Hello, hi there,
How are you? Been quite a while since we caught up hasn’t it. Before lockdown began by my count! Somehow both a lot and a lot of nothing has happened since then. I haven’t even had a chance to write up my Sweden travel diaries, which will have to wait, but in the meantime there’s a lot to talk about. Grab a cup of tea and let’s chat… You might have to bear with me in this post because my minds has been a busy little place recently – as I’m sure lots of people have found in the dreaded ‘L’ word (I’m going to start putting £1 in a jar every time I say ‘unprecedented’…).
Work / Life
I’ve been struggling under a lot of pressure with work recently – I work in hospitality [software] so the pendulum has really swung – it’s been quiet as most of my clients have been furloughed, but also busy because we developed a free ordering platform for them, which a lot of them will use to reopen – as the government recently announced this was on the cards, we’ve had heaps of them back in touch. There’s also some big deadlines coinciding all in the same week. It’s gone from 0-60 in the blink of an eye, which is OK but with separate projects, timelines and requirements I always find myself a little (a LOT!) nervous about pulling these things off. I’ll be working with some of my team on Saturday to run support, so spare a thought for me as you venture to a pub for the first time in months for a nice cold pint as I’ll be sat with the dog, my laptop and a Support inbox ;-).
I work in a family business, which is both fun and challenging in equal measure. Lockdown has given me a lot of time to think about what I want to do in years to come and after this job. A lot of thought later, I’ve decided I’ll head back into the industry I spent the first ten years of my career in – digital and social media. I worked for some incredible brands like L’Orèal, Garnier, Essie, Honda, Avis, Zipcar and some less ‘shiny’ brands, like the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (yes, really!). It’s an arena I understand really well and enjoy doing stuff on even in my spare time – Instagram content, blogging etc. I am however, super rusty – Digital is a really quick moving industry and things change literally every day. I’ve saved for a while and I’m really excited to be starting a diploma in Digital Marketing. I have literally no qualifications and I’m dorkily excited to buy flashcards and put my brain to use learning things I’m really passionate about. I also have to take an exam – if you have any revision tips please HALP and send them my way.
Love / Life
Oh. Christ. We can probably keep this short and simple. Met someone at the beginning of L*ckdown (ugh) – introduced by a mutual friend, we began chatting. It carried on all of lockdown, became really close and then… Actually, not sure I’m ready to go into it. I’m missing him, or maybe just chatting to him on the daily [and luckily for me he knows nothing about this little patch of the internet so I can get away with writing this 😉 ] but it put me in a strange place for a couple of reasons that are indirectly related to talking to someone…
Usually when I meet someone I’m convinced it won’t go to plan, and most of the time they, or I, don’t stick around long enough to find out. When you talk to someone who’s really on your wavelength, who wants the same things you want from life and you talk about things like a future together, your outlook changes a lot. I haven’t really got clear on this in my head yet or what it all means, I just know there was potential for something I didn’t think would happen for me and then it went away again. I’ve spent some time re-evaluating some big questions and that’s thrown me off kilter a bit – I’ve always tried to live by the mantra of ‘Trust the timing of your life’ but there are somethings where time might not be on my side for much longer. It’s alright – there’s nothing to change the outcome of what happened. I’ve given myself a good few cries about it and at the moment I’m busy repeating the mantra that, if nothing else I’m grateful I had someone so lovely to chat to for the duration of Lockdown. That will have to do.
This period in my life has taught me a lot about people – especially the company you keep close to you. There are those that will come through for you when the chips are down and those that won’t, and importantly, some who simply can’t because they’re just not in that headspace. It’s important to learn the difference between the latter two, but it’s not always easy. Be kind to your friends, but be kind to yourself too. Not everyone is out to let you down or leave you in the dark.
So I dropped off the radar on here a little bit after I came back from my amazing 30th birthday trip to Sweden with my favourite gals as I became pretty ill. I had a respiratory infection and ended up unable to breathe at work. At the time corona virus wasn’t really ‘in’ the UK although J, one of the Three Musketeers who went to Sweden 🙂 also came down with an awful cough which lasted for weeks, too. At the doctors they advised me they didn’t consider what I had to be Corona Virus as I’d travelled back from Sweden, not Asia. I ended up on 9 different tablets a day to help me breathe and since then I’ve had pretty bad asthma and allergies for the first time in my life. I’ve never really had health anxiety per se, but I do find myself nervous if I forget an inhaler etc. It’s a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things, but it did take me a while to recover and I continued working throughout feeling so ill and I was exhausted. Blogging, as a result, did not come high up on the priority list and neither did much socialising etc either – I was simply so done in from fighting off some nasty infection.
Mental Health / Life
Mental Health isn’t easy to deal with at the best of times – it’s not a linear thing, which is something I always remind myself of – especially when I feel frustrated. Early lockdown I started to really, really struggle with the way I looked. I’d had a few comments from family which I’m sure were harmless in their intention but had such a lasting impact. Weight loss is something I always struggle with and I’ve had quite a few soul crushing days of looking in the mirror wondering if any one will actually ever find me attractive. I love photos – I always take heaps, but I dread events where I know there’ll be people taking ‘candid’ and off guard photos and at 30 I just don’t want to be like that. I’m sure I’m the most annoying friend because pretty much every photo that features more that 10% of my body [not good with percentages soz] is usually greeted by a grimace from me. So then I went and spent money on a heap of XXL clothes, all of which swamped me and my housemate laughed at me and said ‘you are ridiculous.’ To be honest it’s such an uphill struggle and I have no idea where to begin – I’ve always worn baggy clothes to hide what I look like where possible – I’ll never buy anything bodycon and honestly most of the time I just feel overwhelmed putting even jeans and a t-shirt on to leave the house. Realistically, it’s London. I’ve literally seen people walk down the street naked and people not bat an eye lid, but there’s just always that voice in the back of my head that says ‘don’t you think people will comment on the fact your arms look big in that’, or ‘maybe you shouldn’t wear something thats so tight as it shows off your stomach’ etc. I can’t tell you how much of my mind this particular anxiety has taken up recently or how ridiculously vacuous I feel for thinking about it so much. Social media is full of these beautiful, thin, surgically enhanced women and its inevitable and impossible not to draw comparisons. I’ve stopped weighing myself and am just trying to see how clothes fit, and I’m generally trying to stick to my 10,000 steps a day but you know, sometimes you just can’t and that’s OK too. I’ve got some new outfits coming and I’m going to try and pluck up the courage to post a couple of full body pictures [with NO filter] on my Instagram (@_findingkate_ over there…)
I’ve been pretty proud of myself for keeping intrusive thoughts generally largely in check, so I’m trying to be a bit kind to myself about things where I can be, even if some days it is harder than ever because to the current situation [that’s another phrase that warrants a £1 in the jar I think..!].
The stress levels I’ve felt recently have been unprecedented [I jest, but also *puts £1 in jar*] and I know I usually finish posts like this with some kind of ‘here I am out the other side and it’s all going to be ok’ type end, but to be honest with you – I’m not out the other side. I’m kind of in the middle of all of this, as well as a couple of other things that aren’t for sharing here but are very sad and very private.
All I can tell you is, I’m exhausted, it’s hard, but there is catharsis in small things – like writing a rambly blog post that probably only your Mum will read even though its kept you awake until some ungodly hour and Netflix has had the audacity to ask twice if you want to continue watching Friends.
So the best advice I can give you just now is, when the world feels overwhelming, find solace and comfort in the littlest of things. The cold side of the pillow. When you wake up before your alarm. The smell of coffee. The comfort of a warm cup of tea. The feeling of a new book. The smell of an old one. The dog that bounds up to you in the park. The moment the sun peaks through the clouds. When the rain hammers against the window. The feeling of a text from someone who really makes you smile. The peace and quiet of an empty house. The noise of a full one. The first sip of an ice cold wine. Ducklings at the pond. The simple healing power of being out in nature.
They’re not big things, they won’t change your life and they won’t magically make the fog lift, but for just a fraction of a millisecond, they might just remind you that better days are coming.
I hope you’re OK and that we speak again much sooner than it took us to this time.
PS – Yoast told me this post’s readability needs improvement. Sorry about that!
PPS – I’m very superstitious. On Dec 31st this year I updated my Instagram bio to read ‘excited for 2020’ … do you think its possible that I tempted fate with that comment..?!
PPPS – I wrote this at about 2am, so sorry if it’s a bit of a mess of a post 🙂
Hi Kate, amazing to see you back writing. Through the ups and the downs I always enjoy reading your blogs and I’m sorry that the last few months have been so turbulent in a lot ways, but I definitely agree that you can take pleasure and happiness from the simple things in life. It sounds like you’re a woman with a plan in your mind, and amazing that you’re going to get back to education, get a new qualification and go after the things that you want in your life. Through following you on social media (hopefully not in a stalky way!) it seems you’re a creative, honest, open, hardworking and talented person, I’m sure you’ll get the things that you want and better days will come your way. Over the last year or so I’ve definitely come to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason (tho sometime the reason is that I’m stupid and make mad decisions!), at the time you can be pulling your hair out and worrying yourself silly but further down the line things just seem to make sense. And hey, worst case scenario is that our galaxy will be destroyed in approximately 4-5 billion years so if you want something what’ve you got to lose (I’ve been reading a book on space…!)…
Keep doing what you’re doing, sounds to me like you face challenges and do things every day that lots of people would shy away from so that’s something to be proud of. So keep on going out there, smashing life, chasing the things you want and being Kate the Great! Xx