Things from 2016

I've been feeling kind of sad lately and, a week ago, I was adamant that I wasn't going to write about my year like I usually do. Having not had the best year, the last thing I wanted to do was dwell on Brexit, the multitude of heartbreaking situations around the world, and all the ways my year could have panned out for the better.

But I do like having things to look back on. So instead of analysing each week and month and season, I made a list of things that I did/saw/read/liked that were actually pretty good.

Things from 2016

So, you know, not all bad.

Confidence

confidence

noun

the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.

the telling of private matters or secrets with mutual trust.

A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities

I like to share my life on the internet. It's something I've been doing for over a decade in some form or another, and something that feels inherently normal to me. Yet I've been tying to write something along the lines of this since September, and I've found it near impossible to finish.

I feel like you can look at the idea of confidence in different ways. When it comes to my appearance, I think that I've come to the conclusion that maybe I'm alright, you know? I mean, there's still the days where I'd much rather swap faces with Lily Collins but, on the whole, alright, sometimes good. And I'm ok with that. What I really seem to struggle with is the confidence to do things and talk to people and generally exist outside of my 'comfort zone'. 

So back in October, I did something I never have the confidence to do. I hopped on a train, headed to Cambridge, and met the lovely Alex, who then proceeded to take photos of my without my clothes on.

When I saw that Alex was taking bookings for her confidence shoots again, I knew straight away that I wanted to do it. And then I doubted myself. Because what would other people think, and how would I explain it and why on earth would I want to take my clothes off in front of a total stranger? Yet I just have been feeling extra brave that day, because I went ahead and sent the email anyway.

Fast forward two months and I found myself at Kings Cross Station, waiting for a train and feeling understandably nervous. But as soon as a got off the train the other side, spied Alex waiting for me in her car, and had done the introductions, all my nerves started to peel away.

An hour or so later, and I was all done. And the weirdest part was that it wasn't weird at all. Yes, it's a slightly odd experience taking your clothes off in front of someone you've never met before. But I just wasn't nervous, and not being nervous is something I'm just not used to.

I felt a weird sense of accomplishment on the way home. You see, for me, the whole point of it was to do something entirely outside my comfort zone. And I had. I didn't change my mind at the last minute, I didn't worry about it for days leading up to it, and I didn't panic. I'd done it.

And whilst I may have come to terms with the way I look, which sounds a lot more begrudging than I mean it to, seeing the photos afterwards made me look at myself a little differently. Good differently. I may have even had a tiny cry.

Obviously it wasn't a quick fix to my confidence issues. I still hate public speaking, and picking up the phone, and meeting new people, and sharing my thoughts and ideas, and a whole myriad of other things. But I suppose, if I can do one seemingly scary things, I can do more of them, right? 

Right now, I've still only told two other people this story. I'm not very good at sharing things. So I suppose hitting publish on this is the last part of my 'doing something outside my comfort zone' and just going ahead and telling everyone. 

And actually, it feels really good. 

If anyone else is interested in doing something similar, I can't recommend Alex enough. Not only are her photos beautiful, she's absolutely lovely, and seems to have a way to make the experience totally normal: alexandracameron.co.uk

9th November 2016

On 23rd June 2016, after having already submitted my postal vote weeks before, I spent my evening making jokes about dogs at polling stations. Because yes, I was worried, but I went to bed with at least some confidence in the fact that the UK would most likely do the right thing. 

On 24th June I woke up, checked the news and promptly burst into tears. I was upset about the results, but I was also angry that hatred seemed to have won.

Last night, 8th November 2016, I made no jokes about dogs at polling stations (quite possibly because that's not a thing in the US) and instead had a very, very disturbed night's sleep.

On 9th November 2016, I woke up terrified to check the news. And then I did.

When I'd browsed the posts on #ElectionNight the previous evening, I'd been shocked to see young women the same age as me, proudly declaring their support for Trump. 

And I didn't understand. 

Because surely the overwhelming majority of so called millennial didn't want this? We're progressive and accepting and inclusive, right? Except I was wrong.

The thing is, when you surround yourself with those who share your values, it's easy to forget that not everyone does. Megan actually said this very well in under 140 characters today.

I'm sure I've read a version of what I'm about to say, put much more eloquently that I could, somewhere on the internet. But I can't find it, so here goes. Hatred and ignorance doesn't just come in the form of a 70-year-old business man turned wannabe politician turned President of the United States. It comes in the people that voted for this. The young women who, at a glance, I thought were just like me. The friends of friends who you see making racist jokes on Facebook. The distant relative who you can never quite bring yourself to start an argument with.

Six months ago, I'd seen more people post in favour of Remain than Leave. Six days ago, I'd seen more people for Clinton than for Trump. But here we are.

Racism and sexism and and bigotry is still a problem and, if we don't acknowledge this, how do we make it go away?

Things from October

Apparently it's November now. I didn't end up writing a Things from September, so the jump from August to now seems extra large and scary and 'where-has-the-time-gone'?

I spent the majority of October trying to prolong my #NoTightsClub membership, but I did also do some other things.

At the beginning of the month I spent an, albeit slightly rainy, day in Brighton. We ate a lot, and I met a nice cat. So all in all it was pretty good.

Charlotte, of Fox Socks fame, has recently created Blog Socks, a space to find new blogs to read. It's filled with interview with some of my old favourite (and new favourite) bloggers, and she was lovely enough to include me as well. You can read my interview here, and take a look at the entirety of Blog Socks here

Photo 27-10-2016, 20 26 04 (1).jpg

October was also the month that I fully embraced Instagram Stories. At first I was sceptical, but then? Then I realised that it was the perfect platform for showcasing my badly photographed #OOTDs. You see, I really really like clothes, but always struggle with style blogging. I'm so far out of the leagues of professional photography and perfectly staged shots, but I do love a good mirror photo. And so, Instagram Stories came into play. I can now share my outfits, without clogging up my somewhat nicely curated feed with dodgy photography. If you're interested in seeing what I wear everyday – and come on, who isn't?! – you can follow me @fernlzbth.

In other October news:

  • I went to Canvas Conference and visited Birmingham for the first time. 
  • I had afternoon tea on a bus. It was moving. Yes, I did spill my tea.
  • I saw Bastille, which reminded me how good they are live and how much I wouldn't mind marrying Bastille Dan...

Notes

Every so often I find myself scrolling back through the notes saved on my phone and thinking to myself, 'What on earth was I on about???'

For some reason, I thought it would be a nice idea to share some of them on the internet, so that everyone else can think the same thing. Enjoy.

26th June 2016 'Vote Leave' signs are basically the new Christmas lights up in January. You can take them down now, ok. 

26th April 2016 The Puppy's New Adventures

25th April 2016 I don't remember waking up for primary school apart from that Legoland trip

10th March 2016 This is a list featuring my favourite Taylor Swift songs, listed by album. I won't put the entire thing here, but also feel free to ask and I'll gladly tell you.

23rd January 2016 Onions. The man the myth the legend. 

25th December 2015 Prejudice. Im pretty sure I was checking the spelling of 'Prejudice' for a Christmas Day Scrabble game.

5th September 2015 Bread, Bagels, Cat food, Rich tea biscuits

4th February 2015 Two (I'm assuming) discount codes and a link to Glamour's Hottest men of 2014. Why not?

There are far more where these came from. Maybe I'll save them for another time.