Vagina is not a dirty word: 30 things I know at 30


Full credit to Glamour magazine for this idea; the current issue, with a refreshingly undone Zoe Saldana on the cover, featured a piece by the newly 30-year-old YouTuber Emily Hartridge, detailing all of the things she has learned in her 30 years on this planet. And it gave me the idea to write my own – a diary of sorts, sharing 30 things I have learned along the way. I would love to know yours, if you have any; share them with me on social media @rosemarymaccabe!

1 Friends are not forever. One of the most important things I've learned is how to let go of old, stale friendships that were holding me – and probably the other person – back. As a young 'un, I thought a broken friendship was something to regret. Now, I can value friendships for their transience; we had a great time together and I'll always value those memories, but we've grown apart, and that's fine too. #sorrynotsorry (but, y'know, not in a mean way)

2 There is a reason old people buy bath & body sets for Christmas – sometimes, it's too hard to figure out what the young 'uns are into these days. (I'm sorry to everyone I've ever bought a bath & body set for – you know who you are.)

3 Twins are weird. (They share too much.)

4 Only children? Also weird. (They share too little.)

5 Editing YouTube videos is really hard. People like Emily make it look exceptionally easy, but honestly? It's not my favourite thing to do. I think I'm improving, but I'd love you to be the judge of that and let me know!

6 It shouldn't matter what strangers say about you on the internet, but it does. Maybe that's about me, and a little chink in my armour of self-confidence, but it has made me wary of two things: firstly, of Googling myself (or searching "Xposé" on YouTube after I've appeared in a segment); and, secondly, of making flippant, cutting remarks about other humans on the internet.

7 It's wise not to spend every single cent you earn. This is one of those, "do as I say, not as I do" things, because I still spend money like it's burning my bank account to hold on to it. But the thing is: I know I shouldn't. And that counts for something, right?

My favorite lazy river #Amsterdam

A photo posted by AJ (@ajchetti) on

8 New York isn't that great. Paris can also go in the overrated box. Portland is deadly. Dallas is cool. Amsterdam is my fave.

9 You should never brush curly hair. Except when it's wet, and loaded with conditioner. Check out my other curly hair dos and don'ts here – and remember, high heat, low speed.

10 Squeezing spots is bad; squeezing blackheads is necessary. (Also: watching spots, blackheads and cysts being squeezed is addictive, and oddly cathartic.)

11 When someone tells you that you look like your mother, the correct response is to smile beatifically, not to begin wailing and pounding the floor asking if you really look 65.

12 Drugs are for dummies. I took a bump of cocaine once – honestly, I've lead such a sheltered life – and proceeded to call my boyfriend, at 4am, demand that he come and get me, cry my head off, drop approximately 70% of the contents of my bag on the ground and scream at the top of my lungs that I'd taken an overdose. One bump.

13 Floss. And, y'know, wear sunscreen.

14 Twelve baby Guinnesses before dinner = too many baby Guinnesses.

15 Going to bed early is actually deadly. I really wish I could go back and tell my 10-year-old self this – because I did not want to miss anything by going to bed before the grown-ups. Now, I'd happily pick up and nod off before the rest of the grown-ups; I just never feel like I've got enough sleep!

16 Being on television doesn't mean you'll be able to pay your rent. When I was younger, I thought that any kind of notoriety would bring with it riches beyond belief. So, if you ever made a TV appearance, had a book published or MCed an event, you were pretty much made up for life. Sadly untrue. It would take a helluva lot of TV appearances to cover even the most modest Irish mortgage, sadly.

17 Your twenties are bullshit. I spent mine drinking, crying, chasing boys who didn't like me and fretting about what I was going to do with my life. It's a cliché, but I am so happy to be over that very trying time.

18 Most men are lovely. Some men are shit. But it's the men who won't accept the latter, and use that knowledge to make the world a better place for all of us, who are causing the most damage. Feminism is very necessary, and will be until we are treated and thought of equally in our society. And we all need to chip in to make that happen.

Michael Hussar vagina art

19 "Vagina" is not a dirty word. But no, dear, that's not your vagina; that's your vulva. Your vagina is just the canal – you know, the part that leads to your cervix. The outer bits? Collectively: vulva. Individually: labia. If you must, your "front bum". But not your vagina.

20 The semi-colon should be used to join two ideas that are equal in rank; it is a way of linking one thought with the next. What it is not? An i.e, a comma, or a colon. This is important.

21 I really don't want there to be another war. Even if I may then get sent to live in an eccentric old man's house, find a magic portal in the back of his wardrobe, eat Turkish delight from a magic sleigh and make friends with a fawn. None of that would be worth war. Seriously.

Mariah Carey meme Rosemary Mac Cabe

22 Don't ever – ever – insult Mariah Carey online. Trust me on this one.

23 Just because you said you would, doesn't mean you have to. That goes for post-work dinner with my friends, sex with my boyfriend, even walking the dog. There is nothing I take more pleasure in these days than changing my mind. Speaking of which...

24 Brussels sprouts are delicious. I know, right? Who'd have thought I'd come around to the idea. But, here we are. All beliefs are, therefore, changeable.

25 It's okay to be a home bird. My sister has lived abroad since I was 15, and she's always urged me to do the same. But, while I love to travel and explore new places, my favourite day is the day I get on the plane to come home. I love Ireland, and I've never felt a desire to live anywhere else. And y'know what? I've stopped feeling like the most boring person in the world because of my terror of moving away. Some people stay, and that's just fine.

26 Just because you're not sporty doesn't mean you get to avoid exercise entirely. I spent a good 29 years of my life thinking that, because I wasn't remotely sporty, exercising just wasn't for me. Sure, I tried the odd spin class, but if I wasn't going to be brilliant at it then, what was the point? So finding out that working out and lifting heavy weights could make me look and feel 10 times better was a shock – even if, writing it down, it seems like the most obvious thing in the world. I firmly believe that there is something out there that'll make you work up a sweat and that you will love; maybe you just haven't found it yet.

27 Anal sex is not for everyone.

28 I really don't need lip fillers. No one "needs" lip fillers. If you honestly think that having lip fillers is going to make looking in the mirror a 200% more pleasant experience, then, go mad. Otherwise, chill out. None of us are perfect, and that's fine. Spend your money on a deadly holiday, and stop thinking about your lips so much. It's not healthy.

29 Michael Jackson? It turns out, he wasn't that great a guy after all. But it's okay to still love Black or White.

30 Even your Dad doesn't know everything. I remember distinctly the moment at which I realised that sometimes – just sometimes – my Dad makes statements, using this incredibly authoritative tone, about things that he knows absolutely nothing about. I won't lie: I was about 27 when I figured that out. But what I also figured out was that, when he makes these statements – of what sounds like fact – he's basically trying to use his knowledge to stop me making some dumb mistake that he made when he was my age. So, y'know, he's not bullshitting; it's like a little white lie, with a noble reason. (I forgive you.)