Saturday, 30 May 2015

Use Your And

Self worth is so fundamental. You are told that you cannot truly love others until you love yourself and in some ways I think that is true. We all have the capacity to love but we often shy away from it, especially romantically. It seems to be something so difficult, to be so vulnerable and to trust someone else so fully. My husband was the first person I ever told 'I love you to' in that sense and it was terrifying. (Luckily he said it first) It has become something we must almost learn, to let go and to form healthy, wonderful relationships full of equality, support, love, compassion, work and fun.

To learn more about why healthy relationships are important and how we can create them go to: Breaking Up Without Going to Pieces

Yet even that very notion of loving someone else, of that fairytale romance and 'happy ending' it is so much more widely accepted than just loving you. In British culture we tend to understate things and mean the opposite, whether we are talking about our skills or simply being seemingly polite when someone is in our way. It is part of who we are to downplay and not mean it. To be jumped on for being arrogant or ostentatious when we do 'blow our own trumpet' or make a simple statement about ourselves "I feel pretty today" or "I'm good at x" we become afraid of being too forward or prideful.

But I feel that is so wrong. It is incredibly ok to recognise your strengths and highlight them in normal conversation. You can be humble and still recognise who you are and love yourself for it. We speak of Jesus Christ as the most perfect person to ever walk the Earth and yet He stood up for who He was and what He was. Being bold and defined and finding truth in who you are is not a sin. It is not bad. In fact it is the complete opposite. It brings you happiness. To have confidence in yourself.

We are taught to "Love your neighbour as yourself" and I can remember thinking as a teenager, "But what if I don't love myself?" a real question that people struggle with for years.

You are worth loving.

You are worth more than you can ever imagine.

You deserve a healthy relationship with yourself!

Since finishing university almost one year ago life has changed dramatically. In this past year I have felt more joy and more misery more frequently than I have ever experienced in this mortal life. And it has been hard. It is easy to lose confidence in yourself even if just for a short while. It is easy to question. And so it is vital to remind yourself of who you are!!

You are a daughter of God.

You are a princess.

You are perfect through Him.

Yet even then, you are still more. You are you. You have countless roles, interests, possibilities and experiences. The female razor company Venus recently introduced a campaign called 'Use Your And' which I discovered through a few youtubers they had gotten in touch with. While I feel the video for the campaign is over dramatic and probably more suited to an American audience, I really appreciated the concept and sentiment of what they were trying to achieve.

And so I encourage all of you (male and female) to create a list of your 'ands'. I've tried this exercise a few times and it really uplifts me. It reminds me that I am more than this moment and that there is much to be happy about and appreciate about myself. I hope it does something similar for you!

A Few of My &s

Newly Wed
Creative Conscience Award Winner
Apple lover
Sudoku player
Coding enthusiast
Youtuber enthusiast
Penguin origami maker
A dreamer

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Volunteering at the D&AD Professional Awards Judging Week 2015

Breaking into the creative industries is hard work, of course it is. Often it isn't a case of one interview and receiving a graduate, entry level position but one-two years after graduation of trying to get placements or work experience before you will even be considered. And so, almost one year on from putting up the degree show, I have been trying to do just that. The year brought with it many different experiences, both in work and personal aspects of my life. In taking chances, working hard and pushing for opportunities. 

D&AD has always had a close place to my heart. The prestigious awards that highlight you as the creative 'cream of the crop', both professionally and students. The events, workshops and talks. And the well known New Blood Festival where each year students from across the country showcase their best work, network and simply have the opportunity to get their foot in the door. During my second year at university my work was exhibited (an honour often reserved for final year students) and during my final year, myself and my close university friends rented a flat in London, attended the Festival, experienced the exhibit and attended many of the talks and workshops held in creative agencies and venues nearby. 

Each time offering me an entirely new experience and so this year I wanted to take part again. Rather than just attend I wanted to work at the event, and so while in my search for the position I found the role of 'Professional Awards Volunteer'. An opportunity to volunteer at the very judging process/event of the best creative talent in industry! It looked amazing, however the deadline had been a week ago and the role started in two days time over 200 hundred miles away in London. Yet I felt prompted to be cheeky and just apply, to email and ask. To explain my passion for the organisation and go for it. The worse that would happen would be a no or an ignored email right? 

Sending the application almost made me late for work that evening and I later returned home to see a response at around 1am. They wanted me!! After a quick text conversation with a friend I had somewhere to stay for the week and a silly amount of money on a train ticket later (made slightly better by a railcard) and I was on my way the following day! Leaving my husband of only three weeks behind.  

It was so incredibly wonderful to be surrounded by creative work once more. My last placement had ended a few weeks before my wedding and as each one ends it's an entire job search all over again to get another one. I was so happy to be in an environment full of buzz and energy for creativity again. I was able to attend talks in the evenings, was invited to the afterparties and simply loved being able to work hard surrounded by things I truly love and connect with. I was able to see a wide range of work and was overcome with joy that there was so much that still held a physical level or identity. My own style of work gravitates towards the 3D and the physical design so there was a real sense of attachment  and appreciation that it was being regarded so highly in an increasingly digital and print based world. 

The event itself was decorated insanely. Kudos to the events team! With the typography and illustration done by Marion Deuchars, I loved the hand lettered approach and was even given a t-shirt with the same design. I was given an iconic D&AD yellow badge to wear (after cheekily requested one of course!), a lanyard and even a radio which really helped me feel apart of the D&AD team. I had a a wide range of duties including setting up aspects of the exhibition, getting work ready that had been shortlisted, safe guarding work and generally assisting. It was such a privilege to see the exhibit before the general public and to know what had been chosen before it was even announced. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be even a small part of it. Sometimes we work so hard for opportunities and nothing seems to come of it and other times things seem to happen very quickly and very significantly. I have a great deal of hope and perseverance for my future career in the creative industries and will relish every moment getting there. 

*All photos (minus the collage above belong to the D&AD flickr account which can be found here  

For similar posts please see the 'education' section.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Wedding Dress Shopping & Feeling Anxious

Finding a wedding dress is such an incredible and strange experience. It's so easy to become concerned that people will make snap decisions and opinions about your age or simply your lack of knowledge. I had certainly never been shopping environment where you are surrounding by an array of items that hold so much significance, have no idea where to start, have someone else dress you, stand on a pedestal with lights on you and people cooing around all giving their opinions. 

I was a little be apprehensive and nervous to say the least.  

As is the trend for long term engagements, my own six month seemed short to those in the wedding industry and I was met with a lot of "Oooh you haven't got much time!" and "Have you got everything sorted?" Apparently it's pretty normal to order your dress six months to a year before if not longer. I think I ended up ordering mine one or two months before and had to pay for 'rush ordering'. 

We tried a whole range of bridal shops, including off the peg warehouse style places and much fancier made to your measurements places. I must have tried on something like 30-50 dresses. Often you choose some and then they'll suggest others that are similar, I found that a lot looked far different on than on the hanger. Yet I found absolutely none that were temple appropriate! (Sleeves, back, not see through and a bust covering neckline.) People were often surprised by such requests which could make it even more difficult.  

It was in the bridal store that I picked out the least amount of dresses that I found my dress! It was certainly a different fit than I thought I would go for and it was the back that I loved most. It was simple, relaxed and bohemian with almost a Grecian feel. However as with every other dress I tried on it needed some changes in order to make it modest. The neckline needed to be made higher and the lace that covered the front middle panel, sleeves and back all needed to be lined.  

I was fortunate enough to have my dress made to measure and the neckline could be changed at this stage, however I was to go to an external seamstress for the lace to be lined. At this appointment it was the first time seeing my own actual dress and to have the opportunity to try it on and test the fit, the length, etc. I happened to go on my own without any friends or family and explained the changes I wanted made. While I didn't give my reasoning, the seamstress went on express that the lace was the best part and gave an expression that looked like it was an absolutely ludicrous idea that I would want it lined. She went on to express her opinion which conflicted with my own and I felt pretty put out and taken back. In my stressed, flustered state I exclaimed that it for religious purposes and mentioned that it was to do with the venue to which she clearly thought was strange and silly standard of dress. Regardless of my reasoning whether it be personal taste or personal religious commitment or a mixture of both it shouldn't really matter. While she probably meant no harm and may have simply been giving her own opinion it was the manner in which it was done and my own vulnerability as inexperienced in wedding planning situations, the appointment left me very unnerved. 

The initial work was agreed on and they did an wonderful job, many of our wedding guests went on to ask me where the dress was from and if I had bought it as it was on the day! I was incredibly happy with the price and quality of the work.

Yet as I left the appointment and walked throughout the city I was overcome with such a strange feeling, something I have only ever experienced to such an extent once before. It was as if my mind or soul internally started to shake. I became unnerved and apprehensive for no apparent reason. I wanted to withdraw within myself. To shut out the public eye and curl up somewhere. Overcome with stress and concern. It is so difficult to express fully how it felt and not even knowing what was happening or how to describe it made it worse. It didn't even feel like I was freaking out about the appointment because while it was different that I expected it turned out successfully, but maybe it was a trigger or a catalyst? 

I tried calling my (now) husband a few times but being in university and his phone on silent, he didn't see my calls. I didn't really know what to do and simply carried on walking, the train station was pretty far away and I still wanted to make the most of my time there. In my concerned and confused state I spotted a large Waterstones book store that I had never been to and went inside. I am go glad I did. Childlike love of literature filled and anchored me. Instead of these horrible, swallowing feelings I will filled with a sense of relief. I scanned the shelves and flicked through book after book, clinging to their safety until the feelings almost disappeared.

It was such a strange experience and I'm incredibly fortunate that I found something that helped, especially as I knew very little about what was happening. If anything it has caused me to cherish the little joys and anchors in my life and how vital it is that I keep them there. Before the wedding a lot of people told me that I would miss all the planning once it was over, and I can safely say I don't. 

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