In attempting to list all of my (very many) faults, I've found there are more things to love than hate about me. I just need to focus on the positive.
Happiness is a not, a girl named 'Peanut'
They say happiness is 50% genetically predetermined - whats in your nature, 10% context - how you were brought up, and 40% all to play for. If this is the case, I've definitely buried my 40% under a bushel. Well known amongst my friends as a naturally negative person, I have always been a bit 'glass half empty' - so much so, it inspired a friend to nickname me, 'half empty'; soon to be replaced by the more (or less) imaginative 'peanut'. Thank you NUS photographer, for the student card picture you took of me, so small I only took up 25% of the frame. Small, brown, barely visible to the naked eye - you get the idea. But... I digress. Because happiness, for me, has never been a smooth and easy road. Never an A to B type scenario. Digression is how I operate. A person who has to wander down cul-de-sacs at random, in order to ever find a road they are willing to walk down.
"However dark the world is, we can always make our little corner of it brighter. In small ways. All the time."
So where am I going with all this? Recently I've been thinking a lot about self-care. About the fragility of our mental health, of the unhealthy ways we judge ourselves and how, someone like me, whose 50% genetically proportioned slice of the pie, is a little more inclined towards darkness, paranoia and cynicism - can find happiness in a world where so many people are suffering. Its not a joking matter - the state of the world. And whether its Trump making my kids cry (because that bastard DID make my son cry), Brexit bringing out the very worst in my country's sense of entitled nationalism, or right-wing sociopaths mowing down innocent people and streaming it live on YouTube, as if death, destruction and ignorance are simply another form of entertainment - the world has never seemed a darker place.
"I'll help bury the body, but I won't lie to the police or swear you were with on the night in question. If you get found out - you're on your own."
The Fault In My Stars
I've thought too much about my faults recently. From the way I look, to the way I'm raising my children, to the career I feel I half-have and half-don't, I've found myself focusing more and more on the negative. Maybe it's the current political climate, maybe it's the weather, maybe it's just me getting older and less and less tolerant of myself, but I've started to realise I don't really like myself very much, and that, THAT right there, could be half (or at least 40%) of my problem. Because however dark the world is, we can always make our little corner of it brighter. In small ways. All the time. We can make the world a better place. We can't always affect the change we want, at the level we want it to happen (Because Brexit people, Brexit!) - but what we can control, is what happens at our level. At how we react, how we behave, how we are. Because, what we can do to improve things, is be a little kinder to ourselves. And maybe, in its own way, that can help all of us, be a little kinder to the world.
So, in that vein, here's a list of things, that I don't hate about me.
1. I CARE.
About loads of things, people and places. So much so, that sometimes it hurts. But I respect the fact that I care, because not being dead inside, is always a good place to start.
2. I LOVE
Loads of things, people and places. And when I love, I do it deeply and courageously. Even when on occasion, I have wanted to throw my children, my husband or myself, out of a 10 storey building.
3. I HAVEN'T THROWN ANYONE OUT OF A 10 STOREY BUILD
This one is self explanatory.
4. I'M LOYAL
If you're one of mine, and you deserve it, I will bring the shovel when you phone to tell me you've killed someone. I'll help bury the body, but I won't lie to the police or swear you were with me on the night in question. If you get found out - you're on your own.
5. I'M FUNNY
6. I DREAM BIG
I still believe. In the best of things. In the best of things happening. In the stars aligning, in just the right order. Call it touching naivety if you like - I prefer 'dreamer'.
7. I'M CREATIVE
I think the world's problems, mine included, can be solved by an emotional blog post, or a song. Again, call it annoying naivety, I prefer 'believes in the power of creativity'.
8. I NEVER FORGET
The things that matter. Like birthdays, bank holidays, or if you've ever wronged me.
9. TASTE LEVEL
I know how to work my stripes with my polka dots, my leopard prints with my monochrome. I know how a subtle, soft velvet can be perfectly accented with a touch of brass, and industrial chic can be made warm and inviting. So, you know, all the important things.
10. MY HOPEFULNESS
Because despite all of my glass half empty thoughts, I am still here, still trying, still making every effort to make this world a better place. And more importantly, I still believe, that if I work hard enough, one day, I will have a flat stomach.
And In The End, The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make...
So, there you have it.
Maybe I don't hate myself so much, after all.