I've always been an adapter of sorts. Like those special plugs you get so things still work in a different country. I'm good at making things work. And making people work.
I want to be that person that walks into a room and people want to talk to her. That confident girl with swishy hair and brilliant banter. And I'm still trying - trust me I am. And I want to have interesting things to say about life and politics. I want to know the good jokes and have that witty sarcasm that speaks of an intelligent mind.
But really I'm last year's knock-knock joke. I used to have a joke that was about artichokes being two for a pound. I used to tell it for years, until I realised that I was lacking in delivery and that, actually, it really wasn't that funny. And for those reasons, I won't take that any further.
I want to be a head-turner. I do. Yes. I want people to look at me and go: "Gosh, doesn't she look nice?" Because that has not happened to me before. I've always be the woman who has been head-down, toe-focused, and hidden in clothes that may deceptively cloak a wobbly bit or two. Even now, I can't follow fashion, because fashion doesn't fit my body all that well. You will never see me bearing my midriff with a floral crown. Because my midriff probably wobbles a bit when I walk, and looks like it's been attacked by one of my cats. And a floral crown will make me look like an 80's bridesmaid, despite looking good on everyone else.
I want to fit in around the Northern Quarter. But the fact of the matter is - I quite like Primark (because I can't afford to buy something suitably vintage), I don't mind bringing in my own lunch, and I don't want to pay a tenner for a coffee and a 'panini', which I'm not entirely sure isn't a squashed baguette that is hot and cheesy. And don't get me wrong, I love the cocktails. And I love the way everyone is so understatedly cool and...there's another reason. I say 'cool' like a mum. Because I am a mum. Go figure.
I used to think that I had to play down my son to non-parents. I used to think that I had to know who was in the top 40 and give a shit. And I used to think that I had to say things like: "GOD YOUR NON-PARENT LIFE IS AWESOME." But, actually, as awesome as it may be, I actually adore my son and now talk about him non-stop. Because I really do feel that people should hear the story about how he woke me up by knocking on my bedroom door, wearing absolutely nothing and carrying a basket full of toy animals.
And sometimes, I feel like, hang on, oh shit, I'm a mum. I must not contribute much to society. I must have pushed my brain out of my vagina when I had a child. And no, I can only count to ten, but we are toying with the early teens now and again, but numbers are SO HARD. When really. I'm clever. I have a degree and plenty of experience. And I can write. And I can make things happen and I am ferocious, I know what day is bin day, I can cook a variety of dishes, and my spelling is pretty impeccable when not incensed with wine and over-keyboard-tapping-enthusiasm. And I can change a fuse wire, with my teeth*.
And sometimes I am so happy and I woke up on the right side of the bed, so much so that the sun is practically shining out of my arse. And then I run into someone who doesn't only wish that I came with a dimmer switch, but who also just wants to use me as a punch bag because I'm "too nice".
And I'm really good at cooking (bragging rights - I can't run for shit) but sometimes I feel like I have to photograph pictures of me eating beans on toast, which I wholly support as a staple meal, just because I don't want other mums to think I'm perfect or a food snob. And I really, genuinely get giddy off crafting and upcycling furniture because I want to be a Kirstie Allsopp, but not, but better. And I have two rooms in my house that are suitable for photographing in, because the other rooms look like I'm bringing my child up in a derelict house which is a) not on, b) a bit dangerous and c) do you think my Instagram followers know anyone in social services? When really, I'm trying really hard to do my house up so I have at least three rooms to photograph in. You know, for variety.
And my son sometimes has a snotty nose. Because he just seems to breed colonies of the stuff in his little nose. And sometimes I let him wander around in a nappy and nothing else, because he's like me and likes to feel airy and free**. And sometimes he eats an easy, bung-it meal, when I'm having a steak. Because he would waste the nice steak and I would have less steak and I like steak. So, he can have fish fingers. I'll make him a butternut squash and goats cheese risotto for tea tomorrow, don't worry.
And I have never co-slept. I have got my breasts back now after 18 months of breastfeeding, and I kind of pushed us to end, because I felt like his...well, his mammary slave. I don't believe in rushing to his side when he falls over because he's a crafty monkey sometimes and will do, as all children do, a little sneaky look at me to gauge my reaction and then decides on: "Oh Mama. Hurt head." And so I kiss it better and we run around and then I fall over and he does the same for me.
And oddly enough, this sounds ranty, but it's not. It's just - I've learnt recently, that people prefer me just as I am.
Maybe not as many people prefer me. But I'm pretty much done trying to please those out there who think breastfeeding is weird or that William looks a bit cray in the neon lime shorts that my dad got him. Or that I take too many selfies because, again, bragging rights, I've lost over two stone and used to look like I was eyeing my small child up as a snack.
So of course I celebrate myself and the person I am and the way I am.
I'm exactly who I'm supposed to be.
And I'm no chameleon. The only time I change colour is when I've had a bit of sun or I've done the fake tan dance the night before. I'm not "just a mum", nor am I just a single one, or a working one, or a still-a-bit-chubby girl, or a brunette at 5"6.
I mean - who am I pretending for?
**Note: Do not wear nappies.