Hi, I’m Ellie-Louise, a freelance writer and self-love advocate! When I’m not writing articles for my clients, you can find me writing for my blog,Ellie’s Entries, or practising yoga! Over on my Instagram (@ellie_desbaux), I talk a lot about self-love, body confidence and mental health, and what I want to talk about today ties into exactly that!
Before I dive into this article, I want to say a huge thank you to Chloe for this series and letting me tell my story! I can’t wait to read everyone else’s.
What makes you different?
Growing up I struggled a lot with my mental health and fitting in, so when my teenage years came about and everyone started drinking, I saw it as a safe haven for friendship and unity. I was finally deemed cool enough to be invited to parties. Unfortunately, a poor mental state and alcohol didn’t mix very well for me.
It’s like mixing red wine with vodka, been there, done that, I don’t recommend it!
As the years went by I was labelled the ’emotional drunk’ and really didn’t understand what limits were. I didn’t know what to do. If I got drunk people, who didn’t know me very well, would complain about me being a wreck, but if I didn’t they would call me boring. It may sound crazy, but the latter scared me the most. I have always been the boring one, the one who didn’t dance, the one who didn’t take risks, I couldn’t chance it.
So, after years of regretting every night out and torturing myself mentally for the things I did or said when I was drunk – I decided to try and cut back on drinking. It didn’t happen all at once. I found it hard to visit old friends because it was easy to fall back into old habits and trips to the pub seemed alien without alcohol.
As I have grown and began to transform my mindset, I realised saying no to alcohol was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s still a journey and some people don’t understand but it was a big part of me starting to love myself and forgiving my past.
What is bad about why you are different?
From growing up in London and working in Soho, you quickly learn that everything revolves around booze. The drinking culture was out of control and sometimes I still crumble under the pressure. I couldn’t keep up with the drinking, as soon as the words left my mouth, ‘I don’t drink’ their faces paled and any chance of friendship was lost. I ended up leaving my dream job in London because of my anxiety and fear that I didn’t fit in.
Working there was great and I’ll always be grateful for the experience but the mainstream culture around drinking just wasn’t for me and you had to participate to survive in the industry I was in.
Soon I realised it wasn’t just London, but it was a human trait to enjoy drinking. At first, I thought maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I soon learned it’s okay to be different.
Something I’ve struggled with is that people find it hard to relate to me when they find out I don’t like getting drunk. Even though I don’t drink, I don’t hold any negative feelings towards people who do! It’s fun for many people and I hope my sobriety doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. I know a lot of people who like to drink but it doesn’t alter my opinion of them, there is so much more to us than if we like a drink or not.
The other struggle I have faced is sending mixed messages. If I go to the pub or it’s a special occasion, I might choose to have one drink. However, when I choose not to have a second or third, people think there’s something wrong with me and question me throughout the evening. They ask if ‘I’m sure?’ and say ‘I’ll have more fun’ if I drink.
What is good about why you are different?
Over the process of cutting alcohol out of my life, it has helped me practice keeping my boundaries. I feel healthier, I have a better relationship with myself and the things I consume.
When I go out, I know I have a choice and saying no is okay. I can now enjoy being my true self, without the regrets, self-hatred, and 2-day hangovers.
What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article the most?
My advice would be to dowhat makes you feel good! If following the crowd is not serving you, it’s ok to do your own thing! If drinking is something you’re struggling with, my biggest piece of advice is to remember you’re worthy without the alcohol.
You’re not boring, you’re a wonderful person and if anyone tells you otherwise, they probably just don’t understand. Stay true to who you are and what you want.
I also want to say, there is so much more to people than their drinking habits – we are all fantastic the way we are, alcohol or not.
A note from Clo
After a week break we’re back with a bang! A really interesting and insightful article from Ellie-Louise Des Baux! A huge thank you for writing this piece, I have really enjoyed it and hope others can learn from it too!
The mind can be a scary place to live in, it tells us every day that we have to be strong. That we have to keep fighting. It tricks us into thinking we shouldn’t be weak. It tricks us into wanting to fight our battles alone. In reality, fighting our battles alone is a sign of weakness. Life can be tricky and it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to put up a front, so others don’t worry if that will get you through the day, but it is not okay to do this permanently and avoid our problems. Avoiding our issues makes us feel a lot worse about ourselves.
I think a big thing to remember when suffering from anxious thoughts while also being a strong person is remembering that life won’t always be this scary. Just because things are scary doesn’t mean you aren’t strong either. I remember for so long that random little things scared the crap out of me. With the right support and kind of a fake it till you make it attitude I managed to pull through. Trust me losing anxious thoughts was not an overnight process and it took a lot of work, but I got there eventually. I still have bad days and I still struggle to do the simplest things some days. But it’s fighting through the anxious thoughts and remembering you are in control. When your anxiety makes you freak out and tells you the whole world is a scary place, remember it is scary but you are capable of creating solutions. You are capable of breaking through and one day you will be free of your thoughts.
To the one who is strong but is absolutely petrified of never finding love. I feel ya. In my whole life, I have had one boyfriend and let me tell you, it was a disaster. Dating is horrid and quite frankly I am scared I’ll be alone forever. If someone asks me how dating is going I will 100% joke and say that I love being single because that’s the strong girl inside of me pretending I don’t care. While I love some areas of being single, I also hate it. I hate the feeling that I am going to die alone and that I am undesirable. In my heart, I know that when the right person comes along I’ll be everything for them, but it is still hard to pretend the setbacks don’t hurt. People will come and love you, then leave as if nothing happened. It kills you but you have to keep your strength. People nowadays don’t seem to stay around, they just flirt, let you catch feelings and then leave. You have to use your strength as power and move through every ending. I know as a strong person I wear my heart on my sleeve but it does sometimes mean I break my own heart. I break my heart by imaging what could be, and they have no idea. No idea how deeply I care for them. I guess it’s learning to let others in, no matter how strong you are it is important to communicate your feelings and not be scared of the consequences. On the same note, I went through a stage of dating people for the sake of it to try to mask the feeling of being alone, and it was the worst thing ever. In the end, I felt even more hopeless at love and felt broken. So if you’re dating for the sake of it, it’s truly not worth it. You will find the right person but it will take time. Keep your standards high and keep loving yourself while you wait.
I sometimes feel like I don’t belong. For example sometimes when at work I feel like an outsider. That everyone around me is best friends and I’m just there. I sometimes feel that I’m disliked and while I know this isn’t the case, it’s hard to let that escape my mind. If you feel like an outsider too, remember that you are placed in places for a reason. You have a purpose and while sometimes it may be hard to see why to know that there is some reason you are there. If you keep focusing on not feeling you should be there, you miss out on the enjoyment of being in the place. I find work can be hell sometimes but really there are many small giggles and friendliness that I feel along with every shift. It’s remembering that although sometimes I don’t feel like I fit in, that a lot of people in the store probably don’t either and that there are still opportunities to form friendships with others to feel like I do. For my whole life I have never ever fitted in and to be honest I always thought of it as my weakness. In reality, the fact I never fit in is my strength. Don’t force yourself to fit the social norms, you being different may feel like the worst thing in the world but really it’s what makes you loveable.
If you’re someone who does everything for everyone else and wonders why no one does anything in return. Pause what you’re doing and reevaluate. Reevaluate whether you do these task for others for your own happiness or because you feel you have to. Sometimes when you decide to be strong you put others feels before yourself. It’s time to prioritise yourself. Take a breath and remember that while it’s okay to do things for others, you shouldn’t feel you have to. Learn that it’s okay to put yourself first for a change and you deserve all the love that you willingly give to others.
I think it’s so hard to try to be strong all the time and while sometimes your strength may be an act, soon it won’t be. Soon you will realise that you don’t break as much as you used to, that you don’t cry about the small things and that life is getting on track. Eventually, you will see these issues as learning curves and not the disasters they feel like right now. The scars you have will remind you that you fought bravely and you have (and will) always be strong. But remember that showing your sadness is no form of weakness and it is always okay to ask for help.
Each and every day is a new day to bloom, we grow and we learn for all the experiences we face. While you may be struggling right now, life will get better and as cliche, as it is you just have to hang in there. You are strong and keep going! Remember my Instagram is always a place to talk if you are feeling alone.
While I am only 3 months into my 20s, I already hate dating. When I was younger I had this plan in my head that I would be married by 25, and have kids by 30. Now I reckon I will be lucky to be married by 30 and have kids by 35. It seems that a) I am incredibly awful at dating and b) no boys want to date.
This is usually how dating goes, I fall for a boy and he doesn’t like me. When I was younger this snippet of Mean Girls used to make me laugh, now its far to real to laugh…
So here is my LONG list of reasons as to why dating at 20 is rubbish
1. Online dating is the worst. I have never hated anything more with a passion. Tinder is the worst place and while Bumble seems to have better looking boys I don’t think it is much better. One of my biggest worries is that if I talk to a guy online I am going to end up on MTV show catfish. I give up with online dating, if I am going to meet someone I am going to have to try the old fashioned way of meeting them in person… however hard that may be.
2. When you are single you are permanently mocked for having standards ‘too high’. I am incredibly picky in what I want in a guy, but that is purely because I am sick of disappointment. I could get with any guy and date them just for the sake of it, but if I don’t fancy them or see a future with them, then I am wasting both of our times. I would much rather keep my standards high and find the right person for me. If keeping my standards high means it takes years to find the perfect match, so be it.
3. Following on from the last point. Every guy I talk to seems to be so immature. It takes a lot of effort to wade through the idiots that are not right for you, and at 20 it seems that everyone is an idiot.
4. Boys are the worst at texting back…. Or they are the worst at texting back because they don’t actually have any interest in you… I think this era is hard to date in because unlike in the past we spend so much time trying to decode boys attention from how they are online with us, if they like our social media, if they text us or how fast they respond to a text. While I think if you are not getting many responses from a guy after a while then that is a sign that they aren’t interested in you. They could also just be busy… It is hard to distinguish but if you are regularly getting ignored it is probably time to put your efforts into someone new who will give you the same amount of effort back. You deserve someone who wants to talk to you and after all it doesn’t take long to respond to a text….
5. Nice boys are scary. Some nice boys are genuinely lovely, others use their nice boy pretences to get away with murder. Sometimes it sucks to date them, because when they do wrong to you all your friends stick up for him as ‘he seems so nice’. You and everyone else make excuses for he because he is NICE. Although he may have been nice originally, it doesn’t mean he’s always nice, so fyi if he is no longer nice bin him off. If you aren’t giving him a chance because he’s nice, maybe do?
6.It feels the only other place than online dating to meet boys is in clubs or pubs, and they are not good places to get to know boys. In clubs people usually have one goal and it is not to end the night married. Clubs are loud and are incredibly difficult to talk to someone in. Leading to people just looking for people with nice faces to hook up with. Clubs make me anxious because sometimes it feels like the whole club is full of boys judging how you look.
7. It gets to the point where instead of actually trying to find people to date, you just pretend to date them in your head. I have my whole life planned out with some boys, if only they knew it…
8. When you start talking to someone new and they ghost you off, you feel awful. I am an optimist, and sometimes it is the worst quality I have. I always hope and pray that the boy is different and he will like me for me. Only to be crushed back to reality and fill myself with sadness by picking faults in myself.You wonder what’s wrong with you and why they won’t want you. Was I too much? Did I want too much? I know in my heart that for the right person I will never be too if but right now all this rejection is hard.
9. It seems the whole world revolves around hook ups. I have never had a hook up and the social pressure to have one is quite intense. It feels like just because I haven’t had one there is something wrong with me. It sometimes leads to people trying to force you to get with any random-er that gives you attention, however I would rather not.
10. While my friends get into relationships and some start talking to new boys it leads to jealousy. Some of my cousins have started to get married and every wedding I go to I feel more alone. Above is probably me after watching a romantic chick flick.
11. The whole world seems to only want people with pretty faces and not with pretty hearts. So, after a lot of rejections you start to convince yourself that you are ugly and no one will ever want you. Online dating only looks at your face. In clubs boys only look at your face. It feels like there is no chance in the 21st century to date someone because of who they are and not what they look like.
12. Each heartbreak feels worse than the last one. You promised yourself you wouldn’t get into the same situation again, you wouldn’t fall again. You’d think by 20 you’d have learnt but you haven’t. It’s hard to keep putting yourself out that and face the same rejection. Some days your heart hurts and you think you’ll never find the one.
13. Fairly tales have taught us for years that Prince Charming will come and sweep us off our feet. When you reach your 20s, you start to release this probably won’t happen. To be honest, while I do want my Prince Charming I don’t want him to come and save me, because frankly I do not need saving. However it would be nice to have someone fight battles with you instead of alone.
14. In this day and age people can find your whole life on social media, which is scary as hell. So now even your online life is a chance for someone to want you, which is so scary. My friend Megan and I watched You on Netflix and it really was quite terrifying to see how easy it is for someone to stalk you online. It really does prove that you don’t know how trustworthy people are and that just because they seem decent, they may not really be who they seem to be…. (if you haven’t watched ‘You’ yet defo recommend, we binge watched in a day)
15. Some days it feels like all the good guys are taken (already!!!!!!) and all that is left are the ones that want to sleep around. Which is fine, if all you want to do is sleep around, but absolutely horrid if you want to be in a relationship. It is the worst thing ever when you start talking to a guy and think wow he’s great. Only to find out moments late that he’s great because he’s taken.
16. At the end of the day, true friendship will beat any rubbish dates, and so while I hold out for the ‘one’, I will continue to know my friends have my back.
17. I think the biggest lie I have ever been told is that you will meet the love of your life at uni, the boys I have met at university so far, are not boys who want to settle down. It’s gotten to the point where my friend Meg has now put a ban on me talking to Uni boys, cause even if she has a uni boyf the other uni boys are no good apparently (she’s not been wrong yet).
18. Boys suck.
19. At the end of the day, if I don’t find a man in the next 10 years…
20. I don’t have time for boys who don’t want me or for wondering if boys want me. I only have time to live my 20s to the fullest and have as much fun as possible. And anyway, your 30s are apparently the new 20s, I’ll try dating again then…
If you have read this and thought wow she’s the one for me (how could you not), I am taking dating applications over on my Instagram xoxox. (I joke but then I’m low key being serious….)
All the love,
Queen Clo xxx
Ps. NEVER LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS, YOU DESERVE ONLY THE BEST xxx
Recently, I reached the age of 18! Scary! During my 18 years on this planet, I’ve learnt so many lessons; below are some of the most important ones. Along with a picture of me over the last 18 years😂
Why don’t you leave something important you’ve learnt in the comments? Or any feedback?☺️
1. No matter what happens in life, someone in your family will still love you.
I am extremely fortunate to have a large family. There’s so much love around me and I’m so lucky for it. I know that whatever I do, they will all still support and love me. They’ve helped me grow into the person I am and if I do a bad thing I can gurantee they’re not going to hold it against me. This means that whenever there is drama, because we’re a family, we deal with it together. Therefore, if I have a personal problem or drama, I know I can rely on them to help me deal with it. So, whether you have a small family or a large family, they are always going to love and forgive you in the end. Send a text to a family member tonight to show you that you appreciate them!💗
(Big shout out to all my family, I love you all so much, even those of you I don’t see as much as I’d like!)
2. It’s okay to cry. There seems to be this stigma with crying (especially with men, boo!) that it apparently shows weakness. This is not the case. Cry as often as you need. Cry everyday if it makes your day a bit easier. I personally cry very frequently, and if you ask my dad I cry over ridiculous things, like burning cheese on toast, I know, what a loser. However, I believe you should not worry about what others think of your tears, if it helps you to cleanse yourself and your mind then it’s okay. Lets all become cry babies and keep on crying!
3. Its okay to make mistakes… In fact, make as many mistakes as you possibly can. Mistakes are not a bad thing if you learn and grow from them. I frequently mess up, I know I will make many mistakes every single day. This does not make me feel bad or scare me; I know I am learning from them. Instead of letting the fear of being wrong and making mistakes hold you back, embrace every chance of making a mistake.
4. Embrace change, it can be good. Personally, I always struggle with change. I like things to be the same. I get comfortable with a routine. The fear of change used to be a massive thing for me and whenever I knew change was going to occur, I would become nervous and panic. However, I began to understand that life always has change. Therefore, do not go in life being scared of it, but accept it when it happens.Whether this is something small like changing cereal, or whether it be leaving something behind that is hurting you. Whatever the change is, it may hurt or upset you at first, but in the long run it will help you to grow.
5. Tell other people what you are thinking and how you are feeling. People cannot read your mind. If someone has upset you or done you wrong, don’t just assume they know they’ve done wrong. Instead talk to them about it. Someone cannot change what they are doing if they do not know they’ve affected you. I am rubbish at telling people when they’ve upset me, and it can lead people to walk all over me! I need to start standing up for myself and to let others know about how I think and feel. Whether you think it is insignificant, if someone has upset you talk to them!! Not only could it improve the situation between you and said person, it will free your mind. Keeping things bottled up does nothing for you. So, learn to have strong communication skills and be able to talk to anyone about your problems, these skills will get you anywhere you need.
6. Have a strong opinion of yourself, and leave behind the worries of what others think of you.
I used to be very worried about how others saw me. I craved to be liked by everyone, and whenever someone thought something negative of me I would be upset. I realise now, not everybody is going to like me. That does not mean there is anything wrong with me. If someone does not like me, it shouldn’t bother me. I’m not everyone’s fan, so clearly not everyone’s going to be a fan of me. I have begun to developed a strong opinion; this is who I am and I like who I am. So, it doesn’t really matter if no one else likes me.
7. Learn to say no! I’m a yes person, I always have been and I thought I always would be. I get so nervous of the thought of letting people down that I say yes. Lately, I’ve been learning it’s okay to say no. As much as I’d like to do every good deed and help as many people, I simply do not have the time. So instead of trying (and failing) to be wonder women, I learnt to use the word no. It’s much less of a let down to originally say no, than to do a half hearted job. No one is going to hate you for not doing something, and if they do, you don’t need them in your life. Simple?
8. Move away from anything that causes you negativity.
Whether this be people, an activity or anything, if it makes you sad what is the point in doing it?!?! It truly baffles me when someone says ‘I do … to please … but I hate it’. What is the point in putting yourself through the stress and upset to please someone else. You must focus on your own happiness and not everyone else’s. Furthermore, leave people that cause you pain in some way. It is far better to leave them in your past than continue to be friends with them and hurt yourself.
9. Frequently ask questions, it’ll help you grow and learn.
Got a question? Ask it. Its literally that simple. Asking questions develops your knowledge and understanding of the world. By doing so you are not pondering over something that someone could answer for you if you just ask them. Stop accepting what you read online and begin questioning them. Enable yourself to become more involved in the world around you!
10. Be kind. Not only to others, but yourself too.
I would much rather spread kindness to other people, than hate. I think in a world so filled with hate, it’s time that we start being nicer to those who are around us. Whether its just giving a stranger a smile, or asking someone how their day is? Kindness will help the world stay a positive place.
I looked back and realised that I’m nice to everyone else, but why am I not to myself? Ask yourself the question, if someone spoke to me the way I speak to myself would I still be friends with them? If the answers no, then its time you start speaking kinder to yourself. At the end of the day, you’re the person that’s there for yourself and if you’re not being kind to yourself then why will anyone else be?
11. Laugh often.Laughter is my favourite thing. I have the loudest laugh ever, and it can be irritating to others. (sorry not sorry). However, my laughter brings me joy. Laughing (even over tiny things) will brighten my whole mood. I aim to laugh as many times a day. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
12. Apologise when you’re in the wrong.
I have dealt with a lot of people who struggle with apologising. I have also met a lot of people who apologise too much!! Thetrick is to get the right balance. I think it is important to apologise. If I have done something wrong, then I feel obliged to apologise. If it was the other way round then I would probably like the other person to apologise. Its important to swallow any pride you have and apologise when it is appropriate.
13. Some days you’ll find it slightly harder to love yourself, but look past your ‘flaws’, and find something to love.
The title says it all in this one. We’re all great in our own ways, look a little harder if you cannot find something to love. I PROMISE THERE WILL BE SOMETHING!!!!
14. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
I am feisty when I want to be. If I believe in something strongly, I’ll argue with anyone and everyone about it. Even if I’m the only one that believes my view. I’m not intimidated when others have a different view to myself. I think of it as a mini challenge to show others why I think that way.
It’s important to be you, and if you believe in your view that’s all that matters. Stand strong.
It’s also important to stand up for yourself. You can’t go your whole life being walked over like a door mat. Be confident and proud of who you are. Don’t let anyone knock you down.
15. Don’t take life or your self too serious.
Its easy to get caught up in your own problems, and we forget that the problems we face are only made large when we let them mess with us. Instead of being caught up in how rubbish things are, we should all take a step back. When taking a step back it puts into perceptive that we should not take life too seriously. When taking life too seriously you limit the happiness you can get. So breathe, you are doing great, but stop taking everything too seriously.
Nobody gets out alive anyway…
16. FLIRT ! FLIRT! FLIRT!
I am a young, single, sassy women and I shall flirt and do as I please.
While I am young, I want to live my life. There is nothing wrong with flirting.
17. People will break your heart, but learn from the mistakes!
After a heartbreak it can be hard to pick yourself back up again. But the key thing to remember is onces someone’s broke your heart let them go. Or you will continue to hurt yourself the longer you cling to the past. Stop texting them, or trying to be in their life. Delete the texts. Delete the pictures. Delete them off social media. You do not need a constant reminder of them, leave them to do them and you to do you. If they’ve hurt you, they no longer deserve a place in your life. If they wanted to be in your life they would be, so don’t be fooled.
Oh boys, what strange creatures you are… Will I ever understand your brains? (probs not but I will live haha).
18. Stop being so hard on yourself. You’re doing better than you think!
In life, we focus on our own flaws and where we think we’ve not done well. We forgot to focus on all the great things we do every single day. All the amazing things we do without thinking. I’ve learnt that I need to be easier on myself and not beat myself up over silly little errors. I’m doing so well juggling a job, voluntary work and sixth form. I should just keep being me.
BONUS ONE: Get drunk and be the party animal you’ve always dreamed to be.
Don’t let anyone stop you from getting a little drunk!😉 If you need that glass of wine this evening, this is me saying go and have it! Also, partying with the right people at the right place can be so much fun and you can make memories (some you may not remember). Live your life and don’t let others judge you for partying. Keep being awesome!x