THE PAST 10 OR SO YEARS HAVE BEEN PRETTY KIND TO US GIRLS. We’re now unashamedly riding the sixth wave of feminism, for instance. Dry shampoo has become really, really good. Alexander Skarsgård regularly takes his top off, our battle for equal pay is well underway, and we’ve discovered that coconut oil may well be a cure for everything – or at the very least, a sure-ﬁre way to feel smug about your dinner, even if all you’ve actually done is successfully scrambled an egg. All in all, it’s not been too shabby a decade. Slowly but surely, we are moving towards a promised land over which Lena Dunham presides, deﬁant in cellulite-revealing hot pants, and where you have to eat an entire wheel of Brie to be allowed in.
Yes, ladies, we’re thankfully pootling towards Normaltown, whose deﬁning characteristic is the absence of any inane, superﬂuous pressures, both external and self-imposed. The kind of pressures that even social media is now backlashing against – see the joyous #NoMakeUp movement, or that Mattel has deﬁed with its Sheroes collection – Barbies of all shapes and skin tones, inspired by successful, real-life women. The kind of pressures that Reshma Saujani, founder of tech startup Girls Who Code, explained was down to “raising our girls to be perfect, and our boys to be brave.” And the kind of pressures that New Year’s resolutions are the shrew-like harbingers of, their battle cry being that most patronising of ancient relics: ‘New Year, New You.’
Massive, irritated sigh. Come on, guys, have we not evolved past this yet? A blizzard of passive-aggressive reminders that we’re still not quite good enough seems a bit 1986, a bit Rosemary Conley’s Hip & Thigh Diet, and a lot at odds with the self-conﬁdence we’ve spent all year being told to maintain in the face of Tash Oakley’s abs.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-self-improvement, and I’m certainly not anti-health, despite what my current lifestyle might suggest. Side note: I am, however, anti-gym selﬁe, and have the backing of science – apparently people that post their workouts to Facebook have psychological problems. Sorry if that’s you. But I digress.
Obviously, on the basis of being vaguely sensible, I’m not averse to positive change. I’m just anti-‘beating myself up if I fail’, and anti-‘being told I have to do it all in January, very quickly, while I’m broke and a bit sleepy.’ I’d like to believe that what I’ve been assured all year – i.e. that I Am Enough – wasn’t just a sneaky half-truth spouted by various female-friendly pockets of the internet, and that the me that still hasn’t ﬁnished reading Lean In, or that secretly doesn’t know how to turn the grill on, is just ﬁne. I might ﬁnally learn French this year, I might not, but I’m taking this opportunity to grant you permission to cast off the shackles of New Year ﬂagellation and, in the name of sisterhood, share the resolutions that I, 11 days in, have already failed spectacularly at. The best bit? I don’t care. And neither should you. There are more important things to worry about.
1 JANUARY Smoked approximately two million cigarettes. Does that count? New Year’s Day is a universally accepted no man’s land, right?
2 JANUARY Back to work. Chose to hit snooze 19 times in place of meditating and/or massaging kale. Instead I dozed in and out of a dream where James Franco was driving me around in the DeLorean from Back to the Future. I’m not even that keen on him, but I remember being pretty happy at the time.
3 JANUARY Cancelled on a friend for dinner in favour of mindlessly Netﬂixing three episodes of The Crown. Ate a Hobnob. Fine, four Hobnobs.
4 JANUARY Accidentally left air-con on at home all day.
5 JANUARY Went to the gym so ordered a congratulatory curry. As I’ve just moved and have no furniture, and possibly because I’m a terrible person, I may have eaten it in bed.
6 JANUARY Twenty minutes late to anti-smoking hypnotherapy. Idly wondered if my coach could hypnotise punctuality into my subconscious.
7 JANUARY Spent longer than I’ll admit fretting over why an Instagram picture I’d posted hadn’t got more likes. Cue existential crisis as to why I even care and what that means about what I’ve become.
8 JANUARY Ate the remainder of the Christmas chocolates in the ofﬁce. Felt guilty, then felt guilty about feeling guilty, because I am supposed to have moved past worrying about that sort of thing, dammit. Being a girl is hard. Wouldn’t swap, though.