2018. It’s been a funny old year. In January’s reflective post I had an intuition 2018 would be the year of good fortune but I was wrong, as per. I made a real effort to follow the purposeful plan I’d set out for myself, the objectives, the testimonies, and the life mantras, but a couple of weeks down the line and I found myself having to force it.
As the years go by, the less I want to spend hours typing out a lengthy post that fits the ‘new year, new me’ culture. The less I want to blend in with the crowd and start laying out all these romanticised, stilted statements declaring I’m going to become a completely different person and remain nothing but upbeat and positive because in reality, that isn’t reachable for someone like me. I’d very much like it to be. That’s probably why I assertively tell myself and get it down in writing; but if there’s one thing I’ve executed this year it’s unfeigned honesty and direct gospel – through the ebb and flow – and that’s what I’d like to carry on persisting with.
So, instead of railroading my way through another bittersweet year flying by and another unpredictable one open to possibility on the horizon, I’m reviewing and I’m reflecting.
2018. It’s tested me but it’s also opened my eyes and taught me valuable lessons. I’ve seen true colours. I’ve lost respect for people I thought I’d hold on a pedestal for a long time to come. I’ve become wary and had a downfall of trust. I’ve fortuitously fallen out of love with things that once meant the world to me, things that once played the chief role in my happiness. I’ve wobbled and I’ve won. I’ve been intentionally hurt and knocked down. I’ve given in to people trying to break me. I’ve been at my all time low. I’ve been surrounded by so many anxieties and worries about the here and now and the future; tons of questions and realisations that leave me sad. I haven’t felt like myself. I’ve been lost and lonely and weak and unsure. I’ve still been battling with no fixed outcome daily.
But I’ve also been strong. Resourceful, empathetic, compassionate, driven, open, passionate, liberal. I’ve laid my struggles and self-hood out on a plate and taken that risk of people being able to target every little component of my life – but it’s paid off. I’m using my personal experiences to achieve, inform, and impel. I’ve read more. Educated myself more. Listened to more music. Listened to more people. Been more vocal. For most of the year I’ve spoke as an advocate for those most oppressed in society and especially the disabled/chronic pain community. That honest mindset has given me an understanding of who I am and what I stand for. Allowed me to feel empowered and unstoppable and in turn it’s worked in my favour.
I’ve witnessed karma first hand. I’ve recognised what is toxic, that there’s a difference between what you want and what you need. I’ve learned that walking away from someone and/or something that had a hold on you, so much so that you lost sight of what’s important and what you yourself are made up of, can be liberating and free and leave you in a newfangled sense of peace. I’ve also learned that it’s OK to let said people go because all-sorts of folk will come and go in life – whether they’re meant to be temporary or permanent. I’ve moved on. I’ve focused on myself and my dreams and my personality. I’ve cemented friendships with an even more resolute connection. I’ve appreciated how blessed I am to have such an incredible network of people around me who are patient, understanding, and accepting. And I’ve proudly said; you know what? I’m a pretty sound human and I aim to continue improving on that.
It was probably just a few weeks into January when I realised the year of 2018 was just going to be as shite as the rest but actually, that’s my pessimism demonstrating its demons. Looking back there has actually been a fair few stand out moments and that’s what I love about reflecting on the past year, you find positivity you failed to see before.
I’ll definitely be orchestrating a photo-focused round up in my insta stories in the next couple of days before the clock strikes midnight, the fireworks are lit, and the party induced fun and frolics are reinforced to the limit on the 31st, but a quick summary of all the good bits of 2018 worth raving about is something I wanted to report in my 2018 synopsis.
The year started off amazingly as I attended my first Blog At The Beach and subsequently went and won myself a trip to Paris. PARIS. Bloody Paris! The place I’ve been fantasising about visiting since forever. I then headed off with my sidekick (aka mum) at the end of July in a sweltering heatwave and had the most mesmerising time which I’d do anything to relive! I landed myself some fab collaborations both on social media and my blog, working with some amazing brands; most notably Pretty Little Thing, Warehouse, Nomination Italy, Victoria Leeds, and Beauty Bay. I attended numerous events and restaurant reviews. I’ve been slowly but steadily growing a business I intend to aim towards skyrocketing to its prime in 2019! I got my first freelance writing gig and composed from the heart. I got another job from home as an online stylist (the platform’s currently being relaunched so that’s something I’ll be getting to grips with in the new year!) I featured in news articles, magazines, documentaries, and have spoken to media outlets about my story – pushed myself to face my fear and anxiety of phone calls and told my story. I raised £500 for The Stroke Association – a charity I’ve doubled my support and unification for, this year.
I’ve seen three of my favourite artists live and bought tickets for three more (speaking of which, The 1975 hold the album of the year title! Modernity has definitely failed me and I can’t wait to yell the Love It If We Made It bridge at my loudest next month.) I went on my second girls holiday to gorgeous Gran Canaria, had no recollection of sleeping four in a bed, slow danced to a Whitney Houston tribute, laughed until we cried, and loved it so much we booked to go back to the same place again. I had the most unbeatable summer fuelled with football fever and red hot sunshine I never thought I’d have. And, most weighty and progressive for me and my self-doubt and consciousness, began to debut my face and my voice via video – opening up new doors and using this to engage fully with my audience. Testing the waters. Experimenting. Constantly wanting to strive for content both you and I enjoy!
It’s been a mixed 2018. Hard to deal with for the majority, but full of memories to treasure. A real whirlwind of emotions but emotions I’ve been able to release; be more comfortable in talking about and revealing to the world. Often it’s felt like I’ve felt so much at once and yet nothing at all. Hollow and dead inside but about ready to burst with apprehension and overpowering, loud energy. The main point is, I can take the good days with the bad and share that publicly and that’s what I aim to carry on doing. The less alienated I’ll feel, and the more adjoined I’ll feel to you lovely lot.
Although I’ve promised myself no resolutions, no strict goals, no ridiculous, unreachable aspirations, I still want to go into 2019 working on myself and myself first and foremost. There’s five key methods I want to implement into my mentality.
- Stop trying to compete with the same. I feel like 2018 has consisted of me being so caught in trying to be I neglected the letting me be. I want to properly drill it into myself that I’ll never be the 100k photo perfected superior kind of blogger but that doesn’t have to be a downfall. The complete opposite, in fact. I have my own individual quirks and ways of documenting my creativity and if I concentrate on that alone it’s bound to be beneficial. I want to try and switch off from the intensity and pressures of social media whilst still being interactive, sort of discovering that balance. My attitude is to strive to work for something bigger for myself; instead of trying to conform within someone else’s world, I want to mould my own. After all, no-one really cares if I disappear. Nobody notices or reaches out or will be missing my posts. It doesn’t shake them or knock their routine. That’s why I need to stop trying so hard to please other people with what I produce and stop seeking validation that isn’t going to be instrumental for me on a long term basis.
- Be responsible for my own happiness and well-being. Staying with social media; I pledge to make my feeds a safe haven. Block and mute stuff that makes me uncomfortable and leaves me with dread, anger, and anguish – because boy has 2018 been full of those. The internet has been heavy and hard to handle this year. People seem to have gotten more disrespectful and unnecessarily horrible and in turn 2018 has definitely made me more perceptive of what affects me and I want and need to keep that ongoing. I often tell myself as long as I’ve grown as a person it doesn’t matter that nothing’s changed but the end of 2018 going into 2019 is and is going to be the turning point and the ultimate breakthrough. Nothing’s changed because I’ve not allowed it to. I’ve stayed in my safe, comfort zone and only stepped out of it a couple of times that I breathed a sigh of relief over when it was done with. Next year I want to outdo myself, shock myself with how adventurous I’ve been, to explore outside my usual endeavours. No more getting lost in imagination, more acting on it. I am the motivator for change; for my general wellness, my mental health, my peace of mind, my stability, my fulfilment, my thrills and my contented pleasures. Relying on others and fantasies to form my own happiness is unhealthy. I’ve already kick-started the process but I am erasing the concept of depending on people that don’t even care about my existence, and hyper-focusing on situations that last only a day before reality hits again. Finding and creating self happiness is hard but doable and I’ve taken the first step by admitting I need help and support via therapy. It’s not going to come to me, I have to make it happen, and I’m excited about and eager to see what’s going to come next with the right guidance and stance!
- Construct confidence and self-worth. I’ve shed light on this subject a couple of times. In a blog post at the start of the year and on a recent insta post inspired by Paige’s #ChristmasConfidence campaign. I wrote what was close to a heartfelt essay about the functions of my brain. How no matter what people say otherwise, it will always tell me I’m a useless waste of oxygen, that the reflection I see is ugly, too flabby, not fit to society’s standards. I spoke about not wanting to be so wrapped up in the negatives as I exit 2018. I don’t want to fake my confidence with a false poise. I don’t want to be scrutinising myself with every photo I take and every outfit I try on. I don’t want to set myself diet and fitness goals and only then allow myself to feel hot. I want to embrace my flaws, accept what cannot be changed, and what makes me the person I am. There’s three aims I intend on epitomising: stop doubting myself, give time for myself, and love myself – because what is meant for me will be mine.
- Chase that development. I want to chase the gains on my hopeful career ladder but I also want to chase the curiosity and the ambition and the impulse and the passion. Think outside the box, up my creativity and revolutionise my ideas, really get to grips with what I want to convey in my niche and focus on a day by day approach with origination and blossoming trailing behind at full speed. Put my heart and soul into ventures and projects. Put even greater time and effort in and hopefully – fingers crossed – notice the results come this time next year!
- Leave behind what isn’t good for me. Not just the trivial things that I really shouldn’t get myself stressed and worked up over but the way people treat me and respond to me as an individual. Less worrying but also less being a pushover. I’m not begging anyone to stay or saving space for people who can’t be bothered or show no interest in me. My circle of people who matter is small but balls to being afraid to cut people out if they show signs of lying and manipulating and being passive-aggressive in the way they behave around me. It’s okay to put myself first because this is my life, my heart, my mind, my body, my beliefs, my thoughts, my feelings, my cause, my existence. I am unapologetically me and I don’t need vindication from anyone but myself.
All in all, the underlying sentiment is that the more the years go on and the older I get, the more I am determined to become better, more aware and receptive. There’s a quote by Denzel Washington I like to always look back on when I need a reminder that being a good person gets you to where you want to be and always sits at the number one spot when life is playing out around you.
“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished it’s about who you’ve lifted up who you’ve made better it’s about what you’ve given back.”
2018 has definitely been that kind of year and 2019 will take that notion by the hand and lead it further forward. With blips and woes but with perseverance and power!
Now, it probably wasn’t the wisest idea writing this hefty, deep, digestive post in the weird wilderness period between Christmas and New Year when we’re all delusional as to what day we’re on, who we are, and what we’re supposed to be doing. Being the least impressive and most unattractive version of ourselves. Falling into an abyss of endless food and sleepiness, made up of 90% chocolate and 10% indigestion.
I’m currently there. It took a metaphorical slap to the face to get me shifted off the sofa I’ve melted in to since Christmas Day and get sat down to express all the internalised conflict 2018 has shifted upon me. It doesn’t help that a massive flare up of chronic pain has inevitably occurred after having a lot of bonkers fun and that’s tied me down. But writing this has proved it doesn’t have to have me entirely in a choke-hold and I do actually feel pretty damn cleansed nearly 3000 words down. Exhausted and my hand in agony, but cleansed.
These few days are where it’s okay to take time off and strive to do absolutely nothing but it’s more than okay if you want to follow in my footsteps. Just saying.
I peaked early because I’m heading off to the East Midlands tomorrow morning for a family break to a tranquil country park in joint celebrations of my mum’s 50th and new year’s eve. I’m staying in a caravan meets lodge, with the most snazzy design, a hot tub, and a TV above the bath. Spending three days there, seeing 2018 out and welcoming 2019 in is just what the soul requires. Reconnecting with natural nature, winter walks along the lake, chilled evenings, more scrumptious food, getting dolled up for the new year shenanigans, forgetting about every errand and problem 2018 appended on me for a short while, and not feeling as though I’m obliged to do anything but draw a blank. It’s going to do me the world of good leaving 2018 behind and starting the new year in another place – a peaceful setting at that – I feel it in my bones, and I hope this time I’m right.
If you’ve got to the end of this mammoth post then, congratulations. I applaud you. I also hope you’ve had a brilliant Christmas and end 2018 with a bang (take that how you want.)
I’ll be signing off until regular schedule begins, now, but will more than likely be still posting bits and bobs over on Instagram over the weekend. I hope you’ve had the chance to rest and retreat and come back afresh with new inspiration and ideas. I definitely have and you should start to see me implementing them as soon as I properly get the concept into gear.
And last of all, THANK YOU. Every sign of support from my small but mighty bunch of readers has kept me going this year. The compliments, the feedback, the likes, the messages, the praises, the invites. Knowing I have those dedicated readers with me every step of the way on my turbulent journey, even through the rejections and the lows, is why I do this and is why I’m always striving for excellence. I hope 2019 brings you everything you wish for and every inch of contentment and feeling of success, enthusiasm, and purpose you’ve brought me!
Lots of love,