Since I left the horror and embarrassment of high school behind; left my mum, my home, and began an independent life, I’ve learned an awful lot. A hell of a lot.
I think back to the girl who was dropped off in a new town on 19th September 2009, shake my head and wonder how I’ve got this far. As well as learning how to make an appointment at the doctors (yes mum, really), and how to do a delicate wash on my washing machine, I’ve learned a range of ‘life’ skills.
Don’t get me wrong – although this advice comes from me, don’t think that I follow it all to a T 24/7. I lose my mind sometimes, have a meltdown, scream and shout, and eat an entire large Texas BBQ Domino’s pizza in one sitting (2,300+ calories if you wondered…).The best way I find to follow my own advice is to take a deep breath and remind myself of the person I want to be. I’d say I follow my own advice 80% of the time, but sometimes the calling for a hot, greasy pizza is too damn strong.
1. Calm yourself.
Losing my s*** before the s*** even hits the fan is something I still struggle with, but I know that it is pointless. Don’t worry if there is not a problem. Have the foresight to spot potential issues, but having a fit as if the issue is happening RIGHTNOWTHISINSTANTOMFG doesn’t help a jot. Chill, Winston.
2. It’s okay to cry.
But don’t let the person who has upset you see you cry. I’m talking rude work colleagues, bitchy girls, and people that seemingly go out of their way to ruin someone’s day. They do exist; trust me. Many a toilet cubicle has been rushed to before Niagara Falls erupts from my eyes. In theory, seeing you cry should make the person who made you cry question their actions, and wonder what the hell kind of nasty person they are, and what they’re doing with their life. In reality, I feel, it gives them a kind of ‘one-upmanship’, that you couldn’t handle it; you’re weak. Release the waterfall in private, and be satisfied that they don’t know they cracked you. Also, carry concealer.
3. Everything is okay in moderation.
A bit contradictory, considering my Domino’s confession. But seriously. All things are okay if you know your limits. Eating, drinking, maybe even smoking. A girl once laughed at me and made me feel small, as I had no carbs on my plate at Thanksgiving dinner (you know who you are). I wasn’t trying to be all pretentious, ‘no carbs, you seen this body giiiiirl?’ I’d had toast for breakfast, and pizza for lunch. So ha.
4. Always take your make-up off before bed.
Just do it.
5. If in doubt, pamper.
My close friends will agree. Nothing can make you feel better than just taking an hour out, and pampering yourself. Whether it’s doing your nails, busting out the fake tan, or even just taking a bath, you’re guaranteed to feel just that little bit brighter.
6. Drink water, and always carry some with you.
We insist on these huge bags to lug about, we may as well fill them with goodness. Drinking water regularly is something I’ve only figured out in the last year or so. It just makes you feel good.
7. Doing a ridiculous dance in your room can make everything okay for a good while.
Mine is Kate Bush, ‘Wuthering Heights’. I’m serious. It’s energetic as well as elegant and floaty, and it’s something that I’d never re-enact in front of another person. After I do it, I always pray I’m not in some kind of Ella-Truman Show
8. Lose the ‘tude, dude.
I generally try to surround myself with kind, polite people. And I try to be polite 100% of the time. However, working in a restaurant really opened my eyes to how rude some people are. And I’m not even talking just customers. Remember the people from tip #2 who seemingly go out of their way to ruin peoples days? Being polite, I feel, takes no effort at all. As soon as you’re rude to me, you go on my list of blacklisted RUDIES, and unless you convince me otherwise, you’re not getting off it. Be nice.
9. Stand up for others, and most importantly, yourself.
I never used to. I’d sit and stew in my bad luck, and get angrier at the situation. A situation I could have taken control of, had I stood my ground and said “Hey, you’re in the wrong here, not me/them” or “You were rude to me/that person and I don’t think that’s particularly fair”. The issue here is confidence. It takes a lot to go up to some lofty manager or silly self-righteous prat (interchangeable?), and tell them that they are wrong. Remember to form your argument. You can stand up for yourself firmly, without being rude or unprofessional.
10. Speak clearly and confidently.
This could potentially lead on from the previous point. There’s nothing worse than trying to write down an order from someone who wants a ‘sfmmfmffuffleplease’. Gosh, I’m a waitress, not your favourite film star. I’m not important, but I am if you want your food correct. Speaking clearly and with confidence is advantageous at all times, just be sure to not confuse confidence with arrogance.
11. Never hit someone.
Be the bigger person. Even if they hit you, walk away. Report it, do whatever: just don’t sink to their level. Yes, they’ll call you a coward. But using verbal judo against someone is a lot more effective than blacking their eye. They’re clearly just too caveman to think that deeply.
12. Leave at least ten minutes before you need to.
You’ll be on time for being on time. Touchdown.
13. Don’t take things so personally.
This is a big one for me. The slightest comment used to have me running for the nearest toilet to wipe my tears before someone saw how weak I was. I had a fat comment the other day. Seriously: “Oh don’t worry. Loads of people are fatter than you.”
Double-edged sword or what? Before, that would twist and turn in my consciousness until I felt nauseous, and have me ballooning myself up in my mind until no WAY, no way I can fit into my size 10 party dress tonight. Yeah, size 10. Someone once convinced me that my size 10 butt was obese. This time, I thought: wow lady, you’ve tried to knock my confidence. Fine. At least I have boobs. I’m a boobilcious whale next to your rakey-rakeyness. It’s immature, but it works. Say it in in your head though – remember the whole politeness thing?
14. Take something with you to parties.
Anything, just don’t show up empty-handed. Usually, booze and food are preferable. I took a jelly to a party the other day. It was lame but the only thing I had to hand. But then I was the girl who brought dessert.
15. Do more things alone.
I used to have this thing where I felt embarrassed to do things alone. Shopping, swimming, or even going to the library alone to study. Now, I would think nothing of going to a restaurant to ask for a table for one. It boosts your confidence like no one’s business.
16. Cheat the system, not people.
I’ve lost count of the people I’ve met who I just know would think nothing of stepping all over me in their sharp pointy heels on their way to the top. At university, I had this great article about counterfeit alcohol I was in the process of writing. Unfortunately it never came to fruition in the time I had. A few weeks later, a girl had shamelessly stolen my whole goddamn idea start to finish (you also know who you are). If she’d asked, I may have given her my blessing on the story, maybe even given her a few tips. But, it was MY idea, and now someone else has taken the credit. This was at a time when my confidence was lower, so unfortunately I didn’t stand up for myself. It still burns me today, but I feel saying something now seems petty – what do you think?
My point is, take shortcuts, by all means. We all want the best. Just make sure you’re not cutting anyone down in the process.
17. Record your life.
It’s a great way to look back on the way things were. Granted, I squirm with embarrassment at some of my old diaries, but it happened, and I wrote it down.
Create a blog. Vlog on Youtube. Twitter, Instagram, hell, even Facebook. These are all great ways to remind yourself of your former self. You’ll thank yourself one day.
Don’t forget though, there’s always room for improvement.
If you got this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.