46 // TIME TO REFLECT 2017

It’s that time to take a look at what’s happened over 2017. If you’re going to read, make a tea – it’s a long one again.

2017 I feel can be defined as period of pressure which is both good and bad. Some of the aftershocks from previous years have been felt throughout this year and made it quite hard. There’s been a lot of work which has been stressful. I’ve also taken on a lot of other peoples emotions and stress which was very hard to manage emotionally and I find it very difficult to switch that off. I wouldn’t say life is much different from the outside but I feel like a very different person now and I feel like I’ve lost who I am a little along the way. I’ve also found some contrasting aspects of myself which has been throwing me through a loop. The biggest thing I’m taking away from this year is I need to occupy some space and put myself as a priority. I need to reconfigure and rediscover who I am and really think about what the important things are to me.

Without further adieu.

2017:

What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Personally… travelling and exploring. I visited three countries: Gran Canaria, Italy & Portugal. And those moments spent with people I love exploring new places were such a highlight. The more time I spend at home in England, honestly, the more trapped I’ve been feeling. I’m itching to see new places and these little trips have been little spots of joy in the year.

What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

Communication. Either I’ve been too scared, worried, overwhelmed, upset or too pissed off and annoyed to communicate effectively with the outcomes that I was intending. I’ve spent a lot of time getting wrapped up in things that felt like unnecessary drama because communication was poor, and I’ve also spent a lot of time processing everything in my mind which has basically been brain soup; everything in there has been disconnected and disordered.

I was reminded about personality types and got a bit obsessed. I’m an INFJ on the Myers Briggs test and it’s the rarest personality type. I discovered when this type gets overly stressed (which I think I have been this year) we can pretty much go full on robot. Stuck in an introverted intuition and introverted thinking loop which doesn’t involve any feelings whatsoever, and if pushed we can shut people out pretty instantaneously with this mental doorslam. I feel like both these things have happened this year, and I feel like this has also hindered communication progress. To fix it I need to start getting my feels on but I’m not sure I’m ready yet.

 What was an unexpected joy this past year?

Exercise. I started exercising about half way through the year. I wasn’t really intending on it becoming a thing – I ridiculously thought I could do a 6 week course and end up feeling and looking amazing, but soon came to realise 6 weeks of exercise isn’t really going to undo 6 years of eating whatever I want and sitting on my arse. So that soon turned into 6 months.

I wouldn’t say I enjoy the act of exercise, but the process is making me feel better within my body which I’ve been feeling a bit insecure about for the last few years. I like feeling healthier. And I’ve enjoyed the feelings of accomplishment: going from being able to hold a plank for about 8 seconds, to being able to do a full minute… or realising I can do 80 press ups in 5 minutes even if they are on my knees. The people in my classes have been fun and the groups have been small. The teachers are great and on occasion I’ve felt really upbeat and like I can take on the world after class. It’s taken up a lot of time this year but worth it.

What was an unexpected obstacle?

Turning vegetarian. I’ve was only really eating meat for the last few years to keep harmony in my relationships, and frankly I was being lazy and making the most of convenience by not giving it up sooner. I discovered my cholesterol was too high, and so I wanted to lower it. After reading studies and watching documentaries and videos about animal agriculture it made sense to me to give up this thing I didn’t particularly enjoy anyway. I want to feel healthy in my body, I want to reduce my impact on the environment and not inflict the psychological pressure of killing these creatures on other people, and I had to look honestly and see these animals for what they are – which to me is really no different from my dog. They are sentient, they feel emotions, they love, they get scared, they have personalities, and they want to survive.

And diet wise it’s been perfect, I’m not fussy, and I’m happy to take whats available. However, it has made others around me uncomfortable which was never my intention – from figuring out meals at home, to how people react when eating out. And I’ve been eating this way for the majority of the last three years, without anyone seeming to pay any attention. Not a terrible obstacle but managing other peoples feelings about it have been rather unexpected.

Pick three words to describe this past year.

Highs & Lows.

What was the best thing you read this year?

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. And it was inspiring as anything to read something written by such a powerhouse of a woman and relate to her insecurities and fears; and see how saying a simple yes can add such a great deal of value to life.

Who were your most valuable relationships with?

My mum, Aaron, Audrey and Juliette were probably there for me the most and have given me support when I needed it. I was so appreciative to work with Olly again as he was really reliable and we both pushed each other to be better at our respective jobs.

I also love how because of Mikee and my brother I’ve now got three almost sisters who I’m discovering are all just incredible people.

What were your favourite moments spent with your friends & family?

Gran Canaria with Mikee – finding the secret pool, exploring sand dunes, having a spa day, swimming and seeing the most beautiful sunset from the mountains and star gazing being the most magical experience. Cook ups with the Reed family, eating all the food and drinking all the drinks. Spring rolls and pizza galore. Seeing Zola Blood, Cathy and Bonobo perform. Seeing the books I illustrated for Thames & Hudson in print and feeling immensely proud. Cathy teaching me basic ukulele. Clearing out a lot of unnecessary things and having a boot sale with my family.

Swimming with Mikee, and having walks with Piggy: to the Thames Barrier, to Polpo in Central, over the downs, in Richmond and through Bermondsey. Doing an animation workshop while hungover AF. Making donuts and pasta and falafels and even more spring rolls. Ripping up the floor in our hallway, doing some DIY and feeling productive. Hanging out with Juliette: Afternoon tea at the Barbican conservatory, Rough Trade photos and exploring Shoreditch during the design festival. A trip to the seven sisters, getting lost in East Dean and having dinner in Brighton. Unplanned BBQs, ramen, drawing at the Horniman Museum and having drinks with the queen at Lil Nan’s Bar. Park hangs and wine with Aoife. Working and fun with Hussain. Ice cream and silly beach picnics with Emma at home.

Greenwich, silly photos, Pride, lino printing with stolen artwork, veggie dinners and skateboarding attempts with Audrey. Watching Death Note and talking for hours and hours with Dan. Working, ideas, burgers and chats with Olly. The shard with Christina and Dorian, meeting up with Uni peoples. Drinking way too much Prosecco in the park with Aaron, embarrassing myself at James’ and sobering up with pizza. Playing with tarot cards, wearing facemasks and laughing our butts off at horror movies. Sleeping Beauty Ballet buns, drag bars, Halloween flashings, looking fly and seeing art with my favourite old housemate. Facetiming with Dad. Passing out in my mums garden in the sunshine because I was so exhausted. Getting soaked under the most amazing weather while at the beach, at home family blood tests and new doggy additions to the family. Grandads 91st birthday at my Aunties house and getting to talk to my cousins. Italy with mum where we ate lots of gelato and climbed a mountain.

Dancing into the morning with Antonia on multiple occasions and being a sucky wing woman to my sister from another mister. Being incredibly happy for her when meeting her new lady friend. Being a dream team while photographing things for Tesco & Buzzfeed, 5ive at Pizza Pilgrims, Puppy Pilgrims, office dogs and Antonia’s mums hilarious 50th birthday where Aaron was ‘one of the girls’. Not forgetting the incredible night at the Moulin Rouge where we had far too much champagne and Antonia had to dance in a cage and shove her face in my sweaty chest for fake money.

Tom and Kerry’s wedding, walks with Maria and Josefine, Massages from Ariana and cracking the Rawkin Vegan branding for her. Veggie food with Swedish Emma. Lunch & Gelato with Kasia, seeing her and Oli off to Denmark. Working with Sara at The Body Shop and just generally joking around with the guys who work there. Working with Alice and Aleksandra at home – the beautiful talented girls who helped lighten my load over the summer. Seeing Stefan Sagmeister talk at CSM, and lending a hand with the third years. Three day Christmas’ with family, Star Wars with Mikee and Sarah and treating Grandad to lunch and hearing all about his time in India during the war.

As I said, it’s not all been bad.

What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?

It isn’t so much a compliment, but I sent a present to a friend after they received some bad news and they phoned me up to say thank you and that the parcel arrived at the time they needed it the most.

In what ways did you grow emotionally and physically?

Physically. I started exercising more which means I’ve hopefully shrunk some fat and grown some muscle. I also cut my hair and donated it to the little princess trust. It felt good to cut my hair, like a weight had been lifted.

Emotionally. As mentioned I feel a bit more lost so I guess I need to find myself again. But I also spent a bit of time talking to a therapist this year, and while I’ve barely told anyone about this, it’s helped me figure out certain boundaries I need to put in place and it’s made me consider the value we all give and receive in our relationships with others.

What was the most enjoyable part of your work?

I’ve probably most enjoyed working with incredible people who are fantastic at their jobs. I’ve also enjoyed seeing myself succeed a bit further than the previous year when I decided to make the jump into this adventure. I’ll do a separate post summing up all the things I’ve been up to.

What was the most challenging part of your work?

Work/life balance for sure. Working too much. Feeling exhausted.

What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

The trains. Bloody delays, delays, delays. It took me three hours, two trains, walking and two busses to get home one evening.

What was the best way you used your time this past year?

Focussing on my health. I understand what’s going on in my body. I physically understand myself more. I also have made it important to spend time relaxing. I just need to spend more time focussing on my mental wellbeing alongside that now.

What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

I need to occupy some space and put myself as a priority.

2018:

What do you want the overarching theme for your 2018 to be?

Balance and clarity. Figuring out who I am again.

What are you looking forward to next year?

  • Figuring things out.
  • Working on our kitchen and bathroom and making improvements to our flat.
  • Spending weekends doing cultural things, exploring and going to exhibitions.
  • Going to Crazy Golf and learning to Lindy Hop with Mikee.
  • More gigs: Already have Little Comets and Django Django lined up. Maybe even Ronnie Scotts Jazz Orchestra.
  • Working with a mentor.
  • Going on a little getaway with Mikee thanks to his sister Fenella, hopefully it’ll be in a treehouse.
  • Exploring Paris with Mama Buggins.
  • Hopefully exploring New York with Mikee.

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2018?

Mikee. My family. And just generally people who are important to me, and who challenge and inspire me.

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?

My confidence and ability to generate and share ideas rapidly – I’ve been a bit rusty.

What do you want your everyday life to be like?

Balanced and not chaotic all the time which is how this year has ended.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?

Learning to say no and understanding myself better.

What do you want to achieve career-wise?

I want to set up my studio and level up my practice.

How do you want to remember the year 2018 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?

I want to remember it as the year I started to get my shit together.

What is your number one goal for 2018?

My forever goal is happiness and positivity.

Happy new year dears! I hope you all have a balanced time too.

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