Like most people, I spent my teenage years in a constant state of embarrassment. I felt somewhat guilty about my own existence and did everything I could to limit my impact on others, suppressing my more obnoxious quirks and wearing dull colours to try and physically blend in with my surroundings. It felt wrong to take up more space in the world than was absolutely necessary.
Let’s play the fun game of comparing Rosie from secondary school with the twenty-two year old Ro penning this potential masterpiece:
|Small Rosie||Physically the Same Size but Older Ro|
|– Blushed easily||– Only blushes when it is culturally insensitive not to|
|– Afraid of mirrors, selfies||– Obsessed with my own self image (see instagram)|
|– Terrified of being noticed||– Craves the attention of peers, strangers|
As you can see, Small Rosie was clearly more self-conscious than PtSSbOR AKA me_irl. Whilst I value introspection, teenage me was so self-aware that my very existence felt burdensome. Not so anymore.
Sure, I have my off days, but when asked to place myself on the egg scale I’d rate myself a solid Good Egg. What can I say, the people love my branded mixture of low-effort comedy and occasional incredibly long treatise on The Black Cloud. The public seems to respond to my daring mash-up of low talent and high self-belief. Passersby and peers alike are drawn to my brave fashion choices like moths are drawn to cliches.
I know I’ve used that moth/cliche gag before but I love it so much and I do what I want. Expect to see it again.
In the spirit of honouring self-improvement and immortalising self esteem, here’s a list of things that used to weigh on my soul. Whereas I would have cringed at the mention of them, these are now sources of (at worst) ambivalence or even (at best) pride.
having big rips in my trousers
When I was at school, I thought showing off a bit of knee was shameful. Not because it demonstrated my hatred of shopping or financial insolvency, but because it was just a bit too tryhard. It’s hard to exude an air of cool apathy when you’ve very obviously invested your spare time in making your trousers look worn in exactly the right kind of way.
Nowadays, I’m unrepentant about trying very hard at lots of things, including spending a long time figuring out exactly where to slash my trousers. YES, I tore the bottoms off these jeans on purpose. YES, it took a while to figure out where to rip. NO, you can’t have my autograph. Just keep moving.
my shit czech
A mere four years ago, when I first started my journey into the Czech language, a large part of my self-image was founded on the idea that I was a masterful linguist who could absorb foreign words and grammatical structures like sponges absorb spilt coffee. My long, long journey into Slavonics has taught me that I am an averagely capable language learner who can absorb foreign idioms and constructions like sponges absorb gravy. Some of it goes in, but most is left to congeal on the work surface.
In this metaphor, the sponge is my brain, the gravy is the target language and the work surface is a foil to my consciousness.
The great thing about spending many years studying something you’re not very good at is that it engenders a certain humility. In Sixth Form, my Pride was my Downfall, in that it made me quite a cunty person. I was so intoxicated with the idea that I was great at languages and studying in general that I forgot that the most important language human’s can learn – is the language of kindness.
Now, because I’m no longer embarrassed about saying things wrong, or obsessed with the idea that nothing I say could be wrong, I’m a much more communicative person, and – if I do say so myself – at least 20% easier to get along with.
how few followers my blog has
Sure, there’s only like 10 of you reading this – but you’re absolute gems and I couldn’t fault one of you. If I had the chance to swap you for a readership reaching the millions, of course I would do it. But I would take the ad revenue from such an upswing in popularity and buy you all one (1) beanie baby or similar novelty plush. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that what reading blogs is all about?