I was catching up with my talented friend, Alex this morning when she mentioned watching the 90’s rom-com classic, ‘Never Been Kissed’ and its resemblance to our high-school experience. Just like Drew, I didn’t exactly win any popularity contests as a teenager, and resided at the bottom of the food chain throughout my years in education.
Every day I’d wake up, complete my work and talk to as little people as possible along the way. Despite never being the most intelligent member of the class, my shy and insecure personality meant I often faced a barrage of name-calling. Spiff, geek, and loser: you name it, I heard it. Never the most colourful set of insults, but they still get points for trying.
Admittedly, I also used to tarnish everyone that dared insinuate I was a loser with the same brush: air-heads who have nothing better to do with their time than insult me. I silently planned my revenge rather than postulating my theory out loud, but I’m just as guilty for pre-judging based on assumption as those who bullied me.
The quiet, insecure teenager that used to dread social interaction still remains, but with age comes confidence and the ability to care less what people think. Cultural stereotypes will always exist in a society obsessed with image, but if Hermione Granger can successfully make geek chic, so can I.
The biggest daily struggle I have is with my conscience. From the moment I wake up in the morning, I critique every move I make: from forgetting to buy milk at the supermarket, to spending the evening watching ‘Made in Chelsea’ with a glass of wine instead of hitting the gym. No matter how big or small, I so easily find flaws in my actions and quite often lay awake at night wishing I’d been more polite to the lady that accidentally knocked over my coffee in Starbucks.
Recently I read a fantastic article by Zosia Mamet in Glamour, which beautifully summarises everything I’ve been feeling, and has made me realise that I’m not alone. The following passage in particular really struck a chord with me:
“As women we have internalized the idea that every morning we wake up, we have to go for the f–king gold. You can’t just jog; you have to run a triathlon. Having a cup of coffee, reading the paper, and heading to work isn’t enough—that’s settling, that’s giving in, that’s letting them win. You have to wake up, have a cup of coffee, conquer France, bake a perfect cake, take a boxing class, and figure out how you are going to get that corner office or become district supervisor, while also looking damn sexy—but not too sexy, because cleavage is degrading—all before lunchtime”
Not every woman can be Emma Watson. I wish I were a multi-millionaire, actress, model and scholar with beauty to boot but unfortunately that isn’t my reality. On most days I wake up in the morning, go to work for 8 hours and by the time 5pm arrives I’m exhausted and can’t think of anything better than watching television in my pyjamas. I don’t always brush my hair in the mornings, sometimes I skip dinner in favour of peanut butter on toast and I have watched an entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in less than 48 hours. I might not be as successful or well dressed as I’d like, but at least I’m safe in the knowledge that Emma Watson is probably sat at home right now, wishing she’d remembered to buy milk at the supermarket too.