The Antithesis of A Clean Girl
I’m sure most people have seen the “clean girl” aesthetic on TikTok, girls with their lives (seemingly) entirely put together; meal prepping, drinking their greens, getting up early, wearing the trendiest outfits, and indulging in all things self care. While none of these things are inherently bad, the culture it has created sets an unrealistic expectation with no room for failure in addition to leading to the overconsumption of products and a sense of shame if one's life doesn’t necessarily look like the girls on TikTok.
I am not a “clean girl”. I could name hundreds of times I felt ashamed for not having every precise habit ingrained into my life, leading me to wonder, “Am I doing something wrong?” This is not to discount these good habits. If anything, more power to them. That said, there needs to be a space for girls who aren’t necessarily “clean”, or who feel they don’t fit into this niche aesthetic.
Like I said, I am not a clean girl. If anything, I am the antithesis of a clean girl, with some aspects of my life seemingly put together, but in reality, I am wondering how to get through every day just like everyone else.
I don't make my bed every morning, and when I do, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I often sleep in until 9 or 10, not starting my day until 10:30. Sometimes for breakfast, I just drink coffee and won’t eat until lunch. I don’t drink my greens in the morning, or really at all. I journal, but only every so often. Sometimes, it can feel emotionally draining to journal too much and other times, I can’t seem to get words on the paper. I’d like to consider myself a reader, but I’m not as good about it as I used to be. There’s always dishes in the sink at my house and I should wash my sheets more often. I don’t take vitamins and sometimes I forget to take my medications in the morning. I’ve tried to meal prep, but oftentimes I opt for chopping veggies on the fly. I have two separate planners that I use religiously, but I don’t set monthly goals for myself. I can’t get my hair to look nice in a slicked back ponytail or bun, and I don’t do a weekly hair mask. I don’t have a weekly workout split, and I only workout when I feel like I want to move my body. I like to go out on the weekends and lay around with my roommates all day on Sunday, just shooting the shit. I don’t have a weekly “reset day”, rather, I clean and do my chores throughout the week when it works for me. I believe the best hangover cure is a day of relaxation and McDonald’s, not an ice roller and cleansing juice.
And all of this is okay. It is okay to not have everything in your life look pretty and put together. If anything, it adds dimension and character to an otherwise predictable life. Instead of keeping up with the latest trends and spending copious amounts of money on the right skincare and the right Stanley water bottle, I’d rather learn to love the life and things that I do have. There is a space for the girls who don’t necessarily have everything together, and may be a little bit messy.
Although I have noted that nothing is inherently wrong with the habits that clean girls advertise, it feels as if it this is the only “correct” way to do things, when in reality, there are millions of types of girls, most of which do not fit into this category. There needs to be room for those who are trying their best to be the best versions of themselves, but their lives may not look like those of a clean girl. For example, I am a successful student, work two jobs, write for a publication, have a social life I am extremely happy with, and my life still does not look like that of a clean girl.
In the past, I may have been ashamed of not having everything seemingly perfect, but I have learned to take pride in not being a clean girl. Maybe by default, this makes me a “messy girl”, but I can live with that. I would rather be messy and true to myself than someone trying to be like everybody else.