As an Introvert, How Do I Connect With People? | #ThisGirlEats

The first answer that comes to mind is: force.

I make myself. I have to, otherwise my time on this planet would be a very single, solitary existence and, believe it or not, I actually do have friends. Some, anyway. When I’m having a particularly bad day and just want to banish all communication with the outside world it baffles me how I actually came to make those friends but, nonetheless, they do exist.


My social circles are relatively small and have always been forced out of situations; work, university, sixth form, etc.. I don’t think I’ve ever made a friend as a result of me optionally putting myself out there through something I’ve chosen to do, like taking up an evening class or striking up conversation with a friendly stranger at a bar.

That’s not to say I can’t form close friendships, or maintain them; okay, I could definitely be better at keeping up with everyone (or at least replying to my messages – sorry!) and I have been known to breathe a sigh of relief when plans have fallen through. But really, I’d consider a lot of my friendships to be pretty strong and most of them have been going for a number of years.

But, with me, you don’t really get a choice in that last part – if we’re truly friends, you better believe it took us forever to get there! You see, for me, being an introvert means it takes a painfully long time to even begin edging out of my shell. I’m not kidding – however long you think I mean, double it. At least. People I now consider to be good friends often say they had to spend loads of time with me for at least a year before feeling like they even started seeing a glimpse of my authentic self.


Not that I’m playing a part or anything, but my social hang-ups mean I hide a lot of myself away, only showing very small flashes of my personality. You might hear a quip of my dry sense of humour or see my eyes light up briefly when we talk about music or Disney holidays; you might get an idea about me from my colourful hair, or my Dr Marten boots, or my tattoos, but it’s just an idea. It’ll take a lot longer before you really get to see beneath any of that and understand me as a person.

It makes it really hard to connect with people, and especially hard to fit in, when you can’t show all the way up. Every time I meet a new bunch of people I tell myself, this is it – this is your chance to start all over again, reinvent the wheel, squash your insecurities down and be yourself right from the start. But does it happen? Does it hell.

I keep quiet, I smile politely, I turn down kind offers of joining colleagues for lunch because it’s easier to spend an hour alone plugged into my headphones. I laugh at jokes but am too shy to make any of my own; I say the appropriate thing when inside my head I’m screaming something completely different; I nod along with chit-chat even though I’d rather spend my bank holiday weekend in a festival field than sunbathing in Saint-Tropez and I’ve never even heard of Heidi Klein (isn’t she that woman off Project Runway?!).

Sometimes I feel trapped inside my own skin and, let me tell you, it’s a bloody horrible feeling. I wish I could just snap out of it, but it’s like someone pulls an imaginary zip up over my head and that’s it – every part of me is hidden away except for a breathing hole. It’s frustrating, of course, but that zip is like a comfort blanket, it’s my safe space where I think, if I can just make myself as small and silent as possible, people will leave me alone.

It’s difficult when it takes you twice as long to open up and feel ready to make real connections and bond with people. It’s really, really difficult and, in all honesty, not everyone will always understand that. They’ll expect you to get there faster, and leave you in the dust as someone they “never really clicked with” when you don’t meet their deadlines. But you can’t rush it; the important people will wait for however long it takes you to get there and, trust me, once that foundation for friendship is in place, it’s unshakable.




We All Have Bad Days – Here’s How I Pick Myself Up | #ThisGirlEats

No matter how great things are, we all find ourselves in a bit of a slump every now and then. I’ve been having a bit of a rubbish week myself, for literally no reason whatsoever – which, in a way, makes it harder to shake off because you don’t really know what brought it on in the first place!

I’ve got a few techniques in my back pocket that I pull out at times like this, and they’ve got me out of more than one sticky situation in the past…

1. Spruce myself up

I’m not talking about some expensive luxe spa day, but it’s always nice to pamper myself when I’m feeling down in the dumps. It’s only ever something small and simple, like finally refreshing my chipped nail varnish, or getting rid of those nasty roots with a fun new hair colour. Just a little self-maintenance makes me feel like I’m presenting the best version of myself to the world, even if I don’t feel like it on the inside.

2. Get some fresh air

I’m not exactly the outdoorsy type, but there really is nothing like getting some air in your lungs when you’re in a bad mood. Moping around the flat by myself only makes me more miserable, but getting outside for a walk or run (if I’m feeling particularly energetic!) always helps me feel as though I’m one step closer to getting out of whatever funk I’m in.

3. Quality cat time

I’m a cat person – I think we’ve all established that through the constant Instagram stories of my rescue Chinchilla Persian floof, Flora. It might sound silly to those who aren’t “animal people”, but anyone with a pet – be it a cat, dog, whatever – knows how important those precious playmates are to the household. I adore my little munchkin (yes, I call her disgustingly soppy nicknames like that) and she never fails to cheer me up when I’m feeling down with plenty of fluffy cuddles.


4. Get productive

One of the most common causes of my bad moods is when I’m unsatisfied with how I’ve spent my day. If I’ve wasted an entire weekend doing nothing, or I planned to get loads of things done and just didn’t get round to it, I always end the day feeling seriously frustrated – which sucks, obviously. A quick fix for this is simply to do something. Anything! Write that blog post, send that email, upload that video, edit that photo; the more I tick off my to-do list, the better I feel when bedtime rolls around.

5. Do some spring cleaning

This might surprise you if you’ve ever dropped in on me unexpectedly and seen the chaos littered throughout my flat, but nothing puts me in a negative head-space more than mess. When the washing piles up and the layer of dust on the telly gets thicker and mounds of crap stands between me and my bed, I can instantly feel a migraine coming on… Going on a de-cluttering spree or a cleaning frenzy helps organise my home as well as my mind.

6. Throwback

I know puberty was a traumatic time and most people wish they could just forget their teenage years but, for me, I’m one of the lucky ones; I got off pretty easy. Despite the usual teenage girl drama, those years hold some of my fondest memories and remind me of a time when life was, for the most part, fun and carefree. So when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the real world, I take myself back to that time, whether it’s by playing tunes I loved listening to on the walk to school or flicking though embarrassing Facebook photos taken on my Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot.


7. Cook up a storm

It’s not for everyone, but cooking really relaxes me. Sure, it’s a bit hectic when you’ve got a million pans on the go, no-one in the house eats the same meal and the stuff on the top shelf of the oven is burning while the stuff on the bottom still looks anaemic – but hey, it’s all part of the fun! Giving myself a challenge in the kitchen distracts me, allows quality time by myself doing something I love, and I always feel proud as punch when it all comes together and tastes delicious in the end.

8. Grab a big mug and fill to the brim with herbal tea

This trick is especially handy when I’m feeling physically sluggish; if I’ve eaten a lot of junk food over the weekend or I’ve found my eyes to be bigger than my belly once again. I never get a good night’s sleep if I’m going to bed feeling uncomfortable, but a lovely cup of green tea is a great pallet cleanser and refreshes my digestive system. I also find camomile helps when I’m feeling restless and irritable, and lemon and ginger is great for banishing the sniffles.

9. Make plans

Sometimes, when you feel stuck in a rut, it’s really hard to find your way out of it. It can almost cloud your perspective and feel impossible to see through the fog of your current state of mind. Something that pushes me to get out of wallowing in the present when things aren’t so great is to make plans for the future; not always easy when you’re feeling down, I know. But if you can muster up the energy to look ahead, having something to look forward to – a holiday, a date, a day out – can give you back some of the focus that you might’ve lost.


10. Take a deep breath

Simple, but always effective.

Being Fat Isn’t the Worst Thing a Person Can Be, Y’unno | #ThisGirlEats

There’s a disturbing narrative that exists today, and we just can’t seem to shake it. It’s simple, really: Fat = Bad. It’s everywhere; we see with advertising selling us slimming products, the press fat-shaming celebrities, and people bombarding social media with before vs. after photos. No matter where we might find it, the message is always the same – being fat is the worst thing you can be.

And I’m so sick of it.

My most recent encounter with this was watching the latest TV ad for Weight Watchers. I can’t remember the exact words and, annoyingly, can’t find the advert anywhere online, but I distinctly remember the spokeswoman telling people to sign up on the basis that it will make them a “better version of themselves” – come to think of it, she might’ve even said the best version of yourself.

Weight Watchers: Wellness that Works (umm…)

Because apparently, thinner ALWAYS equals better.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, especially when it’s affecting your health and you think you could be in better shape; hell, I could stand to lose a few pounds myself! But the idea that being slimmer automatically makes you a better person – and, in turn, being bigger somehow detracts from you as an overall human being – is total bullshit.

Not only is it a load of rubbish, but it’s incredibly damaging. Pushing the “fat = bad, thin = good” narrative is bound to have a negative impact, particularly where eating disorders and mental health are concerned. Imagine telling someone with anorexia, for example, that being the thinnest version of themselves makes them the best version of themselves. Or how this could easily recycle that feeling of guilt in someone with bulimia to the point that they experience dangerous symptoms such as binging and purging. It seems so obviously dangerous to me in this context, I’m amazed we allow it to continue.

It’s clearly designed to make us feel terrible about ourselves. Telling us that we’re better when we’re thinner makes those of us whose bodies don’t fit these very particular – and sometimes unobtainable – specifications feel worthless, unattractive and uncomfortable in our own skin. It also strips us of our identities as people; it ignores all other aspects of our personalities and achievements, reducing how we measure up on the “good vs. bad scale” to nothing more than our weight.

I look at photos of myself from a few years back, before I gained the weight I now carry around with me (mostly in my lil’ tummy pooch), and sometimes I’m swept up in that narrative. I look at photos like the one below and think, “Wow, how did I let this version of myself slip away?!” And literally the ONLY reason I think that is because I’m thinner in those photos. That’s it. It’s not based on where I was at that point in my life, or how happy I was, or what I’d achieved. It’s because I was thinner – so I must’ve been better, right?


NO, SAM! Of course not! That’s just such a ridiculous notion, I can’t believe I bought it for even a second! I look at what’s happened in my life since those photos and almost laugh at how absurd I’m being when I think I’m worse off now simply because of my weight. I’ve achieved bucket loads since then; I’m in a happy, committed relationship, moved out, learnt to drive, started (and ended!) my own music publication, created my blog and worked my way up to my dream job. I’m more accomplished, level-headed, hard-working, ambitious, sociable and confident than the person in that photo. I’m more comfortable with my body and appearance than I’ve ever been, regardless of my size.

I’m a better person for so, so many reasons right now, and it all has absolutely zilch to do with my weight.

I’m lucky enough that I can see that, despite falling down the rabbit hole every now and again. But all the while we give into this narrative that being fat is the worst thing you can be, and the only way to make yourself a better person is to lose weight, then this narrative will continue to win and companies like Weight Watchers will keep making these shitty adverts.


Finding Your Feet & Fitting In At Work | #ThisGirlEats

We all have times when we feel a little uncomfortable in our own skin. It’s hard to always feel like yourself, especially when you’re environment you aren’t used to with people you don’t know. It happens to some of us more than others, but I think it’s pretty much a universally accepted fact that trying to fit in and find your feet in a new job is always a challenge.

After being yelled at down the phone by strangers every day, I finally decided call centre work just wasn’t for me (although who on earth is it “for”?!) and applied for a few other positions, including one at a big, scary London office that I was well under-qualified for. But I thought, hey, what the hell?!

After that I thought practically nothing of it; I can’t even COUNT the amount of times I’ve sent off job applications and never heard back. It’s like they’d get lost in some sort of internet void as soon as I’d hit the ‘Send’ button. When this application was even acknowledged it was a surprise, so you can imagine my shock when I actually interviewed and then went and got the damn thing!

I was excited, happy and proud of myself but, of course, also anxious and nervous. It sounds mad, but it wasn’t the fact that I had zero experience, loads to learn or even the thought that I might not be very good that worried me about starting a new job; it was the thought of having to try and feel like I belonged all over again.

Before work picture in black peplum top and tartan skirt

When you’ve worked somewhere for a long time, it almost becomes your home away from home, right? We often refer to our colleagues as our “work family” and, sadly, many of us spend more time at work than we do anywhere else! You find yourself settling in, you realise who you get on with (and who you don’t!) and you pick up on all the little quirks of the place.

For me, the social cues of every workplace are different, and it’s figuring those out that often make it hard to feel like I fit in. I’m incredibly socially awkward and I get hugely anxious when meeting new people, especially in an office where the social side of things usually comes with so many unspoken rules.

I’ve only ever worked in small teams and casual environments, so moving up to a fancy London office with these equally fancy people was so nerve-wracking for me. There I was, being introduced to these slender, sophisticated women and suited-and-booted men, shuffling around in my Converses and talking about festivals with my skull tattoo creeping out of my sleeve…

Pink, blue and yellow sugar skull tattoo

I looked different. I felt different.

No matter where you are, whether it’s a corporate head office or a small team out in the sticks, a new job can sometimes feel like a whole new world. It’s still early doors for me so, if I’m honest, I still don’t think I’ve found my place just yet.

All I can do is think back to one of my earlier jobs, when I’d walk around the block at least twice every single day before going inside because I was so nervous about fitting in – and then think about how much I loved them all by the time I left. It takes time, but hopefully one day I’ll look back on how I felt at this point and laugh at myself because, now, it finally feels like home.

Check out similar posts:

Fuck Shame: How This Blog Snubbed My Career-Shaming Habit (Yes, That’s a Thing)

25 Things That 25-Year-Old Me Would Tell My Younger Self

Taking a Break: My Social Media Vacation | #ThisGirlEats

Like most people, I’ve come to accept that social media is just part of our lives these days. It’s there all day, every day, right at our fingertips and accessible in seconds, making it hard to take a break from it.

I’m such a sucker for tapping into social media on my phone at any given moment. I scroll through Twitter for my morning news, get updates from my family on Facebook and follow my friends’ lives through Instagram stories. Practically half my life is played out online; it’s just a habit I’ve fallen into and, to be completely honest, never really had any intention of breaking.

That is, until Reading Festival.

Pale Waves @ BBC Radio 1 Stage at Reading Festival 2019
Pale Waves @ BBC Radio 1 Stage at Reading Festival 2019

I spent five days in a field, surrounded by tents, portaloos and tens of thousands of other people, where my phone was rendered pretty much useless – except for capturing drunken candids on camera and using the torch to avoid tripping over the maze of guy ropes at night. But an internet connection? Forget about it!

I could just about refresh my social medias once a day (usually in a desperate attempt to find secret set rumours!) and reply to a couple of messages that managed to sneak through, but that was basically it. Endless scrolling was completely off the table.

At first I found it quite frustrating, but it ended up being a very welcome break that I didn’t even know I needed. It was so refreshing to not fall back on my phone and, as we were all in the same boat, no-one was glued to a screen and we relied on each other to fill the gaps.

Smirnoff Waterfall at Reading Festival 2019
Smirnoff Waterfall at Reading Festival 2019

I’m not saying that now I’m back in the world of hot showers and flushing toilets (thank god!) that I won’t go back to my old ways. I’m sure I’ll be tapping away on my morning commute and retweeting before bed as always; in all honesty, I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

But I feel grateful that a real break from social media was forced upon me because it does have its downsides. Whether it’s comparing ourselves to insta-models and their picture-perfect lives or getting wound up by Twitter trolls, there’s always one aspect or another of social media that takes its toll on our mental health. I don’t think we realise when we’re mindlessly tapping into these apps every day just how much that can mess with our heads.

I don’t expect us all to just switch off right here and now, but if you’re going away somewhere – be it a festival, holiday, mini-break or just to some sort of occasion or day out – perhaps consider logging off for a while.

You’ll thank yourself, I promise.

Foo Fighters @ Main Stage at Reading Festival 2019
Foo Fighters @ Main Stage at Reading Festival 2019

Dazed & Confused: Life in Your Mid-Twenties | #ThisGirlEats

Hi. I’m smack-bang in the middle of my twenties, and I have no idea what I want out of life.


When I was little, your mid-twenties was a whole different ballgame. That’s when “stuff” happened, you know? My parents, and most of my friends’ parents, had all us kiddies in their twenties, and pretty much all of them were married to boot. They had houses, proper jobs, big cars and their lives were pretty much sorted. It was work Monday to Friday, dinner on the table by six o’ clock and go to the local pub on the weekends. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But us lot? We’re a whole new generation, and we’re doing things very differently.

Growing up, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted and, more to the point, I thought I knew exactly when it would happen. I’d fall in love with my childhood sweetheart, get a good job, be married and have kids by 25 and live the rest of my days in my three bedroom, semi-detached house with a garden, two cats and a cocker spaniel.


I don’t know when I changed my mind about – well, all of it. Except the cats and cocker spaniel. But here I am, 25 years old, with no childhood sweetheart (my boyfriend is almost six years older than me so that’d be weird..), no house, no plans for kids and only just about to start my first ever job that actually leaves me with a few scraps after rent.

These days, it’s almost frowned upon to do any of those things in your twenties. With most of my social circles, if you’re walking down that aisle or sharing sonograms even at the age of 25 – when most of our parents were doing, or had done, exactly that – you can expect some raised eyebrows at the very least.

The weirdest part is, most of those raised eyebrows are from us! I’m one of the worst, absolutely recoiling at the idea of babies, feeling completely baffled by the world of mortgages, lying awake at night bricking it about having a “proper job”, and getting queasy with anxiety at the mere thought of a marriage proposal.

I think I might want some of those things. Maybe. One day. But the problem is, if I don’t want them now – at the age I always thought I would, and the age our parents did – when will I want them? Unlike my younger self, I’m clueless about what I want. And if I don’t even know what I want, how the hell am I meant to know when it’ll happen?!

I guess the truth is, I don’t. I don’t know when these things will happen, or if they ever will. Our parents think we’re at the age where we should be getting our lives together and they’re expecting those sorts of milestones from us, while our peers think we’re still way too young. It’s very confusing, it’s a lot of pressure, and it leaves me feeling like I know very little about my future.

But what I do know is this: I like my life right now. And for me, for now, that’s enough.


When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Opportunities | #ThisGirlEats

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Right?

But what if life gives you lemon, after lemon, after lemon? And what if you don’t want lemonade? What if you keep trying to reach for the cola, or orange juice, or water, but every time you think you’re getting close life just throws a whole load more lemons your way?

Our lives are full of obstacles. Some are self-inflicted by our own insecurities, while others are hurled at us out of nowhere. Relationships, health, work, things we might think we have control over can turn on their head in a matter of seconds and leave us wondering where to go next.

Things get a whole load more complicated than just “making lemonade”. We’ve all experienced moments that shift the entire dynamic of our lives right before our eyes, and it’s pretty impossible to spring out of bed the next morning like nothing’s happened (unless you’re some sort of superhuman, in which case please teach me your powers and show me your ways).

You can’t always just slap on a smile and make the best out of a bad situation, despite that British stiff-upper-lip mentality that is inherently ingrained in anyone born this side of the pond. But maybe you can find opportunities.

Things like this very rarely just fall into our laps. We have to work for them, make an effort for them, learn and struggle and strive for them. It’s hard to get into this motivated mindset when you’ve taken a knock-back, but if you can muster up some gumption and get yourself back out there, this can be the absolute best time to open up new doors in your life.

Think about it – what have you got to lose? If you’ve already taken a hit, what else is there to be afraid of? The worst (or, at the very least, something a bit shitty) has happened, so now is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind and GO FOR IT.

They say that when one door closes, another one opens. But you’ve got to make yourself walk through it, or you might never find out what’s on the other side.




What Do Women Do When We’re Not the “Right Type” of Curvy? | #ThisGirlEats

“I like curvy women!”

No, you like women with big boobs, small waists and peachy bums. You like the right kind of curves.

The hourglass figure has been held on the highest pedestal of beauty for as many years as I can remember. Growing up around the time that I did, big bodies weren’t really represented, at least not how they are today. It was all about the Kate Mosses and Victoria Beckhams and, if you didn’t stand a chance of looking like them, the hourglass was what you aspired to be.

There’s no denying a bodacious hourglass figure is a beautiful sight to behold, and I have absolutely no intention of saying otherwise. I’m not here to detract from any body type. But what about the rest of us curvy women?

For years people used Marilyn Monroe as the poster girl for fuller figures. She was, of course, a glamourous pin-up admired by – well, pretty much anyone with a pulse. Beyoncé is another example, with her ‘Crazy in Love’ curves back in 2003 being a refreshing antidote to the super-slim late ’90s / early ’00s.

Black and white shot of Marilyn Monroe
Black and white shot of Marilyn Monroe

These women are gorgeous, and it’s true, they are curvy women. But the reason photos of their bodies are slapped up as the remedy to size zero culture is because their curves are socially acceptable. They fit the beauty standard of that voluptuous, seductive, buxom hourglass figure, so these women – and many like them – are what most people associate with the idea of a “curvy woman”.

But what if you don’t have the right kind of curves?

I have curves, but I sure as hell don’t have a body like Beyoncé! I have a waist, but it’s cushioned between multiple tummy rolls and it sits on top of some pretty sizable love handle hips. My bum is more Bridget Jones than Beyoncé and my boobs are there – just about. It seems unfair that I seem capable of gaining weight just about everywhere except my boobs, but there we go.

IMG_3079 3
Holiday snap eating ice cream in Ibiza

It’s hard to feel like the “curves = good” mantra applies when you don’t look like those representing fuller figures on clothing websites, social media and in the magazines. When you can’t squeeze into an hourglass and your boobs aren’t big enough to distract from the spanx lurking just beneath, it can be hard to feel like your body type is valid at all.

What do you do when your body is too chubby to be conventionally attractive (i.e. slim), but your curves aren’t the right kind so no-one is celebrating them?

I guess it’s up to us to become our own cheerleaders.


We’re Halfway Through the Year – How Are Your 2019 Goals Going? | #ThisGirlEats

Is it just me, or is this year going suuuuper quick?!

We’re already in June (not that you’d know, thanks to the horrible weather we’re having!) which means we’re officially halfway through 2019. If you ask me, that’s the perfect time to check in on any goals or deadlines you might’ve set yourself back in January.

You might be absolutely smashing it so far, in which case – awesome! That’s great. Maybe it’s time to up the game and outline a couple more things you’d like to achieve before the year is out to keep you focused, motivated and on the incredible roll you’re having.

For those of us that aren’t doing so great? Well, that’s okay. Checking in on your goals at this point might feel like extra pressure when you know things aren’t going quite as well as you’d hoped. But it doesn’t have to be! It can just be friendly nudge to get you back on track, the perfect time to set yourself new goals if your path has changed since the start of the year, or a reminder that you’ve still got a whole six months left and there’s no need to stress yourself out.

It’s unrealistic to think that some of those long-term, big-picture goals would be done and dusted by now. This sort of thing is a marathon, not a sprint, and you can always rely on life to throw down some obstacles on the way.


I had a few things I wanted to achieve myself this year. A few of them are going well, but others are still very much a work in progress. I’m happy to share them because I think it’s important to reflect, and hopefully it’ll encourage some of you who might want to do the same to – well, do it.

BLOG. I wanted to grow my blog and see better engagement, higher numbers and a fresh, new look. Although it’s not perfect just yet, things are definitely on the up! I’ve changed the vibe of my site, found an exciting new direction for my content (hello, Disney!) and have seen traffic increase. I still need to work on my social media and engagement for sure, but it’s going well so far.

Sitting on the wall in Toy Story Playland at Disneyland Paris with my Marvel ears
Sitting on the wall in Toy Story Playland at Disneyland Paris with my Marvel ears

WORK. This one is a big thumbs down 👎 I haven’t really managed to progress in the workplace this year and haven’t found any new opportunities that really take my fancy either. I’m not going to let it get me down though – I’ve got another six months to turn this one around!

BODY. I wouldn’t say there’s been much positive change here just yet, but I can confidently say that I’ve been so much more accepting of my body these past few months, which is a huge deal for me. I’ve really embraced self-love and felt better about myself than I have in years, not to mention the effort I’ve made to heal my relationship with food this year too. I’m actually getting ready for a run as I write this, and I’ve recently set myself some newer, more specific goals to improve my health and fitness, so things are looking up!

Crispy halloumi bites with a citrus salad and jalapeño jelly
Crispy halloumi bites with a citrus salad and jalapeño jelly

MONEY. It’s no secret that we’ve had some money struggles over the past couple of years, but that has started to improve this year. Things aren’t quite comfortable yet, but we’re in a much better position and the positive effects of that are really starting to make a difference. My main goal was to get out of my overdraft this year; I’m not sure I’m going to achieve that completely, but I do feel sure that my bank balance will look much healthier by the end of 2019.


Embrace Yourself: Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of Being Alone | #ThisGirlEats

I don’t know if it’s having an independent personality that makes it easy for me to say this, or if it’s just because I’ve always been a natural introvert, but I’ve always felt it’s so important to embrace being alone instead of being afraid of it.

I’d like to point out right away that being alone is very different to being lonely; you can be alone and still feel support from a strong, loving network of family, friends and co-workers around you. Being lonely sucks and can wreck havoc on your mental health, and I don’t think there’s a soul out there who likes to feel lonely.

But feeling comfortable and confident enough to be happy left alone with just yourself for company is, for me, one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself.

Standing alone on Santa Monica Pier 
Standing on Santa Monica Pier

I think growing up an only child really planted the seed. I didn’t have siblings to play – or fight! – with. I didn’t have an older brother to sneak me out and take me to cool places when I was too young to go on my own, or a little sister to fuss over and take care of. I spent hours as a kid making up my own imaginary games or reading quietly to myself and it taught me to be totally cool with my own company.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a social butterfly either; I often wish I was more extroverted and there have definitely been situations where this “only child syndrome” has held me back.

But throughout my life I’ve met so many people who, for whatever reason – insecurity, anxiety, uncertainty, instability, dependency – think that being alone is the worst thing that could happen. I’ve known people who have put themselves in dangerous situations just because they’d rather be with someone who isn’t good for them than no-one at all.

It’s hard to admit. It’s even harder to overcome. Sometimes it’s damn near impossible to actually realise you’re in that predicament in the first place, because being in a bubble with someone, even if it’s an unhappy bubble, is easier than bursting out and facing the world alone.

And, hey, that’s a legitimate fear. The world is a scary place, especially when you’re braving it on your own. The last person you’d want to be left out here alone with is someone you don’t trust, understand or love – and what do you do if that person is yourself?

But the first step towards embracing who you are is getting to know yourself when it’s just you. Alone. No facade, no showing off, no pretending. When you can just sit quietly by yourself and feel at home, that’s when you really get to know who you are.

Standing alone at the entrance to Disneyland Paris
Standing at the entrance to Disneyland Paris

There are loads of reasons people don’t like being alone, and that’s fine. But if you’re scared of being alone, I’m here to tell you that you really don’t need to be. No-one knows you better than you, no-one can guide and support you better than you, no-one knows how to care for you better than you.

Stepping out into the big, wide world alone is super daunting but, trust me, YOU GOT THIS. Have faith in you.