HELLO INTERNET PEOPLES (the capitals are me being very excited!)
It is officially the beginning of June, and NOW the beginning of my summer! I’m also going back to work next week, which I am so excited about! I can almost taste the Brambles I will undoubtedly be drinking soon with my distillery crew. J’attends avec l’impatience!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m heading off to France in September to be a language assistant in a secondary school- SO SCARY! This week, I got a letter from my school, so I know exactly where I’m going to be, which is a massive relief- the anticipation of not knowing specific details kills me, so at least now I can book flights and hotels and is it just me or is this all starting to sound very real?
Anyway, with my Year Abroad getting closer by the day, a lot of people have taken to giving me advice about way in which I can make the most of my time there, and stay safe. You know, things like “Keep a book with you at all times, so you can jot down new words that you’ve just learned”, “Take pictures of everything so you have tangible memories!” or, my personal favourite: “You’re a blonde midget, and therefore a perfect target. French men are going to attack you. Please take a taser”.
Regardless, I’m not really used to being the person taking advice- I’ve always found myself to be the one giving it (hoping no one skim read that sentence or things could be taken waaaaaaaaay out of context :S). So, I decided to try and compile my best pieces of advice, in the hope that one of you lovely people will feel empowered and fabulous. I think some of these “conseils”, as they say en France, are more suited at particular times in someone’s life, but alas, I shall list them below, and hopefully someone out there will feel a little bit more… advised? Who knows.
1. Don’t be afraid to be different (particularly applies to people in school)
I don’t know about you, but I’m a weirdo. And I’m really proud of that, but it’s also taken me a long time to be okay with that. During my time at my first High school, I was constantly picked on, ridiculed and teased for being “different”. I loved poetry, music and drama, whereas all the other girls seemed to love boys, make up and hair extensions (which is totally fine, but not okay when you make fun of someone for not liking what you like). When everyone else seems to have been cloned from the same person, you find yourself sticking out like a sore thumb. And often, that makes you feel lonely. I used to get bullied for “being too smart”- the boys in my class would call me a “freak” for doing well in exams, or because I would hang out in the library. However, I soon learned that when you block those negative people out, and start doing what you love because it makes you happy, you’re going to be much happier than you would be if you try to follow the crowd, and blend in. I’ve watched too many amazingly artistic people change their behaviour or their style, just to fit in with the popular crowd, and it’s so sad. Go and be the person you want to be- different is awesome and empowering, and if you start putting the real you out there, pretty soon you’ll find some other weirdos who like you just the way you are.
2. When in doubt, go for a (2 mile) walk. (for when you’re sad/stressed)
Okay, so this probably sounds oddly specific, but it never fails me. When you feel like crap, the last thing you want to do is pull on your shoes and leave the house, but for some crazy reason, getting yourself out into the fresh air is some kind of miraculous cure for everything (except maybe a broken limb). Last year, I mapped out an exact two mile route starting and ending at my house, which I try to walk every day. Anytime I’d had a rough day, I’d tell myself “By the time you get to the end of this two miles, you’ll feel ten times better”. And I always did! It just feels really good, and sometimes you’ll see people taking their cute dogs for walks, and who doesn’t like to stop and pet a cute dog?!
3. KEEP GOING (John Green’s best advice).
I think you can interpret this in several ways, but to everyone who reads it, it’s going to mean something different. For me right now, it means “keep going” as in “just get through university and find out what comes next”. I do intend to write a little bit more about my feelings towards uni, but ultimately, I really dislike it. So for now, I’m just persevering, and hoping that everything turns out okay.
4. Always Be An Optimist
Nothing I hate more than a pessimist (ironically). Life is about spreading good vibes and pushing good energy back into the universe. If you spend your time thinking everything is dark and dismal, you’ll end up feeling miserable, and everyone around you will feel miserable too. To quote the amazing Monty Python song, “Always look on the bright side of life”. This may be difficult sometimes (for example, when you cat and dog both decide that your room is a giant TOILET and your carpet has to be lifted), but surely there’s a silver lining to every situation (i.e. getting a snazzy new carpet which will be super fly!)?
5. Vodka is always a bad idea.
6. Do what other people say you cannot (or should not).
If ever I was to get a quote tattooed on my body, THIS would be the one. Up until very recently, despite my fierce individualism, I would always listen to other people’s criticism or negativity, until the point where I would miss out on really cool opportunities, or I’d get upset and self conscious. Some of the things people have said I couldn’t/wouldn’t/shouldn’t do in recent times (all of which I dun’ did so HA!)
-Getting my nose pierced (because I wanted to)
-Getting my really long hair cut short (again, because I wanted to)
-Deciding to do a degree which meant I’d have go abroad
-Going on an aeroplane by myself
-Start dating my best friend (cheesy, but an important risk. 🙂 )
-Wearing certain clothes/make up (I will dress like a “hippy” if I want to!)
What I’m getting at here is, if you didn’t go against other people’s “better judgement”, you might end up feeling really miserable, or always wondering “what if?”, and that is NO WAY to live your life. So what I’m trying to tell you is, if there’s something you want to do today, go and do it. Take the first step. Make the first move. Buy those shoes you’ve always wanted (if you have the money!). Show other people that they are wrong. You know what’s best for yourself, and doing that is oh so important.
There you have it, my dears! A list of my best advice. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading it, or maybe it’s inspired you in some way! If you’ve read this post today, please leave me a comment telling me your best piece of advice- let your inspiration motivate others!