It’s great to have goals. Dreams and ambitions are what light our paths, propel us forward and make sure we actually get out of bed in the morning instead of clutching a drool covered pillow and saying “You know what? I refuse to do this.”
We’re told that no self-respecting girl or woman lets herself rest until her better is best. Even the women who celebrate slackerdom, like Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer, achieve incredibly impressive things and work astonishingly hard. We’re told to embrace our flaws, but where do we start? Surely we’d be happier if we just stopped labelling flaws, and got on board with the fact that we’re not pretty pictures of womanhood, but human beings that fart, fall over and spill things?
The pursuit of perfection won’t make us happy, but finding a way to feel content about who we are just might. Here are some steps to start living a life unfiltered:
1. Wear something white and make a snack covered in ketchup, brown sauce, chocolate or gravy. You’re human, food is delicious and sometimes things are going to get spilled. Otherwise washing machine technologists would be out of a job. Otherwise you have to stick to see through foods, or spend every meal dressed as if you’ve volunteered to move the scenery for the sixth form production of Yerma, and that’s no fun.
2. Try to use one word a day that you avoid because you’re not entirely sure of its spelling, meaning or pronunciation. If you get it wrong, let someone correct you, and then you’ve learned something and don’t have to be afraid of the word any more. (And you can always blame autocorrect.)
3. Ladder your tights. Shrug your shoulders and if someone feels the need to point it out, say “And?” and stare them down until they leave. You’ve done tight wearing humans everywhere a favour, as they will never do it again.
4. Volunteer to do something – anything – where you have to speak to an audience, or read out loud. Afterwards, you will feel like a confidence ninja, no matter what comes out. Remember that a very experienced, distinguished radio broadcaster once started Radio Four’s highly respected Today programme with the words “Oh, ****!”
5. Challenge yourself to invent the silliest, least sexy dance in the history of time. Dress up in a really unflattering outfit, and as you move, spend a lot of time focusing on the parts of your body that you don’t love. If you can, record it and play it back. You’ll realise that laughing is always more fun than looking good, and that thing you hate is probably much better on camera than it is in your head.
6. Sing to yourself and don’t stop when someone else walks into the room. Ideally, pick a song where you’re not entirely sure what the words are because the lyrics you think you’ve heard don’t make any sense. This is how we learned that the song is called Cake By The Ocean, not Keep Billy Ocean.
7. Think of the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you, and draw a picture of it. If you’re feeling particularly confident, you could put it in a frame. You’ll either be impressed by your artistic skills or laugh so hard at your efforts that you’ll be able to appreciate every mistake has comedy value.
8. Turn your jumper inside out and see if anyone notices. If they do, say that it’s an homage to Chanel’s 2014 supermarket themed collection and the discussion about whether fashion is art or commerce. If you can do this and keep a straight face, you’ll know that you can style out every awkward moment forever more.
9. If you’re feeling brave, call your teacher “Mum” on purpose and see what happens. If that’s too daunting, call your Mum “Mr Brown” and see if she notices.
Image: Amber Griffin