thetillyvanilly

Awkward things.

The New Valentine’s Rules

Valentines-Day-Love-5

So it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m not a crying mess. This is progress.

Usually I’d be on the super-fast roller-coaster of Hate-Yourself Day emotions.

It starts with: ‘I don’t care. It’s all a greetings card, Illuminati-funded conspiracy to guilt the vulnerable into buying up all the chocolate so they get fat and feel sad, then they buy all the diet pills and feel great, then they buy up all the bikinis. So clearly there’s a Scientologist company that produces a surplus of crappy cards, raspberry ketones and itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis… And garage flowers.’

Which morphs into: ‘Oh my gosh, I hate myself. Nobody loves me. Nobody will ever love me. Why can’t I find a man to last minute panic buy me wilted flowers and cherry Lambrini?!’

Then: ‘It’s because I’m fat and ugly. No. It’s because men are evil. And stupid. All the men are complete bastards. I don’t want one anyway. Maybe I’m a lesbian? Nope, too into lumberjacks to be a lesbian.’

‘Hey, hold on. Equality! There are probably definitely female lumberjacks.’

‘With beards?’

‘Maybe. Don’t be so negative.’

‘Are there even lumberjacks anymore??? I’ve never seen one, so maybe they’re extinct…’

‘You’ve never seen a manatee either. Do you think that manatees are extinct?’

‘Oh my gosh, Tilly. This is why you’re single. You’re comparing lumberjacks to manatees. You’re going to die surrounded by unread paperbacks and a family of cats that can’t stand you.’

‘I’m allergic to cats.’

‘That’s how you die. Duh. Let’s add stupid to the reasons you are incredibly, unbearably, pathetically single.’

‘Ouch.’

BUT…

That’s not where I am right now, which is like happy.

This Hallmark-funded farce of a day, (Ok, maybe there’s a teensy bit of resentment still lurking) I will be using it to spoil myself. I am starting a revolution.

I will be my own true love.

Self-love is a thing I’ve been into lately, since I’ve finally come around to the idea that if you don’t look after yourself first, you can’t look after anyone else. You know, when the plane starts to dip and rumble and there’s smoke and everyone’s screaming and flailing their arms around, it’s important to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help the child next to you. Because how helpful is a child going to be when you crash land on a deserted island? I’ve read Lord of the Flies and I wear glasses, so I’m not taking any chances with that.

So how can you be your own true love and avoid throwing yourself out of a top floor window with a V card scrawled in your mum’s handwriting strapped to your chest? Luckily for you, I have it all figured out. Here are my tips…

  • Be Nice to Yourself

If you’re anything like me, you might not be too great at this. There’s that bitchy part of your brain constantly telling you that you’re not good enough, that you’re too fat/skinny/ugly/spotty/stupid/boring/whatever. Well today is an important day for you, because you’re going to learn how awesome it is when you send that bit of your brain out for a loaf of bread and then lock all the doors. Extra points for cutting up its clothes and tossing them out of the window. Today you need to tell yourself you’re awesome and beautiful. Use the opposite of whatever ex-brain says, because ex-brain doesn’t even know there’s a spare key under the mat, so how could it possibly offer any real insight on your value as a person? Every time you catch yourself flirting with nastiness, I want you to chuck it out and then dowse the area in kindness like it’s bleach. Three kind thoughts for every mean one. You’ll be feeling like Beyoncé by the end of the day.

  • Feed Yourself Good Food

And by good food, I do NOT mean all of the reduced chocolate in the world, drowned down with rosé. That’s not what’s going on here. Spoiling yourself isn’t literal. A teensy bit of chocolate is awesome, as is a teensy bit of wine, but choke down the whole corner shop and you’ll be feeling like you want to die. Then you’ll get on the whole pills-bikini merry-go-round, and it’s pretty damn hard to get off. So spoil yourself, but in a kind way. You love yourself, right? Or at least you want to. So you need to act like you care when you’re deciding what to eat. Think healthy, lots of fruits of vegetables. But this is a special day, this is YOUR day, so make it pretty. Make an effort with your food. Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant and eaten something so delicious that you vowed to make it at home, but never did? This is your chance. You’re awesome so you can do it, and more importantly, you DESERVE to do it.

  • Pamper Yourself

Pampering doesn’t need to be expensive, and that’s where a lot of people go wrong. If you put stuff in the box of ‘one day’, you are never going to get around to it. And this is important. All you need to properly pamper yourself is a book, (I like easy, cheesy reads when I’m chillaxing, maybe something you got free with a magazine) a bath, some incense or a candle, (salted caramel Yankee candle – you’re welcome) a bath bomb, bath salts or bubble bath and some sort of oil (baby oil is fine). The trick is to take time. Don’t rush things. You have the rest of your life to do the things you need to do. Today is your day, so use it. I want you to relax in the bath with your book until your fingers and toes go pruney, and then I want you to massage yourself with the oil, paying attention to the body parts you hate, and I want you to be kind to them. Remember the bitchy brain is outside banging on the back door. Today you love your wobbles and your wrinkles and your bones, because they are yours, and you are pretty damn awesome.

  • PRESENTS!

I saved the best tip until last because, if you’re anything like me, you see the word ‘presents’ and this pink, sparkly haze descends and you lose control of your limbs. I love presents. But the thing is, I much prefer giving presents than getting presents. Getting presents can be hit and miss, and you have to act all grateful when they hand you a singing fish that only knows one song and NEVER SHUTS UP. But giving presents lets you be thoughtful and excited and watch the smile explode onto their face when they realise that their gift is not something they’re going to have to beat with a hammer an unreasonable amount of times in order to get some sleep. Today you need to do that for yourself. Not the hammer part, the presents. But don’t go crazy, this isn’t about going bankrupt. Set yourself a limit, and then think hard about what makes you truly happy. I like to buy lots of little gifts, stuff like candles, luxury teas, and books that have been on my Amazon wish list for so long that they’ve got bored of nagging me to buy them. You know what you’d love to be given and this is your opportunity.

So there you go. Follow these and you’ll have an amazing day, which will hopefully prompt you to be kinder to yourself in general. One day your lumberjack will lumber along, but he’s going to be looking for the future you, not the you now. So kick that bitchy brain out into the cold and start pampering. This day is all about you, so use it, because you are the kind of awesome that a card could never describe.

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My Make-up Free Week!

makeup

The other day I had to get my passport photo taken. Cue crippling anxiety that can only be cured by becoming suddenly invisible. Or a supermodel. I bet supermodels get passport photos taken for fun… So I went and I got in the booth and I did everything right, including not hiding my hideous face with my hair and not disguising my dark circles with my glasses. Stupid machine. The photo came out, as expected, really badly. It is worse than bad. It could be used to torture uncooperative warthogs. If Pumbaa saw my photo, he’d be crying for Simba so fast that I’d be hurtling down a cliff to my fiery death. Which I could totally go for considering my face is so gruesome. Also, I look like a terrorist. Apparently this is a common thing, but if passports are supposed to protect us from terrorists, why would they make everyone look like a terrorist?! My brother looks like he’s about to poison spies with radioactive tea*. And in his passport photo it’s way worse.

So how does one deal with photo booths basically calling you fat, ugly and so far over the hill you’re in Mordor? Well I could put a hit on the damn machine and hire my dodgy brother, but he’s not really as murderously trained as his passport photo makes out, so instead I decided to rage against the machine in a non-violent fashion. I decided to stop wearing make-up for a week. I know that this makes no sense at first glance. I mean, how does wandering around with my hideous face on display counteract the fact that I will have to display my hideous face in every country I set foot in?

The thing is, yes, the photo booth is a tool of Satan and I hope it gets hit by an asteroid with herpes. But no matter what ‘accidents’ befall that machine, my face will still be my face. I will still be going about my awesome life, flying country to country with my passport photo tucked away under my make-up, and I thought that I should probably get used to what I look like, because I’m not going to start looking like a supermodel just because I refuse to confront a mirror. So I stopped wearing make-up. I let my dark circles show, didn’t fill in my super sparse eyebrows and walked around looking like a strangely yellow corpse with an iron deficiency**.

I will now tell you what I’ve learned so that you don’t have to suffer the trauma of going face naked against the cruel world…

  • Men Either Don’t Notice or Don’t Mention

Now, I’m not sure whether this is because they are not paying attention at all, honestly think we’re beautiful either way, are completely blind, or are just being stealthy and protecting their testicles, but not one man has batted a mascara-less eyelash at my lack of make-up. Not one. And it’s not like I’m a goddess with a glowing complexion and a natural rosy glow. The first morning I tentatively looked in the mirror and nearly attacked my reflection with a ukulele. It is obvious to anyone with two eyes and a working brain that I look different without a layer of all the things on my face. And I was expecting it. I was expecting to be annoyed. Once, my best friend wasn’t wearing make-up and my brother told her that she looked TIRED. He’s dead now. Ok, so he’s not dead exactly, but scarred, definitely scarred.

Enlightenment Level: 0/5 (Too confused to reach Nirvana)

  • Beautiful, Glamorous Women Turn up When They’re Not Wanted

I’m a feminist, ok? Just slipping that in there before anyone accuses me of letting down the sisterhood with my unsisterly nonsense, because I am not. I was a Spice Girls fan right from the beginning. I have the entire collectable photo album in pristine condition, Walkers limited edition crisp packets and body spray. I am all about girl power. You know who isn’t about girl power? Every gorgeous girl I’ve crossed paths with this week. Let me tell you ladies, it is NOT sisterly to be all pretty when people have taken a vow of hideousness. Feminism is not about being effortlessly attractive while girls with low self-esteem mentally knock back a lifetime’s supply of Doritos, which they can’t actually eat because they’re on a juice fast right now. You are selfish. It is really freaking selfish to be that beautiful and to be able to colour co-ordinate clothes and not get stains on everything. It is selfish to know what to do with your hair and to never have plucked the majority of your eyebrows out. You should be ashamed of yourselves. And in case you can’t detect it, there’s a sarcasm sign. Girl power.

Enlightenment Level: 0/5 (Too jealous to be any kind of Zen)

  • My Face Doesn’t Look Like My Face

I don’t know if you’re the same, but I pretty much have a picture in my head of what I look like, and it is nothing like what I actually look like. Every time I look in the mirror, even when I’m wearing make-up, I get really confused, because that person isn’t me. And it’s not even a little bit not me, it’s like, REALLY not me, so not me that I might as well be brushing my teeth to a picture of Nicholas Cage. And when I’m not wearing make-up, it’s even more pronounced. Have you seen Tom Hussey’s ‘Mirror’ series of photos? It’s basically elderly people looking in the mirror at who they used to be. It’s upsetting and inspiring and wonderful and so, so sad, and THAT is how I feel when I look in the mirror. Like, who is this girl and how is she in my house? Somebody fetch my ukulele because stuff’s gonna go down. But when I’m away from the mirror, I’m Natalie Portman again. Maybe the solution is to smash all the mirrors and replace them with pictures of Nicholas Cage… Yeah, I’d be into that. Viva la revolución!

Enlightenment Level: 5/5 (According to Nicholas Cage)

  • My Skin is Loving it

The only one who’s happy about this whole thing is my skin. My pores are discovering what snow is for the first time ever, and I’m pretty sure that if they could, they’d be bounding off into it like excitable puppies. My skin is clearing up, figuring out its own thing, and becoming what it was always meant to be, before I got involved and smeared it with every chemical I could find. Speaking of my skin being happy, I can also see crazy changes day to day that I don’t think I would have noticed if I was covering it up. Being forced to expose my dark circles to the world like a creepy old dude in a mac has meant that I can watch them as they darken and lighten. This is TMI time btw, so if you’re of a sensitive constitution, suck it up buttercup, because this blog is not for sissies. Ok, so, my period, moon time, shark week, whatever you want to call it, drained me of all my delicious iron. Result? Dark circles reached serial killer level. But when I started juicing wheatgrass the dark circles were reduced, rendering me almost human looking! That’s science. Nobel prize, anyone?

Enlightenment Level: 5/5 (I have reached Nirvana, where there are no dark circles and everyone smells like patchouli)

So there you have it. I did some stuff and learned some things. The biggest lesson*** that I learned during my make-up free week is that it’s not that bad. There are children starving in Africa for God’s sake. You’re not going to die from not wearing make-up, and that is freaking awesome. Think of all of the things that you can die from, like radium and mining disasters and overenthusiastic sharks. On the first day, yeah, I was freaking out. Seven days is a long time if it’s in front of you, but not so much if you’re looking back at it. Am I going to chuck the make-up? Hahahahahaha… No. My dark circles will have to say adios to the sunlight, but I am going to go lighter with it. And I’m definitely going to become much more acquainted with Nicholas Cage in the near future, if you know what I mean.

*Yes I know news things. I’m not just a monstrous face.

**I don’t have an iron deficiency. I have inherited dark circle genes from my parents. I am losing faith that I was adopted and my real dad is Will Smith…

*** Which I didn’t bullet point because sometimes you’ve got to say screw the system, even if it’s your own system and you are a really big fan of bullet points.

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