What do you pack when you go and see your parents? I always have to make an effort when I go back to Leicester as you never know who might see you. I always sort-of hope that after my years ho-ing with no-hopers and the (obviously) small-town bullies of my youth () I will run into somebody – anybody – I know, whilst looking like The Girl Who Lives The London Life. I want to be smart and distant and distinctive and too good for people who thought that was weird for those exact same reasons in the past, and Leicester is a small enough town that it might actually happen. So what I pack is a full arsenal of makeup, my nicest (distinctive) clothes and some niche, difficult books. Also stuff I want to leave at my folks’ place, as I very rarely go back, and I invariably forget something major and have to go to Superdrug (this time – deodorant, last time – tootbrush). I am not the queen of packing.
Glamour is hard – my back is bloody killing me from sitting in the back of my dad’s Jaguar, and it was so windy my Grand National hat kept nearly blowing off my head. My skin is bad now and I already have a noticeable chip in my nail polish (did I seriously used to paint my nails every two days? Eurgh, what grotesque effort). But the glorious thing about the times I do this is that being petty like this is marvellous for imposter syndrome: when your only aim is to look like the platonic form of you, it’s easy to remind yourself of everything you want to be, all of the aspects of your own personality that you’re proud of, all the weird knowledge unique to your interests. Damn, you thought my interest in old movies was something to make fun of? Check out my film-noir hat. Oh, you thought I was too intelligent for my own good? I hope you see me reading academic interpretations of difficult poetry. You thought I was a loner? The truth is I was always aloof, and I’m more interesting than you ever were.
The truth is what, though? Achievement of the day (possibly of the week, not sure, it’s early days yet) is coming to work. The fact that I’m here sticking labels on Holly Bourne novels is a fucking miracle. But there’s also a fucking dope photo of me that I made my mum take, though, so I’ll count the week as a success. As long as I look like I’m glamorous, nobody knows my life is held together with double-sided sticky tape, and in that moment I didn’t care, because I was showboating everything I wanted to be to people who didn’t appreciate me when they could have. Hot damn.
You should try it.
- Clean makeup brushes
- Listen to an album that sounds good to somebody that wasn’t a teenager when I was
- Apply for more jobs
- Put one foot in front of the other
(In case you do want to listen to a band that was cool when I was 15 and never since, try this. They’re also on B&Q adverts. I’m not sorry.)