My Perfect Imperfection

The first thing I ever posted on this blog was a coming out story, of sorts. A literal moment of truth. I guess this whole blog has been a coming out story…a story about who I am and how I’m learning not to live up or down to people’s expectations of me. My adventures. My stories, my scars, my pretty things, just like it says up there in my header.

That header represents a promise to you guys, and to myself, that I won’t just show you the pretty things. I’ll show you the scars, and tell you the stories behind them. Writing that first post was one of the most terrifying, painful, cathartic things I’ve ever done. But so many people reached out to me afterwards and told me that they’d been going through the exact same thing. The post-graduation slump. That reading it written out like that had made them feel less alone. What I had seen as imperfection, other people saw as strength and beauty.

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I went to see a comedy show this week by the fantastic Juliette Burton. Look at Me follows Juliette’s struggles with eating disorders, lorded over by Tanya, the super-slim, effortlessly beautiful girl who peers out of every magazine, telling Juliette that she isn’t good enough. I have a Tanya of my own, but she’s more insidious. She’s the hardworking blogger who juggles a burgeoning digital marketing career with insightful think-pieces and glamorous events. She has thick, swishy hair, a grown up girl blazer, a capsule wardrobe and beautiful handwriting. Her world is made of Pinterest-white-walls, Instagrammable brunch meetings and pretty print notebooks. She’s beautiful and funny, and of course she has flaws, but they’re endearing ones. Like in Sandra Bullock movies where they’re worried she’s too perfect, so they make her clumsy, or ditzy, or make her snort when she laughs.

And the scariest thing about my Tanya? I could conceivably pretend to be her. Online, at least. I could pitch myself as glamorous and sweet and unfluffable and relentlessly positive. But that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is my little corner of the internet in which to tell my truth. And that’s what I’ll do, forever.

My Tanyas fill my social media streams every minute of every day, each perfect cappuccino and flawless white apartment a tiny reminder that everyone seems to be moving faster than me. And I’m not gonna contribute to that. I have an amazing, wonderful life, and I am so, so grateful for it. But it, and I are both so far from perfect. I want you, my lovely readers, to share in my joys and celebrate my successes. But to pretend that they’re not balanced out by flaws and tough moments is dishonest to you and to myself. I won’t be somebody else’s Tanya.

This weekend, I was invited to speak to a lovely bunch of aspiring beauty bloggers and thinking about what to say really forced me to think about what kind of blog this is, what kind of girl I am. And the truth is, I am imperfect. Wonderfully, outrageously imperfect. I know in my heart that my strength lies in my difference, but that doesn’t stop me walking into rooms and wondering whether everyone in them is staring at me. I procrastinate endlessly because sometimes that’s easier than trying my hardest and failing anyway. I self-sabotage because sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve the amazing things that I have. Sometimes I am so afraid of my own potential that I want to run away. Sometimes I wonder whether my life has really changed since I graduated. Sometimes I wonder whether I’m letting everyone down. Sometimes, something knocks my confidence and I cry myself to sleep.

Tanya wouldn’t do any of that.

But Tanya also wouldn’t spend an evening with her family attempting to fit a party popper on her nose.

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She wouldn’t write an obscure semi-paranormal young adult novel just because she suddenly felt inspired. She probably doesn’t know the cha cha slide, or the entire script to Fried Green Tomatoes. She doesn’t make the world’s most delicious, but ugliest cakes. She definitely doesn’t have a weird obsession with German cinema or true crime stories. She does not love Cluedo. Or eat meatballs straight from the pan with a hunk of bread. She doesn’t throw open her windows in the middle of storms because she loves the smell of the rain, or shiver at the sound of church bells. She doesn’t have a huge, mad, sprawling family. She never played a pregnant dominatrix in a show that her father watched from the third row.

387980_10150515779825809_1150577696_nShe can’t make balloon animals. She has never danced so enthusiastically that she fractured her auntie’s cheekbone and gave her a black eye. She doesn’t dream of owning a frog called Oliver. She probably would never have been broken enough, and brave enough to start this blog.

And if that’s what I would have to trade, I’m sorry folks, no deal. I don’t want to be Tanya. If you’ll have me, I’d love to keep having a go at being Fiona.

13 thoughts on “My Perfect Imperfection

  1. I’m going to quote Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland here:

    “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
    “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
    “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
    “You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

    Better to be mad than boring! :P The Tanyas of this world are boring!

    xox

  2. Fiona, Fiona, Fiona. I cried. I literally cried reading this. I felt your pain, but also your strength. You are beautiful. I am so sorry you are going through so much, but reading your post pulled on my heart strings – you are human. I am so proud of you for opening up, not just for your readers, but also for yourself. Feels better writing it down, it’s like a breath of fresh air, right? Thank you for expressing your feelings; I feel sort of connected to you. Not in a freaky way, but in a supportive way.

    You have my support, love, and shoulder for you to cling on and cry on. You are not alone.

    Keep being Fiona!

    Much love,

    Lauren “Sweetened Sour” O’Hara
    http://lauren-ohara-x.blogspot.com

  3. The part where you describe yourself, about how you’re imperfect and you self-sabotage, I feel that so hard. Like, you’re essentially describing me, and it is so, sososososos good to hear I’m not alone in that, that it’s not insane to happily stand in your own way sometimes because you’re terrified of what might be on the other side.

    Thank you for being yourself. You have such worth & beauty, inside out, and I am delighted to get to virtually be a part of your world. <3

    • fionalongmuir says:

      This comment makes me so happy I want to cry. Seriously, hearing that my writing is resonating with people…that’s what it’s all about. So glad that I know you <3

  4. The thing with these “tanyas” is they only show on their blog what they want the world to see, they still have struggles and demons but they’re locked away in a box somewhere. I’m so thankful that you wrote this. Sending so much love

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Exactly. That’s why I felt like this was an important post to write…I don’t want to be someone else’s Tanya! Thank you so much for reading.

  5. Laura says:

    Having only recently only stumbled upon your blog (and loving your voice) then meeting you on Saturday, I am totally enamored with how un Tanya and very real and normal you are and how you haven’t tried to portray a glamorous perfect life.

    I suffer with anxiety and have put off doing everything for so long, it was so difficult to walk into the workshop on Saturday for me, because I’m not like ‘them’. But then that’s exactly what you said – but it’s you not being like ‘them’ that makes you so unique.

    Just by hearing you speak, you’ve empowered me to believe and to say yes…. and during my panic attack getting on the coach home…. I allowed myself to have ’10 seconds of madness’ and just do it!

    Thank you, thank you so much for just how un Tanya you are, because I wouldn’t have felt any of this without YOU.

    Laura x

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Oh my god Laura, this is just the most wonderful comment. I struggle a lot of the time, and I hate how social media and blogging makes it seem like everyone else is doing great. I thought that by being honest, I could make other people who aren’t doing good feel less alone. You have no idea how happy it makes me that I’m succeeding in that.

      Fiona x

  6. The thing about you Fiona, is you are gloriously, wonderfully real. In my mind you’re this flame haired titan, who crashes through life, sparks flying and glitter glitzing all around you, leaving everyone in a better state for having known you.

    I never ever saw you as perfect, you’re better than perfect – you’re authentic. Earthy. Ballsy. You.

    Keep doing you. :-)

    Big love xxxxxxxx

    • fionalongmuir says:

      This made me cry. If I had a Tardis, I’d go back in time and show my 14 year old self this comment and be like “I know…us!”.

  7. I’ve just randomly stumbled upon your blog , I followed you a while back after I saw your ‘beach ready’ photo online and I thought it was brilliant. You know what, you make me so happy but it’s tinged with sadness because I used to be just like you- I was real, I was genuine, I celebrated my imperfect self and I had no desire to adhere to the expectations of the crowd. I had no desire to be another version or prototype of a perfect girl. I’ve been a largely followed blogger for years now, and when j was younger I feel like I was more how you are, but somewhere down the line I stopped writing about how I felt. I only posted when I was happy. I don’t ever now mention when things go wrong, I tend to focus a lot on projecting the sunny side of life, and it’s not a real portrayal. I respect you a great deal you’re a brilliant role model, I wish young girls were encouraged to follow bloggers like yourself as you speak sense! You speak with integrity and much bravery- which could help so many young girls struggling with similar problems. I will be following you religiously from now on, and you’ve really made me think about myself and returning to how I used to be. My authentic self. Tanya is such a real person, it’s becoming more apparent that ever. There are MILLIONS of girls trying to portray the pretty, neat, perfect, fashionable, health conscious (but to name a few) image, and it’s pushed by social media which allows you to share every detail of it. Everyone is watching each other and everyone is aware of being watched- you can choose how to portray yourself, it seems unimportant to people now whether or not that’s authentic. It’s sad. I’ve stepped a way a lot from social media because I find it all so fake – a friend of mine is beautiful online;skinny, tanned,sharing posts of the fun things she’s doing, glamour modelling shoots etc. but in reality she barely goes out because she has so little friends, she maintains her figure from an eating disorder, and she is constantly checking her phone to monitor the messages that are posted on her social network- her life has almost become solely concerned with her online portrayal, rather than real, genuine living.

    After reading your posts I’ve decided to be less hard on myself and to resist constantly trying to adhere to ‘perfect’ even though it can be so easy to be sucked in by the constant influences around you no matter how headstrong you are. I will be a faithful reader from now onwards, please keep writing -you are brilliant,
    Chloe x

    • fionalongmuir says:

      Thank you so much, Chloe, what an amazing comment to receive. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend…social media can be amazing, but it has such a dark side. I don’t think you should beat yourself up for only portraying the sunny side of things, the Tanyas of the world make it incredibly hard to resist sometimes! Even I’m guilty of it. Writing this post was a big, terrifying leap of faith, to remind myself as well as to remind others that my imperfections are what make me stand out. I hope I’ll have the courage to keep being me, and comments like this help and inspire me so, so much.

      Fiona x

  8. I would tell you how brilliant and inspiring this post is, but many people have told you already and it’s not very original. Also, you know that I think everything you write is stunning and makes me want to cry. But let me just say one thing… You can make balloon animals!?
    Amazing. Please teach me some time!

    Keep being the perfectly imperfect YOU.
    xxx

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