“So what’s the end goal? Who do you want to be?”
I’m an inquisitive person. Whenever I’m with people - new or old - I’m the asker of questions and listener of answers, as opposed to being the one that chats away. If I were to describe myself in one word it would be “interested”, because I am, in everything. Particularly people, though, and more so the nitty gritty thoughts and passions and reflections, as opposed to the surface level factual stuff.
I find myself asking the above question often. Okay, so this is the point in your life that you’re at, but where do you want to be? What do you want to be? Who, even?
I love asking this question because I feel like it brings out more of the essence of a person, rather than the version of themselves that they are most prepared to share with the world. Asking someone who they want to be ultimately requires much more of them than just ‘oh I want earn [x] amount and live in [x] type of property with [x] amount of kids’ - it requires thought, and I love that. I’ll sit there, chin in hand, waiting for their answer, watching them turn over answers in their mind and wondering if they’ve found the right words.
Whilst I’m great at asking these type of questions, I’m not great at answering them. Not in a succinct, articulate fashion anyway. I can ramble for hours following my tangents of thought as I try to get to the answer, but I can never actually get there. The real answer is ‘I don’t know’.
That I can’t offer an end-point, but instead can discuss at length everything that it might take me to get me there, is testament to what that that answers means. I have direction, but no destination. I know which way I’m heading, but I have no idea where that is going to lead.
Here’s the thing. I get restless. Every 2-3 years of doing something, I start thinking ‘okay, so what’s next? What now?’. I can stay still for a long time physically (you all know I’m a lazy, comfy girl), but mentally, I find it hard to focus on one thing and dedicate myself to that for longer than a few years.
I’ve seen this pattern repeated in my life time and time again. The first year of sixth form I was on time, I was doing homework, I was invested, and I aced it. Second year, I started slacking, spending more time at home, wanting to focus my attention elsewhere and barely scraped by.
The same happened with university. The first two years I was dedicated and committed, and in the final year, I barely turned up for anything. Even my first serious relationship - first two years, a-okay, but after that, it was patchy until finally, in year three, it ended. And this pattern of attentiveness repeats, in life, in relationships, in work, in passions - everything. I think I see new things - whether that be a career, a person, an interest - as an uphill hike, and for two years I’m there, working away at it, climbing the hill, learning and developing, but then at some point - whether I’ve gained all that I can gain or not - I’m suddenly struck by this expanse of forever, stretching out before me, and I wonder ‘is this what I want forever?’.
And that’s not a bad thing. I’m just in my early twenties, blindly fumbling my way through as most of us are. I’m dipping my toes into many different pools and testing which temperature fits. The world is a smorgasbord and I’m taking a tasting tour.
However, I have come to realise one thing.
The truth is, I don’t want to be a blogger forever. I love my career, and I love that so much of my career is just me being me, the chubby, short girl from Ipswich who loves music and hates olives (salty devils).
But I am always seeking purpose or something deeper. Anything I do in my life has to mean something, even if that meaning is the realisation that it doesn’t actually mean anything at all. For example, some of the blog posts I write are so fluffy and ‘hey! this is how my day is going and I just had a lovely diet coke’, and in the grand scheme of things, these posts are surface-level fleeting glimpses of how I was coasting through my thoughts at the time - they aren’t important, and they aren’t purposeful, but the meaning comes from what I learn reflecting upon them retrospectively. Sometimes I pat myself on the back and acknowledge that not everything I write has to be moving and emotional, and sometimes I kick myself in the shin and regret not ruminating over the words a little longer before I’ve hit publish.
I love blogging, but I know that this isn’t my end point. I was discussing this with the hilarious, beautiful and talented AJ Odudu the other day, after she’d reflected the ‘so, what’s your end goal?’ question right back at me, and it struck me for the first time that I was maybe getting restless. I’m a compassionate person and I care how other people feel, and I think I’m realising that whatever I create to has to have more impact than a 10 minute enjoyable read on the loo.
So, what’s next? Well, recently I mentioned on my Instagram Stories that I’d like to start offering free photography sessions for smaller bloggers, in an attempt to help them create some hopefully beautiful and useful imagery which is sometimes difficult when you’re working full-time and don’t have the budget for hefty, expensive equipment. It’s also a nice thing for me, offering the prime opportunity for more chin-in-hand chats with new people.
This is definitely on the agenda for the New Year, but I wanted the exchange to have more impact. Since announcing the idea about a month ago, I’ve been quietly mulling it over in the background, wondering what I could do to shape it in a way that’s more than just a photo credit and one blog post of helpfulness. My audience and reach are not overwhelming by any standards, but what little platform I have, I want to use for good, even if only in a small way. So I’ve decided to combine three elements of myself - my intersectional feminism, my blogging, and my desire to help others - to shoot with those that are underrepresented in my industry. Women of colour, plus sized women, trans women, women with health conditions, working class women, and more - all of those women who work twice as hard for half the exposure, and who rarely get reposted on brand feeds and in monthly newsletters because they don’t fit the white/blonde/thin bill. I benefit from this privilege, so I want to use it, in some way, to help lift others up.
So that’s the plan, guys. Come the New Year, I’m going to start setting aside a day here and there in London with a series of time slots, and inviting some talented ladies to come along and join me. If anything, I think it will just be a lovely way to connect with people, and if it makes them feel good about themselves, then I’ll take that as a win too. That’s my direction, for now. What it will result in?
Well, I still don’t have a fucking clue.
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