'll definitely make eye contact with the guy who's stood in the toilet opposite you. In that situation, I never explain myself. I simply give some kind of 'we're both peeing at the same time' nod of solidarity, and leave him questioning if I'm a boy or a girl. It's the only time I really blow anyone's mind. And I embrace it.

I also quickly discovered that it's a good idea to make sure that you've shut the door behind you properly. It's not a strong look when it swings open, and you're stood there in front of a crowd of 'ladsladslads' with your shorts round your ankles, and your arse fully out. I've always wanted to be the reason for people chanting at a festival, but 'get your shewee out for the lads' isn't really what I had in mind.

Now for the real issue - when it's not just a piss that you need. I've learnt that the best thing is to try and avoid it (easier said than done). If you're going for more than one or two days, beer is the biggest frenemy (unless your stomach is made out of granite). In all honesty, it's probably better to avoid beer completely. No one wants to be in the shituation where they have to go missing for a while because they're trying to sort out the fact that they've just sharted. I doubt anyone has ever felt particularly proud when they're forced to create a diversion, just so their friends won't notice a bag of ruined underwear being thrown across the me, I heard it from a 'friend'.

Going to the toilet without toilet roll can also prove to be a terrible decision. No one wants to be the person who went into a portaloo with both of their socks on, and then comes back out with one missing. It's not subtle.  And think about the blisters you'll definitely get.

Oh, and it's absolutely necessary to accept that you will be pissed on at some point. Hopefully not directly (although a guy did piss into my welly once - I can only assume he learnt social etiquette from a family of bin rats), but some sort of foreign liquid will hit you, and it'll be warm...real warm. You've just gotta hope that when it hits you, if it is hits your face, your mouth isn't open (somethings really are unforgettable, and unwillingly swallowing a stranger's piss is up there).

Moving away from the numerous amount of toilet issues, it can also get pretty physical at a festival. Seriously, I don't know if it's because I have a large face (and its surface area means there's a lot of potential for contact), but I always get hit. Sometimes it's with a rogue fist, and sometimes it's with a rogue elbow. Doesn't matter how it happens, but it always does. Genuinely, there hasn't been a festival where I haven't developed a fat lip at some point. Maybe it's because I've always been a sucker for heavier bands (a la 2006), and people think that violently swinging their limbs is a great way to show their appreciation. Luckily, I'm stubborn (and normally a few drinks in), so it doesn't really bother me too much.

Waking up each morning (I use the word 'morning' very loosely) is actually a lot more painful. Every day it gets slightly worse. The only real saving grace is that everybody smells, and feels, as bad as you. And misery really does love company. Although I highly doubt forcing my friends to watch me try and maintain my body hair (which is quite difficult when you're extremely pale and your hair is darker than Stalin's soul) makes them feel any better. It's probably one of the reasons, but definitely not the main one, why I haven't been invited to join any festival group chats in the past year or so.

And of course, there's the weather (gotta moan about the weather 'cas British). I've only ever been to festivals in England, so I've only ever experienced rain, mud, and occasional bouts of sunstroke heat. Thankfully, I've never been to a festival which has completely flooded out. So in my experience, as long as you never get off of the 'if my boss sees me like this, I'm most certainly fired' train, then it's possible to handle whatever the weather throws at you. (And if you're not too much of a princess about being outrageously dirty.)

But really, the truly terrible part of any festival happens when you get back home. Sure, you've been pushing your body to its limits for nearly a week, but you were also wrapped in a cocoon of kodak moments with your favourite people. When you get home, your body is broken, your bank account has been maxed out, and you're all alone. It's crippling.

Sometimes, the post-festival blues won't hit you instantly, but they will (don't get cocky - your time will definitely come). After the last festival I went to, they hit me when I was on my way to work. I was trying to park my car, and I was really struggling. A massive queue started to build up behind me, and as ridiculous as it might sound now, I honestly wanted to leave my car where it was, and jump off of the car park floor. But the car park was only one floor up, so it would've only been even more embarrassing for me. Eventually, I parked my car, went to work, avoided eye contact with everyone (post-festival guilt is also a thing), and tired to handle life.

But, despite the beer fear, the post-festival blues, and all the other terrible shit, I would fucking love to be at a festival right now. I'd even accept a mouthful of a stranger's piss, again.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

I only kiss gay men, and my relatives.

..A surprisingly accurate summary of my love life.

For the past few months, I've had my lips on serious lockdown, and I'm not sure why. It could be because I've ran out of people to kiss, or it could be because I'm actually related to a lot of people in the Greater Manchester area, and I have no idea what they look like. Or, it could be because I've recently discovered that Brandon Flowers lied to us all - it's rarely 'only a kiss'.

Sure, it was different when we were younger. My friends and I would don our awful bodycon skirts and our stupidly high heels, and we’d head out on out-out.  You wouldn’t be allowed drinks on the dance floor, so we’d throw back our 'three for one' drinks like we'd been buried in some sort of desert hole for weeks (when Lady GaGa's Poker Face was playing, you had to dance – those were the rules). But, seeing off that much vodka, in such a short space of time, meant that almost everyone was on the prowl. The dancefloor would be full of hormonal teenagers who were desperate to dry-rub their disco genitals against someone else. If you were single, there's a high chance you spent your night spreading your ethanol-drenched saliva about. If you weren't single, there's still a high chance you spent your night spreading your ethanol-drenched saliva about. We'd kiss each other, we'd kiss strangers, and then we'd kiss each other again. Yeah, it was incestuous, but we didn't really care back then (by ‘we’, I definitely mean ‘I’).

At Uni, it was worse...a lot worse. No one lived with their parents, everyone was legally allowed to drink, and the drinks were cheap. It's why most relationships don't survive Freshers’ Week; you're convinced that having the freedom to kiss multiple strangers every night is better than staying loyal to someone who actually knows your full name. And at that time in your life, it probably is the better option; you're young, and you're not responsible for anyone but yourself…it’s the perfect time to make lots of mistakes (in my opinion, it's much better to go through your ‘being a dick’ stage when it doesn’t affect anyone else).

Since entering the ‘real world’, I’ve realised that I'd often kiss people for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes it’d be because I needed an ego-boost, but most of the time it’d be because I was bored. Occasionally, I’d kiss a total stranger just to persuade the person that I’m actually into that I don’t care about them. I know…ten points to dickindor. But, you know how girls are always told that boys are mean to the girls they fancy? I think I took it as backwards dating advice…I became that mean boy.

Anyway, maybe becoming more self-aware is what ruined casual kissing for me. Or maybe it’s because everyone is older, and everyone cares more now. You might not realise it (I definitely didn’t), but there’s a big chance you’re fucking someone over, somehow.

It might be that the person you're ‘only’ kissing is actually really into you, so you’re giving them false hope that you're into them too, and no one needs to be on that emotional rollercoaster; it always ends with crushing rejection. Sure, they might still have all of their limbs when they get off that ride, but they’ll have to spend a good few weeks scraping their splattered ego off of those rusty, metal railings (and no one enjoys being on either end of that lawsuit).

Even if you're ‘only’ kissing a total stranger, you're probably fucking over your friend who you’ve ditched. Despite the thumbs up they’re giving you, it's rare that someone is actually comfortable dancing on their own, whilst they watch their friend eat someone else's face.

Plus, if I’m brutally honest, nuns probably get more tongue action than me these days because I’m so over drunken kisses with people I don’t know, or care about. It might be a quick-fix for my ego, but all I’m left with is a lipstick-smeared face, an aroma of regret, and another friend request to ignore.

Nowadays, I only go out because I love dancing aggressively with my friends. If I get bored at any point, I’ll just go home and kitchen dance. I’ve got absolutely no interest in listening to bullshit chat-up lines, and I’ve definitely not got any interest in anything that stops me from aggressively dancing. And it’s genuinely really hard to snog someone whilst you’re trying to throw shapes to Stevie Nicks…trust me.

Although this does mean that I’m kind of stuck in some sort of Mexican standoff with myself, because I’ve got no interest in dating either. Honestly, the thought of having to re-download tinder makes me want to sew up my vagina. Even when I have dated, all it’s done is make me think more about the guys I’m actually into. In fact, the only date I truly enjoyed wasn’t even a was just food with a friend. But, because I’m still an embarrassing teenage girl, I’m going to call it a date (even if I’m 99.7% sure he only agreed to it so I’d stop bothering him on snapchat).  

Plus, I still can’t handle rejection. I’d much rather get stuck in a hot festival toilet, on a Sunday evening, than make a move with a guy I actually like. Sometimes, thanks to alcohol, I’ve been stupid enough to admit that I accidentally caught feelings. But, thanks to alcohol, I’ve been as subtle as an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.5. Needless to say, my drunken confessions didn’t shake their world.

So, due to my recent prudishness and my British awkwardness, it’s looking quite likely that I will become one of those cat ladies your parents worn you about. It’s a future that’s particularly worrying for me; cats terrify me (it’s one of the main reasons I’ll never be internet cool).

Secretly, I’m kind of hoping that it’s all just a weird phase, and that I’ll get myself a good snog soon. I’m already beginning to worry that saying ‘I only kiss my nephew’ is making me even more of a social outcast.

But, if it’s not a phase, there’s always the back of my palm, and my Josh Homme phone background.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Who ate all the pies?

A few years ago, it probably would've been me.

For those of you that didn't know me during the Chubgate scandal of 2009, I gained a fair bit of weight, and I gained it real quick. It all began when I was sixteen, and I hustled someone into thinking I was an appropriate choice for a full-time office job. Most of my time was spent staring at a computer screen, answering calls that I didn't really care about, and pretending that I was actually happy with my rash decision to leave college. It was hardly a strenuous job. The only time I needed to do any sort of physical exercise was when I walked to the shop to buy another boredom-relieving snack, or when I was forced to waddle quickly for the bus.

My weight gain escalated massively when I started to hustle bartenders with an ID that clearly wasn't mine. Honestly, I'll never know how they fell for it; the girl in the photo had lovely, dark olive skin, and I still have to buy foundation that's titled 'been dead a few days'.

What's actually really concerning is that I genuinely didn't realise how much weight I'd gained. In hindsight, it probably should've been a sign when I was trying on a dress I'd just bought, and I had to shout at my little sister to stand on my back, just so she'd be at a better angle to forcibly do up the zip (she still couldn’t do up the zip, so I was just left lying on the floor like a sweaty, and partially dressed, beached whale).  It also should've been a sign when my parents felt the need to use exercise as a 'consequence for my actions'. It most definitely should've been a sign when I was directly told by people that they were concerned about how much weight I'd gained. But, in a childish act of defiance, I actually started to eat, and drink, more. Needless to say, I didn't have the last laugh, especially when fitting into clothes from high street stores became a real struggle.

Looking back, I think that was the tipping point for me. When you’re on your own in a changing room, you do not want to get stuck in a dress; it's more intense than watching the first series of the Walking Dead. Sure, I could've blamed high street stores for not catering for larger sizes (which they don’t), but I'm not naturally a ‘larger woman’. I was only larger because I drank too much, and ate too many half-cooked pizzas after drinking too much.

Finally, I realised that if I carried on the way I was, I’d be forced to wear a bedsheet to work. Not in a cute toga way, but in an ‘I can only be carried by a crane’ kind of way.  I knew something had to change. But, ever since I discovered the 'rosebud' code on the Sims, I've been a sucker for a good cheat. So, instead of doing the normal thing of dieting and exercising, I took 'diet' pills for a week, which completely numbed my hunger. Yes, I did lose weight, but I also had to leave work early on the Friday because I was sicker than the girl from the Exorcist.

Worryingly, that didn't bother me; I was too pleased with my rapid weight loss to even consider the damage I was doing to my health. Losing weight became an obsession, and I started to weigh myself almost every day. Watching the numbers decrease on the scales was more satisfying than when I discovered that some guys didn’t actually use the classic ‘machine gun’ tactic.

The more weight I lost, the more obsessed I became. I started refusing to eat carbs, and my diet pretty much consisted solely of omelettes. At one point, I even stopped eating mayonnaise (for me, that's like refusing to shower regularly).

Sure, I lost a lot of weight and, to other people, I looked good, but I still didn’t feel good, and my ridiculously limited diet made me an irrational bitch. Once, when my sister came to visit, she ate the last of the eggs, and I was furious with her; despite there being a full fridge, I was convinced that I couldn't possibly eat anything else, and I definitely let her know about it (I know…such first world problems).

What's even more embarrassing is that sometimes I actually resented both of my younger sisters; they ate pretty much what they wanted, and they both looked like Swedish models. Whereas I thought I looked like Bruce Bogtrotter...on one of his good days.  

It’s pretty scary, but I was probably on the verge of developing an eating disorder. I’m ridiculously lucky that my love for homemade banoffee pie outweighs my need to be skinny.

I know there are healthy ways to lose weight, because I’ve done it. Two years ago, I spent the summer training aggressively; I was convinced you needed to be super fit to run a Tough Mudder (oh yeah, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve completed two Tough Mudders…I’m kind of a big deal). Even though it did feel great to be toned, and I absolutely loved that a strong lunge was my preferred mode of transport, I still wasn’t happy. Training took over my life. My evenings consisted of lots of tears and swearing, minimal laughter, and definitely no frolicking (my absolute favourite thing).

Towards the end of the summer, I stopped training, because I remembered how great it is to see your friends regularly, and I’ve not regretted it. Since then, I’ve realised that it’s okay not to have the ‘perfect figure’. I enjoy pizza and rum way too much to be one of Victoria’s Angels anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe it’s important to eat well (most of the time), and to exercise (sometimes). Apart from the fact it massively helps your ego, it’s good to look after your body a little bit. But, I do strongly believe that it’s important not to judge yourself by what you look like. Honestly, it makes you so much happier. Of course, it’s not always easy; we’d all like to look like Daniel Craig when we come out of the sea, but it really is okay to be more of a budget Bond.

At the end of the day, unless you’re making it rain all the way to the bank, you can’t really change your appearance too drastically (even if you can, there’s always a risk you’ll fall into Pete Burns’ footsteps). And surely, isn’t it better to be surrounded by people that love you, rather than by people who only find you visually appealing? We can’t all be Will Smith, or Paul Rudd; there’s a high chance we’ll end up looking pretty haggered one day, and I’m 74% sure that my three friends will still want to hang out with me then.

So go ahead: skip that boxercise class, frolic with your friends, and rock those short shorts.
You've got this.