This blog was originally set up back in 2006 – a grand old ten years ago now. Since then it’s taken on a few different focuses; DIY culture, riot grrrl activism & archive, being a girl boss and the life i led running my own business, mental health, a travelogue but overall it’s always been choc full of oversharing and me attempting to share an honest account of my life and the way i see things through my individual lens. I created the Get Real series when things got rough as catharsis, as a life marker – as a way of standing up and being visible. my voice preserved, authentic. The real deal. We all feel so differently with hindsight – a few months pass and the same situation is described in a new light, give it a year and it’ll change again. For me, the authenticity of blogging your way through real events is something i’m drawn to in other writers and to me, it actually helps me in ways i never realised.
After completing the Get Real series and also releasing a print zine version of it too, i felt that period of intensity begin to wash over me much more lightly. It’s a huge chapter in my life, a massively defining one but it doesn’t have to continue hanging around my neck – if i let it, i’ll never be able to truly move forward – work to becoming my best self and live my best life. With that, i decided to clean up the blog, flush out any old filler pieces, any rushed or blarg pieces i’m not sure why i ever published them and curated the posts i love, feel most proud of and would like to archive. The blog now stands as fragments of my life over the past ten years and i feel so rich for having such an authentic account of those chapters i can look back on and reflect. I’ve always covered my birthdays every year and love that i can transport back into how i felt right.at.that.time – i have a gauge of how i saw the world at that time; what my hopes were, what i was proud of, what i imagined of the imminent future. I love that i have this archive and hope to continue the series.
This year i really wanted to mark the year, not just my birthday and set out my goals for the year ahead – this is a new series i’d like to begin and continue after this year.
2016 in Summary
2016 was the year i needed to heal my soul. The time-out, the quiet and the hibernation time i needed after 2014 and 2015. It’s hard to know in the moment how long it will take for your trauma to heal and what that journey will look like. 2014 was an awful year of traumatic experiences, 2015 was a year of how the hell i would tackle it without harming myself further and 2016 was my toe in the water as to what the next chapter will be once i feel safer, more confident and of a better state of mind.
I realised in 2016 that spending time on my own in my safe place is pivotal to my health, acceptance and silence bring me a lot of peace and wasting time beating myself up over what i should be doing is not helping me heal.
2016 was all about listening to my mind and body, re-addressing things i thought to be set in stone, re-thinking the ways i approached almost everything, testing myself with safe boundaries put in place before the first step – taking a step back and looking at my life from an outside perspective and pondering, if i was my friend – how would i see me and what would i want to say to me to help me be my best self? What do others see that i can’t? How do i perceive myself compared to others?
I decided to begin testing the waters as a new me, casting off the weight of the previous years, gradually lifting the dark clouds of my trauma and seeing how far i could push myself without hindering my healing process. I decided the best way to do this would start at my career. I’ve always been good at avoidance, channelling my mania through ridiculous projects or obsessive behaviours to at least feel like i can mask not feeling the feelings as being ‘productive.’ This is of course wildly not productive, healthy or going to help me heal. I decided to take a new approach to my career, outline the things i wanted to achieve and set out to become the most productive i’ve been in a work setting but still remaining good to myself. This seemed pretty easy in theory – following on from running my own business and pulling 12hr work days on the reg. With the day job i now had i could detach at the end of each day, not have to constantly worry about when i’d be able to pay myself and take lots of things super personally as a sole trader aka human being/business intertwined.
OK so i may have totally ran social media channels from my bath of an evening and weekend, i may have taken some of the pressures of the job home with me BUT i had goals, ones i was passionate about achieving – ones that i’d set myself, ones i felt able to complete due to the life experiences i now had and the skills accrued along the way.
I always wanted to be someone, something important, to leave my mark somewhere, to exist, to change things, to feel as though i’d used my time wisely. I wrote about it in more depth here if you’d like to read. It seemed, if i started with work, i could keep my healing self hidden, hide my vulnerabilities behind a door, use my entrepreneurial, driven side to start making noise and make things happen. Turns out i was right. 2016 was a big year for my career and me.
My Top 10 Career Achievements in 2016:
- I won the ‘Gets Things Done’ award at the Nouveau Lashes Stronger Event
- I became head of Digital at Nouveau Lashes and interviewed / welcomed two new members to the team; Beth (International Digital Exec) & Claudia (Digital Marketing Assistant).
- I planned & executed our first brand parnership content collaboration with Benefit Cosmetics on a make-up tutorial.
- I worked to achieve official 100% cruelty free and majority vegan friendly status for the Nouveau Lashes treatments and products working with the Vegan Society
- I was published numerous times in industry magazines (Professional Beauty & Guild Gazette) and online as a Digital Expert or Industry Insider. You can read an example here.
- Me and my digital/IT colleagues took part in the beta testing of a new product for Facebook. This meant visiting their official London offices and live testing the new software via a walk through and shared how it worked/didn’t work for our exact specifications
- I went on a course to learn how to code! This is something i’ve wanted to learn for years and despite it being so incredibly bloody difficult, i’m now on my way to learning more and more
- I was asked to join the official judge panel for the Beauty Blogger Awards and invited to speak on the main stage too.
- After only a few months of taking over the Digital side of Nouveau Lashes, we received a nomination for Best Use of Social Media by the Guild of Beauty Therapists in their annual awards 2016
- We celebrated a year of the blogger outreach community i created #lashgang. We held our first ever consumer facing event at the London academy and welcomed over 30 key influencers to join us in celebrating what the community has achieved so far, You can watch a video of the event here.
I’m now super thankful of my new squad members who i hope will continue to work on excellent things – the strength in numbers is so exciting – the things i think we can achieve are crazy! I have very high hopes but no longer feel scared of achieving them or worried we won’t be able to. I know we’re a strong team, have the backing of the brand and most of all we work super hard and believe we can do it!
2017 is the year i need to step back a bit and share the reigns with my team, get better at designating and shouting up when i need support or help. 2017 needs to be about getting myself back on track, taking time to work on myself and the things i want to achieve personally but most of all, learn to lead an independent and thriving life – learn to adult in a most proper way – get my damn shit together and live my best life. With the past experiences and yearning to get back out there, here’s to hoping 2017 is my most productive yet (in the healthiest way possible).
In my personal life, sometimes a personal achievement is as little as making myself a meal or managing to get out of bed with a lust for life, using public transport on my own or being able to leave the house. It’s important to celebrate small victories & keep on livin.
My Top 10 Personal Achievements in 2016:
- For Poor Lass, i took part in a round table discussion on working class culture & Brexit featured in The Fader Mag.
- I moved out of my parents house where i had been staying after the trauma of 2014. I had been staying in a tiny single bedroom with lots of my stuff in garage storage with my two cats, feeling pretty isolated and withdrawn. At the beginning of 2016 i moved i with my love and we created a totally dreamy place to live, designing every room from scratch and making it truly our own. The house is my new safe place where i can be productive in our office, feel safe, hide away when i want to and have all the space i need to feel ok
- I released my first ever complete perzine Get Real which detailed the reality of what happened in 2014/2015. It was for sure the hardest thing i’ve ever had to write to this day but i’m so glad i pushed past it and got it to print. I’ve never felt that my voice needed to be heard more
- I celebrated reaching 500 subscribers to my blog and love seeing it keep on growing – it’s now passed 700 which is mindblowing to me!
- I somehow managed to not completely lose everything and return to square one when i devastatingly lost both my cats in the summer; Rita of long term complications with diabetes and Kenneth a sudden undetected (suspected) heart issue. I was completely heartbroken and can’t actually believe i made it through feeling the way i did. We donated all of their things to a local cat rescue centre which felt really nice when we saw how they were used by the staff there. We also then ended up ‘fostering’ 3 kittens which quickly turned into adopting full time and them living with us forever! So welcome to the family Laika, Boudica and Ripley. I continue to think about my babies Rita and Ken all the time, i still talk to them and tell their new kitten siblings about them. I still can’t believe they’re gone but we have the best memories of them in our hearts so they’ll never be forgotten.
- I was published in a book for the first time aside from archive references etc. My piece ‘Having a Story’ was featured in Gut Flora – an anthology of awesome creative people put together by Synchronise Witches Press. I feel so proud to have been considered alongside such amazing people. You can pick up a copy here.
- I entered the UK Blog Awards to hopefully make the shortlist for the Arts & Culture and Lifestyle categories. Fingers crossed i’ll make the next stage! Just entering felt massive to me, to put myself out there and value myself and the work i do on my blog. To make the shortlist would mean the world to me
- I read aloud at the Sounds of the Other City festival in Salford along with Seleena as Poor Lass. We read from previous issues and it was the first time i’d read aloud in a few years so it felt great to get back out there and do it to a safe small crowd. You can see a video of it here.
- I went on my first holiday in nearly 2 years to Cornwall and it was excellent – we stayed in a cabin and i challenged myself to operating outside my comfort zone.
- I decided SSRIs weren’t for me and decided to go medication free in early-mid 2016. It felt like a massive bold decision after feeling i so desperately needed them. I’m here now and feeling better than ever, it was the best decision i made for sure and i’m gradually working on evening out my extremes naturally and enforcing strict self care lifestyle checks to keep me in the healthy lane. This was the right decision for me but might not be for you, if you want to reach out and chat about this, please get in touch
So yeah, bring on 2017. I can’t wait to see how i can get my self back into being as productive as possible and i’m so excited for this new start after testing the water so much in my working life. I have so many things i want to achieve in this life and i have a constant fear of time running out, especially since turning 30. I’ve already booked to start the process AGAIN of being able to drive, registered at a new NHS practice, working with a financial advisor to sort my future finances out and other big adult life shit. I’m here and i mean BUSINESS now! This year is all about ME haha, i truly mean it though. Let’s get back on track Ledger!
See you on the flip 2016, 2017 let’s ave yer!