Hey! So it has been a minute. The last couple of weeks have been a little bit mad. Going from working back to back shifts (I can’t complain, I treat myself too much for that) to heading to Paris for four days and then back into a week of night shifts, I have barely had time to sit down with a cup of tea. Netflix has seriously been neglected. But admittedly so has my blog.
I wanted to get this post out last week but between drinking my body weight in coffee and taking in enough culture to last a lifetime I didn’t quite get there. However, I have found this time really useful in its own way. Before I went away I was suffering some real writers block. I didn’t know where I wanted to go with this blog or what I had to say at all, period.
Being away from twitter, my laptop and news apps informing me that the end of the world is nigh left me to actually sit with my own thoughts and it turned out I did have some. I wrote more notes on my phone (34 to be exact) and felt more inspired in those four days than I have felt in months.
I was out there over Valentine’s Day- I know clichéd. For someone who doesn’t usually mark the day of sickening love with anything other than a jaeger bomb and subsequent hangover, this was a little different for me. I can’t say I am a convert and I’m not ready to give up Galentines Day but it was kind of nice wandering around Versailles with someone else not feeling like I am about to have a red bull induced heart attack. But what also became abundantly clear to me this V Day was that I hadn’t really had any me time on the run up to the holiday and it was showing.
So in the spirit of all things self-love here are the 5 things that get me back to me:
- Halsey/ Dua Lipa/ Hayley Kiyoko/ Lorde •
I list all four because who would want to pick? I remember driving home from uni in a friend’s car just before we finished our Masters belting out New Rules, there is nothing that puts me in a better mood. What unites all of these gals is I put them on and instantly feel stronger. I can be in the worst mood and it will be instantly changed by the opener of Now or Never. As my old flatmate so often says we function best when we are scorned and no one does scorned quite like these women.
- Perks of being a Wallflower (book and film) •
If you haven’t read Perks of being a Wallflower where were you at 14? Stephen Chbosky writes coming of age better than I felt it. I re-read this every year and whilst it always takes me back to being a horrible, ‘misunderstood’ teenager I also always get something new from it. You will fall in love with the characters so just be prepared for it to break you too. And I can’t help but hope that Greta Gerwigs’ ‘Ladybird’ is going to be like this but better.
- Olivia Bee •
I stumbled across Olivia Bee about 2 years ago when I was supposed to be finishing my undergraduate dissertation (funnily enough I found a lot of new hobbies in that time). Documenting her adolescence Bee’s images are hazy and sexy and really intimate. There is no denying she is also really bloody good at what she does. By the time she was 15, Bee had shot a Converse campaign, and by 17, her work landed on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. She has gone on to shoot for Elle, Gucci, Unpublished Playboy and so many more.
- Rupi Kaur •
Rupi Kaur cleanses my soul, pure and simple. There is no other way for me to explain how I feel about her. She writes about sex, race, love, rejection and rebirth in such a way that she expresses the experience of millions of women in so few lines. Whilst some have criticised her and her work, Kaur is the kind of poet who prompts heated debate, from people you never knew had any sort of interest in poetry, because among other things she is young, female, from a Punjabi-Sikh immigrant family, relatively uncredentialed and insanely successful.
- Joan Didion •
What did you want to be when you were growing up? I wanted to be a cat. Once I realised that was an unattainable goal I decided I should probably focus at school and do what everyone else does, go to university. But then what? I discovered Joan Didion at the right time. A confused student, coming to the end of my undergraduate with a love for writing and photography but no comprehension that some people get paid to do those things I stumbled across Didions first essay for American Vogue ‘self-respect’. Her voice wasn’t really like anything I had heard of the time (1961). I consumed her work like so many other people that love her- quickly! Researching her personal life, her experience covering 1960’s California and watching David Hares adaptation of ‘A Year of Magical Thinking’ didn’t just make me want to write, it made me want to report and investigate and experience.
So there we have it, the 5 things that make me feel more me. I can’t help but notice that so many of these have a running ‘coming of age’ theme further confirming that I haven’t quite grown out of being 15 yet. But in the mean time I am willing to indulge this and you should too.