Can I just say…
The solidarity of the sisterhood is integral to woman’s mental health. Protect it.
If you are struggling: talk. Releasing the black snakes of mental illness from your head is like getting a Daddy Long Legs out of the bathroom window: when it’s out in the endless expanse of sky it’s not even half as threatening as when it was hovering over you in the shower cubicle.
Don’t wait for a man to save you. Being in a relationship will not signal the beginning of your life. You are you now. You will not be more you when you are a girlfriend/a wife/a mother.
Keep your options open. You don’t have to plan everything. You don’t have to decide on forever right now. You can change your mind about your career/a night out/which guy to go out with/what you are going to do tomorrow. Nothing is carved into your Samsung tablet or your Muji diary.
Defy convention. Who gives a fuck if your teeth aren’t straight? Mine aren’t. Who cares if you’re not married by the time your friends are? I was separated before any of mine were engaged. Do not succumb to societal pressure. Do what you want to do. Fuck them all.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Fear of letting people down and not living up to my own expectations of myself has crippled me. My life has fallen apart several times. I wasn’t good enough to do what I thought I wanted to do: a PhD. My marriage failed. Every relationship I’ve had has been a disaster. I need financial support from my family at the moment. Sometimes, I’m a crap mother. Often, I’m a shit friend. I’ve lost a good friendship from being blinded. I’m not the career girl I thought I was. I never finished my piano exams. I just can’t get meringues right. I can’t iron a shirt. I always make a typo on “independence”. So the fuck what? I didn’t really like being married, a PhD would have been too solitary for me; my career didn’t pay enough. The rest I’m working on. Except the ironing. And the bakery up the street does great meringues. And autocorrect sorts independence.
Don’t let the bastards get you down. If someone treats you like you’re nothing, they’re nothing to you. Surround yourself with the people who you are comfortable with seeing you with no make up on, first thing in the morning in your mismatched PJs with your mascara creased into your wrinkles and who immediately walk into the kitchen and put the kettle on; the friends who you fart in front of and who try to outdo you with a louder one; the ones who help you stick on your boob cups for a backless dress; the man who reads your batshit blog and still thinks you’re awesome; the family thousands of kilometres away who you can send random texts to in any time zone; the mammy who you didn’t recognise when she was dressing you for hospital but who sits on the edge of your bed and holds your hand till you’re asleep; the uncle who hugs and kisses you everytime he sees you despite being a serious and committed non-hugger; the daughter who doesn’t mind being friends with you on Omnipotent Social Networking Site and still likes a snuggle from her loopy mother. Don’t be around people who want to cut you down, you’re not timber. Avoid the energy vampires.
There’s plenty more advice I could offer up to the gods of mental wellbeing and plenty more I should heed. But for now I’m going to try to switch off and not achieve anything for a few hours. After I search for a video tutorial on “How to Iron a Shirt”.