LET’S CATCH UP
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A couple of Saturdays ago, I was having a really bad episode. I was supposed to be attending the Bloggers Blog Awards where I was nominated for Best Fashion Blog, but try as I might, I could not get out of bed. On Twitter, I explained that I wouldn’t be attending due to anxiety, and while I wasn’t completely lying, the truth is it’s much easier to talk about anxiety than it is to mention its uglier, alienating best friend, depression. Unfortunately, I was home alone that day, and without any distractions, I scrolled through the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, torturing myself for not going, whilst simultaneously giving myself a long list of reasons why I am a terrible person who will never achieve anything.
By the evening, I was nine hours deep into a spiral and to be completely honest, I felt like ending my life. It sounds jarring, but the truth is, I feel that way fairly often. I have battled depression for four years without any let up, and though I have good days and average days, the bad days are intense and it feels like I’m not making any headway with my recovery. Whereas I’ve made leaps and bounds with anxiety, depression just doesn’t feel like something I will ever overcome.
When you’re in those moments, there is nothing you can do other than to try and keep going. I ordered a pizza, I snuggled my pup, and after hearing nothing but good things, I put on Gaga: Five Foot Two. The documentary has a running time of 100 minutes, but I definitely spent much longer pausing it in key moments, replaying minute details, and tapping out notes on my phone.
I’ve always been a Lady Gaga fan, but watching that Netflix documentary took me back to the 15 year old girl in a sunny bedroom in Shropshire, sitting in her bed with her laptop and belting notes into a microphone for her YouTube channel. Back then, you had to physically drag me away from the piano, and bash the ceiling with a mop to cut through the ground shaking noise of an electric guitar on overdrive. I hadn’t figured out what kind of music I wanted to make yet, but I dreamed about doing it forever every single day.
When I got to college, I began performing outside of my bedroom for the first time, and I still count those days as the best of my life. Busking on busy Saturdays, small gigs with my friends and even a spot in a band on the local BBC Introducing broadcast. One particular friend and I were asked to perform together at the college awards ceremony, and I knew with every ounce of my being that we were fantastic. Unfortunately, we all know what comes after sixth form. I was smart, and nobody wants a smart kid to waste their brains and potential on pop music. I did sensible A Levels, and while my friend pursued his dreams and applied to the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, I applied to Oxford. We all know what happened next!
For almost four years, I hadn’t experienced that same fiery desire for music. I upload covers to YouTube every now and again, but balancing it with the blog I started in the first year of university, as well as a degree which felt like pulling teeth, hasn’t exactly left me feeling inspired musically. However, I can’t help but feel like fate has been slowly spinning its threads over the last few years, beginning with the incredible moment where I shared a stage with my all time favourite singer, Ellie Goulding..
After I finished watching Gaga: Five Foot Two, I sat down at my piano, I pulled out the hundreds of unfinished ideas stuffed inside my iPhone, and I wrote a song. Then, I wrote another one. In the space of about four hours, I feel like my entire outlook on my place in the world has changed. It was like a veil was lifted from over my eyes. The next morning, after a restless sleep, my radio alarm clock went off as usual, but instead of music or the news, the first thing I heard was Dev’s voice. He said: ‘if you’ve written a song and you’re not doing anything with it, what are you waiting for? BBC Introducing could change your life’. Two days later, the 10 year anniversary of the very same BBC Introducing was all over my Twitter feed. That weekend, BBC Introducing held its first Amplify event, an expo for aspiring musicians.
In those hours after watching Gaga: Five Foot Two, I realised that completing a Master’s degree in a subject I’m only vaguely interested in isn’t going to make me happy. Moreover, I realised that blogging, although it has given me happiness, isn’t going to make me happy in the long term. I love fashion, I love photography, and I even love the act of formatting my posts, but writing styling advice? Creating materialistic haul videos week after week because it’s the only content that consistently creates growth? It won’t cut it in the end, and I can finally see that it’s always going to come back to music, even if I’m 50 and working in a call centre. All of those instances above just feel like positive affirmations from the universe that I’m on the right path.
I’m not a religious person and I generally don’t believe in a higher power or a greater meaning. In fact, I think you can put most magical moments in life down to coincidence and the power of the human brain, but despite every ounce of logical thought I have, I feel like I’ve experienced signs from the universe my entire life. Perhaps it’s nothing more than my own desires manifesting themselves before my eyes, but even if that’s the case, why am I ignoring them?
Well, I don’t want to ignore it any longer. It’s such a cliché, but life really is too short to do things you don’t enjoy. In fact, it goes beyond that. We’re here for around eighty short years before we return to the ground. I don’t want my defining moment to be a video where I talk about clothes. I don’t want it to be the story of my numerous health problems. I don’t want it to be a mental illness. Instead, I want to be somebody who makes a difference. A somebody who just happens to like clothes and who just happens to have had numerous health problems and who just happens to have a mental illness. They’re all important parts of who I am, but I don’t want them to embody who I am.
For some people it’s having a baby, for some it’s trying to change the world, and for some it’s making others laugh over a pint at their local pub. For some, it could be any of those defining moments that I don’t want, and more power to them. We all have our own lanes, and we’re all going at our own pace, but if I can’t be happy in the knowledge that I tried when I’m lying on my deathbed, then what was the point of it all? Even if I fail, then at least I can die saying I gave it a go.
I don’t think there’s any point in doing this halfheartedly, so while I’m not dropping out of my Master’s and I’m definitely not giving up on my blog, things will have to change. For the past few years, I haven’t had any sense of self, so I’m currently doing some serious soul searching on who I want to be, and I’m even shocking myself with some of my ideas! It sounds pretentious, but do you know what? Music is always pretentious, narcissistic and dramatic to some degree. I don’t need people to think I’m cool and humble, so I have to go into this with confidence and guts and just be myself. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey, and support me as I go.
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