Not to sound too dramatic here, but I had an epiphany last week. I was lying in bed on Wednesday night, drained and exhausted after an extremely long day trying to be the ‘best version’ of myself. As I lay there thinking, I realised something – when you try too hard, things don’t generally work out!
I woke at 6am that morning and crawled into the shower. I had a work conference to go to, a huge industry event and I wanted to make an extra effort to look and feel good. I wanted to impress and represent my company well. Although I love fashion, my style is not exactly office-chic, so choosing something along those lines was, let’s say, ‘challenging’ for me. After much trial and error the previous night, I laid out the perfect outfit and got to bed nice and early.
As I stepped out of the shower, semi-conscious, I noticed the sound of the rain slapping against the bathroom window.
Why hadn’t I checked the weather? We hadn’t had rain in months. Snow? Yes. But not rain.
My ‘perfect’ outfit consisted of a smart blue dress, a pair of ballerina pumps and a light jacket. Perfect! For a spring-time business meeting. I had NOT factored rain into any of my fashion-related decisions the night before.
I checked the time, 15 minutes before I needed to walk out the front door.
I quickly blasted my hair with hot air, and then proceeded to run around the room throwing potential outfits on the bed. Eventually, I settled on a combo that I hoped would look smart enough for the day but also be ok in the rain. I then, for some unknown reason, grabbed my TWO favourite jackets and sprinted out the door.
With all the rushing and last-minute change of plan I now had eight minutes to do my usual ten minute walk to the station. So, in a pair of unnecessarily high boots I ran (RAN!) down the road in the pouring rain. Panting and cursing the whole way.
I got to the station just as the train was pulling in, threw myself through the closing doors and found a seat. My face was bright pink, I was warm and sweaty, and to top it all off the heating was on full blast. The combination made me feel ill. I was, as they say, a hot mess!
After about 30 minutes of fanning myself with my diary I was ready to apply the war paint. I went for way more than my usual lick of mascara, layering and contouring as best I could. It felt so alien for me to have a full face of make up on at 7am! I didn’t like it.
I will speed you through the next bit;
First Luas (too full to get on).
Second Luas (too full to get on).
Begin to stress.
Third Luas (still too full to get on but I had no choice – I wedge myself on).
Race to the Dart station.
Hear last minute announcement that platform was changing.
Sprint to other side of station to catch Dart.
Suddenly feel a little too light.
Realise I am no longer in possession of one of my coats.
Feeling of rage!
By the time I reached the Aviva, where the conference was being held, I was neither cool nor collected. The version of myself that I had so wanted to be that day hadn’t shown up.
Instead, I was flustered and stressed (and sad about my coat!). I took a moment to regroup in the bathroom, assessed my dishevelled look in the mirror and then made my way to where I needed to be.
The conference itself was great. Lots of likeminded people soaking up knowledge from each other. Although, for an introvert, it was an intense day. Not to mention the standing. Those heels I decided were a great idea at the last minute felt like they were welded to my body.
That night, I lay in bed and was just so thankful to be home. My face no longer felt like it was being suffocated by the foundation I had spread across it that morning. My feet were still throbbing but they were now wrapped in warm fluffy socks, and I was alone. Bliss.
I’ve been thinking about it all since. Why had I been so eager to impress? Willing to change? If I hadn’t tried so hard to fit the imaginary mould would the day have been less stressful and exhausting? Yeah, I guess it would have.
I had put so much pressure on myself to look and be perfect that it backfired. I was trying to be the girl who wears sky scrapers for heels and does perfect make up. The girl who can talk to anyone with such ease and comfort that you instantly want to talk to her too. But, no matter how hard I may try, that’s not who I am.
I am the girl who goes red when she talks to people she doesn’t know very well, who prefers to be quirky than ‘fashionable’. And who, for the love of God, can’t figure out how you people use highlighter?!
Yes, in the grand scheme of things that happen in the universe, I know it was just a bad day. But you know, it was a reminder that being myself is so much easier than trying to be someone I’m not. When we try to alter ourselves to fit in or make a good impression, things never go to plan. It’s so important to stop every so often and remind yourself that it’s ok to be you – just as you are.
In fact, it’s more than ok; it’s Perfect.
Written with love,