Here’s the truth: I don’t like claiming that I’m a blogger. Or perhaps a more appropriate version of the truth is that I don’t like admitting to being one. I struggle with the connotations of the job: that it’s a job, and not a career; that my version of hard work is arranging a flat lay and deciding which mug to pour my eighteenth cup of tea into; that I’m consumed by jeans and Instagram and avocados and pink notebooks, and that I make empty money by posing outside of establishments I don’t actually frequent, just so I can keep up with the Joneses (read: other bloggers). I probably do fall, or have fallen into, a few of these stereotypes. I certainly insisted that I enjoyed avocado for a while, at least doused in sweet chilli sauce and accompanied by a hefty portion of thick, salty halloumi (which is pretty tasty, to be fair).
It’s an unfair stereotype (at least in parts, because there’s no smoke without fire, right?) but one I’m fearful of nonetheless. This got me thinking about writing for purpose, i.e. for work, and writing for pleasure, i.e. in the elusive pursuit of “art”. What if one feeds your soul, and the other feeds your stomach? To divine a harmony between A and B: the stock of reading and writing that challenges you, delights you, sickens you in a way that can only be assuaged by some kind of bloodletting: more writing; a caterpillar which feeds on its own tail, consuming and rebirthing; a placenta pill; and the stock of reading and writing which giggles you, little tremors of relatability through an ordinary story; how to wear this; how to organise that; the tragic virginity tale that fills us with a nostalgia granted by age; the good, light, two-feet-in-reality stuff.
One is your passion, and one is your practicality. To unite the two poles without struggling astride a fence: that is the challenge.
Challenge accepted, compadre. But who is “my woman”? Who am I writing for? Or rather, who am I writing to? Whilst I know that there’s an important place for fluff fashion and light-hearted repartee about why bootcut jeans will never ever be okay, I do worry that 500 words on a blazer and jeans combination might be boring. Probably because it’s not something I’d click into to read for myself. I started to think about her: my woman. Who she is, what she writes on her Tinder profile, which bottle of wine she overpays for at the corner shop after an arsey email from one of her colleagues. There’s a well known saying which runs: “you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all the people all of the time.” I needed to figure out who my “some of the people” people are. My woman. My target audience.
Blazer - & Other Stories*
Tee - Topshop
Skirt - Topshop (out of stock - ASOS similar here)
Boots - Zara
Bag - Loewe
Well, she’s the woman who accidentally says something inappropriate to her boss after a boozy meeting gone south. The woman who admires fancy things, but still says fuck and piss and shit and feels slightly out of place in an environment with someone who wouldn't eat beans out of a can. The woman who values herself, works on her self, builds on her self. That woman - my woman - isn’t so enamoured by titles about the return of the scrunchie or which summer shoe works best with a cropped jean. But she still wants something fun, at times. Work is long, she’s tired, and her career asks more of her than she always has the capacity to provide. The plates she spins aren’t china, they’re porcelain, probably from IKEA (although they look more expensive and were well received on Instagram). She’s intelligent, she has the capacity to be serious, but she regards life with an eye-roll and a joke about shagging. She loves women - really loves women - and would breathe a germinating seed of self-worth into every single one if she could (apart from that girl she thinks is a c*nt, because we’re all allowed to hate at least one person, no matter how nice we strive to be).
She isn’t necessarily motivated by money, although she likes having it. Her happiness and life balance are much more important to her though, and there is no joy to be found in a job or career that doesn’t nourish her as a human being. She thinks Primark is okay, but the shops are impossibly untidy and some of the clothes are just plain shite. They do great pants though, and she stocks up often. She recycles, walks, and avoids plastic, but sometimes feels overwhelmed by the sheer cliffs of judgement that form the coast of sustainability online. This is when she buys a McDonald's Diet Coke with plastic straw in rebellion. She’s a bit of a music snob (and probably a bit of a book snob too, if she’s honest). She’s sentimental, romantic, blooming and open like a red red rose, but this also makes her feel immature at times, as if she is too cutesy and isn’t taken seriously because her etiquette demands a kiss at the end of an email. She wasn't the pretty girl in school - something she's grateful for now - and as a result, she became the sarcastic friend, the one who had to be clever because in high-school terms, she was comparable to a jacket potato (with a terrible fringe). She is an oxymoronic balance between spontaneity and preparedness, and is nine times out of ten late, because she thought she had enough time to watch just one more episode of [insert shite soap name here].
She struggles to find her place in the world, and often feels like she’s trying to separate attracting magnets from between the two poles. She wants to read things which make her laugh, and grant her light relief ahead of or after a hard day at work. But she also doesn’t want to be pandered to. She wants to think, and to feel, and to be felt (in an emotional sense, but definitely in a sexy sense too). She wants, in short, a balance. An unserious seriousness. A twinkle in the eye and a raised eyebrow; a ‘what should I reply to this sext?’ emergency WhatsApp before a potentially career defining meeting. She enjoys the frivolity of fashion and doesn't want to feel vapid for doing so, but she also doesn't want to be reduced to just blouses and boots.
She is multi-faceted, complicated, and fascinating. She is you.
I raise a large glass of Pinot to my woman; I hope to entertain you with a bawdy blend of sex and sartorialism for many years to come.