A colleague of mine is pregnant with twins, and I had the pleasure of doing her nails a couple of weeks ago. I asked her if she had decided on names and she took the opportunity to ask my opinion – being originally from Eastern Europe, she wanted to know if her ideas had any different connotations in the UK. A name she had in mind was “Diana”.
Every Brit she’d asked had immediately said “Princess Diana” – of course, an icon. This had put her off the name, worried that the association would be too strong for her baby girl to craft her own identity in the UK. To a certain extent, I agreed – my first reaction had been a strange mix of admiration and sadness, possibly not the best first reaction to have when meeting someone.
On the other hand, it reminded me of how I felt as a little girl, growing up with the name ‘Martha’. In my life so far, I’ve only met one or two other Marthas – it’s not a common name for my generation. As a little girl I hated it! My friends all had ‘pretty, flowery’ names like Amy or Gemma. ‘Martha’ had no meaning, no beauty, and I didn’t know what to do with it.
Guess what? Now I freaking LOVE IT.
While Boyf regularly teases me that being called Martha makes me an 80-year-old woman, I see Martha as mine, and only mine. I know my identity, and my desire to stand out, is inextricably linked to having a name that no one else had.
Fitting in is boring. Be you.
Boyf and I went to Barcelona last month, flying out of a cold and rainy Gatwick into the cloudless, blue sky of Catalonia – perfect, right?Not perfect – sitting on an open top bus in November with no coat and no scarf = error.
Not perfect – deciding to walk back to the hotel from the city centre in the dark, with a map that was potentially twenty years out of date = risky.
Was it the perfect holiday? No.
Was it the perfect, imperfect holiday? Absolutely.
I’m being self indulgent with language here, but go with me on this – I don’t believe that for something to be perfect, it has to be “perfect” by the strict dictionary definition. It’s the technical “imperfections” that make it so beautiful.
Shivering on the open top bus was when I first saw the beauty of Barcelona. After walking down what felt like a dodgy back alley, we turned a corner and discovered the Arc del Triomphe (there’s one in Barcelona too!). The look on Boyf’s face when he remembered how to order a beer in Spanish; seeing peacocks wandering around in the open at Barcelona Zoo.
I loved everything about Barcelona, and I enjoyed how Boyf and I were in Barcelona – freezing cold, giggling, grumpy at times, and loving it. It was the perfect, imperfect holiday.
Have big dreams, you will grow into them
How many times this week have you heard the phrase “your generation have got it so tough”? Swiftly followed by the mention of “house prices”, “economy”, “student debt”.
Fabulous foundation for achieving one’s dreams, wouldn’t you say?
I’ve been guilty of believing that dreaming is pointless; a waste of time if I’m never going to achieve it in this gloomy economic climate. This morning I read a great post from lifestyle blogger Jennypurr. What I loved about it was how in five points, she made dreaming, and achieving, seem tangible. My favourite point? “Good things take time”.
Have big dreams and have faith – good things take time.
A month ago I joined Slimming World. My cousin had been on at me to try it, she never had a lot of weight to lose in the first place, but I can still see the difference it’s made to her confidence and after going dress shopping with her (and feeling pretty damn jealous) I decided to give it a go.Crap time of year to be doing it – everyone puts weight on in December, never mind getting it off. I’ve managed to lose 10lb so far, but the thing that feels really different this time is that I’m not obsessing about it. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, so the only way I’ll succeed is by sticking with it. For December, the biggest achievement I could have is to not give up on it – keep going to group and make healthy choices where I can.
Almost everyone’s on some kind of diet these days, but from what I can see, the ones that work are: a) the ones that remind you you do actually have to eat, and b) the ones that tell you not to beat yourself up about your weight!
Laughter is actually a calorie burner – ever felt like your stomach muscles were going to explode the last time you had a really good laugh? But it’s also metaphorical calorie burner, because we’re much more likely to succeed and get to where we want to be when we’re happy, when we’re not obsessing and beating ourselves down.
More than that, laughter is better than all of those things that we’re supposed to care about. Think of all the beautiful people out there who are a healthy weight but who are convinced they need to lose weight because society tells them to. Are they happy? No. Will they be truly happy when they lose weight? Unlikely.
Laugh more. End of.
So how did I pull these polishes together?