Things I've learned from women I follow on Twitter

For all the negative effects that social media has on me, from Insta stories instilling a deeper sense of FOMO in me than ever before, and the sleep deprivation I’ve experienced as a result of replacing bedtime stories with screentime stories, there’s one big shining beacon that almost - almost - outweighs the bad; the women that I follow on Twitter.

The women I follow are brilliant. Some of them are real life friends and some of them are colleagues but the majority of them are strangers, strangers who are experts in activism, feminism, Marxism, skincare, haircare and self-care. They’re fighters of racism, sexism and ableism. They are promoters of reading magazines and novels, whether they’re high-brow or purely for entertainment purposes, and advocators of Netflix bingeing and reality TV dissection. They’re teachers and they’re students, they’re doctors and they’re patients and I mean that literally.

The women I follow don’t fit into one demographic. They’ve got 9-to-5 desk jobs and seemingly never-ending shifts. They’re grossly overpaid and grossly underpaid.  I follow the former out of curiosity. Some seem to move through life quite seamlessly and others are in between things. The advice they share would never appear in Goop because it’s sensible, realistic and cost-effective advice.

They share their life experiences, which make you feel a little less alone in yours, or they open up your eyes to their own.

Here are some of the most important things I’ve learned from the women I follow on Twitter.

  1. Niacinamide can cause some people’s skin to flare up. It isn’t for everyone.
  2. Don’t put off going on dream holidays until you find someone, like a partner, to go with. Don’t put your life on hold for anyone else.
  3. Blonde hair takes work. Use weekly hydration masks and learn that silver shampoo reduces brassiness and pink shampoos help reduce any greenish/bluish hues. And if you leave either of those in for longer, you’re left with a lilac or pink hue.
  4. If you’re struggling with a book, remember that some books are just bad. Don’t suffer any longer. There’s no shame in leaving a book half-read. Just pick up another one and remember that you’re capable of easily reading a book in one or ten sessions.
  5. The hangovers definitely get worse after 25.
  6. Water helps. So does milk thistle. Sticking to one type of drink definitely helps but ultimately… drinking less is the only thing to lessen the pain the next morning.  A cold can of coke, or a Capri-Sun, and pizza will also provide much sought-after comfort.
  7. Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing.
  8. The Mystery Show episode with Jake Gyllenhaal, where some reciprocated flirtation with the host Starlee Kine is detected, is even more amazing. The Britney Spears episode comes a close second.
  9. It’s ok to like Girls the TV show and hate the characters. That’s the point. They’re terrible people.
  10. We’re all trying to undo centuries of systematic sexism, misogyny, classism, racism, ageism and ableism but we are all working at a different pace.
  11. Racism exists in Ireland. Listen to those that experience it. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.  If you choose to not see it, then that’s something you need to work on.
  12. Tinder and Bumble require effort and a lot of time to get any results and, for some reason, the men on Bumble are nicer.
  13. The Daily Mail influences how we view and talk about women. Just stop visiting the site because it’s helping no one.
  14. Acne doesn’t go away once you hit your 20s, 30s or 40s but there are better ways to tackle it now than when you were a teenager. I was introduced to the magic of 2% BHA from Paula’s Choice exfoliant by Ana Kinsella three years ago and I haven’t looked back since. When I get spots now, they’re singular things rather than a widespread and painful under-the-skin bump attack.
  15. There’s such a thing as purging skin, where treatments bring all the badness to the surface, but if the purging continues for more than two weeks, maybe it’s the product that’s the problem and not you.
  16. A problem shared is a problem halved but remember that your friends are dealing with their own shit too.
  17. Therapy helps.
  18. Therapy is expensive but some doctors offer reduced rates if you ask about them.
  19. Sometimes you have to go through a few therapists until you find the right one. That is also expensive but you can ask around for recommendations, just like you would for a hairdresser, a painter or a good book.
  20. Add these new and established artists to your Spotify playlist now: Lizzo, Stella Donnelly, Little Simz, Ailbhe Reddy, Billie Eilish, Chaka Khan, Loah, Kacey Musgraves, ALMA, Laoise, Saint Sister, Khalid.
  21. Get tested annually for STIs. Even if you don’t count what you got up as “proper sex”, just get tested.
  22. Janet is the best character in The Good Place.
  23. We are living in an ableist world and Disabled Women of Ireland are trying to change that. These women all found each other on Twitter.
  24. Sometimes when a short-term relationship comes to an end, it can have a bigger impact on your mental health than a long-term one. You can’t measure all relationships by their timespan.
  25. Burnout is real. Take breaks where you can and know that there’s no shame in asking for help or telling your boss that you’re overwhelmed.
  26. You can’t say yes to everything.
  27. Some people don’t read emails. And some people need a second email to nudge them into a response.
  28. But some people just don’t reply.
  29. And some people aren’t as busy as they claim to be.
  30. These TV shows are worth your time: Russian Doll, Please Like Me, Sex Education, Derry Girls, Killing Eve, Barry, The Good Place, Atlanta, Pose, BoJack Horseman, Love Island, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Fleabag, Veep.
  31. Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll is this year's style icon.
  32. Motherhood is different for everyone but it’s not for everyone either. One person’s experience will never mirror yours.
  33. Cherish every minute of sleep that you get because a good night’s sleep is a total privilege. Whether you’re being kept away by babies or anxiety, uninterrupted sleep is a beautiful thing to behold.
  34. As you get older and your friends pair off into couples and then pair up with other couples and then have children that become friends with each other, single friends can feel excluded. Don’t let your marital or parental status define your friend group.
  35. Single adults aren’t always living that sitcom wild lifestyle that everyone thinks that they’re living. They’re mostly staying in at the weekends and watching those sitcom wild lifestyles on Netflix instead.
  36. Read books that have been written by women.
  37. Watch TV shows and movies that have been written by women.
  38. Undo the myth that TV, movies and books that are created for women must be bad. Systematic misogyny strikes again!
  39. Intersectional feminism is necessary.
  40. You can buy full body length hot water bottles now.
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