A Different Perspective
Hello Lovelies, todays post is something that Im so so excited about. One of my lovely friends Eleanor, asked me a few months ago if she could do a spot of writing on my blog. And of course I said yes, now its a win win really she gets to do her thing (BTW, Spoiler...your going to love what she has to say!! I cried and laughed all at the same time) and I get content to put out on my blog for you lovely people to read.
I guess this is where I hand it over to Eleanor ...
I'm reading a book that I won't name. The last time I read it I had just turned 19 and I was moving to London. Why wouldn't you? The streets are paved with gold after all. It is a testament to how far I've come that upon re reading this book I cannot get past the first chapter. Because you see, it is a fantasy. It is beautiful, glamorous and absolutely not something to be aiming for. But I didn't know that then. When you haven't lived yet, it's very easy to confuse such vapid cliches with the peak of success. But success means something very different to me now.
|This is me at 19, just moved to London, unsure. naive and absolutely terrified|
Let me take you back. I moved to London from a very small town with very big stars in my eyes. I'd been a terribly ugly duckling growing up, who'd idolised the golden age of Hollywood, the beautiful dresses, the musical numbers and the enigmatic stars. And I was going to be one. At any cost. I was a perfectionist, so much so that not only did I sabotage my own happiness, I often sabotaged my own chances for success, because like many control freak perfectionists, I was trying to make up for the fact that I didn't feel I was good enough. I know this has descended into a therapy session but bear with me, my ramblings have a point SO:
I was lying on the sofa I was living on in London, reading this book about far flung cities and women who were at the top of their careers and had men falling over for them, I don't think they even had to shave their legs; they were so fabulous the hair just fell off of its own volition. I felt inspired but inadequate. ONE DAY that would be me! No idea how..... but one day!
Of course what I didn't understand then was I was desperately trying to be someone else, someone who did those glamorous things, someone who went to job interviews at the right time because she hadn't misread the email for instance.... someone who wasn't utterly stumped by how to turn on this new fangled cooker, someone who actually enjoyed eating melon and going to hipster gyms. Someone who wasn't desperately homesick and wondering why she wasn't happy, she was in London, she'd got her dream right?!
Well, I know now. It was because i expected to be a different person just because I was no longer in my childhood bedroom. I had in no way made peace with myself. Does that sound new age? I don't mean it to. What I'm trying to say is, you are stuck with you for a very, very long time, and frankly, it is the most important relationship you can foster. So make sure you do it well.
I want to give teenagers or people in their early twenties this advice that I picked up along the way, because my god I wish I'd known it at the time!
1. Invest in good shoes, I pounded the streets of London looking for a job until I had to go to A and E with the pain. Support those arches people!!
2. EVERYBODY thinks everybody else has their shit together. And they're all wrong. We are all just bumbling through trying the best we can, there is no secret, nothing that you don't know that everyone else does.
3. Not my phrase but I wish it was; 'don't compare your cutting room floor to someone else's highlight reel.' I.e. Don't look at beautiful selfies without remembering the 60 other photos that were taken to get just the right one! (Guilty) the grass isn't greener. Also very important to remember that others are looking at your social media presence and wishing they had your life too!
4. Don't feel you have to rush your life. Believe me, you may be having a quarter life crisis but you are STILL YOUNG. A lot of my friends are married, a lot are having children, a lot have degrees and graduate jobs and some days I feel bad that I don't have these things. But then I get cast in a short film. And to me, nothing is more exciting. I want to shout it from the rooftops because it's my priority, my passion. You may be thinking it's not a big deal, and that's ok, but to me, it's the opportunity to distill everything I've worked for in the last decade into my eyes when the director tells me to. And it's the best feeling in the world. But I still have to remind myself that the other things will come eventually, I'm not skipping along on a cloud all the time and I wouldn't expect myself to be.
5. Don't procrastinate, my god, just don't do it, you couldn't find a more effective way to worry yourself.
6. Work hard but for god's sake be kind to yourself, and find a WAY to do so, it's not just one of those things you can enact by saying it. Find an outlet for when you're stressed; exercise, writing, dancing about your bedroom in your pants (make sure you shut the curtains if you live opposite another block of flats. Another crucial life lesson learnt the hard way.)
7. You have SO much to give! You are totally unique and no one will ever do what you do in the same way. And you have an infinite amount to learn, none of us will ever know even one per cent of what there is to know in this world, but isn't that desperately exciting? Be curious, it's truly the greatest trait you can have.
8. Most importantly of all, it's ok not to be ok. And there is so, so much help at your fingertips if you're not, so reach out. I may be the one writing this and you, who ever you are, are the one reading it, but we are in the same boat. You will learn things your way, grow up your way but what I want most for you is to be happy with yourself. It makes the WORLD of difference. It took me years and many cups of tea with my friends and quite a few tears to learn these things that I'm so blithely writing for you now. So don't beat yourself up if you're not there yet!
|This picture was taken a few weeks ago, much happier, much more relaxed and just a little bit wiser.|
So what does success mean to me now? Quite simply it means being happy. And at 19 I would have seen that as a failure, giving in, not working hard enough because my priorities were skewed. Success means doing my best work as an actor, really feeling it, doing justice to the woman's story I'm telling, it does not mean the biggest audience. Success is the fact that I now have this attitude. So I'm going to find another book to read.
Incidentally all my quarter life crisis peeps; we are now old enough to get a cervical screening! Cervical cancer is largely 'silent' i.e. there usually aren't symptoms until it's quite advanced so the smear test is SO important. It takes five minutes, go do it, it might save your life. And support beautiful Hannah and Martin and STAND UP TO CANCER!!!!
I truly hope whoever is reading this is able to go easier on themselves and be a little happier.
Lots of love
You can find this beautiful woman HERE on her Facebook or check out her Shakespear course HERE ... Trust me, she knows whats she's talking about!!
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