WTTGT Writer: Antonia “The Gooner Girlfriend” Hawken
It is my personal opinion that a woman is continuously under pressure to be perfect. This “perfection” can manifest itself in a variety of forms, and is entirely individual and subjective. It’s a highly competitive world out there, and over the last few weeks I’ve discovered that I most definitely fall into the category of ‘perfectionist’, more specifically in the ‘success’ area, combined with ‘looking good’. I don’t think that makes me particularly special, in fact, I’d say that applies to the majority of women across the world.
I am also most definitely a list maker; I suspect another highly common female trait. If there’s a scrap of paper lying on my desk, a list shall be placed upon it. My phone is filled with shopping and assignment lists, and my diary has transformed itself into the source of all information, the fountain out of which flows yet more lists. This apparently, according to my sister, is a sign I’ve turned into our mother. I didn’t fill out an application form, it’s just happened and to be honest I’m relieved. If anyone can handle pressure better than most, it’s mothers. From conception they are entirely responsible for another life: food, bedding, drink, health, sleep, school, matches, concerts, birthdays, Christmas, irresponsible choices, consoling after that six month long relationship goes awry and smiling when another bad decision in the boyfriend department walks through the front door. Oh the pressure of mothers.
The last few weeks have increased my awareness that perfection and pressure come together seamlessly when birthdays are involved, more specifically, BIG birthday’s. Only, of course, if family and friends care. I am incredibly lucky that I have people around me that do, and wanted to make my 21st special. The weekend started swimmingly with an all girls masquerade party in the tiny front room of my shared house. Everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves, until a very good chum managed to set her hair on fire singing “Happy Birthday” a little too enthusiastically. Luckily help was given, but not before everyone had finished their rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to ya” as I was forced to “see off” a large glass of rum and coke: nobody wanted the eve tainted by flaming locks. I was spoilt rotten by friends and family, especially by my Gooner who presented a rather lovely turquoise coloured bag and box containing something rather special.
It struck me as I tucked into another slice of homemade Victoria sponge that the pressure for my day to be perfect must have been partly my influence. I remember how pressured I felt to produce something memorable for the boyfriend’s 21st last year, not that he instructed me how to fulfil his day to a structured list (well, he did in some areas) but I wanted to be the perfect girlfriend. I know that what I received was carefully thought out and done with love, but deep down there must have been a tingle of pressure to gift something perfect.
Being the perfectionist that I am, I could kick myself for my recent attitude as Gooner Girlfriend. I have had opportunities to write and update, I even came up with a few titles such as ’21 Things to Love about Arsenal’ the week I turned twenty-one and ‘Life’s as Simple as ABC – Arsenal Beat Chelsea’, and yet, nothing. Despite grumblings about all the pressures in my life, I am incredibly grateful for them. They spur me on, they force me to do better and they remind me that I have worked hard to achieve what I currently possess. Yes, they take up time and force me to invest more emotion into my laptop than my relationship, but they’re my choices and form the highly complex fabric that is my life.
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