Chapter One


I think it’s safe to say that 2017 was a year with a penchant for turning things upside down and a knack for causing trouble, but it is no longer 2017.

I have another blog, but reading through it over the last few weeks made me realise just how sad all the stuff was that I’d thought enough about to type up. This is its counter; no more wallowing in despair unless I can also write something good about it too, silver linings all the way from now on.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been focusing a lot on Morocco – I was there surfing at the beginning of December and it was definitely the best thing I could’ve done. I nearly didn’t go, because of him, but I did and for a week everything here that had been so completely heartbreaking and all-consuming seemed to evaporate in the sun. I met people I would never have met otherwise, and rode a camel, surfed, laughed, smiled, and was properly happy. I could think about everything that had happened without shutting down or dissolving into a mess of tears, and there began forming a way out of the awful pit I’d been in before.

Coming home from there was sad – it was an emotional trip for many reasons, not only because it was a retreat – but it was also a chance for me draw on those sun-kissed memories and start holding my head up again. Now, weeks later, I am so incredibly proud of myself; I could have stayed home and allowed things to stay the same, bad, but instead I did something scary and am growing from it.

I think it’s important to look back at things, but imperative to hold in mind just how far you’ve come. If you’re looking back happily then fantastic, hold onto that happiness and grow it to spill from you in smiles and laughter. If you’re looking back sadly then learn from what it is that made you sad. If you’re doing what I’m doing, looking back with a heart-wrenching mixture of both then you must stand up and begin looking forward, taking from your past elements that will help you to move on. Life doesn’t stop when you want it to, time doesn’t slow down, the universe isn’t put on hold because you will it to be so, and nothing ever stays the same. Stand tall and find a reason to be proud of yourself, look how far you’ve come, and look how much further you will go.


Getting It Together

The last few weeks have pretty much been made up of me trying to be positive, not just more positive but actually happy. The first few days after making the decision to Be Happy were fine, but then came the darker days where positivity seemed like a mask I could hide behind instead of confronting all the crap I’d pushed aside in order to Be Happy.

I’m moving out in just under two weeks, which is simultaneously really exciting but also absolutely terrifying and really sad. I’ve probably written about it before but I don’t get on with my mum, and recently it’s got a lot worse. I need to move out more than want to at this point, even though I’ve wanted to move out for years. I think now it’s actually happening the reality of what it means to leave home has hit me pretty hard, because it’s not like I’m moving out for the adventure of university and halls and that whole new life; I’ve got to go, which is shit. It’s particularly shit because I’ll no longer live 20 minutes away from everyone I know and want to spend time with. This time in 2 weeks I’ll be an hour away from them all, and it terrifies me that that’s going to be too far for them to want to travel so we just won’t see each other. I know, I know, that if we’re as close as I think then distance isn’t an issue, but an hour is a tricky amount of time – it’s close enough that you can easily say ‘it’s only an hour away’ but it’s also far enough that it’s just as easy to say ‘ugh, an hour?!’ and that’s what scares me most.

I’m not that worried about not seeing my friends, because I completely believe that they’ll see an hour as only an hour, but my boyfriend being of the second opinion does worry me, lots. It’s not that I doubt that I’ll see him, because he’s my boyfriend, of course I will. It’s just anxiety, but that doesn’t make it easier to push aside the worry. I hate that my anxiety is back (so strongly). I want it gone, I hate it. There’s always this thing in the back of my head that whispers that my boyfriend doesn’t love me anymore, or that he’s falling out of love. It whispers that I annoy him, and that he deserves better, and that I’m unlovable completely. I’m trying so hard to try and quieten it, but it’s not working anymore.

I’ve somehow gone back to just sitting, with some tv show on in the background, for whole days. I just sit there and do nothing, and then it gets dark and I get into bed and just lie there, then just as I’m finally falling asleep, finally doing something, my mind wakes up and reminds me just how bad a person I am. Thing is, I know really deep down that I’m not a bad person, but knowing that doesn’t allow me to push aside the whispers because they’re so goddamn reasonable.

I’m so scared about moving out. I don’t want to move away, but then at the same time the only reason I’ve ever wanted to do uni is for the social aspect and the living in halls aspect. I feel like I’ve got to go, but I’m not convinced it’s the right thing. Obviously I can’t live at my mum’s anymore, and it’s not like there’s anywhere else to go so this is as good as I can hope for, just really scary.

Also I think my depression is coming back, so yay.

This Again

I found out two days ago that someone close to me has cancer. The person who told me is someone I love very much, and the pain their face was the most heartbreaking thing.

I don’t know how to help this person, as they aren’t the person with cancer but are very, very close to that person, much more so than I am.

Cancer terrifies me – I know people who’ve had it and survived, and I know people who’ve had it and are no longer here. It doesn’t give two shits who you are or where you’re from or how loved you are, it just exists and keeps existing. Sometimes it’s conquered and sometimes not, but the battle against it is so incredibly hard, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It scares me so much that this person has kept this to themselves for as long as they have, but they don’t know that I know so there’s absolutely nothing I can do for them. The person who told me is the one I have to help, or comfort, or whatever the hell it is I need to do to make sure they’re ok.

I’m not sure how to help – when I was them I was a lot younger and while it was awful it was happening to 14 year old me, not 18 year old us, and so it was all a little bit different. It was scary and sad but not this, so I just feel very useless right now.

I hope that continuing to just be me around this person helps them, because I know normalcy is so important at times like this when everything seems so very up in the air.

To be honest, it’s all very shit but it’s going to be ok, it has to be. I am far too stubborn to let people I love get hurt, it’s just not gonna happen more than it has now.

Just a thought

I woke up before anyone else this morning and suddenly had the realisation, while considering ways to motivate myself, that out of all the people I could've been I was born as me. I could've been anyone else at all, or no one, but instead I was made as me. Doesn't that prove that I'm supposed to be here? For some reason instead of anyone else it was me that came into being at that particular point in time, and I don't know about you but I think that's pretty amazing – I'm here for a reason, we all are. Not one of us deserves any less than to be alive because we were born to live.
(Which reminds me… alive or just breathing?)

Bit Of A Shambles Tbh

A-levels are over! Yay! No more school! Or revision! Time for Netflix! All day! Unlimited time to duvet-burrito! No need to get up! Or dressed! Or do anything at all!

And therein lies the problem. What the hell am I supposed to do now? Even though I did relatively little revision, by which I mean next to none, I still had a proper purpose and something to aim towards. Now, with no exams, I’ve found myself at the beginning of a slippery slope that’s started with bed and Netflix and the fridge. It’s great for a couple of hours but then I realised that I have two months of summer before uni that I need to fill, and no way can I do that with days spent in bed rather than actually doing things. I need to find a new purpose, one that means I’ll meet people and live rather just exist.

For a lot of the summer all my friends are away and they’re all away at the same time. I can’t lie, I’m worried; I don’t like being on my own, there’s too much I don’t want to think about (probably more on that in a different post). Therefore, I’ve got to find things to do that, at the very least, get me out of the house.

I’ve just got off the phone after crying to a friend, who’s already away, about this dreadful cliff I find myself standing on the edge of, and he suggested buying cheap train tickets and just going to places for a day. I like the sound of that – there’s a lot to see and you can go quite far in a day. He also reckons writing stuff into my calendar so there are little milestones and things to look forward to is a good way to go.

(Side note: he’s going to Costa Rica to help build a school, which was a trip organised by my school, but I missed a place by one person and to be quite honest I’m pretty gutted because that is exactly the sort of thing I want to do. I want to do something like that at some point but part of the allure of the trip was that it was still partially linked to my school, and so would’ve included people I already know, even if only through passing them in corridors.)

The long and the short of it is that I need to find things to do (in London, which you’d think would be easy) where I can meet people, and I need to get back to being ok on my own. Stress.

The Beginning 

So, awhile ago I began talking to Daniel, the homeless man at the end of my road. I asked him to take photos of things he saw, where he slept, and just general visual documentation of his life on the streets. He agreed, and I gave him a camera. 

Now, a couple of weeks after that, the photos have been developed! I was so happy when he gave me back the camera, with no space for more photos but now, physically holding his life in my hands, I am beyond overjoyed. 

The photos he took came out in the typical disposable camera style – slightly faded and very candid. I love that about them, and the quality only further emphasises the life captured in moments in these pictures. They’re so much more than I could ever have imagined, and each one has a distinct feeling attached to it, making each incredibly beautiful. 

They hold an immense power, and are absolutely amazing – I am so ridiculously happy that Daniel agreed to help me with this project. 

Now, I want to show him the developed pictures and ask if he minds if I display them in one of the two small window galleries nearby. If he agrees, I would like to try and sell duplicates and use the money to help him and the others in the homeless community – I don’t want prison to be a realistic ideal because it would allow them ‘a warm bed and a decent meal’, like Daniel once said it would be. I want to properly talk to him about what would help him, and use any money I potentially got from the photos to do just that. 

This could be the start of something big, and I am so excited. 


First off, I’m writing this on my phone so I can’t promise perfect spelling or any of that. 

Secondly, I will hear from Central Saint Martins about whether or not I’ve got onto their foundation course on Wednesday. I have a ‘backup plan’ but in all honesty I don’t like it – my second choice is a college that does a UAL approved foundation course, so it’s good, but it’s not CSM. Obviously. 

So there’s the stress of not getting in, but then my boyfriend applied for the same course. Now, his art is amazing, not even from a biased view – it’s just flipping amazing. Incredible. Fantastic. Honestly, it’s unique and interesting and just so good

I want him to get into CSM so much, and I genuinely believe that he will. However, I want to get in too. Ideally we both would but this is not, and never has been, an ideal world. 

I’m so scared that he’s going to get in and I’m not, which I would hate to sound mean and selfish even though I know it does. The idea of not being with him and not seeing him every day like I pretty much do now, given that we go to the same school, absolutely petrifies me, and I mean petrifies – I just freeze up and see panic and it’s horrible. I love him so much and the thought of him going there and meeting someone amazing and arty and perfect is awful, but at the same time I want more than anything for him to be happy. I don’t actually, rationally, think he’d just up and leave me because I have far more trust in him than that, but irrationally my brain says otherwise and that argument is far louder in my head. 

Of course, him going there and me not could also result in us staying together and everything would be lovely. 

We could also both get in and be happy there together, or both get in and break up. 

Neither of us might get in and we could stay together or break up. 

I have no way of knowing what’s going to happen and that is horrible because it means that anything could. On the flip side, of course, that means endless possibilities but right now I’m stuck panicking over all these possible futures. 

I just think that, to me, is both going to CSM would mean us staying together, as if that black and white plan is a definite. 

I realise that all of this sounds a lot like CSM is important only so that we stay together, which is actually not true at all – it’s one of the absolute best art schools in the world and has the most amazing facilities. As well as that it attracts people from everywhere, and is essentially a concentrated melting pot of cultures and lives and that fascinates me. I love meeting people and they would all be there because they love art, something I love and always have loved. To get in there would be amazing. 

In all honesty, it’s the only thing in my life I’ve ever worked for – I winged my GCSEs and really my A-Levels aren’t looking too great right now either, although I am trying with them. I’ve always had this stupid mentality of ‘what happens happens because it’s the right thing’ which is bullshit because I think, with GCSEs, the right thing would’ve been for me to have worked and got grades that were good for me, not just ok ones that reflected well on the school. I could’ve done so much better. 

But with CSM… it’s art. It’s the thing I have always done and have always loved, forever. I’ve always had drawings stuck on my walls and photos stashed in boxes or blue-tacked to my windows, mirrors, doorframe… I love making things, and more specifically making things out of nothing – old bits of stuff I’ve found along the street or in skips or something that have become actual pieces of art. I love it, and to me CSM is an opportunity for my hobby to become something more and to maybe be recognised as something more by people who actually know. 

I’ve never worked for anything, but this. My portfolio was beautifully mounted and I love the sketchbooks I showed them. I can honestly say that I tried, and not only that but I gave it my all. 

If I don’t get in and he does, I will be so proud of him and pleased for him but I know that it will hurt me a huge amount, far too much for me to actually admit to, although I think that’s partly because I refuse to think on that pain long enough to really acknowledge how much of it there is. 

I don’t really know what I’ll do if I don’t get in, and for some reason that’s hit me particularly hard with a big ol’ wave of panic this morning. I think it’s partly because I don’t feel like I’m ready for my a-levels or to leave school and my home life isn’t great and everything has just got a bit much lately, and now there’s a few days until I know whether I’m in or not, and whether I am or not determines a lot of my foreseeable future. 

I really really hope I get in, and I hope he does too (and not for that selfish reason, but because he genuinely deserves it). I really really hope I do. For now, we wait. Agh!!! 

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters

I always wondered why someone hadn’t done something about that, and then I realised that I am someone. 

It’s funny how many people mention in day-to-day conversation something that they’re unhappy with in the wider world. It’s strange that they always say that that thing is ‘awful’ or ‘sad’ or ‘unfair’ or any other negative adjective. It’s remarkable how even one person noticing and commenting on these things has the ability to change them.

Every single person on the planet has the ability to change something for someone, and everyone is capable of making a positive difference in the world around them. If you stop and think about that for a moment or two it becomes a pretty powerful thing; ‘changing the world’ doesn’t have to mean going out to some far flung place you’ve been told needs help because ‘the world’ includes where you are right now, and where you are right now is somewhere you can have a direct impact upon.

For me it took a while for that notion to sink in, because I’ve grown up with charities and programmes that stress orphanage- and school- building in countries far away that don’t have the same facilities as we do here, so for a very long time I thought that the only way I could ‘change the world’ was to leave my own but try and replicate bits of it elsewhere, but that’s really not the mentality needed to succeed in world changing…

We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are. 

Think about a remote village somewhere a world away and think about the fact that this hypothetical place has amount of uneducated children and adults. Now imagine you have the chance to visit this place and do with it what you will. You take up the opportunity and are now all set to go and change this place; (working on the assumption that you have the means to fund this) you’re going to go and build a school and train teachers to teach this community, and as far as you’re concerned that’s that and you can go off and put this plan into motion.

When you get there, you do this and within a period of time you have a school and teachers and students, all of whom are pleased with this change in their community.

But, what does this education system do to the rest of their world? If it suddenly limits the amount of time spent culturally enriching their community, or decreases something imperative to that community’s well-being, then was this project for better or for worse?

If you think about it, when you imagine going off and doing something like this its likely that you picture something familiar, like a standard school for your area, mentally photoshopped into different surroundings. That’s normal, I think, but it’s not quite what we should all be imagining; just because something is how it is here doesn’t mean that it must therefore be like that somewhere else, because whatever it is is how it is because of the community it’s in.

My point here is that we need to consider what the people and/ or place we want to help actually needs to be, rather than trying to mimick our world in someone else’s – just because something seems like it should be a certain way because that’s how we’re used to it doesn’t mean that that’s the only way it should be.

In essence, I mean that we need to really think. What is it that will help? Where can I start? And how? And when? 

Well, I think now is as good a time as any to start looking around and talking to people, to start conversations that matter – I mean, talk about the things that are difficult to talk about and plan and do something to change those things for the better. 

Start a conversation that matters. 

Ask yourself, if not me, who? If not now, when? – Emma Watson  



I’ve booked to get a tattoo at Vagabond studios on Hackney Road, after extensive research, and am so excited. I’ve wanted one for ages and thought the semicolon would be a perfect one for me, but then for various reasons I don’t think that would be so appropriate anymore. I’ve therefore given it some thought and decided on a minimalist design of sand dunes/ a mountain range.

Of course, when I told my mother she went off on one about how I should get a meaningful tattoo – which this is, but I can’t tell her why. She and I don’t have the best relationship at all, so I can’t tell her that this tattoo is simultaneously a representation of where my father (who I’ve never met) is from (somewhere I can never visit) and of a mountain range (about as far removed from the sand dunes as you can get, and as high as you can go on foot). There’s the added (cheesy) bonus that it looks like a heartbeat, which I love because it points towards the father bit but also to the reminder that I’m still here, despite everything.

I can’t tell my mother this as ever since she found out the meaning behind the semicolon she has slipped into conversation the fact that ‘all teenagers feel depressed’. It’s taken all of my resolve to not turn around and snap back that it’s things like that, and people like her, who cause that ‘feeling’ to become a very real, very scary mental health issue that results in far too many teenagers ‘feeling depressed’ and ending their lives, and I can’t tell her that I was almost one of them.

But this tattoo! I am so excited – I’ll post a photo of it when I get it done.

I will not let him die.

A few months ago I began speaking to Daniel, a homeless man who often sits at the end of my road. He told me about the split in his relationship with his wife, and the ‘amazing’ 18-year-old daughter he has who lives with her mother. He has a dog called Poppy who also lives with his wife in Palmers Green, who he wants ownership of when he finds somewhere to live.

I’ve spoken to Daniel pretty much every time I’ve seen him, and if I haven’t stopped for a chat then we’ve always said hello. He knows me as ‘the girl with the photographs’ because I approached him with an idea for an art/ awareness project; I gave him a disposable camera and asked him to take pictures of his daily life. I’m now waiting for them to be developed so I can put them on display somewhere, and honestly I’m really excited because whatever they turn out to be will be an insight into the life of someone who is massively stigmatised by society. The point of my project was to humanise homeless people, something that is so important – when I first spoke to Daniel and asked his name he stared at me and went ‘no one ever asks’ and then ‘no one sees us’. It was then that I promised him that see him, and that I will make others see him, and other homeless people, too.

Lately, Daniel has begun looking awful; he’s hunched over and almost comatose most times I walk past him, and when I say hello there is less and less recognition in his eyes. I know that the world sees the homeless community as druggies, violent and dirty people addicted to mind-altering things. I cannot deny for one moment that this is the case with some, but just like with any stereotype it is the mistakes of the few that taint the many. I hate that, and I hate that Daniel may now be slipping into the stereotype.

He will die. There is little point beating about the bush and denying this because honestly at this point I think it’s the truth, unless someone can help him. But there seemingly exist no charities designed to help the homeless get back on their feet that truly help – sure, the YMCA can offer accommodation but hostels are on average around £8 a night and people like Daniel simply do not have that money. I am well aware that that might be ‘because they spend their money and drugs on alcohol’ but so what? An addiction is an addiction, and it’s terribly difficult to stop, and near impossible to move past without the right kind of help. Charities that do exist are hard to find and even harder to approach if you are in trouble, particularly because those who need the most help are most often those who cannot ask for it.

I don’t know how to help Daniel now, because talking to him cannot get rid of his problems, and buying him food and water cannot make up for the other things in his body.

He can’t die. He is a person, just like you and I are people. He has a family and friends, and I know that this was not the life he chose; he was happy, and it took one small thing to cause a snowball effect that has led to this. I refuse to let him go without a fight, but I don’t know how to help him. If anyone sees this and has any ideas of where to look for assistance I would be eternally grateful because Daniel is my friend. I have seen him change from alive to a shell of the person I met a few months ago, and it is heartbreaking because this is not what he wanted.

I am not asking for money, I am asking for help. I am asking for awareness to be raised of the horrors of homelessness and for the stigma to be lessened. Just because you do not have a home does not mean that you do not deserve one.