The Body Positive Merry-Go-Round

A couple of days ago I did something which, in hindsight, was utterly and completely ridiculous. I went to the Doctor;s and very carefully, very rationally asked him to prescribe me a diet pill, commonly given to obese people, in order to lose weight. Granted, this isn’t the most outlandish problem I’ve brought to a Dr before, not even close, you are after all talking to a bonafide hypochondriac who has convinced herself over the years that she has brain tumours, cancer, HIV, Tourette’s, Schizophrenia and most recently Glaucoma. (To name a few.)

 

Let’s give a shout out to the good Doctor though, he did hide his smile very well and politely told me he would not be able to do that, that I was clearly not overweight and while I could lose a few pounds for cosmetic reasons if I wanted to, that this was clearly not impacting on my physical health. For some reason, maybe the sheer absurdity of the scenario, or his calm words, it really hit something home for me. I was not in bad health. This man must see people every day who have life changing or sometimes life threatening conditions; who struggle to perform basic day to day tasks and here I was banging on about wanting to lose 10lbs so I could be the same size as I was when I was 21. Sometimes the shame I feel for my actions makes me feel incredulous to how I ever could have thought they were a good idea.

This got me on to thinking about the bigger picture and why I really felt that desperate need to fit back into a size 10. It’s just a number, why was it so important to me?

From being very small and first starting dance classes I’ve always been just on the wrong side of ‘chubby’. Never fat, just sort of soft and with about as much muscle definition as a wet flannel. This was just the way I was, my sister, who had little interest in dance and annoyingly way more natural ability, was all limbs and lean muscle and flexibility, while I struggled to reach my toes and always had a slight pot-belly in my leotard. I can very clearly remember it bothering me and often crying with frustration in front of the mirror. I suppose those kind of demons lay deep foundations when you’re 8 or 9.

It sparked a lifelong passion for dance which led me to train professionally. Again, the old issues arose. Let me tell you, the dance world is not a kind place when you’re barely 5ft 3, have a double F chest and a stomach that just won’t lay flat no matter how many sit-ups and diets you do. I look back now and wish I’d embraced my difference, wish I’d tried to accept that’s just who I was and given it everything I had anyway. Unfortunately when you’re 18 that’s about as impossible as sprouting wings from your arse and flying to Jupiter.  I looked at my friends, with their perfect physiques and tiny crop tops that didn’t require a bra that looked like something out of a camping catalog and envied them. All I wanted was to be like them and so that’s what I tried to do. As I now know, and as I’m sure most of you do, trying to be somebody else never works.

The rest of my 20’s were a bit of a shitshow of partying and soul-searching and trying to find who I was and more partying and more partying and to be honest, on the most part I’m glad they’re behind me. Since that milestone birthday just over a year ago every thing really has seemed to click into place. I have a partner who I adore and tells me every day how beautiful I am, I’ve found passion through travel and writing, I no longer try to be somebody else but embrace my unique “me-ness”, so why do these old demons refuse to die?

The media loves to tell us how we are now embroiled in a society that is image obsessed. I don’t see this. Sure, if you spend your life in front of the TV or reading vacuous, mindless magazines that’s the message you’ll perceive, but on the whole I don’t buy that premise for a second. I personally know, and meet, amazing, talented, beautiful, inspiring, honest and truthful people every day who base little to no emphasis on their clothes size or what the scales say or how big their biceps are. These people are interesting. Not because of their lack of care for the narcissistic, not because they don’t conform, they’re just interesting. Period. I can honestly say I have never given their weight a second thought. I believe these things, I KNOW them, so how do I get what I know to connect with what I feel?

Another source of frustration for me is that I personally adore the aesthetic of a curvier woman. That isn’t to say thin women aren’t gorgeous too, I appreciate and champion women of any shape, I just personally like the look of a rounded stomach, curvy hips and thick thighs. I have never really bowed to the belief that only one size and shape is attractive, the idea that a woman is only sexy if she is a very specific, prescribed shape is ludicrous, doesn’t personality and intellect play a huge part in attractiveness? Of course it does. Don’t tell me you’ve  never met someone, thought them to be pretty plain physically, then after an hour watched in awe as they dominate a room, drawing people to them like a magnet and feeling more and more attracted to them.

Some of my favorite IG ladies are shown below:

I look at images like these daily and genuinely believe them to be staggeringly beautiful. I find myself wishing I looked that way and so how come when I see my own body in the mirror I can’t see the same beauty I see there? A curve or roll I see on them is attractive to me, on myself I’m repulsed. It makes no sense.

I recently found myself feeling anxious about the impending prospect of returning to London. I know I want to rekindle my burlesque career and yet I feel a sense of dread when I think about it. Will people book a girl who’s my size and shape? The evidence I see would sadly suggest probably not. In that case, what do I do? Stick by my guns and continue to self-accept, risking my passion in the process? Or go on a juice cleanse, get back to the shape I was when the lemon detox seemed like a rational idea and conform?

Of course all of this is ultimately completely meaningless. In a World where children are being obliterated in drone strikes, the fact I can’t fit into my denim shorts is an utterly abhorrent “problem”. I do still believe at the heart of it, it is an issue we should address though and try and stamp out. If we learn to love ourselves a bit more, lumpy bits and all, then we raise a massive “fuck you” to the powers that be who have set these impossible standards for us, thus creating a more loving place for every one.

I guess, like any struggle it is something that will be ongoing. It is impossible to change a lifetime of learned behaviors and thoughts overnight and the process will be a long one. Some days will be good and I’ll wear that bodycon dress with pride, and others I’ll feel like a potato person made from cottage cheese. I will continue to fight the good fight, for myself and for the entire sisterhood. ❤

(And maybe buy some bigger denim shorts.)

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10 truths of a Female Solo Backpacker

In my two years of intermittent backpacking I have experienced some truly amazing things.

I would later tell my friends and family of the beautiful beaches I stayed on, the breathtaking sunsets that are impossible to capture, even on the snazziest of go-pro and the magnificent Temples I visited; but nobody likes talking about the grittier side of travelling. Here’s what you really need to know about backpacking when you’re a girl going it alone.

 

1. The first thing to stir up your inner rebel is the obvious, but no less awesome, sense of complete and utter freedom. No alarm to set, nowhere to be, no meetings or dull errands to run; you can literally do whatever you want! Wake up and want to see the majestic Angkor Wat? Go for it! Wake up 4 hours later cause you went out the night before and slept through all your dorm mates trying to wake you up? Also fine! No one will tell you you’re ridiculous and give you a verbal warning. (Although speaking as someone who did precisely that; you are ridiculous and deserve a verbal warning.)

 

2. Worried about making friends? You needn’t be. Backpacking alone is  one of the easiest ways to meet new people and trust me, you’ll make friends for life. At least 50% of the people you encounter are travelling alone and just as daunted and nervous as you are. Because of this you’ll form almost instant bonds with each other after only a quick 5 minute chat. At some stage you will almost definitely meet a pair of overly-loud 18 year olds from Buckinghamshire or Suffolk, usually called Georgie or Tristan (‘Triss’) or Ellie who have just finished uni and have endless funds from Daddy. While you want to roll your eyes at them they’re so damn sweet and excitable and you’ll inevitably get drunk with them, exchange friendship bracelets and wake up with 4000 selfies on your camera roll.

fiends

3. Similarly, you will meet a group of Germans, usually engineers, who have too much money and testosterone. They will usually be found in the shade of a boat, drinking beer constantly and playing cards.

 

4. At some point you’re going to get in a conversation with a diving instructor. He’s usually either Australian, English or American and has been living on whatever island you’re on for anywhere between 6 months- 3 years. This, as he will tell you in detail and constantly, means he is NOT a tourist. Or a backpacker. He LIVES there. And he wants everyone to know. He’ll usually demonstrate this by having long matted hair, going barefoot everywhere, and donning approximately 700 bracelets and anklets. AVOID THESE MEN.

 

5. Dorm room politics. At first the idea of sleeping in close proximity to at least half a dozen strangers will fill you with dread but you’ll soon come to realise it’s the most fun ever. Like a giant sleepover only with booze and no bedtime curfew. The people you meet in dorms will instantly become your newest travel buddy/drinking partner and you’ll end up travelling with at least one of them for the next few days, if not weeks. Word to the wise: BRING EARPLUGS.

 

6. Full moon party, Tubing, Gili T, diving. Get to know these 4 things well as people are going to ask you about them all the time. Eg: “Did you go to/have you been…?” In South East Asia most people are doing the same sort of itinerary and so have either just come from the country you’re going to next or travelling the same route as you. This is an excellent way to get insider tips ahead of your next stop and get off the beaten track of your guide book. Some of the best places I’ve visited have come from recommendations from fellow backpackers that I otherwise would never have known about. Definitely one of my favourite parts of travelling.

thailand

 

7. Local beer. Beer for breakfast, beer at the airport, beer after your day trip, beer DURING your day trip. Who cares?! You don’t have to go to work, remember? Plus you’re totally helping the local economy! It’s a win/win!…BEER.

 

8. Essentials: I’ve longed maintained that the worst part about travelling is the actual travelling! Some journeys are going to be long and hot so make sure you remember to pack these items: A hoody (aircon gets chilly once you nod off), at least 3 books and reading light, a deck of cards (excellent ice-breaker) a portable charger in case you find the Holy Grail of night buses and actually have wifi on board, a big bottle of water and snacks. Some trips can go a fair few hours without stops and if you’re anything like me the “hangry” mood is REAL. Snacks and water- Sorted.

 

9. Local lingo. Take the time before each new country to memorize a few keywords/phrases such as “Hello” “Thank you” and “How much”. Not only is it polite, it shows a mark of respect for the culture that will not go unnoticed. If you’re travelling with a guide they will always teach you these but Lonely Planet guides are also great tools for brushing up on the basics.

 

10.. You’ll very quickly come to realise that the people you meet out there are the greatest and most interesting bunch you’ve ever met. That’s because they’re exactly like you. They all decided to go in search of something bigger too. The backpacker lifestyle really is like it’s own little alternative sub-culture where you can just be free and wild and no one is going to judge you. Material things hold little to no relevance in this World and no one cares that you’re a little bit of a mess because they are too! At some point you’ll sit under the stars on some remote beach with a motley crew of strangers and feel more at home with them than you have with people you’ve known your whole life.

 

 

In short, it is the greatest damn adventure you’ll ever have.  If you’re like me and always think the grass is greener (or at least MIGHT be) then go. Seriously, JUST. GO. Sure it can be tough but despite every scam, every roadside breakdown and every bed-bug ridden bunk it is without doubt the most fun you’ll ever have. If you’re sitting with a couple of extra quid in the bank and no immediate need for it then as the great Hunter S Thompson said “Buy the ticket, take the ride!”

(Then thank me later. )

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London Love

For the first time in my life I tried something radical last night; I turned my phone off,not just silenced it, but actually TURNED IT OFF when I went to bed. I’m converted. I slept like a baby and didn’t wake up once. Who knew that all that spontaneous blue light and vibrations could disturb your sleep?! I’ve never been one for logic. As it happens it was a bad night to do so as I roused in panic when a sleepy glance at my screen alerted me to TERROR ATTACK IN LONDON and CITY IN LOCKDOWN headlines.

Like many people yesterday I was saddened and deeply moved by the events and footage I saw but I can’t say I was shocked or surprised. Sadly this has become all too commonplace and something I think is to now to be expected. I remember a couple years back reading an article,or maybe it was footage of a speech, I don’t recall exactly but the rhetoric hit a nerve for me and I can’t ever forget it. The guy made this speech/article just before Bush invaded Iraq way back in 2003 and the accuracy with which his predictions have now played out is chilling. The summary was that if America chose to do this, to start an illegal war with the assistance of Britain that in 10, 12, 15 years time we would have a major terror problem on our hands. It makes so much sense, if you invade a country killing innocent civilians and bombing schools, If every day you see your Mother, brother, entire family and every thing you know turned to dust then who do you blame? You blame the people you saw do it. You’re vulnerable and desperate and alone in this World and then someone offers you are way to get back at the evil you’ve seen, it’s easy to see how these terror organisations quickly gathered momentum.

Let me make myself clear, I am in no way condoning what has happened or making excuses. Killing another human is abhorrent to me in pretty much every circumstance, I mean to just point out how this might have come to be.

In physics (and don’t quote me on which law this is as I basically failed GCSE science and haven’t given it much thought since) it says “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” When so much hate is being invested into the World by Trump, by Brexit, by a travel ban on innocent lawful citizens then you are going to get a reaction, and sometimes that action will be extreme and heinous and cost people, who had no part in any of this madness, their lives.

 

This is all just my opinion based on what I’ve lived through and seen for the last 10 years, I don’t profess to know all about politics or in the ins and outs of war, but as a citizen of this World I know what we are doing has to stop and I’m not sure it will. It’s such a cliche and it’s bloody embarrassing to write it but like all corny cliches it is immensely true: Hate breeds more hate. The more we endorse hateful speech and people like Trump, Farage, Bannon, the whole insidious, vile, stomach-churning Tory and Republican cabinet, the more reactions like the one we saw yesterday will occur. That is the nature of war, fight with hate and hate will fight back.

I don’t have any answers, the only thing I can think to do now is to spread, show and give love wherever and whenever I can. Spread it like free strawberry splits at Charing Cross station on a hot July morning. Fellow lefties lets all stop trying to constantly “out left” each other. It doesn’t matter if people are sad about this but forgot to mention an incident that happened 8 years ago that was similar in some ways, empathy isn’t exclusive and just because somebody doesn’t immediately post it on Facebook doesn’t mean they don’t feel for it. While I’m on that I’m aware how biased the news is but not EVERYTHING is a conspiracy theory. I have lived all over the World and the news I get in Melbourne or got in Hong Kong (Or what they allowed us to have I should say) is very different to what we had back home. Alot of the time it’s just a simple matter of proximity, for instance we get alot more news here on incidents that happen in Bali, The Philippines and Indonesia which I don’t recall ever seeing on mainstream news in England. Anyway, I digress. The bottom line is, and I vehemently believe this, is that people are basically good. They really, really are. Fighting in on ourselves over tiny, insignificant things like who posted what or who did or didn’t have a flag on their selfie is NOT the issue we should be focusing on. Stick together, have faith in each other and the basic goodness in people and let the small stuff go. We live in a beautiful world full of Poetry and Art and the music of The Beatles and Sunrises and Malbec and Bolognese pizze and goddamn alpacas!! Just believe it and do your best to hold onto love.

 

 

10 truths of backpacking

In my two years of intermittent backpacking I have experienced some truly amazing things.

I would later tell my friends and family of the beautiful beaches I stayed on, the breathtaking sunsets that are impossible to capture, even on the snazziest of go-pro and the magnificent temples I visited. What I may have selectively withheld was that I drank beer like it was water, took Valium like it was Panadol and skinny dipped all over Asia. This is what really happens when you’re a single, female backpacker on the wrong side of 25…

1. The first thing to stir up your inner rebel is the obvious, but no less awesome, sense of complete and utter freedom. No alarm to set, no where to be, no meetings or dull errands to run; you can literally do whatever you want! Wake up and want to see the majestic Angkor Wat? Go for it! Wake up 4 hours later cause you went on a bender and slept through all your dorm mates trying to wake you up? Also fine! No one will tell you you’re a dick head and give you a verbal warning. (Although speaking as someone who did precisely that; you’r a dick head and deserve a verbal warning.)

2. Every one is out to get their end away. Every one. That is not man exaggeration. Think you’ve experienced the strongest of male competitors in the game then think again. There is no body on Earth more self-assured and less concerned with social etiquette than a male backpacker. Regardless of nationality they will think nothing of wooing you on a skinny dip in the Indian Ocean under the stars and no sooner have you relocated your sandy bikini bottoms then they’re walking hand in hand with a blonde touselled haired beauty on her gap year. You’ll be offended at first but will do the same thing the next night and soon it is just an unspoken rule that this is acceptable. There’s no room for jealousy and territorial females in backpacker culture.

3. You will meet a pair of overly-loud 18 year olds from Buckinghamshire or Suffolk, usually called Georgie or Tristan (‘Triss’) or Ellie who have just finished uni and have endless funds from Daddy. While you want to hate them they’re so damn sweet and excitable and you’ll inevitably get drunk with them, exchange friendship bracelets and take 1000 selfies.

4. Similarly, you will meet a group of Germans, usually engineers, who have too much money and testosterone. They will usually be found in the shade of a boat, drinking beer constantly and playing cards.

5. At some point you’re going to get in a conversation with a diving instructor. He’s usually Australian, English or American and has been living on whatever island you’re on for anywhere between 6 months- 3 years. This, as he will tell you in detail and constantly, means he is NOT a tourist. Or a backpacker. He LIVES there. And he wants every one to know. He’ll usually demonstrate this by having long matted hair, going barefoot every where, and donning approximately 700 bracelets and anklets. AVOID THESE MEN.

6. Dorm room politics. People shagging 2 inches from your head is going to become normal. I promise you. In fact it is going to become normal for several couples to be going at once and while you may arduously deny that you will ever do this. Well…You will. This might sound like an orgy but due to the shelter of your tiny, tiny personal curtain means it is not. Hey, I didn’t make the rules..

7. On your 3rd 17 hour bus journey, in a vehicle that is about 400 degrees you will get a whiff of the holy grail ; Valium. Most South East Asian pharmacies sell this over the counter along with various other pharmaceuticals.
Note: Americans have the best knowledge of these.

8. Full moon party, Tubing, Gili T, diving. Get to know these 4 things well as people are going to ask you about them all the time. Eg: “Did you go to/have you been…?”
If you especially enjoy the limelight then break your ankle at one of these and really steal the show…I can neither confirm nor deny this happened…

9. Local beer.
Beer for breakfast, beer at the airport, beer after your day trip, beer DURING your day trip. Who cares?! You don’t have to go to work, remember? Plus you’re totally helping the local economy, so what if it’s unregulated and possibly laced with methanol…BEER.

10. You’ll very quickly come to realise that the people you meet out there are the greatest and most interesting bunch you’ve ever met. That’s because they’re exactly like you. (Modesty is key). But seriously, they all have a similar view and grasp on life as you. None of them were ready to settle down, or just settle either and yearned for something else. An alternative culture where you can just be free and no one is going to judge you…On anything! Least of all your choice of job or bank balance. Material things hold little to no relevance and no one cares that you’re a little bit of a mess cause they are too. At some point you’ll sit under the stars on some remote beach with a motley crew of strangers and feel more at home with them than you ever have with people you’ve known for your whole life.

In short, it is the greatest damn adventure ever. If you’re like me and always think the grass is greener (or at least MIGHT be) then go. Seriously, JUST. GO. Sure it can be tough but despite every scam, every roadside breakdown and every bed-bug ridden bunk it is without doubt the most fun you’ll ever have. If you’re sitting with a couple of extra grand in your account and no immediate need for it then as the great Hunter S said “buy the ticket, take the ride!”

(Then thank me later 😉 )

1 year on

I landed in Australia exactly one year ago today. You could say it’s my “Ausiversary”…Sorry, I’ll let myself out..I could never have prepared myself for how hard I found those first 6 months. I consider myself fairly well traveled and pretty resilient to homesickness so it was a surprise just how difficult it was. As someone who has lived in Shanghai and Hong Kong I considered Australia would be a breeze; same language, same food brands, easy!

I guess the difference was,  when I moved to China I prepared myself for full culture shock and embraced it, even when having to mime out period cramps in a pharmacy (If footage exists of this it would be a gift to you all) but I’d rather naively assumed that Australia would just be something like a hotter, friendlier England! That is to say the Australia we know from the last 200 years, the indigenous culture, one that I have the utmost respect and love for goes back not hundreds but thousands of years and is a complex issue I have extreme passion for but feel I have no right to speak on. If you do have the inclination to research this beautiful, ancient culture I assure you you will be as awe-struck, as I was. It is a marvel.

I soon realised my assumptions were completely wrong. Australia, culturally, is about as far from England as you can get. There is no class system for one. I had no idea just how deeply ingrained in me the idea of class was until I came here. As such there are no real “good” areas and “bad” like you find in London for example. It is quite normal to walk down a street and find a tin-roofed, run down shack next to a million dollar mansion, pool and all. I love this. I love that people don’t segregate themselves and feel the need to shut out the “undesirables”. How many of you have paid a small fortune for a 1 bed shit-hole in London just cause it happens to be in a “hip” area? I speak as someone who has done just that, in fact my last flat in London was literally falling apart at the seams and I paid the same for a one room as I would for en entire house here. Anyway, I’m digressing; England’s social issues are a whole different topic all together and one I don’t wish to get into unless I’m 3 drinks in and have a soapbox to stand on (sorry, friends, I realise I’ve ruined many a relaxed, fun night with this!)

Another thing that used to upset me was how rude and abrupt I found Australians. I now know them, on a whole, to be the friendliest, most genuine, selfless people I know. The type of people who would give you the shirt off their back and a bag of goon (google it) if they felt you needed it and in being here I have made friends for life, but at first the lack of social pros was quite confronting to me. Sometimes my “Englishness” used to really piss me off, I’ve never noticed how much I say “sorry” or beat around the bush when trying to ask a simple question. It was one of these times, as I was 30 seconds into “Sorry, but could I just…do you mind if?…Sorry but please?..” to my boss that she snapped “Oh what do you want Rachel, just say it!” I realised right then that what I’d mistaken as rudeness was actually just a society built on being direct and not worrying about the P’s and Q’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a stickler for manners, but I’ve definitely learnt to be far more relaxed and not worry if someone walks into a room and doesn’t immediately greet me or if a stranger doesn’t shake my hand. I now love the fact that newsreaders call each other “mate” and people talk to their most senior boss in the same way they speak to their closest friends. You have to admit, no one sweats the small stuff quite like the English!

Australia has taught me 3 things; to chill out, to always look out for your mates and to never, EVER underestimate the healing power of a good cup of Milo.

And so a year on and I’ve finally found my inner Aussie. If someone “takes the piss” rather than get upset and worry how much they really mean it, I’ll just give as good as I get back.  I now know what a “stubbie” is and an “shoe-y” and if someone calls me the C word it probably means that they must really like me. Australia, it has been a tough but incredible year and I wouldn’t change it for all the hipsters in Fitzroy! Here’s to the next…!

Here’s to the ones who dream

rachyrachy123:

I have very little time for regrets in my life. My main philosophy has always been I’d rather have mistakes (of which there has been MANY) than regrets. Anyone who knows me personally will tell you I pretty much do whatever I want when I want to do it. It’s not that I’m selfish (*knowing look to camera*) it’s just I’ve always wanted to experience every thing possible before this fleeting time we have passes.

Its this philosophy that has led to me travelling the world for the last 2 years in search of truth and beauty and adventure. I’ve found it, I’ve seen and experienced things I can’t even explain, met the most interesting, beautiful souls and wouldn’t change a second of it, not one. It’s also what’s led to me doing menial and often ridiculous jobs to fund said wanderlust. One such ridiculous job is the one in which I currently find myself. It requires me to wear a hairnet, steel-capped boots and work from 11pm till 7am in a factory that packages fruit. When people told me “you’ll do jobs in Australia you never imagined you would” they weren’t wrong! A way I’ve found to pass the time in this mind-numingly boring employment is to sing musicals to myself. A cheeky time-step may also have slipped out during a particularly roaring rendition of “Anything Goes”. It was during such self-preseverance times that I mentally stumbled upon a song from La-La Land. That film hit such a nerve for me and not because I found it particularly ground-breaking but because I related to Emma Stone’s character in such a painful way. And so I began to cry. If you’ve ever seen a grown woman weep whilst wearing a hairnet and sifting through rotten fruit then let me tell it isn’t a pretty sight (albeit an HILARIOUS one).

From as far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be Judy Garland. Some of her personal habits I’ve got down to a tee but that’s another story…Some of my first words were “put Dorothy on again” as I watched The Wizard of Oz for the 500th time (sorry, Mam). To be honest I’m still partially expecting that I’ll one day be a child star, despite the crows feet telling me otherwise. I’m one year away from going full Bette Davis in Whatever happened to Baby Jane. I’ve just never known a time when I haven’t wanted to perform. Whenever anybody asked me what I was going to be when I grew up at school i’d always say “famous”, I didn’t know how I just knew that dancing, singing, lit a fire in my soul like nothing else. Yes I really was one of those annoyingly precocious kids who could sing before they could talk.

The reason I mention La La Land is because the scene in which she professes ‘maybe this is just a pipe dream for me’ and ‘it’s been 6 years of trying’ (don’t quote me) really hit home for me. I did that, I listened to a few “you’re too fat, sorry” and one particular person who had so little faith in me it crushed me and I gave up. Except it wasn’t 6 years, it wasn’t even half that. A life long passion so strong I knew nothing else, a passion so strong I cried when I saw Cats aged 7 because the music excited me so much, a passion that made me fall in love with Dirty Dancing before I had a clue what dancing being dirty even meant! I hate myself for giving up like that, if there’s one thing in life I’m good at it (and the list in embarrassingly small) it’s fighting for what I love.

I wake up at least once a week crying because I dream I’m back at dance college and it’s all still possible only to wake up and remember it’s not. How sad is that?! I just can’t help, no matter how hard I try to shake this feeling in my soul that I missed my destiny, my dream. The conviction with which I feel if consumes me to the point I feel angry and jealous of friends and I hate that. I just can’t let it go, it’s the most awful feeling ever to feel as though you metaphorically missed the boaet and, worse of all, didn’t even give it your best shot, not even close. I find myself not wanting to go and see shows anymore because it just saddens me so much and still leaves me feeling like my stomach has been gutted. Ironically enough, if I’d done that for real more back in college then maybe I wouldn’t be here! Ahhh, classic gags…

So what now? The biggest regret of my life and there’s no way to fix it. Maybe it was just a pipe dream for me, maybe I was genuinely lacking in talent despite the passion and this is the path I was always meant to be on but I wish my heart would believe that. I guess my point to this is to urge anyone who has a dream that is still possible to pursue it, go after it with all you’ve got because the knocks and the ‘no’s’ are far, far easier to handle than the ‘what ifs’.

Here’s to the ones who dream. Never ever let anyone dull you fucking shine!

Here’s to the ones who dream

I have very little time for regrets in my life. My main philosophy has always been I’d rather have mistakes (of which there has been MANY) than regrets. Anyone who knows me personally will tell you I pretty much do whatever I want when I want to do it. It’s not that I’m selfish (*knowing look to camera*) it’s just I’ve always wanted to experience every thing possible before this fleeting time we have passes.

Its this philosophy that has led to me travelling the world for the last 2 years in search of truth and beauty and adventure. I’ve found it, I’ve seen and experienced things I can’t even explain, met the most interesting, beautiful souls and wouldn’t change a second of it, not one. It’s also what’s led to me doing menial and often ridiculous jobs to fund said wanderlust. One such ridiculous job is the one in which I currently find myself. It requires me to wear a hairnet, steel-capped boots and work from 11pm till 7am in a factory that packages fruit. When people told me “you’ll do jobs in Australia you never imagined you would” they weren’t wrong! A way I’ve found to pass the time in this mind-numingly boring employment is to sing musicals to myself. A cheeky time-step may also have slipped out during a particularly roaring rendition of “Anything Goes”. It was during such self-preseverance times that I mentally stumbled upon a song from La-La Land. That film hit such a nerve for me and not because I found it particularly ground-breaking but because I related to Emma Stone’s character in such a painful way. And so I began to cry. If you’ve ever seen a grown woman weep whilst wearing a hairnet and sifting through rotten fruit then let me tell it isn’t a pretty sight (albeit an HILARIOUS one).

From as far back as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be Judy Garland. Some of her personal habits I’ve got down to a tee but that’s another story…Some of my first words were “put Dorothy on again” as I watched The Wizard of Oz for the 500th time (sorry, Mam). To be honest I’m still partially expecting that I’ll one day be a child star, despite the crows feet telling me otherwise. I’m one year away from going full Bette Davis in Whatever happened to Baby Jane. I’ve just never known a time when I haven’t wanted to perform. Whenever anybody asked me what I was going to be when I grew up at school i’d always say “famous”, I didn’t know how I just knew that dancing, singing, lit a fire in my soul like nothing else. Yes I really was one of those annoyingly precocious kids who could sing before they could talk.

The reason I mention La La Land is because the scene in which she professes ‘maybe this is just a pipe dream for me’ and ‘it’s been 6 years of trying’ (don’t quote me) really hit home for me. I did that, I listened to a few “you’re too fat, sorry” and one particular person who had so little faith in me it crushed me and I gave up. Except it wasn’t 6 years, it wasn’t even half that. A life long passion so strong I knew nothing else, a passion so strong I cried when I saw Cats aged 7 because the music excited me so much, a passion that made me fall in love with Dirty Dancing before I had a clue what dancing being dirty even meant! I hate myself for giving up like that, if there’s one thing in life I’m good at it (and the list in embarrassingly small) it’s fighting for what I love.

I wake up at least once a week crying because I dream I’m back at dance college and it’s all still possible only to wake up and remember it’s not. How sad is that?! I just can’t help, no matter how hard I try to shake this feeling in my soul that I missed my destiny, my dream. The conviction with which I feel if consumes me to the point I feel angry and jealous of friends and I hate that. I just can’t let it go, it’s the most awful feeling ever to feel as though you metaphorically missed the boaet and, worse of all, didn’t even give it your best shot, not even close. I find myself not wanting to go and see shows anymore because it just saddens me so much and still leaves me feeling like my stomach has been gutted. Ironically enough, if I’d done that for real more back in college then maybe I wouldn’t be here! Ahhh, classic gags…

So what now? The biggest regret of my life and there’s no way to fix it. Maybe it was just a pipe dream for me, maybe I was genuinely lacking in talent despite the passion and this is the path I was always meant to be on but I wish my heart would believe that. I guess my point to this is to urge anyone who has a dream that is still possible to pursue it, go after it with all you’ve got because the knocks and the ‘no’s’ are far, far easier to handle than the ‘what ifs’.

Here’s to the ones who dream. Never ever let anyone dull you fucking shine!