BLOGMAS DAY 5: “Aftermath”

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// indicates interrupting/overlapping.

(A group of teenagers/young adults are all gathering their belongings and gradually leaving the room. There is the sound of multiple conversations occurring as they leave through different stage exits. The last 3 are William, Kia and Dr Logan although Kia cannot yet be seen. William is frantically trying to put everything into his bag, before standing up, smiling and looking to Dr Logan, whom he thanks before exiting stage right. Dr Logan and Kia remain on stage. There is an arrangement of empty chairs in a circle, and the two of them are sitting at opposite ends of the circle. There is a digital beeping from Dr Logan’s watch. The sound of a wall clock is ticking, spotlight on Dr Logan only, insinuating that he is the only one there.

Dr Logan: You don’t have to worry. We’ll tackle this together.

Kia: (head is bowed, she says nothing.)

Dr Logan: (His voice sounds awkward and slightly patronising). I bet this feels tricky doesn’t it.

(Spotlight up on Kia)

Kia: (lifts head, looks displeased, remains silent)

Dr Logan: Let’s start nice and gentle, shall we?

(pause)

Dr Logan: Were you there? Did you see it? Look…here…at me. It’s ok.

(further pause and silence)

Dr Logan: (voice is more soothing and calm) Ok. I want you to try and just close your eyes for me. Yeah? Can you do that?

(Kia is silent. Her facial expression gives the impression that she is highly offended, still displeased – as if to say “of course I can”

Dr Logan: I mean…it’s…it’s ok…you don’t have to. (He is running out of ideas.) Just… you know…when you’re ready…you can…you know…

(There is a lengthy pause, exact length is the decision of the director. This can be extended to a few minutes or simply be a case of seconds. During the pause, the clock ticking seems louder, feet are scuffling on the floor, Dr Logan clears his throat several times, looking down then up, then at the clock, then at his watch, whilst occasionally clicking his pen. Kia is more still than Dr Logan who seems to fidget a lot and seem restless and slightly impatient. Dr Logan begins to gather up his belongings, stand up and makes for his exit stage right)

Kia: (head is still looking down, arms remain folded. Mumbling) Of course.

(Dr Logan stops in front of the door, paused. There is a brief silence.)

Dr Logan: (still facing the door but looking slightly towards his left shoulder) …I’m sorry?

Kia: Of course I was fucking there. Of course I was. I was his entire fucking world, and you’re questioning whether I was there or not?!

Dr Logan: (turning around, walking back to his armchair, placing his belongings down. Sits forward, forearms resting on his legs with his hands clasped.) Kia. I don’t doubt that you were. I mean, being his little// girl.

Kia: (monologue begins relatively strong but becomes more emotional throughout as it goes on. Dr Logan is silent throughout. The sound of car brakes screeching, the doors slamming and a man shouting, begging “please no” plays before Kia starts to talk.) // I can still see it. Every. Single. Detail. It was cold and it was dark and it was everything you’d imagine it to look like. It wasn’t my fault. I was putting things in the car and we were talking. He said he was behind me…and he was. But I didn’t see them. I thought he was coming to get into the car. I tried to help but I was useless…I was so fucking useless. Why him? Why did they choose him?

(Dr Logan sits back in his seat, looking empathetic, a notebook on his lap with a pen but he remains still and silent.)

Kia: (becoming increasingly irate) It happened quickly. But, it still seemed to drag on and on and on and on. To the point where I can just…I can see it. I can see it so clearly. Just like. That. Quicker than you could blink. (pause) I had a reason, ok. These men. These disgusting, fucked up excuses of human beings had taken the one thing, the only person I had…and for nothing. (pause) Never in my life had I wished something bad upon anyone.

(Dad enters stage left and sits beside Kia. She does not acknowledge him, nor does she respond to him.)

Dad: No matter how hurt you are, Kia. No matter what people do or say, you must promise me that you’ll be the bigger person. You need to stand up and walk away. Let them be the villain.

(A caretaker enters stage left. He is old and has a sweeping brush. At first, he doesn’t realise the room is occupied. He begins sweeping. As soon as Kia starts talking again, his attention is drawn to her, as he stands in the background watching and listening.)

Kia: (becoming angrier, still. SFX of screaming, police sirens and fighting which result in Kia tightly shutting her eyes, tensing her body and flinching slightly. She bows her head.)…and after all of this has happened, everything I’m telling you, you want to know how it felt…(lifting her head) Why? That’s not going to undo anything is it! It still happened. Not to you. Not to them. Not even to me. It happened to my Dad. It doesn’t matter how I felt because it happened. And right in front of me! And now…he’s not here anymore and I’m in a lot of fucking trouble. I’m sure you’re clever enough to know how that “felt”.

(The caretaker bows his head, removes his flat-cap in respect and puts one hand on his heart. He shakes his head slightly in dismay and makes a slow exit stage left).

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BLOGMAS DAY 4: Pep Talk.

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Today is the day you stop. You stop doubting yourself. You stop saying ‘tomorrow’. You stop making excuses. You stop saying you can’t. You stop comparing yourself to what others have done. You stop limiting your potential. You stop settling for less than you deserve. You stop living a life you know you’re not completely happy with.

Today is the day you start. You start believing in yourself. You start to seize the opportunities that shine towards you, pulling you towards their glow. You start saying ‘I can’. You start doing, rather than just saying. You start to love yourself the way others love you. You start to see challenges, not obstacles. You start to see your worth. You start to say ‘yes’ more. You start to leap, not step.

You begin to change your mindset. You change the way you see the rain; its dancing drops showing life’s unpredictability. You change your alarm – you deserve that lie in. You change relationships; no more focus lands on those who look above you when you stand directly in front of them. You change your hang-ups as you turn them to celebrations. You change your fears and turn them to achievements. You change negativity into strength. You change the way you’re facing; there’s no use looking back – you’re not going that way.

You accept change. You accept the fate of the paths which loved ones take. You accept that time moves on and it’s your responsibility to make of it what you can. You accept your past; it’s gone, it’s happened and you can’t change it. You accept that your situation is preparation for your greatest adventure. You accept that everything happens for a reason and leads you to exactly where you need to be. You accept that there is always opportunity for things to get better; that decision lies within your hands.

You plan. You plan to be happy. You plan for your own future. You plan for excitement and exhilaration to run through your veins. You plan to be the very best version of yourself. You plan to take every step it takes you reach your goal, to grab your dreams. You plan to never give up. You plan to keep going. You plan to push through the hard days with every ounce of strength that you have. You plan to be successful. You plan to make every day a story worth telling.

I refuse to sit back and let you give up on something that has been curated in your mind as something you wish to pursue. Your aspirations, your dreams, your goals – they’re all personal to you and each step is vital towards attaining your success. Be patient. Do your research. Set goals – small and huge. Don’t let anybody stand in the way of reaching that finishing line.

We’re all rooting for you. Be your biggest fan. Whatever it is that you’ve had on your mind whilst reading this, whatever you’ve been relating it to, pursue it now. Get going and smash it.

You’ll thank me, I promise.

BLOGMAS DAY 3: I am I said – Writing the Self – “Anamnesis”

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The year is 2017. A sunny day. Sitting on a bench by the lake is an elderly lady, aged 82, named Lillian, with white permed hair, wearing a pale pink blouse with cream trousers and black brogue shoes. She holds a photo album and a diary on her lap. As she reads each diary entry, she takes on the persona of herself at the age in which she wrote the entry.

Lillian: (opens the diary delicately and begins to read, carefully absorbing each word. She speaks very proper ‘Queens’ English’ with Received Pronunciation, as can be recognised through her accent. Performing as if she is aged 10.) Saturday 10th June, 1944. Today is my 10th birthday. I get to spend it with Mummy and Martha and William but they are still only 2. It’s very sunny and I like the sun because it means I can go to the river and skim stones because I learnt how to do that because George (George is the man who lives at the house) showed me. I’m getting really good! Daddy is good at skimming stones too! But… he never got to show me. I was too little and now Mummy says it might be quite a long time before I see him. But it’s ok, because when I do see Daddy again, he’s going to be soooo impressed with me and he won’t believe I can skim stones! And (she begins to put on some roller skates and glides across the stage. Warm lighting as a representation of a summers day, SFX of birds tweeting and laughter of children playing.) I can roller skate now! Sometimes, I roller skate all day, even at breakfast time!

(She resumes her 82 year old persona and turns the next few pages. She looks deep in thought, but also rather melancholy.)

Lillian: (Performing as her 20 year old self) Thursday 10th June, 1954. He took me dancing. (Lights dim suitable to that of a dance hall and “Papa Loves Mambo” by Perry Como plays. She elegantly dances around the space of the stage throughout monologue) For so many years, I do not recall the last time I danced. It was wonderful. We jived, we did the swing, he took my hands into the depths of his own and whisked me off of my feet, if I do so politely say! I will never forget the words he spoke to me… ‘You’re a darling of a dancer, God has made me a lucky man with the presence of you in my life, that’s something of which I am certain!’ Although, I am sure he was one for sweet talking!

(Resuming aged 82, Lillian sits onto the bench and is smiling. A piece of paper falls out onto the bench. She picks it up and it reads “photo album, page 12”, to which she refers to the photo album. There are 2 photos on the page – one of a 20 year old Lillian and her (now) husband, Franklin dancing in the moment previously described. The other of the couple on their wedding day. The images are projected for the audience to see. Lillian sits up rigidly, portraying the character of Franklin

Lillian (as Franklin, speaking gently and with reassurance): Forever in your heart, as you are mine, holding your hand, as you do mine, loving every inch of you, here, now, and forever. Mr and Mrs Franklin Cunningham.

(An elderly man approaches the bench from behind and takes a seat next to Lillian. It is Franklin. He looks over at the books, then at her. Lillian is still looking at the books. Brief pause.)

Lillian: I say… this…this here, call me mad as a March hare, but I do believe, this girl (she points to the picture) is me. And, do forgive me as I can’t fully seem to recall…I think this man, well… it looks like, perhaps he was my husband.

(Brief pause)

Franklin: Ah, well, it looks a lovely wedding, doesn’t it.

(A video of their wedding is projected behind the couple. Performing as aged 25, Lillian places a veil onto her head and stands. Franklin proceeds to stand with her, taking both of her hands. They begin to slow dance. Lillian stops mid-way through, removes the veil from her head and lets go of his hands. The wedding video stops.)

Lillian: I’m terribly sorry…it’s just that… I don’t know you…I do believe we have just met…

BLOGMAS DAY 2: Writing in Sound – “Solitude”

This piece is a bit different to what I usually post! It’s a creative writing post that I created for audio performance. Of course, reading it is different to how it would sound listening to it with your eyes closed, so your job as my reader is to use your imagination with this one. I want you to visualise the piece. I hope you all love it as much as I loved writing it.

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THE SOUND OF THE OCEAN WAVES CRASHING AGAINST THE SHORE WITH FOOTSTEPS OF SOMEONE RUNNING ALONG A PEBBLE BEACH. THEIR BREATHING IS HEAVY, PANTING FROM RUNNING. YOU HEAR A MUFFLED SOUND OF ROCK MUSIC, AS IF PLAYED THROUGH EARPHONES AND THOSE AROUND CAN FAINTLY HEAR IT. THEN, THE FOOTSTEPS STOP AND YOU HEAR THE SOUND OF THE PERSON PICKING UP A HANDFUL OF PEBBLES. THE FAINT SOUND OF SEAGULLS IS IN THE BACKGROUND. THEY SHOUT AS THEY THROW THE PEBBLES INTO THE SEA, BUT THE PERSON DOES NOT THROW ALL OF THEM. THE REST ARE DROPPED ONTO THE FLOOR. SLOW WALKING FOOTSTEPS BEGIN, ALONG WITH THE CONTINUING SOUND OF THE WAVES, THE MUSIC IS SLIGHTLY QUIETER.  

FIRST VOICE:  I’d felt this before but I just wasn’t expecting it again, and so soon as well.

AS THE MONOLOGUE GOES ON, THE VOICE SOUNDS MORE DESPERATE, CRACKING AND TREMBLING HERE AND THERE, HIGHLY EMOTIVE TONES.

Two weeks. It took me just two weeks to feel this way. To feel as though this person had always been a part of my life. My invulnerable heart had turned to glass and been placed into the hands of someone who didn’t stop throwing it.

THE PERSON BEGINS TO SNIFFLE. A DOG IS BARKING IN THE DISTANCE, IT GETS LOUDER – ONLY A SMALL DOG  – PANTING AS IT GETS CLOSER, THEN PASSES. A DROP OF RAIN, VERY LIGHTLY, GRADUALLY TURNING TO A LIGHT DRIZZLE. THE FOOTSTEPS RESUME.

A heart. A physical thing. A vital thing, actually. Yet something that, at the same time, is linked so closely to emotion. You feel the notions of pain and sorrow and disappointment in your mind, you get the “sinking feeling” in your stomach. Yet when talking of how you feel, it is often you do not mention these things, but rather it is that “my heart…”

INTRODUCE SOUND OF A REGULAR/SLOW HEARTBEAT. RAIN IS ALSO FALLING A LOT HEAVIER IN LARGE AMOUNTS, BUT NOT SO LOUD AS TO OVERPOWER THE VOICE.

“is broken”. My most critically significant organ has become metaphorically shattered by something as simple as human action.

BRIEF PAUSE FROM VOICE. DEEP BREATH. FOOTSTEPS INCREASE TO MATCH THE SOUND OF RUNNING. THE WEATHER TURNS TO BE VERY WINDY NOW, WHILST STILL RAINING.

(more frantic/anxious in tone) I don’t understand it. I’m being controlled by something that I can’t even seem to understand. Why? … What’s wrong with people? What’s wrong with me? What is wrong with me…How? Why? Did I do something? What did… why did… wasn’t I… I can’t just… it’s too hard and it’s fucked up.

RUNNING STOPS. RAIN LIGHTENS BUT DOES NOT COMPLETELY STOP. THE SOUND OF A SQUEAKING SWING SET WITH THE PERSON’S FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING IT, SITTING ON A SWING AND SLOWLY SWINGING. THE SOUND OF INCREDIBLY QUIET, FAINT CONVERSATIONS AND SOUNDS OF THE PUBLIC ACCOMPANY IN THE BACKGROUND. A BOY AND A GIRL TALKING, A MIDDLE AGED-LADY ON THE PHONE, CHILDREN LAUGHING AND PLAYING.

(calmer) Do you think she knows what this is like? Oh she’s definitely in love with him, isn’t she. Has she heard him? You know… saying it. The whole…

SECOND VOICE:  I love you…

FIRST VOICE: thing. Did he mean it? I hope he did. I hope for her, and for her heart’s sake, that he meant it. That with every inch and fibre of his being, he damn well meant it.

THE SOUND OF A MOBILE PHONE RINGING, FOLLOWED BY THE SOUND OF A BEEPING INDICATING IT HAS BEEN DECLINED. SWINGING CONTINUES. YOU HEAR THE BACKGROUND SOUNDS ON THEIR OWN, EMPHASISING THE ENVIRONMENT. THE PHONE CONTINUES TO RING – BOTH TEXT TONES AND PHONE CALLS – ALL OF WHICH ARE DECLINED.

BLOGMAS DAY 1: Imperfectly Perfect

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“Imperfection and perfection go so hand in hand, and our dark and our light are so intertwined that by trying to push the darkness or the so-called negative aspects of our life to the side… we are preventing ourselves from the fullness of life” – Jeff Bridges.

The nature of fulfilling a wholesome and worthwhile life lies within the acknowledgement that as humans, we have imperfections and we make mistakes. It is imperative that we are aware of what constitutes to our whole being, not just the parts which we accept and celebrate.

Size & Weight – Imagine doing a survey. You have asked 10,000 people what they deem as being ‘perfect’ about a partner’s physical appearance. Now think about the results of that survey and consider the likelihood that they all said the same thing? Exactly. About as likely as the chances of me going out and not falling over – slim to impossible. Additionally, if I go out and ask 10,000 people if their shape, their size, their figure stops them from living their best life the chances are I will get a solid hell no! So what if I can’t wear dresses made for gals with amazing big boobs… if anyone thinks that’s stopping me from having the time of my life and shaking what my Momma gave me then I will very politely inform them of their misconceptions. Size 4, size 20, muscular, slim, tall, short – these are not imperfections, they are characteristics. Whether you look at people on Insta and think about how perfect they are or you look in the mirror and crave that same perfection, I’m here to tell you that your perfection is already there. It’s your version and nobody else’s.

Acceptance – This kind of brings me on to my next point about why you must absolutely always realise your individuality. It is often that your unique features are the ones that you wish to change through a fear of imperfection. Think about the things you love in a person – it could be that they have long hair, small feet, braces, a big nose, brown eyes, a loud voice, a bald head – anything. Now consider whether you think every single person on this planet would agree with you. They wouldn’t, right? This is down to individual interpretation of what it means to be perfect. What you consider to be an imperfection, somebody else could love about you. Something you might hate could be something envied by others. You own your own type of perfection that is completely unique – nobody else has your combination of features, love them and appreciate them.

Thoughts – I’ve touched on this before in some of my previous posts but I’m going to discuss it in a slightly different light! The thoughts that pop into our head are something that, no matter how much we’d like to, we can’t control them all. Our brains are incredibly complex and it would be impossible to completely master the way in which they work. This is why we may often have thoughts that are completely against our personal identity and psyche. We don’t always agree with them. We don’t always act on them. It is your own reaction to them which contributes to your persona.

Social media – The sugar-coated lifestyle. The lives that exude everything but reality 95% of the time. The platforms to showcase people’s best bits; their highlights. When searching on Instagram the tag ‘perfect’, there is 46,887,045 results for that word. When clicking onto the tag, there is no set theme. Instead there are a multitude of images depicting different versions of perfection. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is to know boundaries with scroll time. It can be so easy for people to become obsessed with the idea of striving for what somebody else has. To aim towards their idea of perfection instead of shaping their own. Use social media to its most useful extent – don’t be afraid to show off what you think is perfect – whether that is about your life, your friends, your partner, your appearance, your home, your hobbies, your interests. Take ownership of your imperfect perfections.

The biggest factor about perfection is how subjective it really is. Your idea of what perfection means will not match the ideas of the billions of us in the world. What I might see as perfect about myself, others may disagree. But that is irrelevant, because my idea of it is something that affects me. I will use my own conceptions of the term and my own interpretations to search for what matches my individual nature. Celebrate your imperfections and realise them as being incredible contributions to the wonder that you are. Take them hand in hand and celebrate them together for one cannot simply exist without the other; they must thrive together.

GOAL – I want you to write down 10 things (yep, 10) that you think are perfect. Then go out and find them, experience them and appreciate them for all that they are. 

To whom it may concern…

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The following messages contain points which I feel need to be said. They will reveal a multitude of perspectives and a deepened insight to the kinds of people who influence our lives, for good or for worse. They will be honest. They will not brush over details lightly. I meant it when I said this blog would not be sugar-coated. I want to reveal the nature of the people I have thus far encountered. in my life; who knows – you might make an appearance! There is a point to all of this so stick with me here and let me introduce you to the following…

To the guy I liked for 6 years straight completely one-sided. & the guy who insisted he wasn’t looking for a relationship…weeks before entering one with someone else. & the guy who wanted me to book a flight to see them before cutting me right off. & the guy who was willing to have me in the car when drink/drug driving. & the guy who was happy to invite me over…to never speak to me again. & the guy who just didn’t reply. – I wish for each and every one of you that your daughters never get treated this way and that your sons know better. I hope for you to find a moment in your life to understand what your motives were; to know that you caused heartbreak in a person that was willing to give the world for you; to learn from your behaviour when starting new relationships. I hope for you to never have to go through what you put me through and that you are always honest, always a gentleman and always courteous and gracious in the decisions that you make. I hope you realise what your intentions are in enough time.

To those who bullied me in school. Who made me scared to get on the bus. Who would do anything to put me down – whilst only in Primary school. Who left me running from the park in tears. Have you learnt? Or are you still desperately seeking your own validation through the oppressing your peers? I have to thank you in all honesty which I imagine isn’t what you wanted to hear. I learnt from an incredibly early age to face what I was afraid of – which was you. I continued going to school. I continued walking through the park. You were the beginning of my thick skin. I can only pray that your ways have not continued to adulthood; that you have realised being a bully has not benefited or enhanced your life, thus was unnecessary.

To the hearts that I have broken. I am so sorry. I have spent the last 6 years trying to figure shit out; shit about myself, my desires, my interests – turns out I made some mistakes and hurt some people along the way. My wish for you is that you have found somebody worthy of your love – they’ll be such a keeper and I am excited for your happy ending.

To the people that taught me to read. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for inviting me to such worlds where I am captivated and taken away. For allowing me to delve into a book and become absorbed in its wonder; an interest which has strengthened and developed with age; it has opened my mind to endless possibilities.

To the people that told me I couldn’t. I am currently 22 years old. I have a 1st Class Honors degree and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education. I am an Assistant Manager, after progressing up from being a tutor. So, you know what? Actually, I fucking can.

To the girls who loved to put me in their group chat as a topic of conversation; who loved to bond through discussing what they didn’t like about me. I would love to know exactly what I’ve done to you girls to have sparked such a conversation. Have I offended you? Have I upset you? Or is it just a plain dislike – by which case, I believe not talking at all would have a much stronger effect. That way, you can spend your time talking about something a little more worthwhile rather than pin-pointing just what it is that you can’t stand about me. Treat others how you’d like to be treated; you have a responsibility.

To my friends; my best friends. The ones who know exactly what upsets me and worries me. The ones I can lay in bed with being weird as fuck and nobody bats an eyelid. The ones who make me laugh until my stomach hurts. The ones who listen to me and talk to me. The ones I have cried in front of, stressed in front of, spewed in front of and been nothing other than myself – the love and admiration that I have for you is incredible. You are all simply diamonds, shining your sparkles and being beautiful people.

To the friends who are friends but don’t talk much anymore. I hope you are doing well, in fact more than well. I hope you are happy and fulfilling everything that your heart desires. Feel free to drop me a message or a call – I’m always down for a hazelnut latte/pina colada with you.

To my brother. Thank you for being the cool one out of us both – it relieves a lot of pressure on my end!! Thank you for becoming one of my best friends and making me a very proud sister. I always wish the best for you and any path which you follow.

To my Mum and Dad. God. Thank you for your patience. I can’t imagine what it’s been like being responsible for someone like myself – I take my hat off to you both! You are both reflections of who I want to be and I’m excited to share each and every one of my milestones with you.

To the boy I fancied when I was 15 years old. The one with the straightened fringe and the skinny jeans. The one who had lots of friends and was way cooler than I was. Surprise!! Here we are 6-7 years later and you’re all mine! I’m the cat that got the cream! I believe in fate. I believe in everything happening for a damn good reason. Reality is, if this would have happened in year 10, would it have lasted? Let’s be honest – probably not! However fast-forward to our current walks of life and we couldn’t be happier together. I love and appreciate you more than you can imagine.

To the strangers that tell me ‘no’ when I smile at them. Come on, now. Get your lamp and lighten up. I know it’s hard to believe that there are people out there who genuinely want you to feel good and enjoy your day, but we do exist! Here I am! Always be kind to others and acknowledge their interactions with you – you’re no better or worse than any of them.

And finally… I need to put out the most important message of all. To anyone who has:

  1. Supported me – in all aspects of my life
  2. Made me laugh – you know how much I love to laugh
  3. Challenged me – you’ve pushed me to my potential, you’ve given me drive
  4. Made time for me
  5. Taken photos with me
  6. Listened to me
  7. Picked me up off the floor when I fall over – even though you know I like to try myself
  8. Bought me a drink
  9. Bought me anything for that matter
  10. Thought about me
  11. Considered me
  12. Learnt from me
  13. Supported issues closest to my heart with me – mental health and cancer awareness.
  14. Given me a chance
  15. Messaged me first

You are all simply wonderful. The point to this post is to highlight the different kinds of people you will encounter within your life. The gist is that you’ll be able to figure out who still plays an important role in my life and who doesn’t anymore (or never did).

It’s about understanding where your priorities lie and who with. Who has helped to shape the person you are right now, in this second. Hold on to those people and release the rest. Pick yourself up, move forward and don’t forget who’s sticking with you…from dawn to dusk.

‘Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind’                                                                    – Dr Seuss.

 

Where to now?

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It feels like the decisions we make in life all of a sudden seem incredibly momentous; before you can say Jack Robinson they seem to hold great value and significance. One day, it’s deciding which picture you want to colour in, the next it’s what you want to do for the rest of your life. Blink and you’re there. I’m here to explain that you don’t have to have your life planned out, though it may seem that way. Let me tell you why…

It all begins with our education. It seems like you’re always having to decide what you want to do next, how that’s going to impact your future. I know what a testing experience this is. It leads to so much questioning. For me, it began with selecting my options for GCSEs. After exploring all of the different subjects at Secondary school, I knew which subjects were the ones I enjoyed and wanted to continue with. My passion was Drama. This transpired when it quickly came to choosing my A levels. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to continue to 6th form, but I followed the motions and carried on at school. That was when everyone started to talk about what happens after school, as if it’s supposed to be mapped out for us. My school pushed UCAS applications so we were all naturally applying for university. I had no idea how to go about this process. I didn’t know what I was looking for in terms of different universities and courses, I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. I applied anyway. I applied to do Psychology because I was good at it.

With that application sent off and my offers received, I started to look at what my other options might be. I began thinking of all of the careers I’d thought about pursuing. I had experience working in a salon which I enjoyed! But I’d also considered so many other options. I’ve wanted to be a midwife, a beauty therapist, an air hostess, a teacher, a counsellor, a Drama therapist, a performer, a writer… as you can see, I had no idea which direction I wanted to go in. I attended an interview for a course in beauty therapy but soon felt that I was capable of doing more; I wanted something more challenging. Whilst I loved the idea of being a beautician, I felt like my brain could lead me to some other possibilities. I was back at square one. So, I declined my offers to study Psychology at university and decided I’d go on a gap year to figure things out.

Now, going on a gap year, I needed a job. However, my job at the time wasn’t quite what I wanted to carry on doing. I was 18 and working in retail and basically discovered that working in retail wasn’t for me! So I got a job as a maths and English tutor and quickly left the world of retail. I planned on working there as much as possible for the year.

Then came A level results. I did better than I thought so, shock, began to weigh up my options again. I missed Drama and remembered feeling gutted at the thought of never being able to do that job again. I’d also been enjoying my new job as a tutor. A few phone calls later I’m off to uni to do Drama studies and Education studies. Fab, sorted for the next 3 years. I was working and studying and didn’t have anymore decisions to make for a while.

By the end of my undergrad, I was absolutely sure I wanted to be a Drama teacher. Off we go again, going through the motions and I began my teacher training year. I quickly learnt that I loved being in the classroom and teaching Drama. What I didn’t love was that teaching is not just ‘teaching’. Teaching is focused on paperwork, targets, planning, marking, reports, creating resources, not having evenings and weekends with a clear mind for the awareness that there is always something to be doing. So, in January, I applied for a new job. A job that wasn’t teaching. I finished the course but became certain that I wasn’t ready for a career as a teacher. My subject has no respect within the current education system and job security would be slim. At the age of 21, I couldn’t picture myself enjoying my 20s knowing the workload I would be taking on. There would be no work-life balance. I went to my friend’s house and had dinner and basically tried to figure out what on earth I wanted to do with my life! We wrote down ideas and frantically searched the internet exploring all sorts of fields from play therapist to events manager!

I’m now an Assistant Director for a successful tuition company and will be launching one of the new centres. I’ve ended up with a career in management and education! When my lecturers found out I wasn’t going straight into teaching, I had some explaining to do. I had to be so sure of myself that I wasn’t going to follow the motions this time. I was actively going to find something which I knew I would both enjoy and benefit from.

I think the key point that I’m making here, is that it’s completely fine to not know what you want to do with your life. We’re taught that we must have an idea by the age of 15. We aren’t taught that our career plans can change, that’s if we even have one! I have spent a lot of years of my life being unsure of what I wanted to do, what career I wanted to be in, how I wanted to spend my time and I think what would have helped is that reassurance that you can change your mind. That it’s ok to be unsure of your destination. It’s healthy to explore other options if that’s what’s making you happy. So many people are in the same situation, figuring it all out! There’s no timer, there’s no limit. Explore as much as you can. Be brave enough to stray away from just going through the motions. Be strong enough to pursue what’s going to make you happy,  instead of feeling stuck in a position you don’t want to be in. Let your future come to you. Discover what works and what doesn’t. Allow yourself to have an open mind towards new and different opportunities; you might reach a place you never would have imagined.

Just because you devised a plan in Year 11, it doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. Let it evolve with you. Be patient. Try not to panic, you’ve all the time in the world to figure it out! You do you, break your own boundaries, try something new and sieze the opportunities that shine your way and soon your success will radiate around you!