Finding Myself Again

For the past few months I’ve been living in Cardiff and to say the least it’s been hard to adjust. I never really felt a strong connection to the city and haven’t been able to really find my place here, yet. I originally saw this place as dismal, I haven’t really felt a spark of inspiration or joy towards the city. In part, it’s probably because I’m not used to busy, cramped city life with no greenery or ocean surrounding me. I felt a real disconnect from everything and everyone, including myself. Eventually, piece by piece I’ve been building myself back up and really trying to figure my new self out as an independent young adult. I started to build the space around me to reflect the kind of person I am. I’ve been sending out the energy I wish to receive in return. I’ve managed to create a home out of my halls and my room really is my little haven now. It’s so relaxing and I’m so glad that I did this to really help me settle in and make something my own. It really helps that I love my flatmates. We’re like a little family. I guess it just takes time to really settle in and find out the kinds of things you like and dislike. You get to know people and who they really are and the same for yourself. Independence can really change a person and make them see the world from a completely different, unsheltered, perspective.

It’s so important to surround yourself with like minded people who want the best for you as much as you want the best for them. It is so easy to lose yourself in the mix of things. I found at first I really wasn’t myself, I couldn’t be happy because I simply wasn’t. I felt out of place and I was annoyed at myself for not being my authentic self. That’s the beauty but also the ugliness of starting a fresh somewhere new, you can be anyone that you want to be. It gets dangerous when you become someone that even you don’t recognise. I never really changed all that much when arriving in Cardiff, just a more sheltered version of myself. I guess that all comes with nerves and being scared of what others think of you. Now I can say that I am myself and I feel moving away has helped me find more of myself, some aspects that I had never really focused on or developed before. It can be hard to let go of the past and easier to just stay in the same place with all the same people not really changing anything that you’re doing or experiencing new things but life isn’t as simple as that. In order for us to grow and develop as people we need to go through things that may challenge us or scare us. We need to realise that there is so much we have not yet experienced and something we should strive for. We should accept change and enjoy the journey. No one achieved their greatness by staying in the same place their whole life.

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This Is Halloween

For Halloween this year my friends and I decided, even though we have our deadline this week, that it would be a great idea to dress up and go for a night out on the actual Tuesday. It was actually so much fun. Two friends and I got ready together and helped one another with our makeup. I dressed up as a fortune teller and did crazy makeup for the first time ever and it actually turned out quite well. We didn’t finish getting ready until about half 9 before we met our others friends, had a few drinks and head to a cool little pub.

I really feel like my inner being was revealed when I dressed up as a fortune teller. I even took two of my friends down to my room and gave them a reading. It was quite funny and a little silly (thanks to the gin) but I really enjoyed myself. I got my outfit in part from a charity shop and in part from a sale so it was actually super cheap and really easy to find. Dressing up is so much fun, you can be whoever you want to be and really become someone new for the evening.

Halloween is really such an amazing time, people really go all out and don’t care about what anyone thinks of them. You become a character, someone that is free to do whatever they want and enjoy themselves without limits. No one tends to judge as hard on Halloween, it’s more about having fun and seeing all the different kinds of costumes that people go for. I love this time of year and the joy it brings. There is so much to do and to get excited about, like Bonfire Night in a couple of days and, of course, Christmas. I do have to say that Halloween is probably my favourite holiday just because it isn’t really about anything more than dressing up and having fun. There’s no deeper reasoning for it and it’s something that can really be celebrated all over the world.

6 Months On Film

An entire half of 2017 has gone by and what have I done? I have faced many new challenges, some of which were much harder to overcome than others. One thing that I have learned is patience. You must wait for the things that you desire most and no matter how badly you want them they will not come to you until they are ready. I like to reflect to prove to myself that I have grown and what I have taken on with that growth. This year I have become a more caring person, a strong one and a more passionate and driven person. I strive for the things that are out of my reach because I need these challenges to excite me, to bring me purpose.

For this half of the year I have taken photos using a disposable camera. I used it sparingly and only used it when I deemed it necessary. Many of the images I have forgotten about because they all seem to be from so long ago. It’s funny how we say time flies and yet when we look back on recents months we feel that they are so far away from us that we can no longer remember the content that filled them. I have taken so long to fill up the film on this roll because I wanted the images to be real, something that I can see and generate a memory or some sort of meaning towards. I still haven’t seen the images myself but am excited to reveal them. What did 6 months younger me deem important enough to photograph on a non-deletable device? Something I hope to be able to shed some light on soon.

I like to think that the images I made with this disposable camera are amateur, a stepping stone towards using film. I wasn’t thinking in a photographic sense when making these images, I simply took my camera out when and if I wanted to. When it felt like the right moment. Some of the images on here are really beautiful scenes of the island I am from. Many include my mother. It took something drastic for me to fully understand the kind of love I have for my mum. I never knew it existed until I thought I might lose her. I realised that I love my mum with all my being and it is this unconditional feeling and this feeling of so much love. I care so much for her, beyond words. At the beginning of the year I looked after her while she was recovering from a long time in hospital and it gave me a sense of purpose. I didn’t once get fed up or tired of  it, I enjoyed caring for her. I seriously appreciate everything my mum does for me and I care for her so deeply that my heart kind of aches when I talk about it. The images I created were mainly inspired and surrounded by her, a kind of homage to her.

Upon looking at the images I really noticed a pattern. One of which started as quite dismal and sad, the images are all very dark and mysterious to then suddenly bright and happy. The first images were taken when my mother was in a coma and I felt lost. I felt like I had lost all sense of purpose and that nothing really mattered anymore. Until she woke up and was on the road to recovery. I did not make happy photographs until she was with me. The first image is that of the boats and the blue sky where I went with my mum, her best friend and her daughter and we just got some lunch together. It was a peaceful day. I didn’t realise while making all of these images that they changed in this way but I guess they really reflect my feeling. They give a physical embodiment to help express my lack of words at the time. I became a sort of mute when things got bad, I bottled myself up and that was how I coped. I kept myself to myself and that was it. These images really have helped me to express my thoughts. It’s amazing what stories images can tell, especially using film where you can’t edit or reshoot and change anything afterwards.

A Week In Cardiff

You never really fully believe something is going to happen until it does. Yet somehow, I’m still in denial. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I’ve been living in a new place for about a week now. I’ve moved away from my little isolated island and I’m now in a busy (for me) city centre. I don’t know if I feel overwhelmed by it all or if my mind just hasn’t caught up to the whole idea of living away from home yet. From what I feel after the first week, I’m actually having a great time. I’ve got great flat mates and been having fun getting to know fellow first years as well as some of the third years through this task that we’ve been set for the week.

Cardiff is a really nice city. I’ve not really ventured out too far from where I am staying but so far it’s pretty decent. For our task we went round to a load of different locations around the city centre and ended up at the Bay. I mean, it’s not quite home but it’s cute there and there seems to be a fair bit to do there too. It’s a lot noisier over here than back home too, everyone seems to be doing something at all hours of the day. I can’t complain though, I’m adjusting and getting used to it. Being away from home has also really reminded me of how lucky I am to have grown up and lived where I did. Such a beautiful island that I really do appreciate and am excited to get back there and do some projects because it really hasn’t been explored all too much in terms of the photography world. My little island may be small but it is rich in stories, tales and mysteries that people just haven’t ventured into or discovered. Something I plan on doing.

I never really thought that university would be how it has been so far for me. It’s so much more relaxed and everyone is here because they want to be here. It’s all very student driven and there is this sense of excitement in the air. People want to be here. People want to be a part of this environment and that in itself is so motivating. Seeing others and how passionate they are just excites me more and makes me more enthusiastic to learn and develop as much as I can. That’s the beauty of university, I guess. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ready for something in my life. I feel completely at ease. I didn’t feel overly anxious like I usually would, I felt like I was meant to be here. I knew that this is something I should be doing and so nothing else really matters, in the end everything will sort of just fall into place. Being in an environment full of like-minded people is really encouraging and helps with the whole being away from home thing. I feel like this is an opportunity for me to become increasingly independent and to learn what it is actually like to have my own life, without being co-dependant on family or friends. Here’s to new beginnings and a new exciting journey.

Living With Fear

Sometimes we let fear drive us. We let it stop us from doing the things we desire most. Like stepping out and doing something different, talking to the cute guy you like, making new friends or even smaller things. It can really grab a hold of our lives and dominate how we do things. We give it this sense of power that it holds against us and we bow down to it because that’s easier than actually standing up and going for the things you want in life.

 

I am guilty of allowing fear to dominate certain aspects of my life which also stems from anxiety. It is this annoying little part of my brain that I don’t seem to have access to shut down. We’ve grown into this ‘comfortable’ way of living. We won’t do things that are unusual or that may draw attention to us with the fear of no longer fitting in. Honestly, fitting in should be the least of your worries. We need to just live the our best lives and be happy knowing that we’ve at least tried to accomplish everything that we set our minds to. Don’t let fear stop you from being happy and achieving the unimaginable.

 

Easier said than done, right? I’m always telling my friends to love themselves and to see how amazing they are and yet I find it hard to find those things in myself. It’s so easy to tell someone to do something when you yourself don’t have to do it. But if we would only realise that life is so much brighter on the other side of fear. We can achieve so much and although at the time it might scare you, this new thing or new idea will help mould the next step in your life. It will always teach us, we can learn and grow from everything we do in life. When we look back on the things that used to scare us when we were younger we mostly laugh because how could we be so worried about those tiny little things? Well, think of your life in that sense. In 10 years time you will probably laugh at how little and insignificant your worry and fear was back then because none of it really matters anymore. Be open to change. Be open to new opportunities and new adventures. Live the life that you dream up in your head and don’t be fearful that people won’t like you or that you’ll stand out against the crowd. Be your best individual self and love the life that you are living and be grateful for every moment that you get to walk this earth. Love is everywhere and it is a much better feeling than fear.

Just Live

For me, love comes in many forms. I love my family, my friends and so many little things in life but in so many different ways. That is the beauty of love, I guess, it is unlimited and can be felt for a great deal of reasons not just falling in love with someone. One of the big things about being human is our ability to love, to choose love. We can fight it all we like but sometimes you just cannot help the overwhelming sense of happiness and pleasure you get from even the little things. A couple of months ago I went to a gig and I had such an amazing time and my heart felt so full. In that moment I was so in love with life and so thankful for everything that I have. Now sometimes it can be hard to really appreciate and love our lives because there is so much going on in not only the world but our own individual lives too. Sometimes it can be hard to choose love because we are so used to being met with war, hatred and darkness in the news, in relationships, in everything. It’s ok to be down about that sometimes but we should really focus on how precious this life is and that we don’t know if we will ever get a second chance in another life so we have to just go for it in this one. We need to learn to love ourselves, to really show ourselves that we care. Focus on making yourself the best version of you that you can possibly fathom and don’t settle for anyone that makes you think any less of yourself. Live in every moment. That doesn’t mean you have to go party every weekend or have to be doing something completely amazing every single day. I want to be happy with my life and to appreciate the little things because to some people those tiny things we take for granted is something that they dream of having or being able to do. Let go of the expectations and limitations that society has put on us with social media and the image of the perfect life.

Be in love with your life and you will prosper. Help others see the beauty in what they have and it will not only fill your own heart but it will fill theirs as well. This world has enough negativity through politicians, governments, wars and violence but we can change that. If we choose peace, love and serenity we will be able to live our best lives and in turn show others that they too can live the same kind of peaceful life.

Who Am I?

Who am I? A question, I’m sure, we’ve all asked ourselves at one stage in our lives. What is my purpose here? Do I have one? Or is that something humankind made up to make us feel like we have meaning, to make us feel that we are valid. I’m not sure but I am sure that I want to find out. I want to explore the world, to open my mind to new possibilities, to different ways of life other than the way I’ve been brought up to accept. I’ve not yet found myself but I know where I want to go and who I want to become. It will take some time and a lot of hard work but I’ll get there. It can be hard though, to just take the risk and follow your biggest desires. To be vulnerable and for people to be able to see that vulnerability. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how much my life has changed and how much I have changed as a person in as little as a year. I look back at old photos, looking at myself thinking who the hell is she? I not only look different physically but I feel different. The way I am and the way I think is entirely different to how I used to be. We’re constantly changing and change isn’t a bad thing, it’s just new. I’ll never be able to hold on to the old me because as I’ve grown as a human being I’ve opened my mind to so much more, been taught new ideas and ways of thinking. I will constantly be changing and I’m ok with that. I just need to find myself along the way, to realise who I am and to accept myself.

Sometimes I think our perceptions of ourselves are construed by the media, we’re brainwashed into thinking a certain way. To feel a certain way about ourselves and we’re taught, men and women, to compare ourselves to one another. We’ve been made to think less of ourselves and to self deprecate. We are the creators in our own minds and we’re allowing the media to manipulate our train of thought to change our perceptions on life and the things that matter. I know that physical beauty is a trivial desire and to feel beautiful on the inside is a lot more rewarding experience, it just takes time to grow that confidence and knowledge of yourself. The media seems to have this hold on all of us, one that manipulates how we naturally feel and twists it into a feeling that will benefit advertisers. When did we become so shallow? Day by day I am learning my purpose on this earth and you should know too that this purpose of yours cannot be lessened by what others think of you or by who the media tells you that you should be.