This post is not related to hair. But this blog has always really been about identity, my identity, and while my hair has played a major role in that growing up and even now, (Black Hair is political) impacting how I see the world and how the world sees me, my identity is much more than hair. This is my corner of the internet and I want to share the experiences of this year that have impacted me and my sense of self. I know a lot of people around the world have gone through major changes too this year (do I need to name it?) so I wanted to share something into the online ether in hopes it resonates, connects, or comforts.
New Years Eve 2019 was pretty whimsical, wearing my Realisation Par LBD and securing a kiss at midnight(ish), I was all set to make 2020 my year of success. In 2019 I had focused on surviving the adventures and heartache to come out the other side feeling a sense of inner peace that was not dependent on anyone but me, an old familiar feeling. 2020 was going to be 2019 but more, forming new relationships, finally finding confidence in my job, I was just beginning to figure out my next plan of action. I’ll be here x amount of months and complete Y achievement and go on to do Z thing. But the truth is I never believed in that plan and it felt like it only had 3 legs to stand on, I wasn’t sure what I wanted or where I wanted to be. So I dived into the grinding life that is London and was tremendously busy the first month of 2020 that I didn’t foresee the obvious that was coming my way…
In February I was let go from work. I was shocked that something I had secretly wanted, to be set free from the job that I feel made me low key depressed and heightened my anxiety, was actually dealt to me by the universe; with her saying ‘this is what you wanted I’m going to give it you. Now what?’ My stereotypical Virgo sense of planning ahead had come crashing down and I was left in open water with no land in sight. This instability and uncertainty was new to me, after all i’d been part of the lucky few to get a job straight out of uni. Losing my job gave me a new weird freedom and disorientation, a similar feeling you have after a breakup from a long term relationship, where you start meeting new people, creating a new routine and a new sense of self. Turns out losing your job is the same!
In the longest month ever known, March saw me embark on freelance life for the first time and surprisingly it got off to a positive start, and I was excited for all the jobs I could be working on with all the people I wanted to work with. But while March promised momentum in all areas of my life it all slowly and quickly came to a halt as Lockdown cemented. For me, the first 2 months of Lockdown was like a still sea and I actually enjoyed it, even when, looking back now, I had been craving for a slower pace of life, slower pace of London life. To be able to really digest my current existence, what I want and want to do in the next 5 years (again the Virgo struck). It was a meditative time with a lot of emotions. I do realise that was a privilege compared to people working in the NHS/ essential workers. I also chose not to join the exodus out of London back to my hometown because for me that would have took a toll of my mental health and really set me back. That was also another privilege I saw some people have, a safe and stable home environment to go back to. Instead I stayed, almost like a challenge to myself to take care of my spaceship. And in turn I was reignited to my passions and hobbies; focusing on my blog and instagram, watching films and TV on my watchlists (I watched 9 seasons of Greys Anatomy back to back, still some to go…), to read, paint, write, game (thank you Animal Crossing), cook, bake, workout (regularly for the first time!) and look pretty without having to be seen or leered at, and take selfies just for the fun of it.
Abruptly in came June. I haven’t had such a seminal month in a long time. It started with a breakup and ended with me moving house for the first time after 3 years living in the same place (longest i’ve been in one spot for a long time). I had let something(s) go, a process of de-attachment I didn’t think i’d be doing in more ways than one. Alongside this I had my first personal achievement in my career happen that helped with my imposter syndrome and helped ease some of my anxiety left over from my previous job. Then the BLM movement erupted and the world rose up. The week it kicked off was also the week leading up to my shoot. I was a mess; hardly ate or dressed, on a quietly nerve wrecking edge and all the while the outcries of the revolutionaries rang in my ears. A new social awakening cracked open that I had seen simmering for some time, people, brands and everything were being held accountable and it brought joy, sorrow and relief. It was a hard time to be on social media but also an important time to be present, as with everything online there is a sense of authenticity and also performative action. My views on social media, social activism online have been in new discourse and I don’t think I have the words to explain as it’s such a nuanced conversation, but my favourite person i’ve discovered amongst this is Ayishat Akanbi who talks eloquently about it all here.
As we enter July I begin to reflect on the initial Lockdown period which has allowed me to really process the feelings I had had throughout the start of this year. I had felt lost and a mounting pressure being in mid-twenties. I had felt my self esteem taking punches like a punching bag for some time. It came in waves and drowned me out so much that I didn’t even recognise myself when I was under it. My gut was doing cartwheels with a self fulling prophecy at the back of my mind. I’ve come to accept my gut feelings are true and real even if I don’t know what they are trying to tell me. but I still feel I am left to find new pieces of myself again in this open water. Growing older means seeing yourself more clearly and anew, having more of a history which can lead to more of a critical analysis of ones self. I’m turning 25 in September but I have started to wonder do I even know or like myself? It’s something I’m working on, and probably will be for a long time.
The first 6 months of 2020 have been a blur, a melting pot of emotions and expectations gone awry. These are only the tip of the wave of my mediations and while there is so much more I could delve into, friendships, family, love etc I won’t for the sake of the length of this post. 2020 is still in progress, no one knows the fate or status of this lockdown as I am writing or what the new normal really is and I still don’t know what i’m doing but I know what I want. I want to enjoy whatever work I do. I want to be around people who add value and peace to my life. All I know personally is I feel a shift has started, a new part in my life is happening that feels like the upside-down turn on a rollercoaster that makes your gut flip as a sick feeling arises and just like how when it comes speeding back down you feel the relief, a rush and an excitement, I hope that is how it feels when I step onto the land again with my soaked wet feet.
Micheala Coel’s I May Destroy You has also been eye opening and destroying. The title of the show being a direct viewer warning. conversations around sexual assault needs to be normalised.
Javier Marias A Heart So White – a philosophical meditation on marriage/relationships under the guise of a mystery novel. Marias musings on pillow talk politics were so on point along with other ideas that blew my mind.
Animal Crossing – Gave me a purpose everyday which was truly precious.
Grey’s Anatomy – Pure binge-worthy tv. Burke and Christina and Meredith and Christina. Golden relationships.
L’Eclisse Michelangelo Antonioni – Captured something poignant and true but also very boring.
Mommy Xavier Dolan – The dream sequence had me sobbing. Was great and again I wish I was and with Dolan.
This Oversized Linen Shirt which has made me feel put together when I don’t feel put together at all.