Go shawty it’s your birthday, you’re gonna party like it’s your birthday. IT IS ACTUALLY MY BIRTHDAY. I’m writing this post from my Las Vegas hotel room as jet lag creeps into my now 30 year old bones. As you may have seen from every single one of my social media channels, I am currently abroad, with my Twinnifer, celebrating this milestone.
Holidays are always a time of reflection. You’re away from your daily life, out of the grind and it gives you the headspace to really think. And I have been thinking. I’ve been thinking about all of the things I’ve learned about life up until this point. You’ll probably know all of these already, but if there’s even just one new thing you learn, I’ll be happy.
1. Just because you love your family, doesn’t mean you have to like them. There comes a point in your life where you have a family epiphany. The people you have grown up with or have raised you stop just being family and start being people too. You start looking at them differently. Holistically. They aren’t just the people you drank quiet sips of cider in the garden with, or the people who have fed and watered you. You see them as individuals. They become people you recognise flaws in and you see character traits you just don’t like in and that’s OK. It’s true that you can’t choose your family but you can choose who you give your time to. If you have a family member that is toxic, it’s perfectly acceptable to not associate yourself.
2. You should make time for people. Over the years I’ve lost touch with friends and family members that looking back, I wish I hadn’t. At times in my life I was focussed on other things and I let them slip away. I now know that if anyone in my life is worth having, I need to put in the effort to stay in touch and try harder to fit them in where possible.
3. Touching yourself is not dirty or wrong. As a kid you’re so curious about body parts and you start to explore your own body and maybe you luck out and start to realise that caressing certain parts feels good. As children, we’re dissuaded from this for a range of reasons. But how this is handled as a child can influence how we see it as adults. I wish I’d known as a teenager that a 5 knuckle shuffle is a perfectly normal and healthy expression of self love. Because I’m pretty sure my lifetime orgasm count would be 57473x what it is now AND I’d be even more certain on how I get off and therefore more comfortable in guiding partners.
4. Whatever happens at school is irrelevant. One time I fell out with my best friend because I wanted my favourite NSYNC member to be Justin but she had bagsed him so I had to have Chris Kirkpatrick and well, fuck. She then bitched about me to every girl in our class and started a rumour about me fancying people with pineapple hair. I was devastated. I dreamt of running away. I asked my Mum to send me to another school. My life was over. Except it wasn’t. And this is the first time I’ve recalled that incident since. My Mum always used to say ‘it’s tomorrow’s chip paper’ which meant that whatever shit was happening today, won’t be such big news in the future.
5. Cutting your Sister’s Barbie’s hair off is not a good idea. Because she will kick off and push you down the stairs whilst you’re wearing a silky dress that makes you fly down the flight at a breakneck speed and you will land in a crying clump at your family’s feet, expecting sympathy, to be greeted with none.
6. You probably won’t marry your childhood crush. At the age of 14 I CONVINCED myself that if only Kian from Westlife would meet me then he’d instantly fall in love with me. He’d be blown away by the wit and intelligence of a high school teenager and the age difference wouldn’t matter because when I was 20, he’d be 26 and that’s not as creepy as him GFing up a minor.
7. You will be stabbed in the back by a friend but it’s actually a good thing. I know that sounds CRAY. How can being crapped on by your bezzie ever be good? Well it’s the quickest way to learn that that person was never really a friend and you can stop wasting your time on them. And you can give their half of your friendship heart necklace to someone more deserving.
8. Fashion choices will stay with you. To this day new friends are still learning that I went to my prom dressed as Stephanie McMahon – pinstripe suit, pink shirt, crimped hair and butterfly clips. Even though there is no photographic evidence in my collection, the image burnt onto people’s retinas has left a scar.
9. If a boy tells you they’d fancy you if only you lost weight/didn’t wear glasses/were funnier/didn’t like football etc then tell them to suck their Mum. Like actually tell them that. Follow it up with ‘rude boy’ and you’ve got the perfect comeback to that douchebaggery.
10. Teachers don’t know it all. I’m a teacher. I’m forever getting caught out by 7 year olds who know more about the Stone Age than I do. If your teacher delivers a message you’re not comfortable with, challenge them. Just do it in a respectful way. Don’t liken their Mum to a dog breeder because you will be put on report.
11. Teachers do actually give a shit about you. That’s why we’re in the profession. So when it feels like everyone hates you because you let Gary touch your boob behind the bike shed, remember that an adult who owes you nothing, goes home and thinks about you and often worries if you’re OK.
12. You’re not in love with your school boyfriend. You may have gone to the pictures together and you may have dry jumped at a house party but you’re not in love. On reflection, I never really knew any of my boyfriends until we were older. I didn’t know about their backgrounds, their hopes or their reasons for living. Can you really love someone without knowing these things? So when he dumps you via Valentine’s Day card during a school assembly, just remember you never even thought about sucking his penis anyway. Dickhead.
13. Blowjobs are great. THE SHAME your mate Daisy felt at 15 being known as the girl who have the popular guy at school a beej. Ew, dirty girl. You and your mates discuss how RANK it is to have a boy’s willy near your mouth. Ew he pees out of there. It’s only until you reach adulthood and you start smoking a few pipes that you realise that BJs are not disgusting and they can be fun for both parties.
14. You will hate your Mum but always live to regret it. Once I begged my Mum for days on end to buy me a green pea coat because Phoebe in Friends wore one. I went on and on about this coat until one day she just snapped and told me it wouldn’t suit me and I’d look shit in it. It was the first time I told my Mum to fuck off. I HATED her. I wanted to run away. To ask my Aunt to adopt me. To prove Jennifer Saunders was infact my biological Mum. As an adult I realise how my vitirol towards her would’ve really hurt her feelings and it makes my heart sad.
15. It’s OK to fuck off Saturday jobs if they’re shit. As a teenager I wanted to have a job as soon as I could because Lancôme Juicy Tubes and Bad Gal mascara couldn’t buy themselves. I worked in a bakery, a supermarket and virtually every high street store and I was miserable. It got to the point where it was really affecting my mental health and a few times, I had to quit jobs after just 1 day. I used to beat myself up about it and it made my feelings about myself even worse. Looking back I should’ve been proud of my ability to stand up for what makes me happy. How many issues of Mizz does one girl need anyway?
16. If you don’t know what you want to do, don’t panic. Growing up I always wanted to be an actress. I was good at it but I just didn’t have the confidence to put myself out there. So I worked in film but hated how cut throat it was. Then I worked in retail and hated the hours. Then I worked in recruitment and hated bullshit sales. I got to a point where I just didn’t know what I wanted. All I knew was that I wanted to find something where I didn’t clock watch. Luckily I found teaching. Looking back I should never have worried. I should’ve been happy to bounce from one career avenue to the next, picking up new skills and working out what I liked or didn’t like because it teaches you a lot about what you’ll actually thrive in.
17. Liking sex doesn’t make you a slut. Maybe it’s my generation but everyone I knew growing up, including myself, friends and family would always be partial to a bit of slut shaming. If you heard a colleague had slept with over 20 people you convinced yourself she was diseased or had Daddy issues. If you heard a girl at uni had contracted 4 types of thrush you made a Pokemon/STI joke about how she’s ‘gotta Catch’em all’. As an adult, with mature, sex positive friends, I feel much freer knowing that number of sexual partners and a quest for cock is not a bad thing.
18. Butt stuff isn’t scary. I’ll add the caveat here of ‘if you’re with the right person’. The wrong person will stop mid rim job to exclaim, ‘Did you fart?’, the right person will love being in the heat of the moment and will enjoy getting to the bottom of things*
19. *innuendos and puns are funny as fuck.
20. Faking orgasms is stupid. Faking an orgasm is like buying a pair of jeans that didn’t fit because you were too concerned about your mate waiting for ages outside the changing room whilst you try a million pairs on. Just be fucking patient Susan! I need the right fit. PLUS Susan will then always expect you to be quick in the changing rooms and well then you’re buggered.
21. You can’t fake chemistry. I, like many others, have stayed in relationships with people in the vain hope that sexual attraction will grow. The only thing that grows is your crush on your Science lecturer so you can fantasise about him whilst being boffed by your current beau. Don’t waste either of your time. Hold out for the one who you pop with.
22. If it looks like an arsehole, talks like an arsehole, behaves like an arsehole, it is in fact an arsehole. You might try and convince yourself people can change. You might be good at spotting nice qualities in people. But arsehole is as arsehole does.
23. People don’t change. Red flags when meeting new people are red flags for a reason. TAKE HEED. People can grow, but if they’re already pricks, they’re only going to grow into bigger pricks. Stop wasting your life waiting for someone to evolve. That Magikarp ain’t never gonna be a Gyrados.
24. Selfish people will never put you first. You can love someone so completely. Do everything for them. Give up your shit for them, but if they’re selfish they’ll never appreciate it and they’ll never reciprocate it. See points 22 and 23 about time wastage.
25. Being single is great. You can do whatever and whoever you want without any guilt or ties. Everyone should try it for a while.
26. Living alone teaches you about yourself. Ain’t no better time for self reflection than that moment where you turn off the TV and see your own reflection of you laying in the same position you’ve been in for 4 hours, hair askew, Doritos stuck to the side of your face and surrounded by a ton of rubbish to make you think about what you’re doing with your life. You also have to learn to do all of the things you may have gotten away with previously, like changing smoke alarm batteries or unblocking a sink.
27. You never know what someone else is thinking. You can be so inexplicably close to someone. You move, breathe and exist in every moment together but you never know what’s going on in their brain. You can look at someone and think, ‘they look troubled’, or ‘they look content’, but this is presumptuous and foolish. Learning that you can’t second guess people makes you appreciate them more. It also helps you not take them for granted.
28. However you look, you’re fucking fit. This is a post for another time but up until the age of about 29 and 362 days I had severe body image issues. Paranoia that people thought I was grotesque. Seeing my reflection innaccurately. Covering up so as not to see myself. I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t times where I don’t look at something on my body and think, ‘ugh’ but compared to the complete self loathing I used to feel, that’s not bad going. I don’t know how it happened, but one day I just realised that my knees that look like Mama June’s face and skin that is akin to tracing paper just weren’t bad things. The only person who hated my body, was me. And what a monumental waste of life that is. So I decided not to hate the way I look any more. I decided to focus on the things I like. Like my killer cheekbones and ass. I’ve been told a sonnet could be written about my badonkadonk, I choose to go with that.
29. Most things in life are a choice so choose the things that make you happy. I used to be known as a severe Debbie Downer. My shit spirals were legendary and people knew to avoid me when I was on one. My job was shit, my eyebrows were dire, my boyfriend was a dickhead, my bank balance was forever making me itchy. I let these things ruin me. This isn’t about mental health and actual depression or anxiety (those things aren’t a choice) but this is about letting things get to me when I could choose not to. So now I choose not to let them. So a guy dumps me? Too good for him anyway and he was shit at fingering. So I fucked my hair up with at home dye? I’ll wear it in a top knot until I can do it again. So my friends are being shit and never want to go out? I’ll make new ones.
30. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my 30 years, I’ve learned this past year. The year I lost my Mum, the year my ex boyfriend cheated on me for the second time and I had to move out of my dream home, the year I’ve been so skint at times from trying to make it on my own that I’ve eaten 4 day old guacamole on crackers because LOL I committed to a holiday I couldn’t afford. All of these things are shit. Except the guac and the holiday because Yum and YAS. But here I am. Happier in myself than I’ve ever been before. More content in where my life is heading that ever before. Ready for whatever life will throw at me because I am living proof of whatever it is, it won’t kill me.
Ugh just writing this makes me realise I could write another 30! I know 30 is the year everyone panics over what they should’ve achieved by now. All I know is that I’ve achieved happiness and that’s fine by me.