Spring is almost nearly just about here, and it does tend to put you in that bouncy mood of optimism. Not to say that there aren’t going to be days, during the warmer weather, that will make you want to hurl your phone at a wall, or curl up in bed at 2pm and forget there’s anything shiny and sunny in the world. Today, I am feeling mixed emotions. This is not unusual for me, and I am sure that many of you flit through the day with a jumble of thoughts and feelings that take you from happiness to despondency in a matter of minutes. However, the overriding thought that I have today is that I am, and will continue to be, an achiever of life. This thought has, in part, arrived through a mini reflection on my first boyfriend. Not normally a pause for thought in my mind anymore, since I haven’t seen him in almost 10 years. It started with some milk.
Breakfast can be a tricky meal for me, since I normally struggle to eat so early. But, as I have been continually told since I can remember, it’s the most important meal of the day, so the conformist in me always tries to have a go at it. This morning, I failed tremendously. I played it safe with cereal which, you must agree, is an easy, uncomplicated, crunchy to soggy mix of two ingredients, accompanied by bowl and spoon. Small children can handle this concoction, so hey, no worries, right?
Blanket on knees, bowl settled in between, spoon at ready…oooh, I’ll just grab that to read whilst I eat. Enter mistake number one. Out pours the milk, collecting into a creamy white pool in my lap, along with five or six crunchy, not yet soggy, morsels. Crap. Followed by mistake number two. Instinct takes over; I stand up, still holding the bowl in one hand, and with the other frantically trying to retain the puddle of milk and rapidly sponging cereal. This cannot be done successfully with a/ one hand and b/ expecting a liquid to behave itself in its self made swimming bath for, now very, soggy squares of edible cardboard. Double crap.
As I washed the blanket in the sink to prevent potential off milk smell later (the worst of smells), and threw away the remaining cereal that hadn’t escaped the bowl (by now an unidentifiable looking paste), I felt more than a little like a loser. Here I am, 25 years old (nearly 26, cry), and still incapable of grasping the very simple concepts of gravity and breakfast. It was at this moment that I wondered how Pete was doing.
I shan’t try to explain why my brain decided to connect an embarrassingly ruined breakfast with a first love. I don’t really want to know myself. But, here we are. Following the clean up, I did what any person connected to social media would do; I checked up on him. Don’t get all uppity about it now, we’ve all done it. And if you haven’t, then you either don’t have access to the internet, or you’re lying. So, you’re probably lying. Really, though, is it so bad to check on an old flame? As long as you’re absolutely, definitely, positively over said flame, then there’s really nothing to hurt either of you. Just a thought.
Turns out he seems to be doing very well. Looks happy, has a pretty girlfriend, lots of friends. I smiled upon seeing this. Good for him! I was genuinely pleased for him until I realised something. What if he, one day, took it upon himself to check up on ME through the two way mirror of social media? I had a minor freak out. He’d see the last 10 years through photos of me looking fat, fatter, with failed relationships, ridiculous hair colours, probably drunk half the time, not going anywhere, and nothing to show for myself. A loser, essentially. My minor freak out escalated to moderate.
I turned to my own page, scrolled through my photographs, and saw exactly what I was expecting. Moderate began knocking on the door of severe. I didn’t want to be a loser. I didn’t plan to be a loser. My five year old self did not write LOSER down as an answer to the teacher’s question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ So I will be damned if I am going to be a loser now. As I scrolled through the pictures, my almost severe panic reverted to moderate, and then slunk back to minor before sulkily returning to its own room in my head and slamming the door shut. I saw pictures I didn’t like of me, sure, and pictures where I questioned my sanity (seriously, bleached blonde hair?? Did no one want to stop me on that one?!). More importantly, however, I didn’t see a loser. I saw an achiever. Sure, perhaps not financially successful, or stunningly beautiful, or with the dream career, but dammit, I’m still here aren’t I?
In a perfect world, I would have all those things, but perfection is overrated and boring. And there’s no such thing, anyway, so pah to you, Perfection! I think it takes looking at yourself in a more forgiving way to realise that you have a lot to give, and a lot to be thankful for. Apologies for the cringe, dear reader, but don’t expect me to believe that you’ve never felt like a loser after seeing an ex move on, or noticing you’ve put on a few pounds, or not getting that job you really bloody wanted. Or spilling cereal in your lap. Don’t go beating yourself up for feeling like a failure. Take a second, have a look around you, check out old photos, and remember your five year old self, who wanted to be an astronaut, or a princess, or a cookie. Where you are now proves, by the very fact of your existence, that you have achieved.
We gotta keep moving forward, people! Looking back helps ground you, and remind you how far you’ve come. Also it reminds you which hair colours suit you, so bear that in mind, too. So, the next time you’re feeling a little less than awesome, perhaps it would be best to start by social media stalking yourself, and remembering how far you’ve come!