2013 was the most important year of my life so far. I left high school with a set of GCSE results that I'm proud of, I attended prom, I started college and I got my first job at a major high street fashion store. School was a very restricting and negative place for me, I didn't enjoy the majority of my five years there and so leaving was a big relief as I was no longer forced to interact with rude, immature people. I'm a very honest and outspoken person, I say things how they are and I don't let people walk all over me, which, when you're surrounded by people who get their kicks from other people's misery and expect you to stand by and let them do it, can make you quite unpopular. The long and gloriously sunny ten weeks that followed was the best summer of my life. I explored one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Barcelona, which I am itching to visit again. However, looking back, I wish I'd done more this summer, I wish I'd said yes to more of the opportunities I was offered, rather than letting my irrational fear of things going wrong stop me. 2013 also highlighted the difference between true friends and false ones. I think that sometimes we only develop friendships with people when it is easy to do so, and therefore if the distance between you and a person grows, and you cannot be bothered to put the effort in to see that person, then you don't truly need them in your life. Starting college has shown me that not every young person is as shallow minded as those I spent five years in a classroom with. I have made more friends, people that I actually trust and feel as though I can be myself around, since September than I have throughout my whole childhood, and I think that speaks volumes.
Despite the confident persona I am told I give off, I'm actually a very insecure person and this definitely stems from the aforementioned issues. It feels odd to tell you this, but I have decided that I want to be more honest and open about my life, because you guys have certainly changed it. I have never thought of myself as pretty, attractive, or anything of the sort and I'm not body confident in the slightest, and these insecurities are magnified when it seems that every day on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, we are told what society deems to be, and not to be, beautiful. This is why I spent most of 2013 'trying to lose weight and tone up' and vying for the attention of boys, and being incredibly upset when neither of these things materialised. I think my insecurities are the reason why I stopped blogging and making videos for a couple of months, because every time I shot an outfit post or filmed myself chatting away to a tripod, deep down I wasn't happy with how I looked and therefore the idea of publishing the post or video filled me with unhappy and anxious thoughts. I think as bloggers, in general, we aspire to compete with the seemingly perfect lifestyle a lucky few 'professional' bloggers lead, and so we try to shy away from or cover up any negativity in the life we publish online. For me, this blog was my paradise, a place where I could escape from reality, and although it still is, problems and setbacks are what makes us human, so rather than pretending they don't exist I'm going to be honest about them, starting from now.
In the past month I've developed a different outlook on blogging. Photography is one of my passions in life, and the beautiful photographs my new camera and 50mm lens create fills me with so much joy - rather than dreading hitting the publish button on an outfit post, I'm now excited for you guys to see what I've been wearing. I've always felt compelled to stick to a certain type of content on this blog, and therefore I've struggled to fit myself into the category of fashion, beauty or lifestyle. However in 2014 I am going to strive for individuality and spontaneity in my blog posts, because life is too short to follow the crowd. I want to build this corner of the internet into something I can be proud of, and something that others enjoy visiting, starting with a little design makeover as you can see. The heartwarming comments I receive at the bottom of my posts, on Twitter and by email honestly mean more to me than I could ever express, and the amount of truly amazing people I've had the pleasure of getting to know online and even meet has restored my rather dampened faith in the online community. Despite not yet experiencing bitchiness online, it is still rife and it saddens me to admit but I doubt it will ever disappear, but I've come to realise that the kind of people who think it's okay to say something hurtful online to feel better about their own lives, are not the kind of people worth wasting a breath or brain cell on. Why waste your twitter characters, or even worse words from your mouth, on saying something negative when you could brighten someone's day just as easily? If I read a blog post and I think someone looks stunning, I tell them, because you never know how much a compliment could mean to that person, or how much hope, relief or happiness it will give them. The same goes for everyday life; telling a girl at college that her hair looks nice or letting a girl in the street know that I love her coat, doesn't just make that person feel good, it makes me feel good too!
After reflecting on the past, and almost if not completely overcoming a lot of insecurities and problems, I am now eagerly awaiting what the future holds. I know what I want in life, and I will do whatever it takes to achieve my goals. I'll leave long term aspirations for another post (if you'd even like to hear about them that is) but for the next twelve months the list is short and sweet; strive to reach my AS Level target grades, but not feel disheartened if I don't quite manage them. Research, visit and apply to universities and internships in the fashion industry. Instead of saying no to opportunities because of the few things that could go wrong, say yes because of everything that could go right. Cut down on frivolous spending and save for something life-changing instead. Experiment more with makeup, because 'the face is a blank canvas and every brush stroke creates something magical'. Sing more, because singing to me is like water to a fish. And finally, I will learn to love myself, and teach others to do the same, because perfection is overrated.
Hello 2014, I'm excited to get to know you.