I am not the gentle, feminine type. I don’t think I’ve worn a pair of heels this decade, and I will probably never wake up in the mornings and slather on my makeup.

I have rough feet, bitten nails, messy hair and, seriously, who has the patience to blow dry and then straighten their hair? I regularly forget to shave the bits we’re apparently supposed to, and I’m not very adept with a mascara wand.

I cannot, ever, imagine wearing a thong. I am that girl with the creases in the wrong places and the hastily scribbled forget-me-not note on her hand.

A friend, jokingly but honestly, commented on my fashion sense once and called it “plumber who remembered to shower today”. 

I am the before picture you’d see on an episode of a reality makeover show.

But, I’ll tell you something. I don’t want the makeover.

Growing up, I’d often be in awe of my mother. She was always immaculately turned out, delicately perfumed with curled hair and precise nails.

She made it seem so easy to look “pretty” and I imagined that, when I was older, I too would find it easy to slip into feminine garb and great hair.

The reality is, at 34, I don’t think I even own a petticoat, or a set of curlers. Nor do I want to.

Realising that I didn’t just like myself this way, I actually love myself this way, came about one rainy morning with a friend, who is the epitome of elegance.

She is a compassionate, magnificent human and an incredible friend to me. From the moment I met her, I just knew she’d be in my heart and my life for every day there onwards.

We both knew it, and happily admit it to anyone who can bear to listen.

But if I look at the two of us in a picture, I can’t help but laugh. She is always poised and I am always gawking. In the first year of our friendship, I often wondered if she felt pity for me, or that she secretly wanted to help me.

That thought faded, not only as we got to know each other better but most especially on a very particular night I’ll always treasure.
We were much younger than we are now, and it was long before we both joined the parenting brigade.

I walked into the nightclub we frequented, in my pyjamas (it happened). Her response to me said it all – “You look amazing. Do you know where I can get those slippers?”

It’s always been a reminder to me that, even though I may think I’m failing as a woman, I’m really just succeeding at being myself.

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