You all know that one half of the She Wears team has been travelling the world, but while Carla hops from island to island armed with her GoPro – what have I been doing?
In all honesty, nothing quite as adventurous (sorry to disappoint).
I’ve been saving for and finally buying my own little house (and then saving again to decorate and furnish it), starting a new job (with more of a soul than encouraging people to develop a gambling addiction), and above all having a bit of a life wobble (reaching my scary age and still having no clue what I’m doing).
But mainly, I’ve been attempting to embrace change – I know, big deal for me. A new home not a million miles away from where I grew up, but far enough away to feel a slight tinge of apprehension, and a life where I’m standing on my own two feet without the reliance or stability of a partner standing right there with me have helped.
In another twist of existential angst, the world of blogging has left me feeling a little defeated. Having a career in digital marketing means I spend my days forging an online path for the company I work for, and while I like to think I’m not too shabby at it, the thought of then coming home and sitting in front of a laptop to do it all again for myself leaves a lot to be desired.
Pathetic, I know.
The thing is, the internet is saturated with women just like me (although the majority don’t actually tend to have degrees in journalism, nor a decade-long career in digital) who have been able to do this for themselves for years and are now expert influencers.
So why bother?
This recent defeatist attitude has been near enough applied to most aspects of my non-working life, and in some ways, it has done me good.
Why bother waiting around for someone who’s unworthy of my time when I can discover I’m much happier by myself? I should take the 10lb weight loss, dust myself off and forget about the person who posed as a unicorn but was nothing more than a lame donkey.
Why bother worrying that at 28, and surrounded by more and more announcements of engagements and pregnancies, I’m not following the trend? I can instead be happy in the knowledge that I’m in fact following the beat of my own drum and those conventional life traditions are just not for me.
And why bother if this little, personal corner of the internet doesn’t propel me into Zoella-esque status? I should use it the way it was originally intended – as a way of writing about the things I like to write about, as a way to hone my digital skills, and as a way to leave my mark on the online world.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing – a mortgage, job change, and minor mental break later – coming out the other side and thinking fuck it, I’m going to do what I want and not worry about it anymore.
DISCLAIMER: The slightly sarcastic title will hopefully provide a clue as to how this post is going to go, so those of a positive nature need not read on…
Scroll through any form of social media and each feed is inundated with ‘inspirational’ and ‘meaningful’ quotes, and while some are quite beautiful, a lot of the time I can’t help but read them and inadvertently roll my eyes and/or gag.
You see it’s very easy to put reassuring words in a fancy font on a pastel background and share it with the world, but more often than not those words touch a nerve but don’t really provide an instant solution.
“It’s okay not to be okay.” “Time heals.” “Love yourself and others will love you.” “Don’t worry, be happy.” “Let it go.” “Don’t dwell on the past or fret about the future, the present is a gift.”
Yada yada yada, blah blah blah and a fair old whack of grr.
While the above are lovely little sentiments, they don’t deal with the reality of the situations they’re given in response to. Mainly because the answer to most of the quotes is a resounding “no shit, Sherlock.”
Life can suck balls
Now, you should know, I’m not very good at dealing with, well life. I’m short-tempered yet fantastical, reactive yet closed off, afraid of commitment yet secretly waiting for a fairytale.
In short, actual problems or situations don’t really bother me. Many, many aspects of day-to-day life piss me off, but once I’ve expressed my displeasure through a mini rant and several swear words, I’m over it. Essentially I’m a shitty firework bought from a cornershop – a screeching bang before fizzling out to nothing, the whole thing done and dusted in under a minute.
But the events of the past year have pretty much screwed me up beyond repair. I find myself unrecognisable and it sucks balls. Yes, balls.
When something happens that affects you for a prolonged period of time, the worst things you can hear are sentences along the lines of “just forget about it. Stop overthinking.”
(FYI: Overthinking – the idiot’s response to someone who has a memory and feelings compared to their incapability of, let’s face it, giving a shit. Not the Oxford Dictionary definition, but close enough.)
Yes there are times, situations and people who do overthink every single thing, but when it comes to something that has caused hurt, to me, being described as an ‘overthinker’ is a nothing short of a massive and disrespectful piss-take.
This isn’t Disney’s Frozen…
So, what is a truthful representation of how an “overthinker” tries to “get over it” minus the cheesy, obvious quotes?
The truth is, they don’t. Not really. Society seems to believe that the events we go through are eventually forgotten and we go back to being the happy-go-lucky fuckers we always were. But *spoiler alert* we don’t.
Everything that happens in life changes us, from the insignificant to the well, significant.
For me, nearly a year on, I feel enormous amounts of pressure to be okay about something that in reality I’m just not. And there’s the first error – time limits. There aren’t any and nor should there be.
Some things you can move on from in a matter of minutes, others not so quickly. The trick is to feel how you feel about something for as long as you feel it, because trying to comply to others’ timeframes is either going to turn you into a suppressed nightmare, or drive you crazy.
The anxieties, insecurities and general discomfort can snake around your being at any given time – there are bad days and there are good days. But on the bad, never feel you are a burden to yourself or to others. You can’t help it and if those around you tire of the moments where you’re not on your A-game, then hell, screw ‘em. There will always be some that are patient, understanding and kind – keep yourself surrounded by those.
Above all, take care and time to learn this new version of you. Yes you’re probably different to the you of say a year ago, but where would you be if you’d never experienced anything? The you that you’ve come to identify with has evolved over time, you just don’t realise it.
Like those irritating social media quotes, the problem doesn’t magically disappear the moment you read them, and I have to wonder if things can ever go back to what is now a rose-tinted time before certain events.
That is my conundrum to work through. But for now, the only Instagram-worthy quote I’m partial to is one steeped in truth (and may or may not come from Lady Gaga and Beyoncé…):
“Trust is like a mirror. You can fix it if it’s broke, but you can still see the cracks in that motherfucker’s reflection.”
Those cracks don’t necessarily define me, but they do shape the next stage of my self-evolution (without sounding too wanker-y).
It’s up to me to figure out if they’re deep enough to tarnish my present for good, but what I can take from them (the only thing, really) is a lesson: either remember and apply it to new, future scenarios, or learn to live in a slightly different way than the girl I was last year would’ve.
“May I admire you again today?” - Duckie, Pretty in Pink
It’s been 30 years since The Psychedelic Furs’ now infamous title song signalled the beginning of another Hughes classic – Pretty in Pink.
A typical love-triangle story starring Brat Pack alumni and 80s Queen, Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and Jon Cryer, the 1986 film saw a rich boy fall for a working class girl from the wrong side of the tracks as her hopelessly-in-love best friend looks on.
And as with all John Hughes films, the plot, characters, underlying moral, and even to a certain extent, the fashion and epic soundtrack are still relatable today.
Not wanting to have too much of a fangirl moment, but Pretty in Pink is as close to 1980s perfection as you can get (right up there with The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Some Kind of Wonderful), and the fact that it is celebrating its 30th anniversary as a cult classic is a true testament to my favourite genre.
But, and there is a but, my only gripe with the story is the ending. Yes people, Big John dropped a bollock by letting test audiences overrule and decide the romantic fate of our girl, Andie. And they fucked it up. Massively.
Miss Regan will most definitely disagree with me on this because she’s a McCarthy-lover, and yes I know these films were pretty much purposely built for said teenage audience, but what do we know about teenagers when it comes to matters of lurve? They stoopid.
Pretty in Pink was written on the basis that Andie would inevitably (and obviously, because durrh) choose to be with her best friend, Duckie - played completely brilliantly by Jon Cryer - over rich kid Blane (McCarthy).
Yet after previewing the film, a bunch of moronic American teens thought that ending made no sense, kicked up a stink and effectively ruined everything.
I’m not bitter in the slightest…
Maybe no longer being under the age of 18 and having slightly more wisdom at 27 is the reason for understanding what was actually important in deciding between two love interests. Or maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for the hilarious underdog. But in all honesty, I think it’s probably more to do with this:
Who wouldn’t fall for that?!
Long live John Hughes’ quintessential 80s films and Happy 30th Birthday Pretty in Pink - I will always choose the Duck.
Have you seen Pretty in Pink? Do you agree it should’ve been Duckie? It’s okay to say no, I won’t judge you. Much.
Okay, that title might be a tad on the dramatic and slightly false side – but Life: What Happens When It Goes A Little Off-Piste doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.
To say that my life has undergone a bit of a 180 could, however, be deemed an understatement.
Without divulging various details – because you know, too soon – I felt compelled to at least write something about the last few months.
I’m a creature of habit and I take to change about as well as Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. But, since October 2015, my life has changed quite emphatically in several different ways. Repeatedly.
To me, there is a lot of pressure on us twenty-somethings to conform to the conventional ways of living – get an education, a job, buy a house, get married and have a few offspring.
While I’ve never had a problem with the first two, the rest seems to be where I’ve deviated from the route. Unintentionally, of course, but it’s happened nonetheless.
My point in writing about this is because from my recent experiences, there are always going to be a lot of people who are quick to judge, not understand and, above all, be unsupportive.
Culprits of the above are the reasons that I truly believe a lot of people spend their lives unhappy and in fear of taking control and doing what they want to do, and that is no way to spend a lifetime.
There is a quote which states: “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’” And that is my worst fear. To get to my deathbed and wish I’d done things differently or wonder what could have been if only I’d taken a different path.
Yes, it’s not the most realistic of thought processes, but in my opinion, the only thing you can do in your life – should do, in fact – is live it for you. I’m not saying go around being a bellend, or selfish to the point of being a dick, but instead always endeavour to strive for your own happiness.
I’ve learnt that you can’t live for the sake of others’ happiness. And nor should you. People may not agree with your course of action, but it takes immense bravery to not only speak up about a problem or unhappiness, but to actually do something about it.
Whether it be your career, your mindset or your relationships, don’t live in fear of changing things to make yourself happy.
We only get one shot at this, and while you can’t predict the future or know how things are going to turn out, you can for the most part just do the things that make you happy and feel right at the time.
And that is what I’m going to do. Or try to at the very least.
To those who haven’t judged, have understood and been supportive beyond belief – thank you.
“The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy.” – Frenchie, Grease
This Sunday (June 19th) is Father’s Day, but as I won’t actually be at home for it, I thought I’d get Big Les a little something special to make up for my absence.
Normally it’s a book and pair of socks job, but this year I’ve had a little help in going the extra mile and changing up the pressies.
So, let’s cut to the chase and have a gander at the goodies (Les, if you’re reading this, stop now – you’ll only ruin Sunday for yourself).
Barbour Sports Basic Polo Shirt – £39.95
Barbour Henry Gingham Shirt – £59.95
It’s safe to say the Keelings aren’t usually ones for the more expensive things in life, especially when it comes to clothing (hello, walking advert for Primark). But every now and then it’s nice to be able to treat the parents.
Plus, having watched Les peruse Barbour in the same way a child eyes up the shelves of a sweet shop, I knew this was the brand to go for and I’m beyond happy with the items - both of which are available from Infinities.
Rather than just opting for a shirt that would only come out on special occasions, I thought throwing in the polo shirt too was a good shout for everyday wear.
I think my old man will love his Father’s Day gifts (well, he’d better) – be sure to check our Instagram for some snaps and Les, get ready for your close-up and SWHH debut 😉