HOW I BECAME ADDICTED TO SHOPPING

Shopping has always given me an instant burst of joy. I love clothes and have often felt like a new item in my wardrobe could unleash another side of me. A cooler version, perhaps. Or a version of me with an endless amount of confidence, sass and happiness. But of course, clothes don’t hold this power. It comes from your own mentality.

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Although I’ve always preached the idea that wearing a great outfit can help improve your self-esteem, that’s really all about it can achieve. It can’t completely transform your mental state. But, nevertheless, I have turned to shopping many times in the past for an emotional pick-me-up.

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I noticed my shopping habit first becoming excessive when I was studying for my journalism diploma. I had just sat an awful exam which I already knew I had failed. I felt stupid, angry and disappointed with myself. As well as this, I felt panicked. I knew I would have to resit the test, but ‘what if I fail again?’ This idea was too much to comprehend. So, I went where I knew would bring me instant relief, Topshop.

I raced over to there as soon as the exam invigilator released us and once I had seen the familiar colourful window displays, I felt calm, almost like I was home. I brushed my hands across the clothes I definitely couldn’t afford, tried on outfits I felt would make me happier. And bought something. I can’t even remember what it was, but at the time it felt like it could change everything.

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When I starting earning a living, this became a regular occurrence. If I felt stressed, frustrated, or pressured I would run to the shops on my lunch break and return to work with bags in my hands and a grin from ear to ear. I couldn’t wait to wear my new outfit and when I did, I felt like I could take on the world.

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JEANS – JOANIE CLOTHING, BOOTS – BOOHOO, SHIRT – TOPSHOP (OLD)

But then, something stressful would happen at work and I couldn’t rely on my snazzy new pair of boots to get me through it. My confidence wavered. Soon enough, I would have to do it again. And again. It suddenly became very clear that I couldn’t rely on shopping anymore to keep my head above water.

It took me a while to not depend on buying clothes to cheer myself up. But after a while I decided to make some necessary changes to improve my mental well-being (which I discussed further here), instead of covering up any negativity with temporary fixes.

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Although I shop a lot less now, it is a hard habit to break. I don’t shop to improve my mood anymore but I do struggle to just treat myself to one thing. Instead I often go through phases of buying lots of new things and then nothing for months. But I’m getting there. Now I often shop my own wardrobe to recreate new outfits, and sometimes look to Ebay for second-hand items. And instead of buying heaps of fast-fashion, I try to invest in more long-lasting items.

WHAT I’M NO LONGER BEATING MYSELF UP ABOUT

For a long time I only associated self-acceptance with accepting your physical appearance, rather than accepting everything about who you are. Although I’ve slowly come to terms with how I look, I’ve recently realised I’m often quite negative about parts of my personality. Although I want to grow and improve as a person, I really want to stop being so hard on myself. Instead of trying to change those traits, I want to just accept them. I’ve still got a while to go to but I’m making a start.

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I’LL NEVER BE COOL

Since my days as a nerd in high school, I’ve felt self-conscious around ‘hipsters’ or former mean girls, and I immediately feel like I’ve been transported back to my teenage years.

I’m not quite as geeky as I used to be, but I’ll never be the ‘cool girl’ who spends her free time in clubs, wearing an array of vintage finds with a quirky hair do. I spend most of my free time watching old movies, baking cakes, reading and jamming to Taylor Swift songs. But I’m completely happy doing that, otherwise I would be spending my time differently.

Instead of making jokes about how ‘uncool’ I am, or how I act like a grandma, I want to just enjoy my time and not make myself feel like I should be someone I’m not, or doing something I wouldn’t enjoy.

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I’M A SLOW LEARNER 

Whenever I try and learn a new skill, I always feel insecure about how much longer it takes me. When I studied journalism, I found it so much harder than my class mates to study. Taking up a new physical activity usually takes me longer too (usually because my arms carry the same strength as spaghetti).

But, I’m beginning to understand that I just need to take things at my own pace and not compare myself to others who are at a different level to me. I want to make sure I’m in the right environment where I don’t feel pressured to move quicker than I’m capable of.

Even though it’s frustrating, having to take this extra bit of time has helped me find the determination to carry on and not quit, even when something’s hard.

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BLAZER, EARRINGS – TOPSHOP, BOOTS – BOOHOO, JEANS – JOANIE CLOTHING, T-SHIRT – SATURDAY BY MEGAN ELLABY, BAG – SKINNY DIP

I’LL ALWAYS BE SOCIALLY AWKWARD 

Even though I’ve gotten better since school, a part of me will always be socially awkward. Social anxiety just isn’t something that goes away. In turn, I’ll never be the person in the room that instantly makes friends or starts conversations with strangers. That just isn’t who I am. But, what’s so bad about that?

I want to stop pressuring myself into trying to be this person and just enjoy what I can bring to the table. I can find it hard in group situations, but I’m much better at one-to-one conversations. This means that when I do find friendships, they tend to have much tighter bonds.

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I’M AN EMOTIONAL PERSON

In a stressful situation, my immediate reaction is usually to cry. It’s often the same if I’m angry or upset. I find this quite embarrassing but instead of just trying to hide this reaction, I want to find ways to cope with it better. I want to learn how to prepare for this emotional response and handle situations without breaking down.

I’m not really sure how to do this one yet, but I definitely want to find out. Although it has made me feel vulnerable, it helps me be understanding when somebody else reacts the same.

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NOT EVERYONE WILL LIKE ME 

Like every single person on this planet, I won’t always be liked. I’ve always concerned myself with how others view me, whether they like me, or if my shyness comes across as being rude. Do they think I’m funny? Do they think I’m stupid? Do they like my clothes? But I’m slowly beginning to accept that no matter what I do, not everyone will like me.

All I can do is to be myself, and try my hardest to not wonder what people think (as easy as that is) because no matter what you do… you won’t always be someone’s cup of tea.

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We all have weaknesses, which is absolutely fine because we all have strengths too. I want to learn how to accept my faults so that I can excel at what I’m good at. I urge you to do the same, I think you’ll find it quite freeing to take the pressure off of yourself to be something you’re not.

25 THINGS I’VE LEARNT IN 25 YEARS

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Last week, I turned 25. Even though it’s still pretty damn young, I feel like this age has definitely crept up on me. For the past few years I’ve been trapped in the past thinking I’m 21. When people ask my age, I genuinely have to think about it. Maybe that will be the age I always feel, like how my mum always used to say she still felt in her twenties, no matter how many years passed her by.

Even though I still have sooooo much to learn and figure out, I have picked up a few life lessons along the way – as most do in this decade! So, I decided to jot down 25 of them, to stick to this ‘quarter-life’ theme and to pass on my ‘wisdom’ (lol).

1. Money buys you freedom, not happiness
2. Coffee is a magic potion that will get you through a working day
3. If friends don’t make any effort to see you, they aren’t true friends
4. The secret to a happy relationship is honesty
5. Buying more clothes will just make you appreciate your old clothes less
6. If getting drunk makes your anxiety worse, don’t do it
7. Plisse trousers are a dream fit for pear-shaped figures
8. Doing something just because it makes you happy, is a good enough reason
9. Wear SPF every day!!!
10. Heels are the devil in shoe-form, don’t bother wearing them
11. Being a dress size smaller isn’t worth depriving yourself of great food
12. Nobody has a perfect job, or life, we all have problems behind closed doors
13. Trust your instincts
14. Whether you like someone is just as (if not more) important than if they like you
15. Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on pretty underwear, comfort is key
16. Don’t trust people that slag off others when they aren’t around
17. A colourful outfit will honestly brighten up your day
18. When it comes to a hairdresser, you get what you pay for (so don’t be stingy)
19. Don’t base relationship goals off of romantic comedies
20. Invest in a good-quality pair of boots instead of buying the pretty shoes
21. Take care of your mental health just like you would your physical health
22. Sometimes people are only supposed to be in your life for a certain amount of time
23. Don’t bother ironing everything in bulk, do it as and when you need it
24. Having fitness goals instead of weight goals can actually make exercise fun
25. Save money for holidays instead of clothes (you have enough)

There you have it, I’m sure you can take every single one of these lessons on board, right? Well, anyway, I’m off to slather my face with anti-ageing moisturiser and eat a slice of leftover birthday cake! x