Saturday, 28 April 2018

Making Changes

When I was 16, I literally had my whole life planned out. I wanted to be working for a magazine, getting married and have a house - all by the time I was 25 (queue manic laughing at how ridiculous that all sounds). Basically, I probably watched way too much tv. Until I was about 20 years old, I definitely worked towards all of that. I was in a relationship, was grafting so hard in my internships and I was studying Fashion at university. I was basically going through the checklist of things that I needed to do before achieving my goal. I thought I was gonna live in London forever and end up living in a cute house in Surrey with a puppy and a garden (see, this is where it gets really unrealistic considering the house prices now...).
It's not until graduation that it really hits home that you're life definitely isn't going to pan out the way you'd 'planned', because actually - nothing does.

I've always somehow managed to just power on through the hard times, and it was definitely hard for me when I started to struggle after uni. Reality is, in a big city like London there's a lot of people from allover the world with the same qualifications and same experience as you - all fighting for the same jobs. It's really hard to land on your feet in such a competitive space and it really just boils down to luck and an interviewer liking you. Sure, that all sounds achievable - but when that interviewer has interviewed around 50 people and half of those people are likeable, it's a game of chance.
Despite all of this, everything really does happen for a reason and my reason seems pretty mad when I look back on it.
As a blogger, I worked with many people and one of those people was who you'll now know as one of my closest friends, Sophie. Sophie worked for a PR agency who I attended tons of events with, so we knew each other quite well. I was working in retail while I looked for marketing roles and I was finding that there were so many opportunities in Manchester (which coincidentally was where Sophie was based too...)
After sitting in my room in the 6 bedroom house I lived in with 5 strangers - only 1 of which was sane - I knew I couldn't continue the way I was living. Who wants to be in their twenties, fighting to start their career and living with a bunch of people you don't even know? That's not the city life dream (but it's unfortunately the reality). I knew I was never gonna get out of the house share system that is the general culture in London if I stayed, and i'd got to the point where I actually didn't want to stay anymore. I'd finally given up on my dream and just wanted a hug from my dad. 

That was then I saw Sophie tweet that she was looking for an intern to help her with digital marketing. While I had tons of experience through internships at this point, I knew I had to take a plunge and do something drastic to keep going with my career - so that's what I did. I slid into her DMs and said i'd be interested if she'd have me and that I was deadly serious about making the cross-country move for the chance. She actually must have thought I was off my rocker and she definitely still does - i'd committed to moving back to my parents in Doncaster and travelling the 8 hour round trip to Manchester every day for an unpaid internship, but I didn't let her down and my parents came to London after realising how badly I had deteriorated and picked me up in a big old truck to move me back home. 

This post really wasn't supposed to be about this, but the more I wrote - the more I realised how important it is for people to know that you only see the showreel that people want you to see. Achieving your goals isn't easy, and i'm not the only one that's been through a struggle to get where they need to be. I want people who are feeling that struggle to know it's not just them.

As part of the internship, there was a potential role available at the end of it as the team was growing - and I knew I had to really WORK for it to prove that they needed me on that team. So, I did. It was such an exciting time, and through the sheer fatigue of travelling literally from the East to the West every single day for so many hours, I really thought about giving up - I even started drinking coffee which I absolutely hate, but I fought through it and one day just two months into my three month internship, I was called downstairs by Sophie to meet with the director - who had a job offer at that boardroom table waiting for me. I think I cried and cried that whole night I got home because I was so buzzing i'd finally got the job i'd been working towards since I graduated. It took me seven months from graduation to this point to get that long-awaited job offer, and all I had to do was move across the country, lose a years worth of sleep and work hard at a job that I loved to get it. Easy, huh? (Detect sarcasm).

As I mentioned earlier about getting a job in a competitive field, I got lucky. I worked my arse off, but without luck, I wouldn't have had the chance. I was lucky that I knew Sophie and I found the internship by chance. I was also lucky that she didn't tell me to fuck off and think I needed a straight jacket. But most of all, I'm incredibly lucky to have gained a friend too who has literally seen me grow in my career and put up with a lot of my tantrums when i've wanted to give it all up in the tough times.

And that book-worthy life story brings me onto today. I recently went to see a clairvoyant (yes I absolutely live for that stuff, and I know this isn't for everybody), mostly for comfort during what's been a very difficult six months for me. You might think it's pure crap, but after hearing a few family members and friends see the lady in particular that I visited, I knew I had to go and hear what she had to say to help me hold on a little longer before I officially lost the plot. The truth is, i've been feeling the pressure lately and turning 25 has left me in complete limbo. Those plans I made all came rushing back to my memory and I realised i'm not at all where I wanted to be, and i'm definitely not where I thought I would be. 
Moving to a new city is lonely and over the years, I've watched as so much distance has come between me and my old friends in London. I don't hear from anybody anymore and that makes me feel so down. I'm surrounded by acquaintances and invites to anything are few and far between, so when people ask me 'what are you doing this weekend', I usually have to palm it off as though i'm taking some time for myself - when really that's basically my only option. I don't go for after-work cocktails and live a sociable lifestyle, I unfortunately don't have a dog and I feel like there's just a big gaping hole that's missing from me.
I chose my deck of cards for the clairvoyant to read (they lay multiple decks out in front of you and ask you to select one, without telling you the meanings of each), and the pack I chose represented change. Strangely, she knew that I wasn't a fan of change and was quick to comment on how unlike me it was to choose this pack, which is very true. If you moved my fruit bowl i'd have an absolute freak out, but the weirdest thing was, I was relieved by it. Change was what I was hoping for - because it's not all that bad when it couldn't get any worse. 

The way i've been feeling I wouldn't wish on anybody. Depression really is no joke. You can suffer for years and then one day, just when you think you've experienced your darkest moments, they'll get a hell of a lot darker. It's scary to think that there are no bounds when it comes to how low you can feel, and I never thought it could get worse than what I went through before I made the move from London.
For me, i've been stuck in a dark hole of just plodding along. After a few years of changes happening and a few celebrations, I was finally past my peak and my days just started blending into one. I'd get up, go to work, come home, get up, go to work, come home - like a song on repeat. I didn't know what I wanted, how to move forward or how to make myself happy. It's all kind of like a mid-life crisis - but technically a quarter life crisis. The clairvoyant confirmed everything I was feeling. Life was pulling me in too many directions and I couldn't make a decision with anything, I needed to scoop myself back up again and put in that work that I had before, but into something else that would finally make me feel fulfilled. Remember what my passions are and strive towards them, instead of hiding under my duvet away from the world and falling deeper and deeper into the black hole that i'd made for myself. Making plans for your life isn't easy, cos you never know what life will throw at you - but striving for something new is when you put your mind to it and realise what you want in life.

You're gonna see a lot of changes over here on The Fashion Wonderland soon, and I can't wait to show you what they are... Your life is a work-in-progress, and it's not worth taking a break for even a second. 


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