Today I don’t have the car and there’s something about that that I’m finding really, really liberating.
It means I cannot push myself to the edge of the Earth trying to go above and beyond to have a superwoman day. I cannot achieve it all. I have to just settle for achieving what I can. For being a slower version of myself. For cutting myself some slack.
Y’see, work has been hectic, crazy hectic, it’s breaking me hectic.
I made loads of big gestures at the start of the year about being kinder to myself and pulling back from work, and as much as I’ve had it in sight, and made it my goal, it hasn’t happened.
Because I, Hannah Gale, am obsessed with work. And not in the good ‘she was such a hard-worker’ engraved on my gravestone kind of way, in the way that it interferes with my life. Because we forget that don’t we? That work is a part of life, the way hobbies and friendships and exercise are all parts of life, and that it is not the entirety. That work is not the main performance and everything else the supporting acts.
I’ve missed birthdays, forgotten to send thank you texts and I’m sorry texts, struggled to see people I promised I’d see. I have become a slave to trying to be this hard-working, hustling, boss version of myself because I think it will make people like me more. When actually, people would probably like me more if I was less invested in myself.
Y’see, us sassy millennial women, well, we work our butts off. We work our butts off to prove ourselves. To prove that not only are women capable and amazing and brilliant and strong, but that we are capable and amazing and brilliant and strong.
We’re not only trying to fly the flag for women everywhere, we’re trying to prove to everyone around us that we are worthy, that we are worth something, that we are everything that people ever doubted we were.
And in doing so, we accelerate too fast, push too hard and struggle to put the breaks on.
We get caught up in the moment, in the exhilarating and exhausting buzz of ‘killing it’.
And it leaves us feeling broken, flitting between MUCH WIRED, where da coffee and sobbing in bed.
My issue from day one has always been this irritating need to make people like me. It’s why I drunk to excess as a teenager (HI, MAKE ME CONFIDENT, MAKE ME FUN, MAKE ME LIKABLE), and it’s why I beat myself up every day for not creating a blog post that makes people stand up at their desks to give me a standing ovation.
I want the world to think I’m good enough. To believe in me. To tell me that I’m enough.
(Just an FYI, this post has got a *little* out of control and gone a bit deeper than I intended at quarter to ten on a Tuesday morning but I was listening to an old Drake album and having a moment of self-reflection and whaddya know, a whole bunch of bottled up feelings have come worming their way to the surface.)
And it’s like a thirst that will never be quenched. There is never a moment where I will be fulfilled by everything I’ve achieved. I will keep on wanting more, keep on pushing for more, keep on looking for praise and reassurance that I’m doing OK.
And actually it’s kinda funny because the reality of blogging and the whole digital influencer thing is that the more people that do like you and share your work, the more you’re going to come across people who don’t like you.
And not just that, but more people who will openly voice that they don’t like you.
And so it becomes a vicious circle of trying to please these complete strangers because HI I’M NICE AND I THINK YOU’D LIKE ME IF YOU MET ME IN REAL LIFE, only to stumble on more complete strangers that you want to please.
Are you still following?
Anyway, in writing that down, it’s helped alert me to the fact of how fucking (yes, I’m doing a swear) ridiculous it all is. And it’s made me do a big ol’ smirk at my screen. Because sometimes you have to ask yourself what will happen if someone you’ve never met doesn’t like you. The answer is nothing. It will not affect your life in any way.
Imagine the worst case scenario. Loads of people don’t like you. In fact, everyone hates you. You lose all your blog readers and all your Instagram followers. Then what happens?
OK, so you stop being able to monetise your content. But then what? You find a new way to make money and feed yourself. You get a new job. Life keeps on going and you keep on living. Because you, your happiness, your world, does not depend on everyone liking you. So long as you’re a good person. You’re kind, you listen, you make time for other people. You know the difference between right and wrong. You’re doing OK. So let go. Let go of the weight of pleasing people. Whether they’re strangers, parents, friends or colleagues. Life is too short for dwelling on the idea that maybe you’re not enough, because I promise you, you are.