2018: Palm Trees & Perseverance
My last post was about the New Year, and now suddenly it’s the night before Valentine’s Day (the less about that the better), we’re thinking about what to give up for lent, and New Year’s resolutions are but a distant memory. With that said though, January, for the first time in my experience, felt like The. Longest. Month. EVER. It was like running a marathon and by the time we reached the 31st I practically collapsed over the finish line.
“Oh really??” I hear you say, “Your instagram sure looked like you were having the time of your life.” Well if we haven’t understood it by 2018 maybe there’s no hope at all, but just in case, here it is for anyone who missed the memo: INSTAGRAM & REAL LIFE ARE NOT THE SAME.
So yes, I don’t know about you, but the start of my year has been challenging to say the least.
I really thought hard about writing this particular post, Sometimes I’m not sure if it’s wise to share so much of my journey when I’m still in the midst of a lot of my struggles, and wonder if instead I should hold it all back and talk about my experiences after the fact, when I actually consider myself “successful.” Surely that would be more inspirational? But then I remember all the good that comes out of me being more open and honest, and why I started doing this in the first place. So I’m going to share a little of what 2018 has looked like so far …
If you follow me online, or know me personally as most of you who read this do, you might have seen I spent the first few weeks of this year in LA. Every time I say that to someone, their face lights up and I can see they’re thinking “Wow! That’s so glamorous!” But let me be clear, there is literally nothing glamorous about it. There are no fancy hotels yet. There’s no one to pick you up at the airport and welcome you. There’s no shopping in Beverley Hills. There’s no sunbathing at Soho House. There’s no group of friends in town to party with. This is not a holiday (despite what my Mum and Dad think). This is hard.
This is trusting your gut that you’re meant to be here even though all the evidence starts to suggest it was a mistake.
This is spending all the money you had on this trip because you know to build relationships you’re actually going to need to be there.
This is pretending not to be disappointed when someone says: “Sorry I have to cancel this time... but next time you’re here for sure!” Like being here is as easy as that.
This is walking two hours across town and back again to save money.
This is wishing you were at home in you own bed.
This is wishing you had someone to have dinner with.
This is FaceTiming your friend in tears at 1AM.
This is knowing that even though you were so glad to get home, you’d put yourself through it all over again in an instant. Because this is a million miles out of your comfort zone. And this is where the good songs, the good stories, and most importantly the really good growing all comes from.
… and all of this was just a couple of weeks! I’m sure it actually sounds a little dramatic from the outside. What’s a couple of weeks? And in a place like that? Anyone could get through that, and no less, love every minute! Believe me I’m grateful to have gone - you can’t beat that California sunshine, and there sure are great views from some of those hills … but if you were throwing yourself off the ledge of comfort every other day like this, and doing it on your own too I might add, you’d come out with some bruises too. Oh and if you think that’s all the happened in January, you can throw in some crushing disappointment from the UK making its way to me via my inbox, topped off with some personal heartache too, to just nicely round things off. 2018 really did not come to play.
(I promise I’m not just here to have a moan … I’m going somewhere with this … )
I’ve re-written this post quite a few times to try and say it right. As it was happening I thought “No way am I telling anyone this stuff!” because I was worried other people would think I was a failure. In fact, scratch that, I was worried I was a failure. But that’s absurd. And once I’d realised that, well I had to share.
On the plane back to London I was reading the memoir of one of my favourite authors and public speakers, and it struck me how many low points she faced. Seriously, no one woman could have this much unfortunate stuff happen surely? Made for one hell of an inspirational story though. Dammit. “This is what this is” I thought. This is part of my hero story. Not one single person who’s career or life I look up to has had it easy. I don’t think a Grammy acceptance speech has ever read: “Thank you so much, no one ever doubted I could do it!” And I don’t think anyone’s ever written a best selling memoir called “Well, That Was Easy.” So this is what this is, another chapter for the story I’ll one day tell in much more detail. Another step on the ladder that, fingers crossed, is getting me one run closer every time. Another idea for another song. Maybe this one will win the Grammy.
I know I haven’t gone into huge detail about my experiences on this occasion, but the point I want to get make (again), is: this is hard. It looks easy, and I’m sure there are other people that are having a much easier time of it, but I’m not one of them. And I’m not going to pretend I am. So, you can think I’m dramatic, you can think I talk about “growth” too much, you can even think I am failing if you want, it doesn’t matter. What I know is that I’m trying my damn best.
And I’m being honest about it.
I'll keep being honest and I'll keep trying. With any luck the highs that are to come will make for a great success story.
Happy February. Keep working on whatever it is that matters to you in 2018, and oh yeah - if you want to surprise me on Valentines, peonies are my favourite and late gifts will of course still be accepted.