I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: coming home is annoying, frustrating, and it sucks more balls than your Nan did when the sailors came to town. Once settled in – or if you’re unlucky, right away – people will start pointing out things like how you’re still unemployed, how you’re still single or, my personal favourite, how you’ve gotten fat. ‘I believe the words you’re looking for are fucking hot’, I say, stuffing my face with simple carbohydrates. Because here it is, the fat ugly truth: people will comment on your weight as if after everything you’ve done and accomplished, your percentage of body fat is the one thing that really matters. It doesn’t matter that you feel fucking great, that you have seen the most amazing sights, that you have jumped off cliffs or out of airplanes; it matters that you gained a few kilograms. Word of the wise: stay abroad, have some pizza.

Last weekend, I went away with some friends, and we decided to play some board games. One of the guys introduced us to The Mind, a game in which you have to work together as a group to organise your given numbered cards from lowest to highest (1-100). You can’t say the number out loud, so you have to work with metaphors, i.e. ‘I am an average women’s shoe size.’ When it came to guessing if it should be mine or my friend’s card first, she said: ‘If this number would be on your scale, you’d burst out into tears. You would be so unhappy.’ Dangerous statement to make. Wait, did I say dangerous? I meant pretty fucked up. My friend is an absolutely gorgeous woman, who fights for women’s rights and equality, and I can’t believe society has messed up this beautiful warrior princess so much for her to say this. She would stand up for everything and everyone, yet still thinks there’s a certain number (a number for fuck’s sake!) that defines a person’s happiness. As if happiness depends on this and only this: your weight. For the record, her number was my weight about a month ago. 

Dear everyone, my name is Laurien, I’m 1m72 and I weigh 76 kg. There you fucking have it. I have weighed 63 kg and I have weighed 82 kg, and I was always happy with myself – until people started calling me fat. Surely it was fucking im-possible for me to feel good about myself, they would say. I had distant relatives say to closer relatives (who told me – why the fuck would they tell me?!) that I had a huge ass. I had my great-aunt’s hairdresser remark that the food abroad must have been really great. I had the actual great-aunt tell me that my arms were ginormous. I can run my 5K and I can fucking fight a bitch, but who cares? I gained weight and apparently that affects everyone and everything – but I guess, in retrospect, the centre of the universe ìs up my ass, so that only makes sense. 

Fat, skinny, beautiful, ugly, this shit doesn’t even exist. Think about it, who even defined what is beautiful, and how many fucking centuries ago was that? We’re people, we’re different, we’re art. Every person is a work of art, and as Rainbow Rowell once said: art isn’t supposed to look nice, it’s supposed to make you feel something. If you would have to define yourself in one word, you wouldn’t pick ‘pretty’, would you? You wouldn’t say that you’re Victoria’s Secret Skinny, or that your eyes-nose-mouth ratio is perfect (I just made that up, but I’m scared it actually exists). All these stupid adjectives don’t say anything about you. You’d say you’re kind, generous, smart, funny, flexible, skilful, … You’d say you jumped off cliffs, and out of airplanes, right?! But that’s the thing: maybe you would not. Maybe you don’t think people care about that, maybe you’d think they care about your looks and your clothes and your eyes-nose-mouth ratio (please don’t be a thing). Well, guess what: people don’t. Well, non-dick people don’t. So go out or stay in, live your best life, follow an Instagram account that tells you you’re amazing instead of telling you you should work out more, and be happy about all the actually meaningful adjectives that apply to you. And for all the dick-people out there, ask yourselves this: why be a complete asshole, when you could just be quiet?