The pro’s and con’s of Being an Anonymous Blogger

It’s been a couple of weeks now since I started up “it’s probably definitely maybe me” (I will explain the title at some point in the future) and I would be lying if I said blogging was easy. It’s actually a lot harder than I thought.

Yes, I’ll admit I was one of those girls that thought the whole I just want to express some feelings on a blog page, I’m not bothered about who see’s it type people to start off with, but truth be told, I did start caring. As soon as you start entering the blog world you do fall in to the whole routine of wanting feedback, checking stats etc. I don’t regret any of it. I have had good days and bad days with the blog to be honest, some days I question my motivation to keep it going and others I don’t even know how I’m going to fit all my thoughts into one blog post. It’s a very up and down world.

But as you’re aware, right now and for the foreseeable future, I am writing a blog anonymously, the e-mail I use for this account, my twitter and the blog itself never reveals my name or any details that may lead to knowing my identity. Any pictures I take that contain me will not reveal my full face for the same reason.

But why anonymously?

That’s a hard one to explain, but to put it in small detail, my social anxiety is seriously bad. If you ever did know me physically as a person you would find this hard to believe. I always come across very bubbly and bouncy (it’s getting me to shut up that’s the problem) but inside, I’m having mini panic attacks every time I am in any social scenario.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I suffer from ADHD as well as anxiety, so it goes in a little circle, some days I will be hyper around new people and the next, I’m anxious about all the silly hyper things I said and did. I am also, not a very girly girl most of the time, I like wearing jackets from Topman, I only got the hang of how to apply make up correctly in the past few years, but anyway all that aside, for some reason – I don’t seem to be a girls favourite girl. I am one of those girls who other girls can find quite odd. I get evil looks from girls on the daily, hey I get funny looks from guys on the daily too. And this triggers a lot of my anxieties and makes me uncomfortable.

Through things that aren’t my fault, or in some cases are, I have a few judgmental haters (people can really hold grudges – I still get grief from a girl who decided I was a shit friend 13 years ago because I’d told her that her ex was seeing someone else, apparently the way I said it wasn’t empathetic enough and she’s hated me ever since, so in some ways things I’ve done have got me haters and in other ways it’s just people falling out with me easily who weren’t really my friends to begin with) and I always find social media an anxious place. I worry that if people find out it’s me they will give me negative shit.

I realise that a lot of this is all in my head probably, but either way it sits there and stews daily. I am also not very confident about how I look and it worries me that if people saw me they’d go off my blog instantly.

I knew that I needed to write more, I’ve always loved writing. I’m still trying to get my motivation on to write stories again – my brain constantly has ideas but I never quite get round to writing them down. And I also really wanted to blog for such a long time. I just never got the motivation. So, when I took the plunge and got a blog together I made the decision to do this anonymous and not reveal my identity. Whether I change my mind a while down the line or not, we’ll see. But for now, this is what makes me comfortable.

But what I’ve learnt through doing this recently is that there is some pro’s and con’s to blogging with ‘no identity’.

Pro’s.

Not revealing my identity has given me a real big window. I can write about things I do not have the confidence to write about as myself. What I mean by this is, in day to day life I am an honest and blunt person. But there are certain things I go through that I genuinely don’t think I would have the courage to write about if my blog wasn’t anon.

My blog has become a field for me to write about things I go through without worrying about people who know me judging me for it. From the big things to the little things; for example in my blog I can write honestly and freely about how I have intimacy issues due to PTSD from a horrible experience in my teens that led me to developing the condition Vaginismus. Could I write that where all my friends see and know it’s me? No. Because there’s so much judgment. I can write on here about my struggles with IBS, I don’t want people turning round to me at the pub saying ‘oh I didn’t realise that the reason you were gone from the gig for ten minutes was because your IBS played up and you had to spend time in the cubicle’.

There shouldn’t be so much taboo and judgement about different health issues or things that people go through, but we live in a world where it’s still a thing, and we have to cope with the anxiety that we develop along with it. Anonymous blogging is a window to saying everything you wanna say without the fear of people you know giving you negative judgement.

Con’s.

One thing i have learnt from doing this anonymously is, it can be slightly harder to connect with people in the blog community when they don’t know who you are. People get very cautious around connecting with people who aren’t showing their full face or personal details, and that’s fine, I get it. The internet is an amazing tool that we are lucky to have the pleasure of using daily, and it gives us the opportunity to make so many friends on-screen. But, it is also a dangerous place, sometimes. And you do get a lot of dangers. So I totally understand the wariness some people experience with an anonymous blogger. Is she really who she says she is? Is it actually a catfish? And also, social media and even the blogging world is a lot like secondary/high school at times too, there’s still – just like on every platform (this isn’t just about bloggers, this is life in general) a lot of popularity contests and sadly, this will always be the way everywhere you go, I’ve seen a lot of beautiful girls sharing their beauty blogs and the amount of attention they get is unreal.

So sometimes, your anxiety and lack of self-esteem can play a factor in blogging too and you will sit there and think people can’t see who I am and they know I’m not pretty enough which let’s be honest, it’s silly, that’s not what blogging is about. It shouldn’t matter how popular or pretty other bloggers are, we’re all in this together. But I’d be lying if I said from time to time I do sometimes get bummed about how unpopular I am both online and offline. But again, some of this is overdramatised in my head.

One thing I will say though, without a shadow of a doubt is that I’ve never been more comfortable in any community then I have been with the blogging community. There is so much support out there for each other, I love going through my Twitter feed every day and seeing how great everyone is to each other, it’s so rare to find in this day and age.

You bloggers are all incredible people, keep doing what you’re doing, and don’t beat yourself up if your blog doesn’t seem to be as big and popular as someone else’s, one thing I’ve learnt is, as important as stats are, sometimes you need to acknowledge the fact that if you are just reaching out to one person who related to your post that much to like it and comment on it, then you’re already succeeding. 😉

Closure from break-ups & Rejection

Being dumped or being rejected in general, is shit.

There’s no sugar coating this, there is no such thing as a good break up or rejection situation. No matter how much we might play the ‘it was my idea’ or ‘it’s for the best’ all those other lines, we always feel a little bit shitty when the person we thought we’d be long-term with, didn’t quite work out that way.

I have had more than my fair share of rejection if I was to make a montage of my life, it would literally be guy after guy dumping me or rejecting me in numerous ways. It’s become a special untalented skill of mine. And I am definitely skilled in putting on the game face. (the game face is that face you put on in front of everyone where you pretend you are okay with that arsehole across the room who broke your heart in a million pieces, when really you are fighting the urge not to cry or punch them in the face).

Now, recently I had to go to a social event where my ex and his new love would also be in attendance. Quick back story; my ex was with me for several months a few years back, he broke it off one day while we were sitting watching a horror film by just simply going “I don’t want to be in a relationship anymore” of course I handled it gracefully, storming out of his house with all my bags in tears, but after a couple of months we gave each other our stuff back and I got the whole ‘I need time alone to be single’ etc etc. Anyway, within six months he was in a relationship with my friend, they’re still together now and they’re ecstatically happy. I got over the concept of my friend being with my ex fairly quickly, in small towns like mine you literally have slim pickings and everyone appears to date everyone so it was a high chance he’d get with someone I knew anyway. But the thing I was finding hard, was acknowledging them together. The idea of being anywhere where they were together made me sick with nerves.

But at this recent event, I managed to get closure, finally, from everything that happened. I managed to engage in regular conversation with them, and felt true happiness for them and no longer felt any resentment. And this is something that I’ve started trying to do with every situation where a guy dumps or rejects me (which is sadly, often). It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been doable, and I’ve done so by following some certain steps and guides I’ve made for myself for “overcoming a squashed heart”.

So here are the simple steps and guides I’ve gone through myself to help me get over these situations and also gain closure at the same time, please note- not all of these will work for everybody, different situations and break ups means different ways of coping. But if some of my ideas can help any one who suffers with constant negative emotions over break ups then I’m happy. Also, if anything, I just hope people have enjoyed reading them..

First things first, and important to remember: do not give yourself a time frame!! Every single one of us is unique and different, some of us can overcome bad feelings in a week, some of us can hold grudges for years. Do not compare yourself to your friend Ally who got over that dick Brian in 30 days.. that doesn’t mean you’ll be over all your emotions in 30 days. You do you. In your time.

Take other people’s advice, but don’t use it as gospel, if your mate tells you ‘I’ve read that people have to do this to get over someone properly’ then take it on board, but never feel forced to do anything you don’t want to do just to save face.

It is okay to admit you’re not over it. You will be in time, but the sooner you accept all of your feelings, the good and the bad, the easier it will eventually be. Don’t be embarrassed to admit to your best friend that it still hurts. You have to go with the truth, if anyone thinks it makes you look stupid then they’re not your friend.

Spend time with your single friends, or friends that can take time out from their partners to have some drinks with you or do an activity. Try to spend some time away from any scenario where you’ll be thinking about your ex too much.

Take up (if you don’t already) some form of exercising regularly – join a gym or take up yoga, working out actually really helps clear your mind.

Eventually, when the time feels right, write down your feelings but also, if you think you’re up to it, write down the advantages of your relationship not working out. I’m not saying you have to write down “he/she has ugly teeth” or even that you have to write anything terrible about that person, some break ups are healthy and not for negative reasons, but even if it’s little things like ‘I wouldn’t be able to go on this trip if they were still with me’ or ‘I can wear that top they hate’ or ‘I can now get my nose pierced coz he hated nose piercings’ (that is a genuine one I wrote once – and of course got the piercing), no matter how big or small the points of the list are, it’s kind of like a mantra, if you do this enough then you will eventually start believing those points as advantages and it will help with the healing process.

If it hurts you – block them even if it is on a temporary basis, sometimes you have to shut people out for a bit so you can heal. I blocked my ex on social media for a chunk of last year (mainly because my friends are his friends and they interact a lot so it kept popping in my news feed), and it really helped. Ignorance can be bliss for a while, especially if it was a situation where you are the dumped and not the dumper. It will hurt you more to see what they’re doing. Block it out for a bit.

(Also – I truly believe that we have the right to block anyone on social media at any time if they make us uncomfortable or give us bad vibes, we don’t have to explain ourselves on that)

Avoid (where possible) any social situations where you are likely to see them or have to engage with them when you’re not in the frame of mind to say anything to them.

If you can: and only when you’re ready: arrange a time to talk to the person. Now, in some scenarios I know this is not possible, and also some times bad things can happen. But if you can get to a level with your ex where you can sit and have a civil conversation just to clear the air and the tension (particularly if you hang in the same social circle) then this will also help you get one step closer to closure. If you can’t actually speak to them, maybe write down an email or letter (you don’t have to send it to them) expressing how you currently feel, if you are getting over them it might help you to write that down.

The above points there are just ideas and guidelines that I have found healthy and doable to give myself closure from these negative ex experiences. But here is one little point I would like to end this with, that I think is important to clarify and is also what I remind myself of regularly so that I don’t get too bummed:

Everything happens for a reason . Whether you believe in fate, or coincidence, things always work our one way or another for a reason, sometimes it isn’t clear to us what the reason actually is. But sometimes the reason is as simple as ‘they were what you needed at that point in your life, but now they’re not.’ Always look at each relationship you have as a learning curve. We learn things about ourselves or what we want from each relationship we have, trust that. Trust that the things that don’t work out for us are preparing us for something awesome round the corner. Sometimes we have to pick up the emotional pieces too many times, but remember that whether you’re struggling from a break up, single or in a settled relationship, we are all strong individuals who got this far in life from being ourselves and learning from all our little hiccups, mistakes and positives along the way. Take every negative relationship as a lesson, a lesson that is building you up for the strong person you are becoming. Day by day.

What I learnt from re-watching 500 Days Of Summer.

I remember 500 days of Summer coming out about ten years ago, it was the film that introduced me to my love for Zooey Deschanel & Joseph Gordon-Levitt, that also made me happy because it wasn’t a typical love story. I loved everything about that film, I loved the way it had everything in a jumbled order so you could see positive & negative sides of the relationship in a random order, my favourite part about it was that it taught me that sometimes you can love someone but not be right for them.

Then after watching a mini essay on Amazon Prime ‘the weight of expectation’ a man’s observation of the film, I decided to get the film out again & watch it, for the first time in possibly about 7-8 years! My God, the film turned out to be a massive eye opener when I watched it again.

Do you ever watch a film, love it, but then forget a lot of the main roots of the film, then rewatch it years later and learn something totally different?

That is basically what happened to me when I watched it again. My mind was blown. What really fascinated me most though, was how much the film taught me about myself.

Now we all know the main plot of the story, Joseph’s character Tom becomes obsessed with a girl called Summer. He is convinced that she is his soulmate & embarks on a relationship with her, only to get dumped & find out that in less than 500 days of knowing her, she married someone else.

I remember when I first watched the film years back, although I adored Zooey Deschanel (still do), I thought her character Summer was a bit of a bitch, & my perception was that she played Tom & messed him around. However watching this again, I actually see that it’s not Summer who’s in the wrong. In the film, Summer makes it very clear to Tom that she doesn’t want anything serious, she asks him if that’s okay & he plays it cool about it (clearly thinking he can change her mind), when you rewatch the film you actually notice that Summer doesn’t actually go hot & cold with him, not really. She is always pretty much the same with him. He just fixated on this idea of her & sees her differently in the beginning. He doesn’t see the signs that it will never be more than a bit of fun.

Watching the film, I actually learnt that, I was a lot like Tom in real life. When I look at my failed relationships, I realise that, I didn’t really love the people I was with. I loved the idea that they could be the one , I lived in a total fantasy scenario. I had these extreme expectations that the guy I was seeing would turn out to fall madly in love with me, depend on me, & vice versa, but it was never really about them as a person, it was just this deluded idea that we could be perfect & happy. Because I just wanted to mean something to someone.

The fact that I’ve bumped into my exes on numerous occasions like weddings, friends parties etc & sat there questioning what I saw in them justifies this fully. Because there was never a I love him. It was all about what I wished our relationship would be.

My anxiety played a nasty factor in a lot of my relationships as well, & I found myself constantly pestering men I dated for reassurance (you know the whole double texting, texting again if they don’t reply in 2 minutes, all that crazy crap), but whenever it inevitably ended, I moved on to another guy. Pretty quickly. Tom does this in the film too, the film ends (spoiler alert) with Tom meeting another girl (conveniently happens to be called Autumn – I see what you did there!) & you know that he’s going to start pursuing Autumn the same way.

I literally did this exact thing every time I got dumped or rejected. Instead of focusing on myself, my own wellbeing, being happy on my own, I would go straight on to Tinder or Bumble or go down the pub looking for a potential guy to start chatting to, it was always aimed initially as a distraction from the previous guy, but I’d always end up getting engrossed in the next guy too, validating my point about loving the idea of someone & not the person.

I had a lot of men in my life that were like Summer too. Always making it pretty clear that they ‘didn’t want a relationship’ & wanted to play the field, & I would pretend that was cool & hope they fall in love with me. Why do we do that? Why when someone tells us the honest truth to our faces do we still sit there & think challenge accepted ?! We need to respect that persons decision & either agree to the laid back terms or completely walk away. I think I just lived in a delusion because most of my close friends ended up in relationships with guys who were ‘friends with benefits’ to start with, so somehow fixated this false hope in my head when quite frankly, the men I was falling for were not the relationship type, & had I focused on falling for them as a person & not my fantasy, I would have nipped it in the bud from the start.

There are also a lot of things in the film that make me question my actual beliefs. I’ve always been one of those I believe everything happens for a reason, but I also think a lot of things are a coincidence types. I also share a mixture of Summer’s & Tom’s different views, I like to fixate in the idea of a soulmate, but I also sometimes find myself in Summer’s mindset near the start where she believes love is a fantasy. I think when you have had a pretty rubbish love life & a lot of bad luck in general you naturally become a rather cynical human, that’s just the way I am.

But this film generally taught me about how people should & shouldn’t be in a relationship. Joseph is completely on the ball when he expresses that his character is in a selfish fantasy & it is not healthy for anyone to be in that mindset. It’s taught me that going forward I need to be more aware of what I am chasing.. am I chasing the guy because I like him, or am I chasing the fantasy of what I want him to be? When a guy tells me he doesn’t know what he’s looking for or he’s not into serious, or he’s unsure, that means I need to let it go – if he’s not sure about what he wants, it means he’s not sure about me. I need to accept that & move on.

I think as a whole, what we need to take from the way we are, or more importantly, what I need to take from all this, is that you are never going to be completely happy with someone until you can be happy in yourself. Until you fulfil yourself no one is going to come close. The moment you are depending on another person to make you feel important or happy, is the moment you need to take a step back. I know it is easier said then done, I have literally been addicted to the idea of men & dating & relationships since I was about 16 years old, it is very hard to suddenly shut your mind off from fantasy land & accept things as they are (I blame the over the top romantic comedies for our false ideas personally). But we have to focus on us.

As I’ve stated in previous posts, I am currently on a dating hiatus & this film has literally justified to me exactly why I should be doing so right now. I need time to learn to love myself & focus on what I really want & what makes me happy, I don’t need a man to complete my life. I need to make sure that I am fully okay with myself & my needs before I start dating someone again.

Because when I do date someone again because I know eventually I will, I want the reason to be because of who they are & what I like about them. Not because I’m lonely.

the struggles of social anxiety :(

“I stare at my reflection in the mirror, why am I doing this to myself?” – Who You Are, Jessie J.

I spend a lot of time staring at myself in the mirror, questioning where I’m going or why I’m feeling how I do. One of the downsides of going through social anxiety is that it literally crippled my mind. To the point that I’m staring at myself for long periods of time – to everyone around me I’m just staring or day dreaming, but in my head, a war zone is kicking off. There’s endless debates and scenarios going on that I have absolutely no control over. Nor do I have any motivation to make it stop.

As my previous posts have mentioned, I am a long term sufferer of ADHD & Anxiety. Social Anxiety plays a huge factor in this. Particularly when my ADHD allows me to make an absolute fool of myself and has done for years, it has a long term affect on my brain. I’ve fallen out with a lot of people over the years through crazy behaviour, for various reasons. I’ve also had many scenarios where people start to avoid being near me when we’re in the same place because they find me irritating, annoying, impulsive, “too much”. It is very difficult knowing this about yourself. And it is also hard to move on from that mindset when so many people around you make you believe that this is the truth.

I wish I couldn’t give a shit.

But I do, I really do give a shit. My personality may express otherwise to people who have met me, because I act so hyper and carefree but when I get home, I am then overthinking every thing I did and how everyone around me must think I’m an absolute loon.

I have started trying to do different things in order to try and clear up the social anxiety aspects. Over the last year, I’ve gone to a couple of gigs and theatre trips on my own. Which is a big achievement for me. But then I go back to square one again because I start freaking out over other stuff.

When it comes to going to a show alone, I’m fine. I can go and sit and watch Wicked at Apollo at the end of the row on my own and not care because there isn’t really interaction when you’re seated watching a show. I can go to the cinema alone for that same reason. But one thing I’ve always loved, is gigs and music festivals etc – those things completely freak me out. I can’t put myself in a position where I stand in crowds or check out bands in my area without the incoming fear of humiliation.

There are loads of bands in the London/Harrow/Watford area that I always see ads for but I am completely terrified of even trying to go to one. I even sometimes can’t even fathom asking a friend to go with me because I am so frightened to be around new people.

I don’t know what it is about my appearance, or personality, but people have always looked at me like I’m a strange individual. Or repulsive maybe I don’t know. Girls in particular are not normally big fans of me, for reasons unknown. Maybe because I don’t fit that mould and I’m not very good at all that ‘girly’ stuff. Guys either don’t see me at all or see me as some weirdo not worth a second look. And so to have the idea of standing in a very public place, watching a good band, overthinking how everyone else is perceiving me actually makes me want to vomit.

It sounds selfish, because realistically, one thing I learnt from CBT was that a lot of the time, we are not even crossing someone’s mind, they aren’t even overthinking what we’re like, they don’t know you. But with social anxiety – you lose that logic. There is no logic. You just have this awful conception that every single person around you thinks you’re vile or annoying.

I am getting ready to go for a weekend away and my tummy is doing flips over every possibility of how I can make a fool of myself, what if I drink too much, what if I say something wrong? It’s all so stressful.

I am working on new ideas to try and focus on more ‘positives’, get myself out there a bit more without freaking myself out or doing what I’ve done in the past where I buy a ticket for something and then on the day hyperventilate and decide I am not going. I did consider going to like, singles parties or dinner date events that I’ve seen online, but then I’ve realised that’s going to be more dating focused and that’s not gonna help my dating hiatus.

So these are my targets for the next few months, to try and overcome social anxiety;

  1. Try some relaxation techniques every morning and night to try and filter out some of the negative vibes
  2. Explain my situation to a friend or two and see if they can attend some events with me
  3. Start attending more events
  4. Be myself. Regardless of whether this is going to make people hate me or not
  5. Remember that if people do see you negatively or hate on you for being you, that you do not need them in your life these people are strangers pretty much, you lived this long without them, you can carry on without them and their negative opinion too.

We shall see over the next few months how this works out.

Notes to my younger self…

A while back, when I was having CBT for social anxiety, the woman I was seeing told me to write notes to myself. To help with the social anxiety side. I found the process quite interesting and felt a release when I did this.

I was thinking about this the other day while I was commuting to work on the London Overground. And I somehow started pondering about my younger years, like, when I was in my late teens dreading my 20s, having high expectations for where my life was going. I then started imagining in my mind that if I could somehow, get in touch with 19 year old me, what messages would I give her for the future? So with that, I decided to write it down, and lucky you I decided to share it on my blog..

So here it is, the notes I would give to 19 year old me if I could;

– you are going to get answers for all those things you think are wrong with you, and things will be (slightly) easier when you do.

– Those people who you call your friends right now. They’re not. But power through, because a few years from now you are going to meet the most amazing friends on the planet.

you’re not as stupid as you think you are.

– you won’t work in this shop for much longer, you’re really going to surprise yourself.

– you’re not going to find love easy, or relationships, you won’t find the one any time soon either. But embrace the relationships you have anyway. You are going to learn so much about yourself from each and every one. You won’t see it at the time, especially when it falls apart, but you will.

– trust your gut. Always. You will trip up on this from time to time, but a majority of the gut instincts you’re going to have in the next decade won’t be wrong.

– write more. Don’t leave it too late before you remember how much you love doing it.

– Don’t dye your hair jet black. You will look weird.

– Social media is a trap.

– Try not to stress too much over the things you can’t change, you’re not going to listen to this, but I had to say it anyway.

– Think long and hard about some situations that arise for you, and consider the affect it will have on those around you. You may live to regret losing certain people through your actions.

– do not drink vodka. Ever. You will learn by your mid 20s that this does not go well with you and will have awful repercussions. Try sweet rum, you’ll love it.

People hurt each other. Regardless of whether they want to. You will hurt people, and people will hurt you. It’s just the way humans are, try not to let it crush you too much, you will learn the difference between the ones who mean to and the ones who don’t.

– You will be okay on your own. Spend a LOT more time finding yourself and figuring yourself out. You won’t always get it right, and it will take you a long time to learn but that’s okay. You do you.

LOVE YOURSELF MORE.

This is going to sound really strange, and I get that this post is rather random. But that somehow, in some weird twisted way, made me feel better. And also managed to get my mind off of crippling social anxiety that I’m experiencing right now about going away for the weekend.

Living life as a real life DUFF.

The other day I was sitting in my room watching these lovely daffodils I had got recently slowly blooming into beautiful flowers, and it got me thinking about how gradually we as people bloom into the people that we are, as cliche as it sounds, it is true. As we grow older we do start to learn more things about ourselves, we progress as characters and people, we don’t remain the same person our whole lives do we?

For me, I have always been a real life DUFF. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, there was a film about it a few years back (GREAT film, I recommend) where a teen girl learns that she is the Duff in her friend circle. For clarification if you haven’t seen it, the Duff is a ‘designated ugly fat friend’… now, to be clear, a lot of the time Duff’s aren’t necessarily fat or ugly. It’s just the term used, but what they are, is less attractive than their friends. The concept of the Duff is that they are the least appealing one among a hot crowd, so people use them as their ‘gateway’ shall we say, to get to the ‘hot friends’. It sounds harsh I know, but it’s the world we live in.

I have been the Duff since I was little, I had a hot sister (obviously as kids she was not referred to as hot, more cute/pretty) and people would sometimes befriend me to get close to her.. I even had guys say things like ‘how can you be sisters? she’s really pretty.’ Somehow as I grew older as well, I ended up befriending the most gorgeous girls. You know the ones who have the most perfect filtered selfies all the time, the guys follow them round with their tongues half way down their chin. All that crap. I was never really the desirable one among the crowd. I was popular sure, but more as the girl that the guys would love to hang out with and have jokes with, not hook up with. In hindsight, this wasn’t always the worst thing because my friends did tend to get really hurt by some of these guys for messing them all about, and I’ve been used enough in my life by shitty men that I don’t need to then add half the guys my friends slept with to that number. But anyway, my self esteem was extremely burst and I struggled a lot being the Duff among my friends.

The hardest thing, about spending your life being the least attractive one, is that sometimes you can have some horrid groups of friends that see you as a project. Projects are all well and good in films like Clueless, but one of the important things you should always remember about people is, sometimes they are happy being what and who they are. Maybe they don’t want to change!! I’ve never thought I was the hottest girl going, evidently being the Duff has proven the opposite. But I am… comfortable with how I present myself, and I think every girl and guy should feel that way about themselves. Previous friends would make strange backhanded compliments to me which were actually quite hurtful… like “Oh my god can I take your make up off and put something else on, I have a cool look for you” or “maybe you should try doing this instead” or my personal favourite: “don’t worry, a guy once told me that guys go for pretty girls when they’re having fun but when they settle down they’ll go for the average ones”… Now although sometimes, when my friends were saying things like this, they were doing so with good intentions, I don’t think all of my previous female friends were intentionally spiteful, it can be quite a bruiser to have people constantly point out the improvements you should make to yourself.

People need to be more respectful of how a person wants to feel in their own skin.

I would like to say as this post goes on that I’m not the Duff anymore or that I now see myself as beautiful or whatnot, but this isn’t entirely the case right now. I’m in my thirties and I still struggle with self esteem issues, (as my previous posts have pointed out). I have a new set of female friends now, who I have had for a good few years now, who don’t make me feel like I’m the Duff. And I think that is what is important. There is something I’ve also learnt from growing up as a Duff as well, it’s a matter of opinion. My friends – the good eggs that I’ve had for the last few years, have never made me feel like I need to improve myself. In fact, we have many debates over how pretty we think the other one is. Me and my best friend in particular, have constant little WhatsApp rows over who is the prettier one. She’s always been drop dead gorgeous and has the most banging eyeliner, hair colours, great boobs, like the ideal alternative chick, and I’ve always envied how gorgeous she is. Yet, she argues with me about the fact that she envies how I don’t wear a lot of make up and I still always look beautiful without even trying. In fact, today I messaged her about how low I was feeling about how stupid I am when it comes to the opposite sex and how ugly I felt (she’s used to me having these vents at her a lot) and without me asking for opinions or anything, she sent me back my WhatsApp profile picture and had basically scribbled on it all these qualities she saw in my features, and also sent me a long paragraph about how although it frustrates her that I wouldn’t see it for myself, she thought that I was beautiful, amazing etc. And this is the sort of friend I could have done with in my late teens and early twenties. Instead of the one’s who made me feel like I was always in need of ‘improvement’.

Being the Duff can be a bummer, but it’s also a blessing. Do you know why? Because I learnt to be happy with who I am naturally, and the truth is, everyone to some extent can be the Duff. I’ve learnt over the years that not everyone’s taste is the same, and I’ve had guys I’ve dated tell me they don’t see the fascination with some of my friends who I perceive as the hottest girls alive – because as the saying goes Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve learnt over the years that, as much as it upset me sometimes, because it is a mega downer when you’ve deleted Tinder and Bumble for the 20th time this year as you still have no one notice you or you make a fool of yourself because you accidentally view a hot guy you saw on a dating app’s insta story or like their pic (don’t even pretend that we all haven’t been there!) but, I then sit there and think – do I really want to have LOADS of guys chasing after me? No actually, I don’t need guys after me for artificial reasons. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is lovely to be attractive to someone and we all no matter what we say, do go by physical attraction with people and we want to be attractive to people, but also, the looks only get us so far don’t they, and I’d rather wait patiently for a guy to find me and fall for me then have loads of guys fall at my feet for stereotypical reasons alone.

As the film The Duff quite kindly points out, we’re all duff’s in our own way. Some of us will feel like it a lot more than others do, however, whether we are the one who everyone thinks is the real life Duff or whether we’re beautiful to people without even knowing that we are, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last year battling my insecurities it is this: The only one who has control over how I look and how I perceive myself is me. I read a book (more than once) called ‘What A Time To Be Alone‘ by Chidera Eggerue and it literally changed my life. She spends the entire book pretty much explaining to us that the only person who can love you for who you are is yourself, ‘We can each decide our own fate’ is one of the captions on the back of the book, and she is so spot on. We have the control over what our fate is. I’m not saying that this means that we suddenly decide oh I don’t wanna be single anymore, and we then suddenly find someone, because life is about things happening to us for a reason and at the right time. I truly believe that the reason why I still constantly feel like a Duff and I haven’t managed to thoroughly enjoy being myself and settle down yet is because I still have a lot of work to do on myself.

I’m now at a point where I’m taking a hiatus from dating, because I got so fed up of chasing people that made me feel more Duff-like than ever, I needed a break from being what felt like ‘the ugly duckling of tinder‘ who would basically get matches from people who just wanted an ego boost but never even considered taking me out on a date (it does not do wonders for anxiety let me tell you). I’m at a point where, I’m actually finally okay with being the Duff but also, I’m okay with looking at myself as a work in progress. I’m working on being confident in myself and happy with who I am.

So then hopefully, should someone who isn’t using me to get to my friends comes along, I won’t need them to tell me how awesome I am because I will know that myself already deep down. We should always have relationships to add to our happiness. Not define it.

10 years on… He’s Just Not That Into You is still the film we all need.

Warning: this post contains spoilers about the plot line of the film ‘He’s just not that into you’ (but realistically, you should have seen that film by now and if you haven’t, maybe this post will inspire you to give it a go!)

Dating is hard. In this generation in particular it is really bloody hard. As a 30+ year old woman who has spent about 85% of her adult life being a single desperate lady, I can say the dating world is tough. Dating app’s are even harder. But I will touch on the world of dating specifically in a variety of later posts I can promise you. But this post, is something I need to share with everyone about a particular film that I think anyone in my scenario (or even in relationships) needs to see, and take note of.

Ten years ago in 2009, an american chick flick was released with the gripping title ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’. I remember when it came out, a lot of friends were posting statuses about it, how good the trailers looked and also how if they went to see it, it was going to make them ‘understand men better’. Bit of an extreme expectation if you ask me, but the fact is, this film touches on numerous single and relationship scenarios in a lot of ways and to this day it is the most realistic film I’ve ever seen about dating.

It’s a well known fact about me that I’ll watch anything, I am mainly a horror, Star Wars, Tim Burton kind of girl but I am a sucker for a good romantic comedy or chick flick. Even though, I find myself frustrated with them a lot of the time – with this whole unrealistic kissing in the rain not being a complete mess, men and women chasing each other in airports, crashing their ‘true loves’ weddings, like seriously – we all need to sit back and acknowledge that these things just do not happen in real life. I personally, no matter how much I thought someone was the one for me would never go and crash their wedding to prove a point, you’ve got to let that shit go. But anyway, I’m sliding off the point here and that is this, to this day, even 10 years on from release, I still turn to this film every single time I need reminders when it comes to my dramatic love life and confusion with the opposite sex.

Now, it may seem like common sense and not something that we need to be reminded of over and over again, but seriously, we do. Because over the years I have learnt that we all like to live in a complete fantasy scenario. We are constantly making excuses for the opposite sex when they don’t call us back or reply to our messages within a few hours of us sending them. I’ve learnt that even my best friends do this to me, when I have guys constantly going quiet on me or not contacting me or seeing me when I want them to, my friends are always trying to make excuses for them and do the whole ‘Maybe he’s busy’ ‘Maybe he’s had an emergency’ etc etc. The first couple of minutes of the film ‘He’s just not that into you’ is basically a montage of a bunch of scenarios where women are telling each other different explanations as to why a man has rejected or dumped them, but as Gigi’s voiceover states we are just avoiding the obvious.

Gigi

Gigi is literally my hero. Because she’s me. Throughout the film, she is completely incapable of playing it cool. She runs after guys before they leave the bar to ask who’s calling who first, she keeps checking her phone for messages, she waffles on and on… I am basically the real life British equivalent of Gigi. My friends can vouch for that. Yes, Gigi finds her night in shining armor eventually, but not before finding herself in quite a few awkward rejection situations beforehand. But here is why, even though you could argue that, the film still has those ‘predictable plot lines’ where the guy that’s helping her out ends up being the one, I would argue that although you might have seen it coming, it is still pretty damn believable. Why? Because he doesn’t acknowledge it straight away, that he wants Gigi. Now this situation happens in every day life, I’ve seen it happen a lot. You have these friends who hang out a lot, have great chemistry, but one of them doesn’t actually realize they like them until they can’t have them anymore. And that is exactly what happens. Gigi leaves, he pines for her, and eventually goes to find her – he doesn’t run through airports, or crash dates, or anything OTT and unrealistic. He just simply turns up at her apartment to tell her he is an idiot and he likes her. Simple.

I’m not saying we all should date our friend that we always talk to about our love life… this is not an advertisement for friend-dating. It doesn’t work for everyone.

Gigi of course, is not the only person with a story in this film. There are numerous characters going through different struggles. There’s a married couple with issues – the wife is a bit of a nag I’ll be honest, but the husband (played by a yummy Bradley Cooper) is an arsehole who secretly smokes behind her back and cheats on her with Anna – possibly the most selfish person in the film (in my opinion), Anna basically not only has an affair with Ben knowing he’s married with the secret hope he’ll leave his wife for her, but when things get a bit pear shaped, she starts using her friend Conor – a cute little desperate male friend of hers who she has history with. Conor is like a male version of Gigi in this film, he will do ANYTHING for Anna to get her to hook up with him again, and Anna uses him to her advantage when things don’t work with Ben. Now, no-one’s perfect, and we’ve probably all had a situation or two where we may have hurt someone whether we intended to or not. No judging here. But there’s a lot of stuff going on in this film where there’s guys who don’t want to marry their long-term girlfriends, guys or girls not calling each other back, trying to read between the lines of whether someone likes you or not. It’s all really hard!

Bear in mind also, that this film was 10 years ago, before we even regularly used dating app’s like Bumble, Tinder, Hinge etc. Myspace is the site that gets a shout out in this film which shows how old it really is. Imagine if we had a film now about dating apps! But regardless of this, the film is still relevant. It still speaks volumes in a lot of ways. So in honour of this film being in my life for 10 years, helping me along the way here are the things I’ve learnt in life from this film, that I think is good for anyone to touch down on..

There are rules and exceptions to rules: People tend to always treat people the same way when they don’t give a shit, they only change for the one, or who they feel is the one. Think about it – when you’re scrolling through your dating app’s or having different people express an interest in you, they’re not that bad but you’re not fussed either way – you’re going to treat all of them in the same way. But when there’s someone you really like, you will, without even realizing you’re doing it: always act differently. And you need to recognize when the roles reversed and someone isn’t making an effort for you.

Communication is NOT difficult: No matter how busy you say you are, we all will always have time to check our phones. I’m sorry but unless there is a life-threatening situation, this is the truth. No one is separated from their phone or PC for more than a day without valid reason. We prioritize what we do on our phones when we use them, and your crush is the same. If they are not calling you back or messaging you.. it is not because something came up (obviously be reasonable with your time limit we’re talking about 24 hours not 24 minutes), it is because you are not a priority to them and they are not bothered if they talk to you or not.

Don’t give up hope: Regardless of how many times you get rejected, or kicked to the curb, don’t be too cynical when it comes to dating. It’s hard to feel positive about dating outcomes when you are rejected all the time (Believe me, I KNOW!) but not every person you date is the same. Have faith in dating and most importantly yourself.

If your love interest is already invested in someone else, run: Now I don’t care if they look like your celebrity crush, or they are a celebrity or that they tell you everything you want to hear. This may seem like an obvious statement to make but you’d be surprised how common these situations are. I myself, shamefully have been in Anna’s position before where a guy in a relationship has told me everything I want to hear and I fall for the BS (this was many many years ago and I have learnt from my mistake). It’s easy for us to get lost in a fantasy and when someone is giving us all the lines we want to hear, we fall for them and hope it’s meaningful, it doesn’t help that half of the romantic comedies and chick flicks we obsess over actually involve people cheating on each other all the time ‘because they’re in love’ but we have to separate fact from fiction. If the person you want is with someone else, they literally have no intention of leaving them for you. If they did, they would have done it. It’s that simple. If you allow them to see you and do the things they want to do with you behind their partners back, I’m telling you they will literally have their cake and eat it. Once the novelties died with you, they will still be with their lover, and not you. Or hey, eventually they might get found out and leave their love for you but can you really trust them not to do the same to you? I mean, this is a flexible topic I know because there are cases where people have left their partners because they’ve fallen for other people, fine, you can’t control how you feel but it’s more respectful for your partner to turn round to you one day and say ‘I don’t love you anymore’ than it is for you to find out they’ve been dating someone else behind your back before they came to this conclusion. Right?

It is OK to be on your own: Just because everyone you know may be happily settled down and you’re not, doesn’t mean that that’s a bad thing. Sometimes your happy ending is just you. Being on your own. It happens to be the ending for one of the characters in the film, where they pick up the pieces and start fresh, I have so much respect for that being one of the endings because I think that this sort of thing is SO important in films these days. We watch so many films where people constantly end up with each other and it can make us feel like there’s something wrong with us because we can’t be on our own. There is nothing wrong with any of us singletons. We’re on our own because it’s right for us right now.

All images from Google.

I feel like this quote was the perfect way to end this post.

Again, if you have not seen the film – you can download it or buy it literally anywhere, I highly recommend it. Also, you can read the book that the film is loosely based on with the same title. I have read that myself on a few occasions and it’s very on point.

(The book is by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo).