Here at Sweet Cecily’s HQ, we work very closely with each other (Dorrie, Beth & Sophie) even sharing one desk between us! To make the day go a bit quicker, we often pause our work and chat about anything and everything you can possibly think of. Every so often, amongst the chit chat, things get deep; one of the topics covered has been ‘What we'd tell our teenage selves...’. We found our answers super interesting so we thought we would share some of the snippets of our chat in this blog!
“This might be a bit of a controversial one but…. Your job doesn’t have to be the most important aspect of your life. We can seek meaning and purpose from many different avenues, your job is just one of them!”
You can see your job as a way to make the funds to enable you to do the things that you want to do, it doesn’t have to form part of your identity as a human being. Of course, finding a job in which you can feel fulfilled, happy and that meets other needs apart from the financial ones is great too, but if you don’t have that… then it’s really ok! I feel like there is such a huge amount of pressure put on young people now to find the perfect career, but really, I don’t think it’s that important. As long as you are happy where you are, whether that’s working at Greggs, in the board room, or saving lives as a paramedic, it really does not matter. Life is about having different experiences, seeking joy, and living in the way you want to. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t.
“It’s ok to not know what you want to do as a career”
When I was 16 and leaving school, all I knew was that I didn’t want to go to sixth form. Sixth Form was really pushed on us at school as there was one on the school grounds, but I knew I didn’t want to carry on education through more exams. I ended up going to the local College in town and studying Media, but then at the age of 18 when my time was up there, I didn’t know what I wanted to do again. After a year of trying out different things I decided I should go back to my roots of Media and go to the local University to study Media and Communications. Even then, I felt like I had to carry on with Media because I had done it at college, but that’s simply not true. It’s really normal to not know what you want to do, even at the age of 50. And at the age of 16, like I was, you’ll find that 99% of the people around you also feel that way.
Don’t let people make you feel like you have to have your life together at the age of 16, because I don’t at the age of 22, and that is ok.
“If you are not popular, this isn’t the end of the world”
The one thing I wished for myself during my time at school was to be seen as a popular person. Of course, I had a good couple of friends who would spend break and dinner with me on the daily. However, that was it. More often than not, I was in different classes to my friends and so, I would find myself sitting alone. Or someone would take a seat next to me only because they had to. I spent many of my school years questioning why I was not popular, to the point where it would really get me down. Having a sibling who was in the same year that was a firm favourite of many people just made the matter worse. It was only when I hit my 20’s that I realised there is no issue in being “unpopular”, instead it can be quite peaceful at times. Now that’s not to say I don’t have friends at all because I do. It’s just a small quality set of people who help benefit my life. Surprisingly, my closest friend is the girl I live at home with, my twin sister. We share many common interests and we both enjoy a drama free life, so we work well. I feel that the support and guidance I receive from my small circle of friends is much better than one where you have tonnes of friends who don’t necessarily want what’s best for you.
I understand that everyone is different, and we all have smaller or larger friendship groups. However, I think it’s important to know that you don’t need to be popular to be loved and supported.
“You don’t have to love your body, you just have to not be mean about it.”
I wish I realised that how you talk about yourself (in your own head) has a massive effect on how you feel about your body. As I got a bit older, I would read all these things on the internet about having to ‘love’ your body and I would think ‘that’s really easier said than done’. I feel like if we changed the conversation to just being neutral about bodies and seeing them for what they are; excellent vessels to carry our minds and souls (and they do a great job of it most of the time!) we would all live much happier and healthier lives. Buy clothes that fit your current body size and shape and try to not pay too much mind to what the numbers on the tags say, because they don’t define who you are or how lovable you are as a person.
“Shops size things differently, you might be a size 8 in one shop and a 12 in another”
This one is a huge one for me. Only just now at the age of 22 am I learning this. I recently came across a Facebook post of an image that had size 10 jeans laid out on top of each other, all from different shops, and they were all different widths and lengths. My latest experience of this was ordering 2 pairs of jeans from the Asos petite range, both size 12…only 1 pair fit me – the other being too small. I also currently can’t fit into a size 16 Primark jean, but can fit into a size 10 F&F jean. When I was younger, the Primark jeans would’ve had me crying all day, wondering how have I gained so much weight so quickly, when yesterday I was wearing size 12 Asos jeans. However, I’ve came to realise that it’s got nothing to do with my body, but to do with the shops making clothes for our bodies. It’s hard to disassociate the number of our clothes to the size of our body, because from a young age, we get told what ‘size’ we should be, but how can we know what ‘size’ we are when all the shops are creating and making their own ‘sizes’.
You need to remember that it’s the clothes that fit you, not you that needs to fit the clothes.
“Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight, you could gain it too”
It took me a while to come to terms with this. When I first started attending the gym, my main goal was to shed a few pounds. I did for the first couple of months manage to lose weight and I felt as though my hard work was starting to pay off. Shortly after I hit my 4th month of attending the gym, I noticed that my weight started to creep back up. My instant thought when I seen the scales was “what am I doing wrong?”. It can be extremely discouraging to be dedicating so much time and seeing the results go in the other direction. However, at the same time, when I looked in the mirror, I felt that my body was more toned than before. For some reason, it took me a while time to remember that my weight was going up because I was converting my fat mass into muscle. Not many people realise that muscle weighs more and is higher in density than fat. Therefore, when the fat is converted into muscle, the scales may be reading more. So, if you are someone like me who bases their workout around lifting weights, seeing an increase in weight is completely normal.
I have now come to terms with this as I understand that for me, improvements from the gym aren’t seen from what the scales say, and rather how I feel and look both mentally and physically.
“You don’t need to shave all your body hair off! I literally can’t stress this enough”
I think from a young age, we’re all conditioned to think any bit of hair on our bodies should be removed, because it’s not seen as ‘womanly’. ‘You can’t have smooth, lovely skin if you have body hair’ Or ‘it’s unhygienic to have body hair’ This is simply untrue! The truth is, we have body hair for a reason and it’s to regulate temperature and keep harmful pathogens from entering our bodies, pretty useful if you ask me! Of course, choice is the key here and if you feel more comfortable shaving then you do just that, but the point is, there is absolutely nothing to say that shaving is a necessity.
“When a product burns, it doesn’t mean it’s working!”
Growing up with eczema and being prescribed steroid creams, I thought they were meant to burn my arms…which couldn’t be further from the truth. If you apply a cream to your skin, for any reason – whether it’s for a skin condition or just to moisturise your face as part of your skincare routine - if it burns wipe it off immediately! If it starts to burn and you leave the product on, your skin may potentially turn into a sore, bumpy, rash. A skincare product shouldn’t hurt or make you feel uncomfortable, it should feel refreshing and comfortable on your skin.
Bin the products that make your skin burn!
“Freckles are a thing of beauty, don’t cover them!”
Please can someone explain to me why freckles were seen as an embarrassing feature to have throughout school?
For some reason my class “mates” and perhaps every other school kid at the time deemed freckles as a non-desirable feature. I suppose they do give a slight illusion of spots but honestly, what is wrong with them? My time at school has me attempting to cover the up as I believed they were imperfections however, that is not the case. If maturing has taught me anything, it is that freckles are a thing of beauty, and they should not be concealed. They are natural, most of us get them so, we should learn to appreciate them. In the summer months I love how many freckles I have as the sun really makes them pop out. I purposely wear minimal makeup to let them show because I see them as one of my best features.