January is upon us and we’ve somehow dragged our prosecco-laden bodies into the New Year, either kicking and screaming or full and sleeping. The internet is awash with the annual debate as to whether New Year’s Resolutions are actually ~ worth it ~ or not and people sharing their favourite moments of 2017, with hopes and dreams for the next 12 months revealing that we’d all really like to go on a spa retreat to Bali (well, go figure, really) and write that book we’ve been turning over in our minds for too long.
The New Year is an optimistic time, and surprisingly, for somebody that is admittedly cynical about most things festive or celebratory, I willingly succumb to the New Year, New Me marketing ploy every January. It’s a symbolic fresh start for me, as well as a much-needed kick up the arse after spending weeks in a food coma. Waking up at 10:30am may be good for the soul, but it’s not good for productivity, and after two weeks of digital detoxing and drinking mini bottles of champagne “just because”, I’m ready for work to shock me back into purpose.
With that being said, I’m going to keep the resolutions chat to a minimum this year. In short, I want to learn how to cook (I want to learn about spice combinations and which oils to cook with and the very basics of baking and cooking and creating easy meals), I want to really push myself work wise, and I want to get that fucking tattoo I’ve been dead-set on for nearly two years now. Those are my top three for 2018. Instead of focusing on what I personally want to achieve, however, I wanted to start the year off with a checklist of things that we should all start and stop giving a shit about; a list of things that demanded too much of our energy in 2017, and where we should look to redirect it now. This is a long one, my lovelies, so grab a brew or hit bookmark, and let's get into it.
START GIVING A SHIT ABOUT
Our carbon footprint
I always fear I sound ungrateful when I complain about unsolicited PR packages, but the truth is, every week I throw away a shocking amount of un-recyclable plastic packaging that needn’t have been wasted in the first place. Even the cardboard I can pop in the blue bin becomes frustrating, because it served no real purpose and acts as a constant reminder of how much waste my job fosters as a sidenote. I am so thankful for every parcel and every gift and every little surprise that falls on my doorstep, but once a girl has two lips balms, she really doesn’t need any more. Most of my unused products go to my Mum (who pops over all the time to nab more freebies, the little scoundrel) or to my friends, but I still feel like so much goes under-appreciated or unloved when it could have gone to a much more deserving home. In 2018, I want to be more pro-active in improving my carbon footprint, and I want brands to start thinking more wisely about how and who they send products to. Just one item from a new range is good enough - trust me, bloggers have enough serums.
Empathy, inner thought, and compassion
In many respects, 2017 was a shitty year. So many heartbreaking events unfolded across the globe and a lot of us became rightfully disillusioned with the institutions set in place to protect us. We are all fucked off, and a little down-beaten. 2018, however, is the year to harness the difference that small acts of compassion and humanity can make. Sounds slightly hippy and vapid, I know, but bear with me. I’ve shared at length how this past year has allowed me to become a more thoughtful, introspective and compassionate person, and despite the fact that nay-sers will claim this doesn’t actually ~ mean ~ anything, and that I’m just becoming more “Twitter” or “Millenial” than ever, the time I spent getting to know myself has manifested positively in the way I treat other people.
I genuinely care more, I want to help, I recognise my privilege and the responsibility of my position and what I should be doing to make other people’s lives better. We need to give more shits about empathy and less about the fleeting buzz of being “right” or the security of sticking to what protects us. It’s all too easy to stay quiet for the benefit of yourself, but we each have a responsibility - not as online influencers or avid Tweeters, but as humans - to shout about things that aren’t right. To care more. To open ourselves up to vulnerability by loving more.
Empathy, inner thought and compassion are not romanticised ideals - they are very real qualities which encourage us to look outside ourselves in a world that is becoming increasingly about looking after number one. Let's start thinking about why instead of what.
I get it. The news is depressing. It feels like we’re on the brink of World War III at all times, and sometimes turning the TV over or avoiding dense articles online is more an act of self-preservation than of wilful ignorance. But sometimes it is wilful ignorance too. I’m guilty of it - I’m not nearly as informed as I should or could be, because it’s easier to stay disconnected than it is get stuck into the intricacies of what is actually happening to the NHS or whether Donald Tramp or Kim Jog-On do have nuclear buttons or not (fun fact: the ‘button’ is a fictional trope - in actual fact the President has a briefcase type thing and a set of protocols to cycle through should he ever wish to, although he still doesn’t require approval which is slightly terrifying for that idiot). It’s time to start giving a shit about what is happening in the world around us, and as daunting as that can often seem, I would really recommend the app Quartz as a friendly introduction to getting to grips with current affairs. It offers small, bitesize chunks of news throughout the day, and you can choose to read more, or choose to move on (sometimes I take a Donald Tramp break, I’m only human). Fun fact: my last fun fact was stolen from Quartz. Good, right?
STOP GIVING A SHIT ABOUT
Every time I'm close to letting this one go, I see somebody undergoing laser hair removal and I’m reminded of the great lengths that women go to to remove their short lengths. Body hair is so trivial, and I’m annoyed at myself for being annoyed about it so often - especially when there are much bigger and genuinely life-threatening issues facing WoC/trans-women/women in poverty etc. across the world - but each time I see somebody online or hear somebody in my real life talking about the nuisance that is their armpit hair, or the fact they “hadn’t shaved” before sleeping with someone, the fire within me is reignited. Listen: it’s not “personal preference” if he doesn’t come at you completely bare too, and don’t propagate the notion that body hair on women is unnatural and unclean by clarifying that “I have no problem with it, I’m just not that kind of girl”. Do what YOU want - not what you're influenced to want - and let's others do the same without back-handed judgement.
Trying to look like a #Goals model
My saved posts on Instagram nearly all look the same: tall, thin, white, tanned women, posing in beautiful locations, wearing beautiful clothes and living beautiful lives. Over and over and over, I routinely save fantasies. Because these are fantasies. It’s no surprise that these women all fit the same demographic, because these finely-curated snapshots of ‘real life’ are, in fact, just the move from magazine pages to social media. These gorgeous women with their honey blonde hair and their glowing skin and their naturally full eyebrows may not be models (although some of them are), but they might as well be, and I’m tired of buying into a dream that only disappoints me when the same pose or the same clothes, unsurprisingly, don’t make me appear in the same light.
I’ll be straight up with you: I’m tired of the same type of person being celebrated as fashionable or creative, when actually, they’re just being celebrated because they’re hot and thin. Wear a t-shirt and jeans as a short size 10-12 and your outfit is basic, but wear a t-shirt and jeans as a 5’10 size 6 holding a coffee cup, and you’re a minimalist, cool-girl dream. I’m never going to fit that mould because I’ll never be that girl. We need to stop giving a shit about what is unobtainable and create our own standards of sick-as-fuck. There’s more than one way to be cute.
New, new, new
Some of the items hanging on my rail have only been worn once. I refuse to give them away because they’re new, but I never wear them either because a) I’m probably in pyjamas, but also b) there’s undoubtedly something newer that’s come in that I’m trying to find time to wear too. We live in a fast-paced, fast-fashion society, a result of which means we can now get items delivered to our door within just 90 minutes of ordering. That’s unreal, right? Thousands upon thousands of new items are added to our favourite sites every day, and as an extension of that and wanting to put our best social-media foot forward, there’s a quiet pressure to always have something new. Is that new? We want something newer. Newer than newer than new. It’s wasteful, expensive, and damaging, and it’s about time to stop giving a shit about wearing the same outfit three times, and start giving a shit about really, truly, loving your items again.
I’m not preaching quality over quantity, because one Ganni knit isn’t going to see you through a whole winter where plenty more Zara buys good. Pushing designer over high-street is unrealistic and unattainable; instead, I’m saying that we need to reintroduce the ‘go away and think about it rule’. If you see it and like it, step away and revisit later. Don’t buy things for the sake of having something new. Don’t buy things because you think they’ll look nice on Instagram. Buy things because you love them and you know you’ll use them - and more than just a couple of times. This is something I really want to focus on this year, and which will begin with one hell of a Depop sale. Out with the new, in with the loved.