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.

Here goes:

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.

E x

I feel like a big fat failure.

I’m still working 40 hours a week explaining the differences between rib sauces, and rolling my eyes to high heaven when someone orders a succulent filet mignon ‘well done’.

“No blood, yeah, love? Can’t be doin’ wiv no blood. CREMATE it yeah?”

I’ve got myself stuck in a nasty rut, and I know it’s not where I am supposed to be, but I simply can’t quite climb out, the edges are too slippery. One step forward, two steps back.

Selfish as it seems, because I know that many are unfortunate enough to not have jobs at all, but I just know that my calling isn’t in scraping ketchup off plates. With each rejection, each patronisingly polite phonecall telling me why I didn’t get the job, and what a shame it is because they loved me so much, I fall deeper into a sick depression where I torment myself with telling myself I’m not good enough, and gosh look at all these people who graduated with me, look how well they’re doing.

In the beginning I’d tell myself ‘onwards and upwards’ and that there are plenty more job-fishes in the sea. Recently I’ve been saying it through a frozen smile to other people who ask “How’s the job-hunt going?”, whilst feeling ill with embarrassment that they can now see what a failure I am.

Oh, the job hunt is going fine, I can find the jobs perfectly well, there’s thousands. I just can’t secure one.

I sometimes feel melodramatic as well, in the sense that almost everyone is in the same boat. There are a few success stories of people I have graduated with, but most of my friends are going from internship to internship being paid expenses, or working a mediocre job, like me. There’s nothing wrong with having a mediocre job in the service industry, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with internships, gathering experience and making a name for yourself, but we all want more than that.

This post is a rant, but a rant many can hopefully identify with. It’s also very one-sided, focusing on my problems, what I want, and what I’m not getting. Sometimes companies just don’t have the roles, resources or time to look over your CV.

Sometimes, the person got the job over you because they were simply better than you.

I won’t stop looking, and I won’t stop trying. Onwards and upwards. I meant it that time.

E x

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I don’t know what it is about writing.

By writing, I mean with a pen and paper. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, which is a shame. When I was younger I had heaps of diaries, from the Tweety Bird padlock one with the password ‘belly file-up’ (chosen by my brother), to the ringer binder with the dog on the front, which I thrust at my mother and told her to read the page about my crush on Daniel Radcliffe (first EVER ‘real’ crush) after which I ran to hide under my bed. From first crushes to the crushing cruelness of kids at school and the thick black notebook I wrote it all down in.

I was a regular writer. I loved starting off in my best handwriting (I was not adverse to ripping a page out and starting again if it wasn’t good enough) and writing the day’s thoughts. Now I don’t. My friend Francesca bought me a beautiful notebook for my birthday; one I definitely would have picked myself. I had hardly written in it. I can’t – I don’t know what to write, or even how to anymore. Where has the diarist gone?

But wait, look. Keep looking. You’re reading words. At a computer screen the words can flow from my fingertips easily. I’m barely thinking right now. But putting pen to paper now, is a challenge. Is this blog post, in some way, a diary entry? It flows the same, the only thing missing is the paper and ink. However, diaries are rarely read by anyone other than the reader. Some traditionalists would say this post ABSOLUTELY NOT a form of diary entry. It’s free to be seen across the world, by anyone, at any time.

Rather than blogging tonight, I tried to put pen to paper and ‘really’ write instead. I stopped fairly quickly, feeling that there was no real ‘point’ to it. Which I think, is an absolute shame.

What do you think?
E.

Vomiting, dizziness, light sensitivity, headache, memory loss, fever, aches.

Put any of these symptoms into Google, and you’ll be given an extensive list of nasty diseases you may have. From glandular fever to (always, inevitably) pregnancy, you’ll scare yourself shitless about the illness spreading through your body and paralysing you as you wonder how long you have left to live.

Give me one look at these symptoms though, and I’ll tell you what you have in a split-second:

HANGOVER noun/ˈhaNGˌōvər/

1. Ill-effects caused by drinking an excess of alcohol.
Oh.
That’s it. No fancy-named disease to make people feel sorry for you and bring you chocolates – no dramatic exit from this world as you struggle to sign your name on your last will and testament. No, you just drank too many alabama slammers last night. I know WHY I, and other people drink, I just don’t understand how we never follow through with the inevitable statement: “I’m NEVER drinking again.”.

It always seems to be SUCH a good idea at the time.

None of us have a ‘problem’. We get tarred with the brush of ‘youth’ and we’re almost expected to have hangovers. I’ll give you a little run down of my drinking history, although I’m not expecting it to answer any questions.

1. Ready, Steady, GO: I had my first EVER alcoholic drink at 14, on holiday with my father. I’d been begging for months because I wanted to know what it ‘tasted like’. I was bought a Reef (a hideous, orange fizzy alcopop) and was instructed to SIT AT THE TABLE and when you’ve finished it, you’re not allowed to GO OUT OF OUR SIGHT for AT LEAST HALF AN HOUR. It tasted like orange and lemonade and made my head swim for about 30 seconds. I didn’t want to get drunk, I just wanted to experience.

2. The Big One:  At 15, I started hanging out with the ‘bad girls’. One evening spent in the park, one of them turned up with a bottle of neat vodka. I can’t remember how much I drank but I do know that I still can’t drink vodka to this day. I experienced my first hangover and also how much I could upset my mother, which was devastating.

3. The Strongbow Years: From 15-17, summers were spent in abandoned fields, each of us clutching a 2ltr bottle of Strongbow. It was the in-between. We were growing up, we were drinking because it was a party and we were drinking STRONGBOW because we were 16, without jobs and we couldn’t get into pubs yet.

4. Turning 18: Being 18 was a massive buzz for all of about two weeks. I could get into CLUBS. Drinking reverted back to binging like in ‘the big one’, as all we would do on the weekend is drink huge amounts in a few short hours to get as drunk as possible because WE WERE 18.

5. Growing Up: But am I a grown up? I’ve discovered the beauty of beer gardens (read: daytime drinking), going to the bar and ordering a coke because of my early starts,  and even the ‘just one drink’ rule. But more often than not the one drink flicks a switch inside which says ‘might as well’.

It’s not just me. My OH and friends can sit together with our ‘one drink’ and all state loudly: “I am DEFINITELY not going to Barcadia”. Fast-forward 45 minutes and we are all stumbling out the door and the cycle begins again – with me grinding pelvis-first on my OH whilst shouting over his shoulder “GO ON THEN, one more”, to my friend at the bar. To waking up in the morning and thinking “I am NEVER drinking again.”

And I honestly couldn’t tell you why. I wonder if it’s a confidence thing. I often find myself loose-tongued and saying things to people that I’d probably not say sober. They usually appreciate what I say too. Does that mean though, if I were to say (tactfully) what I honestly thought to people, that I would not need to drink? Probably not.

I promise you I am thinking about this in-depth and worrying about everyone’s drinking habits, but I’m also looking at the clock and it’s almost time to meet my friends for some wine-fuelled karaoke. AND SO THE CYCLE BEGINS.

Ella x

P.S. Would I be able to sing Britney’s version of ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ whilst seductively swaying without a glass of wine in my hand? Probably not. I think we’ve found our answer.