“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth”
Oh 2016, you were a real bastard weren’t you?
No wait, I take that back. For the most part, you were the biggest babe imaginable; full of travelling the world, opportunities I never dreamed possible, laughter, love and a dream career that grew from strength to strength and filled my heart with so much happiness and fulfilment. But then you scattered little raindrops of shite – or you know, more specifically, grief and heartbreak – all over it, and sadly, those little droplets took the best year of my life to potentially the worst and this is where we’re at right now. Which is a bit grim because you know, you want to go into the New Year being like “watch out world” but actually I’m kinda crawling into 2017 like, “oh please be nice boo, I actually can’t cope with any more shit”.
So let’s start with the good because I’m feeling all moaning myrtle and I’m trying not to be about that life at the minute. I started the year full of positivity. My blog had just started to be recognised a little, I’d been invited to a couple of press trips and rather than feeling like I was drowning in a sea of massive fish that didn’t have a clue I existed, I felt a little bit like I was doggy paddling and definitely not drowning and maybe sometimes a lot of my much bigger peers even knew who I was too. At the beginning of the year, if you’d have told me I’d go on to work on a mammoth – and maybe slightly ridiculous – 68 brand collaborations (sponsored, for the sake of transparency), I would never have believed you. If you’d have told me I’d have collaborated with some of my favourite brands like Max Factor, Loreal, Elizabeth Arden, Clinique, Cartier (I know!), Primark etc. I’d have never believed you. If I had one tiny little inkling that I would travel the world and see Dubai, Paris, South of France, Italy, New York, Spain etc. … that I’d have stayed in some of the dreamiest London hotels (including The Shard), I actually would never have believed it for a single second. And if you’d have said that I would’ve been the face of a brand and my moosh would’ve been in Superdrugs all over the UK I actually would lol’d so hard in your face.
Because I’m an ogre, so lol, no pal that surely never should’ve happened!
I am so aware that that probably sounds like the arsiest (not a word), braggiest (100% not a word), most self indulgent paragraph that has ever been written but please know, the only reason I’m saying this is because this year I somehow managed to achieve things I could never even dream of, so if you are that person that has a list full of dreams and goals but never thinks that they’re possible… they are absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt achievable if, basically, you work your arse off like you never have before!
Other than work, my life was good. I loved my new house, I loved my relationship… I was happy, I was settled, I was comfortable. This for me, was pretty much it. I have also made some of the best friends this year, and my relationships with some previous friends has developed into one of those god damn awesome “whatsapp basically everyday” kinda ones and honestly, this year has taught me that friendship is everything. It’s also taught me that you can have people that you would’ve classed as one of your best friends, that you talk to all the time, and then when shit gets real and you’re in a real bad place, they will just disappear off of the face of the earth. But you know what, that is absolutely OK. Because, without sounding like a tryna be sassy knob head, this is 100% their loss because why would I ever want that kind of flakey, “I’ll chat if I can moan about something insignificant and not really listen to your rock bottom struggles” person in my life? I wouldn’t, you’re so right!
Forward to June. I remember this day so f**king vividly. I’d travelled to Rayleigh to meet Hannah to shoot a campaign together for Fat Face and I just had such a good time. We got the shots, demolished chips, dips, houmous, all of the meats and basically all of the cheese and carbs and good things in life. When I got home from the shoot, my Mum called me to say that my Grandad was ill. I’ve gone through this a little bit in a blog post here, but in short, he had a major stroke and I spent the next 3 days by his side. Every second of every day. We “slept” on windowsills, the floor, the edge of the bed, a chair… it was just the most horrendously horrific time in my life and I just remember feeling this constant state of panic that I hadn’t told him I loved him enough, I hadn’t seen him enough (I think I actually probably did both of these things more than enough but when you know you don’t have much of a chance left you just regret everything and anything don’t you?), and honestly, when he finally passed away, a small little piece of me just went with him because you see, my Grandad was just one of the best people to have walked the planet, let alone be in my life. He was a gentleman. He was funny, kind, witty… he was a provider and he treated my Nan like royalty and if I’m honest, he is one of the biggest reasons why my standards for men are almost set unreachabley high. And even though his passing was categorically the worst thing I’d ever gone through, I just feel so endlessly grateful to have known him for 23 years. And to have known that men like him actually exist.
I thought, after going through such heartache with losing my Grandad that nothing else in the world could make 2016 any worse. I am absolutely not going into any details – and I never, ever will – out of sheer and utter respect for that person, but at the very end of 2016, my engagement/relationship came to an end and I felt a kind of pain that I never even knew was possible. Shock, anger, hurt, devastation, disappointment, hope, failed hope, failure, confusion… emptiness. They are all emotions that I felt so strongly that at points I genuinely couldn’t even breathe. I was always one of those “independent women” that just thought they would be OK if anything happened, but I was not OK. I felt sick, I couldn’t sleep, I was a complete and utter mess and I just want to put it out there right now that if it wasn’t for my family and friends (in particular, Ally, who was the brightest star in the gloomiest night and actually saved me. Hayley and Meg were also just the best people ever).. I have no idea how I’d have gotten through. Of course, I’m not through it already, I am beyond aware that I have a long, painful journey ahead, but the difference now is that I know that, in the end, I’ll be OK. I can accept a situation that was entirely out of my hands and I can finally look in the mirror, in spite of all the lack of self worth/confidence that you feel when you go through something like this, and I can tell myself, with complete and utter sincerity, that I deserve better. I deserve happiness. I actually may never find it (in a man), I actually might end up on my own for the rest of my life but I would rather do this than settle for a situation that’s less than I deserve. The thing is, when you have a near perfect relationship – and it was, it was full of love and laughter and pure friendship – and then it quite literally gets thrown away, it completely eats you up inside about the fact that; surely I clearly wasn’t good enough? Maybe after years of happiness I just wasn’t enough any more? But what I soon realised is that is isn’t a reflection on me, and actually, I get to walk away from the situation with absolutely no regrets and my head held high… I am not the one that has to live with regrets and never being able to forgive themselves and I am endlessly grateful for that.
“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth”
Do I feel like I failed at love because I was engaged to be married and that didn’t work out? Yeah, of course. Do I feel absolutely gutted that I couldn’t/wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to a side of the family that had taken me under their wing and got on with so well? Devastated. Do I question most days how two people that were on the most part so perfect for each other didn’t work out? Yeah, in the bad moments (which are less and less frequent every single day) it kinda eats me up inside. But the thing is, I’ve always thrown the quote “everything happens for a reason” around, but this truly tested my beliefs in that quote, and actually… I still believe this to be utterly true. I guess really, I just felt the absolute need to talk about the relationship side of things as a) every single meeting I go to I am constantly asked by PR’s/brands when I’m getting married and let me just tell you that when I was going through the worst of the break up, I literally just held myself together enough to pass off the question and change subjects (before going home and crying hysterically about the fact that said wedding will never happen). And b) I guess because so many people just see Bloggers/Youtubers/Influencers Instagram feeds and therefore they must live the perfect life, right? They see me go to shoots, they see me with the biggest smile and the loudest laugh and they just think that life’s perfect and carefree. And I think it’s incredibly important to realise that you just never know what is going on in people’s lives behind the scenes, so please just be kind, and never judge. Everybody is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
I honestly don’t know what, or maybe even who, is out there for me in 2017, but I hope and pray that it involves adventure, experiences of a lifetime, hard work paying off, family health, the pain of this heartbreak fading (preferably as quick as possible!), constant laughter, new friendships, old friendships thriving. And happiness.
Through everything I’ve been through this year, the highest of highs and lowest of lows, all I ever really want in life is happiness.
I want to end this in a sassy way like, here’s to making the next year the best one yet but realistically, 2016 taught me that you never, ever know what’s around the corner. And life can change, inconceivably, in a single moment. So rather than attacking life and planning out world domination (said completely ironically because I’ve definitely not turned into one of those really annoying “sassy, take over the planet, bossing life” bloggers that think they can own the world), I think I’m just going to take each day as it comes and trust in the fact that what’s meant to be will find it’s way.
So thank you 2016 – and soz for calling you a bastard at the beginning – for giving me experiences of a lifetime, and teaching me life lessons that’ll last me a lifetime.