4 Oct

I’m turning 36 this week, which means, I think, that I can no longer think of myself as ‘young’. Perhaps that happened a long time ago, but now it’s a glaring neon sign right in my face. My slightly sagging face, more to the point. 

I’ve never really felt that I fit in anywhere, but it seems particularly egregious right now. I am not: an attractive but exhausted mother of two, wearing earth-toned, wide-leg trousers and a floaty linen top, gently calling little Albie back from the edge of the pond at the National Trust property we’ve visited for the weekend, hoping my broad-shouldered accountant and ex-rugby playing husband, Rob, will step in. 

I am not: a tanned and very slim European expat, squeezing in my third ski trip of the year between rising swiftly through the ranks of a consultancy firm and casually seeing a string of wealthy Italians I do lines with in the bathroom of various exclusive Mayfair locations, maybe nibbling on a piece of sushi at some point in the evening just to prove that I do, occasionally, eat. 

I am not: an uber-athletic workout freak with a minor instagram following, a minimalist home and a toddler whose middle name is Coconut, making my own almond milk, wearing only white and on my way to becoming a life coach.

I am not: dressed up for brunch with the girls on Sunday, tottering to Piano Works on a pair of nude heels that clash with my spray tan, excited to plan our next trip to Bali or Ibiza or Mykonos, planning to shovel a £20 plate of egg and avocado on toast into my Kylie Jenner matte beige mouth, chased down with three litres of ‘bellini’.

I am not: strolling hand in hand through a farmer’s market with my other half, my ‘person’, after reposting my wedding photos from seven years ago for the 50th time because it was ‘the happiest day of my life!!!!1!!one’ and the last time I was a size ten.

Snarky pen portraits, I know, but permit me some humour.

I am not valuable enough to be chosen as a wife, a mother, or even a girlfriend. I am not sound of body. I am not well-dressed, well-groomed, tidy, an excellent cook, a gourmand, knowledgeable about wine, capable of keeping a plant alive for more than a month, able to code, a good housekeeper, successful in my career, creatively fulfilled, rich enough to stay in nice hotels, in possession of absolutely straight teeth OR a completely hairless upper lip.

But I am passionate. I am curious. I am tenacious. I am open-hearted. I am a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a friend.

I am: an occasional writer, a sometime slow runner, a word sponge, wearing a second-hand pair of jeans and an oversized v-neck sweater with big owl glasses sliding down my nose, wandering through a museum with a Sondheim fan badge pinned to my chest. A slightly rumpled, almost middle-aged bookworm carrying a tote bag with five old receipts and a reusable fork at the bottom. 

I am somehow a grown woman, and I don’t quite know how it happened.


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