This is the first time in a long time that I have truly felt alone. I believed that moving away to University was going to improve my life but I was foolish to believe that running away from home comforts would help me. My lack of interest for social activities is starting to wear me down. I feel exhausted trying to please people, trying to fit in. Sometimes I just want to lock myself away in my dark room and hide beneath the covers … but then I feel lonelier. Relationships are strained, my head is a mess and I feel imprisoned my a strong sense of hatred for myself, for my environment, for my life. I just want to feel secure. I want to feel comfortable but I don’t. I feel pressured, I feel out of place.
It’s a vicious cycle. I’m cursed with a flare up, I treat it with some sort of topical steroid, it clear up. And then it comes back again. It’s as if eczema is haunting me, never satisfied, always there to taunt me, fulfilling a desire to make me feel like shit. And it’s working. I’m in a constant battle with my skin and eczema is winning, kicking me to the ground, making me feel like an ugly, worthless idiot. I want to hide away from the rest of the world, embarrassed by the red rashes that lay upon my flesh. I grow green with envy every time my sights seek out somebody with flawless skin — I want that. I want to be able to wear skirts, dresses, shorts without feeling as though people are staring at the scars on my legs. I want to smother my body in lotions, in perfumes … but instead, I’m forced into a life of non-scented, hypoallergenic bullshit. I want to be able to sleep at night, but instead I’m scratching, willing myself to stop, hating myself when my fingers meet with my flesh and I start the vicious cycle over again.
I want an end to this nightmare.
I want to feel beautiful.
I am not a person of great academia. Quite in fact, I like to think that I am creative-minded, I like to go with the flow, I like to learn whilst I’m doing, I like to create. I’ve always struggled with education, mostly examinations. My mind is not charged like those who can keep their nose in a book and revise page after page and recite the information that their memory has stored on a piece of paper that later grants them an A+. I’m not that type of person. I try my best to revise, I spend hours reading over pages of books, researching on the internet, creating mind maps, watching videos and for what? To forget it all.
I believe I’m stupid, even though I know deep down that I am not. My stress levels are high, my mental health not at its complete best just so I can sit in a hall with a bunch of students, write information down on an exam booklet and receive a grade. Is that fair? I don’t think so. I spend night after night worrying that I won’t do my best, scared that I won’t get where I want to be in life. Sure, I received offers from my top-pick of universities, but I still need to pass my course, I still need to do okay just to get there.
I think it’s unfair for our grades to define us. For what we do on one or two booklets to determine where we get in the future. We are not all the same, our minds do not work the same as one another. And yet it’s those who excel in academia that rise to the top and people like me, the people who have great personalities, the people who are creative and love to learn on the job are failing and made to feel like failures.
I spend a good amount of time every day on my face. I cover my spots and blemishes with foundation, I highlight my cheekbones with a nice peach glow and I paint my eyes with an array of colour that express how I’m feeling that day. I wear makeup to make myself feel good. I wear makeup to show my creative side, to show my emotions, to give me a strength I don’t feel I have when I’m bare-faced. I do not wear makeup for compliments (although when I do get them, it makes my day and I thank you for taking the time to find something nice to say about me), I do not wear makeup as a mask of flirtation or as a way to grasp the attention of other people. I wear it for me because it makes me feel like a better person. That’s all.
I hate it when people (mostly men, though not all … ) turn their nose up at people who are wearing a lot of makeup. I hate it when they proceed to say that they prefer natural girls because, let me remind you folks, NOBODY ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION. If you prefer natural girls, whatever – that’s your choice but you don’t need to tell me, somebody who is wearing a fair amount of makeup in order to make me feel as though I need less because I don’t need less. I like the amount of makeup I wear.
I walked into work yesterday feeling slightly sorry for myself anyway and the first thing my manager said to me before anything else was ” Could you be wearing any more makeup? “, sarcasm lingering in his tone, an air of sexism residing between us. And for a moment, I was speechless because I didn’t ask him to comment on my makeup. I didn’t spend time for him to comment on the amount of makeup I’m wearing and when I’d finally processed his words I retorted with, “Funny thing is, I don’t wear makeup for you men. ” and walked out.
Why do men feel as though they have the god-given right to comment on what a woman wears? Whether that’s on her body or on her face. We let you wear what you want to wear so let us express ourselves through colour, through boldness, through creativity.
- I don’t want to be fetishised. Full stop. It’s insane how many people think it’s acceptable to come up to me and ask me about my sex life as though what I do in the bedroom is a story to be told for everybody. Why don’t you get out the popcorn, guys? Sit down and get relaxed while I answer your questions about strap-ons and dildos and whatever-the-fuck-else sex toy you can think of. Fuck off.
- The dread of ‘coming out’. Feeling as though something is wrong with you and that once everybody knows that you are the dreaded G word, they’re going to treat you differently. Not knowing how your family is going to react. Are they going to disown you? Be disgusted? Hate you? You expect it all. You prepare for the worst.
- Being scared to hold your partner’s hand in public. How will people react when they see you holding the hand of somebody of the same sex? What if they call you names?
- Being referred to as your partner’s friend. Or even better, being asked if they are your sister/brother and not knowing how to break it to the person asking that they are indeed your other half and you are indeed gay. Prepare for a look of shock – again, expect the worst.
- Even worse, your parents referring to your partner as ‘your friend’ when introducing them to strangers. Like no, mum and dad – you know they’re my significant other. Stop pretending like you don’t know.
- The endless names thrown around in society to label you. Faggot, dyke, rug munchers, cock suckers, bean flicker … the list is endless.
- The mere fact that people think it’s a choice to be gay. Educate yourself, idiots. Nobody would chose a lifestyle that opens them up to ridicule, to inequality, to name-calling and bullying. Nobody would chose that. We’re just born this way.
My sister got a rash the other day. Just a red patch that, sure, was itchy and annoying but it had nothing on the open cuts that itch like god knows what and keep me awake half the night that is my eczema. It was New Years eve, too. Everybody was there, everybody was making a fuss. ” Is she okay? Poor love, it must be awful. ” And whilst yes, it must have been awful, I had to grit my teeth and refrain from complaining about MY skin that itches 24/7 and hurts like a bitch when I do give in to temptation and rake my nails over each and every open sore.
My grandad asked me how my sister was two days after when he picked me up from work. And I assured him that she’s fine, but that I’ve come out in a bad breakout of itchy skin. And his response? ” Well, she’s not used to it. You are. ” Excuse me? But no matter how often I get a breakout of eczema, I’ll never get used to it. I always feel the lowest I possibly can when my skin is covered in the lumpy, ugly rashes. I hate myself when I give in and scratch. I feel ugly, I feel disgusting because every time I clock somebody with perfect soft skin, I find myself growing more and more envious. I can’t use products with perfume in. I can’t wash my hair in nice smelling shampoos because my shoulders come out in a horrible rash. I can’t spray beautiful scents straight onto my skin or use that gorgeous body scrub I got as a gift for christmas. Yes, I have eczema and I know what to expect … but I will never ever learn to accept it or get used to it.
I’m not the type of person to make resolutions for the new year. Quite in fact, I don’t make them because I’m not very good at sticking to the goals I make myself and I know that time changes everything and each and every day are different than the next and the resolution made may not fit to certain circumstances. So instead, I simply look forward to all that is to come. 2016 was a weird year, I’m sure we can all agree. It seems the world was purging our beloved famous idols, taking the lives of those we admire one by one. The news of David Bowie’s passing broke my heart and started my 2016 on a shit note, but I spent the rest of the year remembering him and admiring his legacy. I made great memories with my girlfriend, celebrating my 20th birthday with a nice meal and lazy day and then her 21st in Manchester, partying with Drag Queens and sipping on over-priced cocktails. We experienced a pride parade and started college together and it’s been perfect.
And now I’m looking forward to the upcoming year. To celebrate my 21st birthday in Manchester, watching my all time favourite band for the second time and (again!!!) partying with drag queens. A trip to London in August to Drag World where I have tickets to meet my fav queen Katta Zamolodchikova and make an absoluuuuute tit out of myself. And various more nights away and lazy days at home.
So, my resolution is to just enjoy myself. None of this diet bullshit. None of this ‘ new year new me’ malarky. I just want to make the most of this life I’ve been given and take risks. I want to wear what I want, say what I want and do what I want ( within reason. ) I want to be the best person I can be this year and to finally be true to myself as a person. No more labelling my girlfriend as a friend when people ask if we’re sisters, no more letting people walk all over me when I don’t agree with something and no more holding back. This year is going to be my year and I’ll make damn sure that it is.
TW: anxiety, fears, phobias.
My anxiety is nowhere near as extreme as it used to be. I like to think of myself as being a confident person, no longer caring much about my appearance or others opinions of me. I’ve grown as a person and I’m comfortable in myself. But there’s one thing — one single thing that still gets my tummy turning ; talking on the phone. I just cannot do it. The thought of dialling a number and talking into the receiver makes me feel sick to the stomach and gives me nervous sweats. I’m confident when it comes to face to face conversations but the concept of not being able to see the person you’re talking to over the phone really freaks me out. Perhaps it’s an irrational fear, but it makes my life so much harder. Phoning in sick to work is a hard, gruelling task which makes me feel ten time worse if I hadn’t called them up. Don’t even get me started on the dreaded MISSED CALL notification that pops up on your mobile phone — especially when said missed call is from an unknown number.
Even looking at that picture gives me minor anxiety. I hate the unknown and whilst I know that the person on the other end of the call is probably some salesperson, I still can’t hack it. I ignore that call … I ignore that call all the damn way.
A few years ago I was doing work experience at a Travel Agents and I remember filling with an instant panic when the manager suggested I answered a call the next time the phone rang. I hoped and hoped and hoped that it didn’t go off and thankfully, the gods were on my side because it didn’t. But I have never felt so uncomfortable in my whole life. I just cannot stand it – I physically cannot talk on the phone.
TW: mentions of alcohol.
The mention of a night on the town filled with booze and dancing sounds fun when it’s mentioned — but after it’s completed? Mostly, it’s the total opposite. A few hours packed with throwing a combination of alcoholic beverages down your throat leads the way to a reality of headaches, blurred vision, nausea and what sometimes feels like death. That’s right, the not-so-wonderful hangover stage. It baffles me really, why us human beings find fun in poisoning ourselves with this strong liquid satan. I do it myself, quite in fact I did it last night ( and currently experiencing the aftermath ), but why do we seek fun in something that usually makes us feel oh so very delicate? I like to think of myself as being a fun person when I’m sober. I’m easy to talk to and somewhat funny, thus I get on with most people. So why do I feel the need to sip wine from the bottle ( classy, i know ) and parade around town with a bunch of other inebriated people? Is it for confidence? I open up a lot more when the liquid courage is coursing through my veins. But I also make a massive tit out of myself, so it’s a no-win situation. Is it down to peer pressure? Everybody is else is drinking, so why don’t I? Or are we just completely and utterly bonkers?
Perhaps it’s all three. We’re an odd kind, us folk.
When I was a child, I’d get frequent flairs of eczema on the back of my knees and the creases of my arms. To me, it was normal. As a child, I didn’t care about vanity. It didn’t bother me that I had red cracked skin in areas of my body. But now I’m twenty and I do care about vanity. I care about it a lot. And being a female of my age, the last thing I want is sore, red patches of skin on my body. And it isn’t just on the back of my legs and the crack of my arms. My current breakout of eczema is literally everywhere. My neck, armpits, my shoulders, my arms, my chest, my groin and my back and it’s ugly. I try and resist the urge to scratch but it’s harder when I’m in bed and half asleep and I end up waking myself up whilst I’m satisfying an itch … only to become sore. I’ve tried everything from hydrocortisone cream to bath ointments that are supposed to be soothing for irritated skin and nothing is working. I start college again tomorrow and I’m no longer looking forward to it because my skin is sore and looks atrocious. I feel ugly and it’s not at all enjoyable.