Having Confidence in Doing Your Own Thing
Photography by Ami Ford.
I'm finally back with a new blog post after a brief hiatus due to a busy couple of weeks and some personal struggles, which I will go into more later in the post. But I've been wanting to write on this topic and share these photos for what feels like forever now and I'm finally getting round to it today. These photos were taken by the incredible Ami Ford, whose work I had admired from afar for some time and so was delighted to be able to shoot with her, and I'm so happy with the outcome! You can find her on Instagram here, Twitter here or visit her website here.
Today's post is inspired by these photos and specifically, the location that these photos were taken in. This was perhaps one of the busiest road in Manchester on the Sunday afternoon we were shooting on, meaning I really had to have confidence in what I was doing as posing in the middle of a very busy road in a bright yellow midi dress with every passerby staring at you with confused/baffled looks can/could have been an uncomfortable situation. In fact, posing for photos in any situation, even if there are only one or two confused onlookers, and sharing them on social media is quite a daunting concept generally and something I'm still trying to become totally comfortable in.
Anything that you do that is a little bit different, especially if it involves self-promotion, is probably going to be scary and weird. Since becoming more confident in doing my own thing, my life has only improved however I'm still not 100% there yet at all. So much so that, after a little (read: huge) wobble after moving to UNI last week, I considered not writing this post as I didn't think I was qualified to discuss this topic. But then I realised that if I wait till I feel totally comfortable in myself and my interests and habits, I'm probably never going to get round to writing it as I don't even know if it's possible to feel that way to such an extent. So I thought I would use this post to discuss the areas of my life in which I'm trying to become more comfortable in doing my own thing whilst also providing some tips to help others do the same.
INTERESTS AND IDEAS: STARTING MY BLOG
The first area in which I've really had to push myself out of my comfort zone is, as you might have guessed from the first part of this post and from previous posts, starting and running this blog. Having a blog, especially one that is fashion/style-based, means you’re constantly having to promote yourself and, at times, bare your soul to the internet, not knowing who's going to see it or what reaction it's going to get. These are the reasons why it took me so long to properly commit to having a blog but, as with most things, now I have it these two things, and everything else that comes along with it, are not so scary at all.
I do still feel a little bit uncomfortable with the self-promotion thing and it's definitely not my favourite part about having a blog, especially in person, but it's something that I've got used to and definitely don't feel scared or embarrassed about anymore. The only advice I really have for starting something you want to do whether it's a blog, a YouTube channel, a music career etc. is just start it. Everyone says this but it's so true. You're going to have to get over being embarrassed about it and, if it's something you feel passionately about and enjoy, you'll get over it so much quicker than you think. Plus, if you're surrounded by good people then they'll support you and if you aren't, at least it will help you realise that there are some shitty people in your life who don't need to be there.
SOCIAL AND PERSONAL LIFE: GOING OUT AND DRINKING ALCOHOL
The next part of my life where I've had to try and do my own thing, and probably the most difficult part for me, is learning how I like to spend my time and realising that this is not how most people my age, in my situation like to do so. Yep, this is the part where I reveal that I'm 19 going on 90, far more inclined to spend my Saturday night watching Strictly Come Dancing then getting drunk and staying up till 5am. I've not always been like this, I used to love a good night out and a drink, admittedly before it was legal/acceptable for me to do so, and I think that's part of the reason why it's mostly not for me anymore.
Some people don't ever grow out of getting drunk and partying but a lot of people do and I think because I started out so early I am just a little bit bored by it now and definitely not excited by it. The other reasons why I've retired from being a party type of girl are much more difficult to navigate as they're purely health related. I've struggled with IBS and anxiety, as you'll probably know if you've read my blog before, for over 2 years now and they are both extremely negatively affected by drinking alcohol and a lack of sleep. I'm not going to go into it too much, because you really don't want to know about my digestive issues, trust me, but after drinking 3-4 ciders on Thursday night, I was not only fairly drunk (I've always been a lightweight but my lack of drinking has only accentuated that) but I spent the entirety of Friday with horrendous stomach pains, meaning I struggled to stand up by the end of the day, plus any feelings of anxiety are multiplied by 100.
This has been quite difficult for me because, as a student, the main activity that my friends engage in is drinking alcohol (FYI: I don't judge them for this at all, everyone enjoys different things and they're just as entitled to enjoy drinking as I am to not enjoy it). However, in my experience, the best thing you can do in these types of situations is be open with people. No one is going to get annoyed with you if you tell them how negatively you feel about doing something (even if your reasons for this aren't health-related) but they might if you cancel on plans last minute with an obviously-fake excuse or constantly decline their plans with no explanations. My friends are always so kind to me about not drinking or not going out and try to make effort with me to organise different types of things to do, meaning I rarely have to force myself through awkward and anxious nights and even worse morning-afters, something that was a weekly affair for me during my first year of UNI when I refused to be honest with anyone about it.
MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: DEALING WITH ANXIETY
The final thing I want to discuss is dealing with mental health issues and I know this sounds weird because 'doing your own thing' does not usually equate to having anxiety. But I think the most important thing in dealing with a mental health problem is accepting it and being confident that you know what the best things to do for you are and doing them, no matter what anyone else thinks. If you want to eat a pack of biscuits for tea because that's the only thing you feel hungry for and you don't have the energy to make anything else, do it (this is a case study from my life, specifically during the last week). If you feel like you need an extension on an essay or any sort of mitigating circumstances, talk to someone at your school/college/UNI about it.
You're the only person who knows exactly how you feel and you can't be embarrassed about your needs or the way you're feeling and avoid them because no one else is going to be able to guess what you want to do and help you. Something I found difficult last year and over the past week since moving back to UNI is feeling like I need/want to come home because being at UNI makes me anxious. There is such a stigma around going home from UNI, in my experience, because people feel as though they need to 'stick it out' to prove their independence and that UNI is the best years of their life. I felt the same way last year and forced myself to stay for UNI for weeks even though I knew a weekend at home would do me the world of good and I was very much in a position to go home. Now, mostly because of the incredible support of my friends and family, I feel absolutely no shame in coming home for a weekend or even every weekend, because if that's what I need to do to get through the days without a panic attack then that's what I'll do.
I realise this post has been a little bit of a ramble but it's something that I've wanted to speak about for a while and, clearly, have a lot to say about. I hope it's inspired you to do something this week that you want to do for you, whether that's starting a blog, saying no to something you don't want to do or booking an appointment with a counsellor. Be sure to leave me a comment or message me on social media if you want to discuss this topic further or talk about my experiences or your experiences. My DM's on Twitter and Instagram are always open!