The Origins of UNGIRL
Hello! I’m Cat and I’m a super tiny, ginger weirdo from Scotland who loves talking about sex, pooing, and weird things I found on the internet.
I’ve always been weird. Although I don’t really know what 'weird' means exactly, I guess I’ve experienced my fair share of odd and shocked expressions from people I’ve had conversations with - so I think that means I’m weird. I think I stick out as weird because I don't hide my emotions, thoughts, or words very well and as a society, we're taught that being 'normal' means to look happy and pretend everything's okay. I'm not very good at doing that.
The Pressure to be Normal
I think everyone suffers from the pressure to be normal, but girls have this added pressure to not only be normal, but, skinny, pretty, quiet, polite, and a whole list of other things, none of which, I am. Although I’ve been lucky to have an incredibly accepting family of fellow weirdos, I definitely felt the pressure to 'normalise' myself when I was at school and university. It’s safe say, I failed pretty badly at doing that, but it didn’t stop me from the feeling that I couldn't be attractive, accepted or popular as I am naturally.
My feelings of self-consciousness definitely stemmed from my ability to scare away any boy I was interested in. I didn’t really have a problem making people laugh or being friends with people, but I definitely felt ugly, chubby, and generally too loud for a guy to like me. This started me on a path of dying my hair every colour possible, trying to lose weight, altering my school uniform to try to look sexier, and pretending to be the ‘cool, sexually open’ girl to be more appealing. It didn’t really work.
Stop Seeking Acceptance
It took me a long time to stop seeking acceptance from others because that’s really all that I was looking for. When I was single, I would attach myself to almost any guy who showed me an ounce of attention, because I didn’t think I would find someone else. That meant dating and even 'falling in love' with people that were in no way suited for me! You do crazy things when you think you're not good enough for love.
"when you step away from everything around you and you choose to focus completely on what you want to do, regardless of anyone else, you will inevitably find out who you are."
It wasn’t till I almost had a mental breakdown over a guy not texting me back, that I finally took myself on holiday - completely alone - and tried to focus on just being me. I know it sounds cheesy to say that you find yourself when you travel, but I think the reality is that, when you step away from everything around you and you choose to focus completely on what you want to do, regardless of anyone else, you will inevitably find out who you are.
As girls, we grow up with the idea that our lives will be complete when we find a husband and have children, which has very little to do with discovering who we are and what we really want to do with our lives. We’re always worried that we’ll do something that puts in danger, embarrasses us, or shames our family. That fear stops us from being able to express who we are and what we want to do!
It’s sad that an act of self-love, makes someone weird, but when you’re so obsessed with trying to be normal, you put your own needs and happiness second.
I gave up censoring my weird sense of humour, or my sexual expression, I gave up trying to impress and make everyone like me, I gave up putting my needs behind a man’s and I made a conscious effort to put myself first. It’s sad that an act of self-love, makes someone weird, but when you're so obsessed with trying to be normal, you put your own needs and happiness second.
You worry that being your true self means you’ll be lonely and not have friends, but it’s just not the case. Once you leave school and get out of whatever small random town you’re living in, or even just find a virtual space on the Internet, you realise that the world is full of other weirdos.
You Don't Have to Change to be Loved
Once I embraced being ‘weird’, my life got a lot easier.
You worry that being your true self means you’ll be lonely and not have friends, but it’s just not the case. Once you leave school and get out of whatever small random town you’re living in, or even just find a virtual space on the Internet, you realise that the world is full of other weirdos. Weirdos looking for weirdo friends just like you. Weirdos looking for weirdo girlfriends/boyfriends/partners just like you. You don’t need to be someone you're not to find acceptance and love.
I know the power and impact of having friends who truly encourage you to be who you are, and believe in you to do the things that you dream of, and I think it’s something everyone deserves. We don’t all have the power to leave the environment that suppresses us, and a lot of you have much more oppressive governments and families that work hard to force you into being something you don’t want to be, than me, so I wanted to create that safe, encouraging, loving, expressive, fun space online, so you can be the biggest weirdo without isolation and fear.
I want all girls to know that they have the right to choose their own life. If your dream is getting married and having kids, that’s amazing! If it’s to live in a shared house with 50 artists and be in a polyamorous relationship people, that’s amazing too! There’s space for all of us in this world.