From 22 to 23: Confidence
For those who chose to stay away from social media over Valentine’s Day, or for those who somehow managed to miss my continuous, unabashed birthday announcements, February 14th was indeed my birthday. Unsurprisingly for someone who so openly gushes about romance and love, I am a Valentine’s baby, and as my beautiful partner in crime Liv once said, “cupid was never a male with a little willy, it was chloplume herself”. Yes ladies and gents, abandon Twitter - I am the greatest matchmaker of all.
To celebrate turning 23, Keiran and Joe (my brother, for you folk that don't come here often) kindly organised a little mini-break to Brighton for me, and so K and I set off on Sunday the 12th and headed back on V Day, happy and lazy after spending a lovely two days lounging about, shopping and eating so, so much food. It was the perfect break away - I believe Keiran even made me a cup of tea on the morn of my birthday, which, even though I had to boil the kettle, was a real treat #special.
I’d had a few blog post ideas in mind for my birthday period, wanting to reflect on what has been an eventful few years for me and hoping to share some insight on how my life has changed, birthday to birthday. Originally this post was going to be 23 things I’ve learned in my 23 years, but I’ll be honest, I really couldn’t think of 23 things on the spot and most of them would be blah, boring snippets anyway like “having a muffin top is not the end of the world”. It’s a very important point, but you’ve read that here a thousand times and I feel like the change in myself as a person goes much deeper than those superficial, flabby bits.
Leather jacket - Monki
Corset - ASOS
T-shirt - ASOS
Jeans - ASOS
Shoes - ASOS
Bag - J.W. Anderson
Sunglasses - Ray Ban*
Looking at the big tickets items from this time last year - I’m talking career, blog, mindset - there is one thing that glaringly stands out as having changed; something that has changed in myself, and affected everything as a result. From 22 to 23, I seemed to have developed a self-confidence and self-assuredness that has allowed me to develop my business, embrace love and find contentment with myself. I’ve gone from thinking “I can’t ask for that, that’s crazy”, to “well if they don’t think I’m worth what I know I’m worth, then it’s not worth it to me”.
This new-found confidence has, in some way or another, changed the way I think about both myself, my relationship and my career. As I so recently shouted from the rooftops, I’ve decided 2017 is going to be the year of being fat and happy - of saying goodbye to calorie counting and to freeing myself from obsessing over what I should or shouldn’t be eating. This new mindset certainly hasn’t come from finally reaching all of my body goals - let’s be honest, I don’t even have the capability to wear jeans without showing off a kangaroo pouch, let alone a six pack. Instead this mindset has come from realising that I’ve got this far in my life being a shubby girl (FYI that’s short and chubby), and that if I want to lose weight I can, and if I don’t want to, I don’t have to. The majority of the time I don’t hate my figure - heck, sometimes I even like it. Why have I spent so much time fighting against that? Just let it be. I’m happy with my weight.
Self-confidence has also changed the way I approach relationships. Whenever Keiran tells me that he is proud of what I’m doing or that he thinks I’m a beautiful person, I am flooded with cute rage. However, I don’t need to hear this to feel validated. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the fucking icing on the cake when the person you adore sings your praises, but I feel confident enough in myself to not feel doubt if this doesn’t come. I also think something beautiful happens when you build on your career and you build on yourself as a person, in that when you don’t need someone, you are freed up to want and to love and to adore them more. I know that the world wouldn’t come to an end if - God forbid - we broke up tomorrow, but with a clear head and a confident sense of direction, I can honestly say that I can’t imagine anybody else making my heart quite so full.
And then the big one - the career. This time last year the thought of blogging full-time was a pipe dream. I won’t bullshit you and say that from early on, it wasn’t my end-goal - after I received my first free necklace I was already eyeing up my future pad in Brighton - but I didn’t think I’d be anywhere near as close as I am now. At the moment I’m working part-time as a blogger and part-time in my marketing role, which segways beautifully into giving my boss the credit she deserves. Emma is the kind of person that just says yes to anything. She embraces life, people, and challenges with a whole bucket of fucks and accidental innuendos and I have learned more from watching her run a business, a family and recover from a stroke (yep, a stroke, and she was back in the office less than 3 months later the resilient chuffer) than I could have hoped for. Being on the business end of marketing has been invaluable to my career as a blogger, and from Em I’ve learned two very important things: 1) Never undervalue yourself and 2) You can bullshit through anything, so even if it scares you, just say yes.
Blogging-wise, my confidence in what I create has allowed me to finally come to a place where I’m posting content that I love, above content that I think will perform well. I’m also no longer fazed when I have to turn down opportunities that, honestly and plainly, don’t pay enough. Money in blogging is hardly a taboo subject anymore (we’re all wanting to make it, whether or not we’re there yet), but for such a long time I was scared to ask for the fee I thought my content was worth, afraid that the recipient of my email would chortle with laughter and share my ridiculous request around the office. Truth is, I was undercharging for such a long-time and taking on less-than amazing jobs out of fear that I wouldn’t be paid at all, in turn undervaluing myself, my work and my time. Now, a year on, I feel like Billy Big Bollocks - if it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen, and I don’t feel like a cheeky git replying to an email with “looks like it’s not going to work this time!”. It’s not the end of the world. I can always sell my mixtape if I get short on cash (DM me if interested).
All in all, I’m looking forward to 23. I’m excited to see what it brings (fingers crossed for a lovely new rented flat/house for me and my lil’ partner in crime), and I'm now praying to God that I haven’t jinxed this new-found confidence by writing about it. I guess I will just have to update you at 24 - see you in the same place, same time, come Feb 16th 2018. Be there or be square.
P.S. Thank you so much to everybody that wished me a Happy Birthday! The messages were so kind and thoughtful, and each and every one made my day (omg who do I think I am? Beyonce?). THANK YOU!
Photography: Michaela Tornaritis