Sunday 6 September 2015

A Certain Kinda Sunday

There's something about a Sunday, isn't there?

Perhaps it's leftover anxiety from childhood schooldays, the perpetual post-weekend hangover of adulthood or the even the dreary lacklustre rain which always seem to dog the final day of the week -there's just a vibe about that day. It always seems so serious.

Since landing back in the Kingdom I'm lucky enough to have been whisked into an instant whirlwind of activity, partying with my closest friends just a few hours after I left the airport and venture into the depths of a bizarrely amazing underground cocktail bar in London the day after.

But today is... well. It's Sunday. 

And finally, the realisation that I've left New York City is beginning to set in. 

Returning back to my childhood home, broke as a button without a car, job or plan, walking into my uncharacteristically-adult-me-but-SO-preteen-me bright pink room and seeing it stacked up to the ceiling with my former life - diaries, homework, revision, photographs, old crappy makeup collected from Shout magazines - was a wave of sickening nostalgia. 

After living out of a suitcase for so long, I'd learnt to live minimally with just a handful of outfits, my only possessions, things I truly needed.

And now looking around at the towers of curated miscellany and picking up random items, from unpopped party poppers from New Years Eve 2012 to the case of a camera I'd lost approximately 8 years ago, all I could think was what was it about this all, which made it seem too essential to let go of?

Then I found two pieces of paper, little greasemarks of long lost blue tac marking the corners.

They were notes to myself I'd obviously stuck to the wall to see every day, and from the shape of my handwriting, I guessed they were approximately three years apart. And when I read them both, my stomach plummeted, and I had to slowly sit on the corner of my bed. 

For they could not have been more different, or more telling to the change in the mind of a teenage girl. 

The oldest, from when I was youngest - around 13 I guessed - read in large, awkward script:

'Today is about you. Take care of yourself. Educate yourself. Make something of yourself. Today is now.'

And the second, in the unmistakable swirly handwriting of a teenage girl:

'You will be slim, you will be glam, you will be beautiful.'

I genuinely put my hand to my mouth.

How in such a short space of time had I gone from a prodigal Matilda to so superfluously superficial that all I cared about was being 'glam'?

Well of course, I knew. I've been reading Caitlin Moran's 'How To Be a Woman', and it has bought back enough reminiscence to remind me exactly what I was like throughout my teenage years and laugh at the similarities. 

But I couldn't help but mourn for the sweet little girl who'd just been trying to look out for me, and had been trampled by the hormone-incensed teen with her push-up bras and diary pages full of biro-scribbled hearts.

It bothered me for the rest of the day. 

Was I really that person once?

...Could I still be that person now?

A post-adventure identity crisis was in full swing, and scrolling through my social networks, I looked at my insta-selfies and the plugging of my blog posts, and wondered who, of the two, had actually won.

Slipping into a familiar shape of Sunday misery, I felt suitably crap about myself and closed the door on my half-emptied room and the ghosts of my former selves.

But only just now, did I pick up that piece of paper, read the exact same words and with a start, see it completely differently.

As a small smile spread across my face, I realised that this was not from two different people at all, but in fact, the same young dreamer. 

What the older me had written was perhaps seemingly shallow, but in fact it was not a promise, an aspiration or a motto.

It was a reassurance.

To that innocent part of me who cared about books, writing, the environment, animals and making something of her life, but was plagued by the horrors of puberty, heartbreak, boys in bands, non-existent boobs and blackheads, she was saying:

'Listen kid - you WILL be slim, you WILL be glam, you WILL be beautiful. Stop worrying about that shit now, and get back to the important stuff. It'll come in time, so for now, pay attention to what you want to care about. Not the stuff that you can't help but care about.'

Because despite how much she didn't wanna be about that, that's exactly what she needed to hear. And still now while they, just like all the other past me's, exist deep down in the present me, it's secretly still what I need to hear. 

Maybe that's why I clung onto to all those possessions then, post the selfies, spam out my links now. Just like when I was younger, perhaps it's because all I'm really aiming for is enough confidence to genuinely not worry.

And as this Sunday draws to a close, perhaps I don't feel so crappy about myself after all.