As i’ve gotten older – yes the grand old age of 22 before anyone comments I know I am still young – I’ve really started to care less about what people think. This is a far cry from the 15 year old me that would meticulously update their MySpace page (maybe that says my age a bit more) in a way that I thought would be most accepting from my peers.
I grew up in an age of “Top Friends”, where we would rate our friends in order of how important they were, for the world (or online world at least) to see. With that in mind, i’m amazed i’ve even made it this far without developing some kind of crippling anxiety disorder where I am unable to leave the house. Someone’s pissed you off? Oh they’re moving down to FOURTH in my ranking of my best friends. That will show them.
And yet here I am. I went to America on my own to fulfil a dream i’ve had since I was little, I’ve moved down to London to pursue the career that I knew I always wanted, 220 miles away from home. If you’d told 15 year old me those things, I don’t think I would have believed you. I was painfully shy most of the time, and yet I tried to establish an online persona of someone that wasn’t. I was an introvert with an online extrovert personality disorder – i’ll trademark that later.
That is not to say I still don’t have confidence issues now. The introvert is still very much present in me. However, I have also learnt to become very comfortable in my own company – I can quite easily spend an entire day out by myself, I explored San Fransisco on my own and I’m in a house-share with complete strangers (Ah, London). As a result, i’ve started valuing myself more and, as such, I care less what people think because I know the ones that matter won’t care anyway (not quite as eloquently put as Dr. Seuss but it’s a wonderful message). It is much better to be yourself than to wrap your mind in cling film and only let slip through what you think will make people like you more. Never ever apologise for getting over excited about something that you’re passionate about and don’t trail off if you see someones eyes glaze over. Sometimes putting yourself first is okay, it doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you human.
I hope that this feeling of comfort in my own skin only grows as I get older, and I wish that I tell my 15 year old self with self esteem that went to the core of the earth these things. Oh, and i’d tell her that that Paul’s Boutique bag she spent a fortune on is ugly and won’t make her as popular as she wants to be and true love does not come in the form of skinny boys in vans trainers.