The morning I decided to wear this all-khaki look, I was preparing for my very own battlefield – the library. It’s exam season, and droves of sweating, stale, miserable students are dragging themselves away from their beds to procrastinate for hours at a time in front of a computer they had to wake up at 6am to claim. It is a war zone of sorts, though mercifully sans militia.
After a long day trying and failing to resist the pick ‘n’ mix aisle whilst slaving away at an essay I don’t even remember the title of, lovely photographer Lance Burkitt and I headed to somewhere a little more serene to get some shots of me in one of the most laid-back trends of the summer. Laid back but badass.
We are living in the era of the Selfie. The internet is now so full of the things that there is barely even room to swing a virtual Nyan cat. Charity selfies, selfies that disappear in one millisecond and post-coital selfies are joined by Kim K’s book of selfies, ‘Selfish’, which is redefining the face (literally) of the publishing industry.
It seems as though self-loving is in the air; it’s like the summer of love but the love is saved up only for oneself. Delightful.
But wait, what’s this odour besmirching the hazy air of confidence? A snide comment, a snipe about the narcissism of our generation, a polemic on the self-absorbed, an uninformed Kardashian-hater. Because yes, we are certainly living the era of the selfie, but alas, we also happen to inhabit the era of Shame.
What a sad and bewildering thing it is that self-love is both encouraged and condemned.
People (and alas, girls in particular) seem to revel in the company of the self-deprecating and needy. Presented with a forlorn friend, they positively seep advice and support, gushing like the Trevi Fountain about how beautiful, how incandescently radiant, how hilarious you are. They’ll talk to you for hours and hours about how you radiate beauty from every pore; that it shines out of you like a halo in a religious painting. They’ll tell you all of this and more, seeming to thrive in their opportunity to impart wisdom to this poor, unsure soul. They glut themselves on your insecurities.
And yet if for one second you begin practising what they preach, it’s game over. Very very few have any tolerance for people who *gasp* actually like themselves. Because God forbid you should assimilate the positivity they rain on you day by day.
“Oh her? She LOVES herself,” they will inevitably say when you start to think that they were right: that your teeth are unerringly straight and you make a frankly out of this world casserole. Gone will the sympathy and the compliments be when you believe them, because gone too will be the endearing self-hatred that makes people so charmingly unintimidating.
But my question is this: why shouldn’t I love myself? Why should I pretend to be a shrinking violet when I’m actually a bit of a venus flytrap, just to make you more comfortable in your own skin? Am I doomed to a life of self-loathing in which I deny myself the most important kind of love? The last time I checked, I wasn’t a self-flagellating monk, but a vulnerable little human trying to get through every day as happily as possible.
I think this might be the reason why I, in my bright red lipstick and 6 inch platform heels, receive more nasty side-eyes on campus than someone else in say, a onesie. It is also why Kim Kardashian is one of the most hated women on earth. People cannot stand confidence. They recoil from it as though it is a nasty pandemic.
When they (whoever these elusive ‘they’ may be) said that being happy is the best revenge, they were right on the money. Nothing pisses people off more than a happy, whole individual. And that is both a crying shame and a lethal weapon.
It has taken me an awful lot of practise, and I certainly need a whole lot more, but here’s the thing: I love myself. I buy myself flowers, I treat myself to chocolate chip muffins, face masks and terrible movies when I feel a little down. Hell, I even take selfies. And I would certainly text me back. So shoot me.
I have no doubt in my mind that people think I am a narcissist. As a blogger, it’s a definite occupational hazard. And I’m sure this post will have done nothing for that opinion. But quite frankly, my dear, I have shed myself of damns, and I implore you to do the same.