2018: Why Blogging Took A Back Seat This Year

woman in front of christmas tree holding a whisky cocktail

I’m hoping that this post will have a point to it once I’ve finished. I just felt, that after months of being MIA on my own slice of the internet, that I wanted to check in and let you know where I’ve been. This blog has been a place of solace for me for many years, and the primary source of my creativity, but in 2018 l was ended up having to put it on the back burner.

2017 was a year of genuine trauma. It utterly centered around my dad passing away in June and left very little room for any other purpose or memories. 2018 has had its upsets, but I’d say that the whole year can be summed up by ‘hard work’.

I am exhausted.

In the first half of the year, it felt like the friendships I’d made over the few years were all being tested. Close confidants at work moved on to pastures new whilst I grew increasingly frustrated at a job I hated. Friendships that had been pillars of strength to me in previous years turned toxic and triggered my anxiety instead of helping it, and increasing numbers of my nearest and dearest started moving out of London, changing the shape of my social life as connections became more Whatsapp based than face-to-face. It became clear to me who I was willing to put the effort into maintaining a friendship with and vice versa. I forced myself to be ruthless in cutting out people who made me feel shit, and if they weren’t easily removed, I handled their behaviour head-on.

I stuck up for myself and others and I called people out on their bullshit. I had to, for my sanity, despite it going against all of my instincts to just please people. To survive every day carrying grief is tiring enough; I just can’t let paranoia, insecurity, and confusion add to that. It has been completely revolutionary – for the first time in my whole life, I feel completely at ease with all of my friends. No judgment, no backstabbing, and totally reciprocal love. I have never felt so unquestioningly supported and celebrating my 30th birthday truly solidified that. Wonderful people dropped in throughout the day of my 80s movie-themed party. Many of them had never met before but all of them got on famously and honestly, I was so proud and endlessly grateful to have them all together, and in fancy dress too!

80s movie fancy dress party

Of course, they certainly aren’t the reason I’ve had no time this year. If anything, I’ve desperately wanted more time with them. At the beginning of 2018, I was in a job I was utterly frustrated with. I was reporting into people not that much older, or more qualified, than me, and the power struggle was intense. I’ve worked in the fast-paced, ever-changing world of social media for eight years and started at a time just before it grew into the behemoth industry it now is, which has meant I’ve been able to progress with it. I wanted 2018 to be the year my career took a big leap and I was so thrilled to take a more senior role in June.

Three weeks into the new job and I found myself not just doing social media, but somehow project managing, producing and directing a photo shoot abroad for a client. It’s nothing I haven’t done before, but I was entirely on my own, with a production team, client and company I didn’t know. I sat in my accommodation one afternoon and cried down the phone to my boyfriend, questioning the decision I’d made. I put it down to settling in and getting to know the ropes. I needed time to start implementing my ways of working and to wrangle one particular client into shape. But time didn’t help; I stopped sleeping and my migraines increased in frequency and intensity. All I could muster the energy to do most nights after work was sit in front of the TV. Sometimes it was because of the long hours, but I’m used to that and I’m certainly not shy of working hard; this was complete and utter mental exhaustion. It’s amazing how tiring it can be to have constant, unrealistic demands and deadlines thrown at you every single day.

The company I worked for would not allow any level of flexibility and although my suggestions and attempts at change were happily listened to, they faulted once they hit a certain level of seniority above me. Of course, there’s always two sides to a story, and the aim of sharing this isn’t to embarrass, shame or attack anyone. I’ve spoken about the importance of looking after your mental health, and simply, the reason I have included this information is to let you all know that if you’re not happy, change first of all starts with you. My main client was demanding at best, downright nasty at worst.  I sat on the receiving end of shouting and swearing, passive and full-on aggression, and bare-faced lies. Thankfully, my main point of contact was lovely, but the wider company ethos made it impossible to enjoy any working day and I ended up questioning everything from my own ability to my entire career path. Honestly, that is just not OK.

On 1st December, my year totally transformed. After weeks of conversations, I was offered a new role at a company I adore. I’d made the decision to only apply for jobs where I felt truly passionate about the brand I’d be working for. I want to work for people and with people who share the same morals and values as me; a place that undoubtedly reflects and supports who I am as an individual. I can’t think of anywhere more perfect than where I’m headed to next: the incredible Refinery 29. I am honestly the most excited I’ve ever been to join a company!

Later that day, the 1st December got even better. Returning home from a week in Germany, after not seeing my boyfriend for two weeks as he’d been attending a wedding in New Zealand, a chilled out evening together was on the cards. He was making dinner when I got back but I wanted to get down to the important business of exchanging gifts from our respective trips. I’d got him some craft beer from a brewery in Hamburg and a half-eaten bag of Lindor from the Chocolate Museum in Cologne. He outdid me by saying some beautiful words, getting down on one knee and asking me to marry him. I wish I could give you more details but I spent most of the proposal with my hands over my face, crying and saying, ‘What the fuck is happening?!’

happy couple

It’s been 11 months of struggling uphill. I’ve pushed myself to be completely honest with myself, to question that which makes me a lesser version of who I want to be and to keep striving for better. I feel the most content and excited for the future than I’ve ever been; inspired and enthusiastic about my career, so full of love for my wonderful friends and family, and utterly head-over-heels in love with the man I will one day be able to call my husband.

I hope to be more present in this space over the next year too. As travels become less frequent (weddings are expensive, it turns out!), I want to share not just my holidays, but my life on here as well. I’m going into 2019 knowing that changes will happen and compromises will have to be made, but for the first time in so long, I feel positive.

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