This is an odd blog to write, it’s one of those ones that as equally hard as it is easy, and I’m going to give it a slight trigger warning for anyone who is affected by domestic issues. I don’t want to over dramatise anything but I also know that there are things that affect others even if you don’t expect them to, additionally I’m writing this without a plan so it’s probably going to be quite long and not maybe super coherent.
Over the past 1-3 years I’ve had a lot of people message me or comment on my photos and say “I wish I had your life”, I work in the entertainment industry and travel a lot, but I feel like it’s such a weird one because a snapshot of social media a) doesn’t represent all of my life and b) I don’t feel like I have a particularly enviable life – it’s just mine and thus feels normal.
I’m going to rewind just under 10 years, I was 18 about to turn 19 and I’d left home, (a happy home I might add) ran out into the big wide world and wanted to soak up everything it had to offer. This included a boyfriend who was completely and utterly inappropriate for me.
I’d never been the girl boys at school fancied, I was awkward and deemed overweight (which looking back I certainly wasn’t) on top of this I was flanked by the two prettiest girls in school as best friends. I was pretty much invisible to every teenage boy. I’d also spent 6 years with other boys mocking me, my voice, my hair, my appearance and what I wore and it didn’t matter that when I was 16 I got a boyfriend who was more handsome than any boy at school, the damage had already been done. I didn’t have an iota of confidence.
So when, at 18, a man I spoke to on an internet forum showed interest in me I couldn’t help but feel flattered. He wasn’t my type, he looked kinda like Boris Johnson, we didn’t share similarities or sense of humour but he was older and he liked ME. Who liked me? No one, not ever, or so it felt. He lived in Edinburgh and I was moving to Glasgow for uni, it was as if the stars aligned. Our relationship started out fine, despite the 7 year age difference, he treated me nicely, had a full time job and essentially wined and dined my incredibly low expectations. I’ll move forward a little in time and it’s halfway through our relationship, things aren’t as nice, he doesn’t really bother with me, no valentines day cards, no compliments, no effort, in fact he’s out and out spiteful and severely jealous.
But the latter meant he cared right? He once punched a man in the street for looking at me, and I was stupidly kind of happy, someone cared that much about me?!
But, predictably it didn’t take too long for that anger to be turned on me. A day didn’t go by where my looks weren’t slated or every action I took used against me. Drinking diet coke? Trying to lose weight so I could shag other guys. Meeting my friends? I was being a slut. But then the odd day would come and he would apologise and tell me he loved me and like every tale you hear like this I sucked it up, despite the gnawing in my stomach screaming this is wrong.
After a year together I ended up staying with him in a vile flat, we slept on the floor on a mattress because he couldn’t be bothered building a bed, if I didn’t make food for him or wash the dishes or do chores whilst he was at work I was a fat, lazy, ugly ungrateful slag (I was also working and at university). He would pinch me if men looked at me in public, swing at me but never actually hit me, hover in front of my face daring me to say one more thing to make him land it. He would chew food and spit it in my face, he would lock me in the spare room or lock me out of the flat for hours if I’d spoke to another guy online (not romantically) or if I’d seen a friend. Eventually I just stopped trying with anyone or myself. I had some garbage friends who weren’t remotely interested in hearing about my problems and the couple of friends I did have he made sure I never saw them. I stopped going to university, I put on weight, I was physically and mentally more unhealthy than I’ve ever been, but it didn’t stop he would break my belongings, including my laptop so I couldn’t talk to people, tell me my Dad who had just got back in touch would see me and throw up I’m not trying to sell in a sob story, I know other people had it worse but it sucked.
Eventually, one Christmas back in Birmingham I decided I was going to move out, not break up with him, slowly slowly, just move out – I rang him and told him and he threatened to kill me and burn all my belongings and that was the push point for me. I left.
Over the next few years I had a tough time, I lived with someone who tormented me and then punched me at a party in front of people, who made up lies about me. I lost pretty much every single one of my new friends who I thought were amazing and cool and like a family and then watched them tear me to pieces on aforementioned forum. They would rip into every aspect of my personality, photoshop me into naked photos and it just battered the tiny bit of confidence I had left.
I moved to a uni and things started to look up, I had great housemates and I was having fun, I met a boy, and he seemed great, everyone liked him. But as time went on my dad passed away and it was a stomach punch, it was just a year after my nan had and I felt at a loss, said boyfriend cheated on me the day after he died and I drifted apart from the housemates I’d grew to love.
I stayed with the boyfriend because he wasn’t AS bad as the first one, he didn’t scratch me or spit on me and he was smart and hardworking so it didn’t matter that he cheated on me, or flirted with other women constantly, made me feel terrible and used my insecurities against me HE WASN’T AS BAD. That’s what I’d tell myself.
And I ended up pretty lonely and pretty low, I’d cry myself to sleep nearly every day, I pushed away the amazing housemates I now lived with, too scared for them to get close to me and then get to hate me like everyone else seemed to. I had some really good friends including a girl who would become my best friend, but she lived in Manchester and didn’t have the easiest time herself. The loneliness was so hard to bare sometimes it was like a scratching on the inside and I didn’t tell anyone, because I didn’t want to. I was the strong sibling, the independent young woman, the career aspiring climber. I didn’t want to admit or feel like I’d failed.
Things got better after that, I threw myself into my passion which was film and TV, a truly amazing escapism for me when I felt low. I worked at conventions and went to every premiere I could as a fan. Despite the fact I was jeered at for it, the group of people who mocked me on the internet continued to, calling me pathetic and that my “obsession” with celebs and films would get me nowhere, but I carried on. I learned the industry lingo, I watched how red carpets would be set up. I lived and breathed every element of the world I wanted to be in. I found out the companies that organised premieres, I set up a film blog. I forged an amazing group of friends and met a nice boy, a boring boy but nice who treated me kindly.
And that’s how it started, I did volunteer work, read blogs, interviewed people from reality shows and in time it worked, I got contacts, I got an internship at the company I’d dreamed of working for and so on and so on. I then went on to be approached by Maker studios which became Disney, I worked in Florida, I walked the avengers down the red carpe! I was shortlisted for blog awards, attended a tonne of premieres, I’ve travelled to 28 countries. I’m still friends with that amazing group of people and I’m head over heels in love.
The reason I’ve written all this is not as a sob story, it’s not to be like aren’t I amazing, it’s to show that if I can do it, so can you. There’s a journey to everything. If there’s something you want, or there’s someone on social media that makes you envious, ask them how they got to where they are today. Look into it, don’t just feel envy. Everyone has a back story to where they are, I’ve included the tough parts in this to show that it doesn’t happen overnight. There was also, obviously a lot of good, support from my mum, my eventual friends. I didn’t do it all alone.
I get caught up in my social media envy too – my dream is to be an author, do I write everyday, hell no – Do I submit manuscripts, no. The only person I have to blame is myself, because I reckon, if I tried, if I really tried I could do it.
When I was 19 and lying on a horrible mattress, desperately sad because I didn’t imagine my life going like this, I was smart, I was head girl, now I was trapped in a soul destroying relationship with what looked like nothing ahead of me never did I think it would turn out like this. I don’t have a life full of sprinkles and glitter but I’m mostly happy, most days are good days, especially on the days that I try. It’s a life when caught in a singular moment and captioned on the internet some people feel like they want something similar. It is achievable, I’m just a person who didn’t have contacts, or inside know how. I didn’t look the part or sound the part but I wanted it and I promised myself I’d get it, whatever IT may be.
Be kinder to yourselves and your achievements.
I hope this all makes sense and comes across how I intend. x