After a recent trip to the UK, I realised something rather peculiar. Whenever I’m abroad, I act slightly differently: I dress up more, I experiment more with make-up, and I even act with more confidence in everyday situations. For example, I’ll actually send my food back if it’s inedible instead of chewing my gums bloody on a well-done cut of rump.
I don’t apologise for my existence as much, no ‘sorry, sorry, excuse me, pardon me’. No. I own my space and sometimes even act like the self-entitled main character in a rom-com.
Reflecting on this change in behaviour upon my return, I realised it’s because no one knows me there. The anonymity washes over you like a crisp salty wave the very moment you step off the plane at Heathrow. It feels refreshing. The slate is clean, like the 1st of January or a blank page of a new diary.
It’s like I play hooky from my real life and feel I can indulge in a kind of everyday romance with myself. I believe in myself more, I walk tall and activate my resting bitch face as I please. But why can’t I also do this at home, in the suburbs? It’s not like I really know anyone here either…
The ever-seductive Emma Thompson recently dropped a truth bomb so powerful it turned into a TikTok trend, with millions using the audio: "...don't waste your time, don't waste your life's purpose worrying about your body. This is your vessel, it's your house, it's where you live. There's no point in judging it."
Imagine all the years we’ve lost. All the dates I could have been on with myself. I’ve judged my body ever since I got my first period at 12 years old. Judging it has led to drops in self-confidence over the years: It always fluctuated depending on whether I was fit/less fit, bigger/skinnier etc. The kak feeling always lingered, like a flippin’ mosquito in my room at 2:45 a.m. on a stuffy summer night.
But the beautiful fix, if you choose to believe it, is that almost no one else has any idea that you’re judging yourself so harshly 24/7. They’re most likely too busy judging their own bodies to notice.
So reinventing yourself on a whim is possible.
The other day my friend called me someone who “always comes across confident”. Excuse me?! That is *not* what it sounds like in my head most of the time. But why not indulge this performativity? If they believe it, maybe one day I will too. Employing a fake-it-till-you-make-it or a wining-and-dining-of-self strategy to win yourself over, to get into your own pants, if you will…
The greatest love affair of your life should be the one you have with yourself. Enough time has been wasted on bad dates with yourself, on standing yourself up and cutting yourself short. Judge yourself less, swoop yourself off your feet more. Inject everyday romance into all avenues of your life (from positive self-talk and masturbation to solo dates and playing hooky from your real life) and start falling for yourself for the very first time.
(Image by @a_street_cat_named_benson)