BOOKS THAT SAVED MY LIFE #SHELFHELP

Though I’ve always enjoyed reading and being wrapped up in a new universe, there are few books which I could realistically credit with changing my life. The other day, someone asked me what my favourite book was and, at first, I couldn't choose. Then I went back through my memory and thought of the books I have a tendency to go back to the most, often in my darkest times. These books, which are individual and yet have a similar intrinsic message are my crutch and I very much recommend reading them. They are filled with beautiful prose and brilliant life advice - these authors, all female, have seen me through the most difficult times in my life and whenever I read and re-read these books, I never feel alone. Here is the first of those books…

How to be a Grown Up by Daisy Buchanan

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It is an incredibly rare and beautiful thing when you find a book which you relate to on a deep and personal level. Daisy Buchanan has managed to write that book which I think just about every woman can relate to.

As a young woman in her twenties, I often feel like a failure- whether I just feel like i’m not doing enough or i’m actually failing at a job or just life in general. It is often the case that everyone around you feels like they too are failing but simply pretend that everything is going splendidly because they assume that you are doing better.

Daisy’s book has acted as an emotional crutch during a time when I thought I would just break into a million little pieces at any second, this book held me together. I have it on Audible and I have (proudly) listened to it at least 10 times and perhaps more.

I remember when I listened to it the first time, it made me laugh and cry and consistently nod my head in perceived recognition of my feelings. Finally, someone understood me and I wasn’t alone. I went back to this book whenever my life was coming apart at the seams which was, unfortunately, quite often.

I lived in the UK for a year and I think I must have spent at least a solid three months crying (not consecutively thank god). I got fired from my job and cried and walked through Brighton feeling worse for wear and completely morose - I genuinely felt low and like I completely lacked value. I was sure that nobody would ever hire me again and that it was inevitable that i’d be forced to be a disappointment not just to myself but also to my parents who would, undoubtedly, have to look after me for the rest of my miserable life. My flat in Brighton was large, cold and lonely - I couldn’t get the heating or the water heating to work for the entire duration of my stay there - it was, I felt both a failure and a disaster. The flat was too expensive and did my low emotional state no good. What I didn’t know while I was in the UK was that I actually had bipolar disorder but that’s a story for another day….

Through all of my tears and headache, one thing kept me going and that was listening to Daisy Buchanans book. When I woke up with a panic attack a few nights ago, I knew where to go and that was directly to Audble and the comfort of ‘How to be a Grown Up’ For me listening to or reading this book is like falling into the arms of loved one after a particularly long and difficult day. It’s easy to find refuge in the pages of this book and know that you are not alone.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE MET GALA 2019 SO FAR...

The Met Gala always takes place on the first Monday in May and this year, that very special day is May 6th. The theme this year is hugely exciting (for me at least) ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’. Now this is all amazing and sounds potentially glittery, outrageous and like a lot of fun but what are we supposed to draw from this theme? Well, the Met this year is inspired by Susan Sontag’s famous 1964 essay entitled ‘Notes on Camp’. I’ll use the quote most commonly cited from her essay “Camp generally refers to outrageous and The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration.”

Camp is the embodiment of proud, outrageous and over the top fashion. With the theme and feel of the Met Gala this year, is it any wonder that the co-chairs include Lady Gaga and my favourite boy Harry Styles. Other co-chairs include Alessandro Michele (Gucci), Serena Williams and as per usual, Vogue’s Anna Wintour. The first time I saw this theme I’ll admit I was a little confused. As it so often is, my question was answered by Guilty Feminist host and all round amazing woman, Deborah Frances White who said of camp “Camp is I can’t conform so I might as well live my whole self. You’re not going to like me anyway, I am going to be different anyway. I might as well stick a sequin on it and turn up the Kylie.” (The Guilty Feminist Podcast, Reality TV, 21/01/19)

Am I excited for this years Met Gala? Yes, I am - I am incredibly excited. If there was ever a time to be camp, that time is now. The fashions and trends as well as a more free society allows for camp fashion to caress all of us with its beauty. I think that 2019 might actually be the year to be camp. Camp is acceptable now with Harry Styles as a frontman. Frankly, what’s more camp than Gucci at the moment? Harry, Lady Gaga and Gucci? I can’t think of anything more beautiful. Cal Wilson said on a recent episode of ‘The Guilty Feminist’ about the subject of camp “Watching someone live to the edges of who they are is beautiful. Like using the good crockery everyday.” (The Guilty Feminist Podcast, Reality TV, 21/01/19)

Possibly my favourite thing in the world has been watching the evolution of Harry Styles from fairly stereotypical big-shoed boyband member to gorgeous long haired tattooed rock god and finally to what appears to be the height of himself. He is the epitome of a style(s) evolution done right. I can’t speak for him and I absolutely do not wish to but if I was going to pick a night on which to reveal my true self, I can’t really think of a better night than the 2019 Met Gala. I will certainly be watching eagerly. This will certainly be a night to remember and I cannot wait!

2019 RESOLUTION: BE MORE FREDDIE

I’ll make one thing clear…I am absolutely not a fan of New Years resolutions - I think they’re pointless and put way too much pressure on you. I do however, believe in positive change. I wanted to make 2019 the year I didn’t make any new years resolutions…I seem to have failed that resolution as well 🤦‍♀️. If that isn’t irony then I don’t know what is.

So, the reason that I believe that 2019 is in fact the year to be more Freddie? Well Freddie was always honest and always himself. He was the most beautiful character not because of looks but because of much more. Freddie had substance - he didn’t always fit in and he actually didn’t care at all. He made wildly bold clothing choices and pranced around stages. Freddie brought so much joy through his life and his music and honestly…who wouldn’t want that for a year, for a life.

"I won't be a rock star. I will be a legend." -Freddie Mercury

What Freddie had in droves was confidence in who he was and what he did. We all need a bit more confidence in our lives. Confidence (not arrogance) is such a beautiful thing to behold. You see so little confidence these days especially in women. We spend so much time judging ourselves, our outfits, our decisions, our likes, our dislikes and our bodies that we forget to enjoy ourselves. Part of the beauty of confidence is that you kind of forget yourself a little bit. Think about the difference between how a little girl and a woman approach a mirror…yep the little girl has confidence because she isn’t looking for flaws. So when you approach a mirror, approach it like Freddie did - like you are the most wonderful person in the world darling and the mirror should be honoured to have you.

“You can be anything you want to be, just turn yourself into anything you think that you could ever be.” - Freddie Mercury

Next up is knowing that you can do and be anything you want to be. If you can think of it and believe it…you can do it. You can wear absolutely anything that you want. You can forget silly rules and silly people. You can put just about anything behind you as long as you know that what’s important is what’s ahead of you. Be you-tiful darlings

 “Dullness is a disease.” - Freddie Mercury

Don’t go out and live a mediocre life…don’t have a mediocre year because you are scared. You will absolutely never be dull as long as you are yourself, as long as you are honest about who you are. You don’t need to disappear, you deserve to wear bright colours if you want to and take up space in the world. You are only ever dull when you are trying to hide who you are which ironically, most people tend to do in a bid to be liked. So don’t try to impress people - you do you boo.


“If I die tomorrow I will not regret. I really did everything I could.” - Freddie Mercury

Live without regrets. So often we live in the past way too much of the time. We go over things that happened and things we might have done differently. Live in the present and do everything you have the chance to. Say yes to a lot more and challenge yourself…you never know what you might find out. If you died tomorrow- would you die happy, fulfilled?


 “I love the fact that I can make people happy, in any form. Even if it’s just an hour of their lives, if I can make them feel lucky or make them feel good, or bring a smile to a sour face, that to me is worthwhile.” - Freddie Mercury

So often we destroy each other. We don’t live to make each other happy - we don’t strive to see other people smile. How much more wonderful would the world be if we all strove to make one person smile. That is indeed a worthwhile life to live. Ask one person how they are, greet someone or give someone a genuine compliment. If you are at a complete loss, resort to playing Queen 👑


“Oh, I was not made for heaven. No, I don’t want to go to heaven. Hell is much better. Think of all the interesting people you’re going to meet down there” - Freddie Mercury

This final quote just happens to be one that I love and its so outrageous and so Freddie so I thought I’d leave it here with - speak your mind and be honest about who you are. Say what you want to say. Honestly is the best policy even if that you’re about to say is outrageous.

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I'M NOT THAT GIRL

I always wondered why those lyrics from 'Wicked' struck such a chord with me and I think I eventually found out tonight. I was one of those girls who was consistently single instead of constantly in a relationship. I was never 'with' anyone. Not because I particularly chose to be single but because two things happened simultaneously. One, no guys ever asked me out and two, I was always working. 

Now I say working and you're probably thinking of scholarly work, That's not the truth, though, I didn't particularly enjoy school and I wasn't very good at following orders, perhaps a major reason that I work for myself today. No, I was always striving for excellence within myself. I was born a perfectionist and anything I do, I want to be the very best at. When I was singing, I wanted to be the best singer in the world (I’m not) and my passion for progression towards perfection dictates that I work until I’m the best. That being said I was also quite a home body. I wasn't really the type to go out drinking every weekend. Call it whatever you like but I hated clubs and my parents hadn't attached a stigma to alcohol so from a certain age I was allowed to drink at home with them and so I guess I never really saw any reason to rebel against them. The opposite was true of my school. Good God, I rebelled in school. The heavy duty rules like no drugs or smoking I never had a problem with but the idea of controlling the colour of our shoes, stockings, socks and hair ties - the stupid rules, those I adored breaking. 

 

Now on to the topic of why nobody ever asked me out, I wouldn't say I'm an ugly looking person but I'll leave that to you judgemental internet people (haha) to decide since there are pictures of me all over this site. I can, however, come across as rather intimidating and it really is just who I am. It's more that I am a bundle of nerves than anything else really and the sheer fact that I get hugely uncomfortable. I would say that the more that I like you, the more awkward I am around you. If I don't know you, we can chat for days but the second I know you better and I have to start watching my Ps and Qs, I flounder. 

 

I often find myself asking the question after an event, launch or meeting, does he/she like me. And whilst lightly considering this might be important for personal development, it's not really a viable thought path unless you give each and every person you meet a questionnaire. Then the question arises, do I care and indeed should I care. I mean, would I re-adjust my attitude for every negative comment in the metaphorical questionnaire? The simple answer is no, I wouldn't. I mean, would you? How would you sift through all the comments and ticks and crosses in order to decipher whose opinion is worthwhile and valid and whose is not? You shouldn't need a questionnaire for that though should you? You could simply ask the people you care about for their opinion and if the same thing keeps coming up, maybe you need to re-evaluate. I mean, what do you care if Jack going down the street thinks you're a bitch if he's never met you? I am quite comfortable with who I am and long term I would want a man to stand next to me and be proud to stand with me for exactly that.  

Something else hit me like a ton of bricks tonight, I really like men who are slightly or entirely out of my reach.I would say that you don't quite meet my tastes if you aren't a bit on/off with me. If you reach for me, I tend to lunge in the other direction. Strange? Maybe, but in reality, people are always falling for people who are out of reach for one or another reason. I mean, movie stars are a prime example of that are they not?

As a blogger, I am consistently dealing with what I call 'heaving room syndrome'. It's the idea that when you are in a room which is full to the brim with people, you are still alone. Realistically, if you came alone, you are there alone even when you are absolutely surrounded by people. Whilst simply being alone doesn't equate to loneliness, over time, it seems to morph quietly from one to the other. Seeing something pretty and not having anyone to turn around to and mention it, that's all. Every time I attend an event (alone) that's just how I work best, I sort of dream of someone being along for the ride, right by my side for the evening. Someone who is mine but there entirely for me because so far, the people I have invited along have done nothing but embarrass me. For me, the very idea of someone standing with you, just quietly and being 'yours' in a crowded room is romantic. And perhaps romance has changed then? Or at least it has for me.

 

Tonight in a room full of creative people, maybe three of whom I knew and knew me, I suddenly realised that I am in fact in love but not with a man, rather the idea of a man, at least right now. This realisation begs the question, how do you know when you are falling for someone vs simply falling for the idea of them? I don't know but I do know this, I am in love with the man who loves me exactly as I am, warts and all. So right now, no, I'm not that girl but I'm my own girl and today, tonight, that's enough...

 

I'm enough, You're enough, It's enough