Photography: Kaye Ford | Words: Zoe London
January blues are super real. Remember, you’re doing great.
I absolutely hate January. It’s cold. It’s dark. Everyone feels a bit grim, poorly, or rinsed after Christmas. Even worse? All three. Not only those but also with the added pressure of social media, especially after the dizzy heights in happiness levels of Christmas and the holidays filling the feed, it can really just concrete set those January blues right in. No one speaks from experience more than me. I’ve felt it really hard this January. Not only have I had health problems throwing a right spanner in my works for 2018, but it’s a well known fact that bloggers really do struggle to earn in January. Brands have just spent their budget on Christmas, and aren’t looking to Spring content just yet, so January just sits a bit dormant. I hate the stress of freelance work/self employed life meaning you’re often quiet, and waiting for money from previous jobs. It’s been even more intense for me as my hair went a little bit wrong – it was left in a little too long – and it was a nightmare to fix. You know my hair is my identity and of course hair can have a huge effect on how you feel, and your confidence, so I haven’t always wanted to leave the house or film – literally to do my job.
Massively long intro aside, I wanted to write some words today for me and for you, to remind us all the little things that we’re actually doing so well. As Kris Jenner would put it; you’re doing great, sweetie.
Life isn’t picture perfect. As someone really far into the Instagram world, this is hard to adjust to. But no, it’s not. Your house isn’t perfect, your photos aren’t as perfect as those professional photographers online, your clothes have a bit of cat fluff on them and your hair wasn’t washed today. Don’t sweat it. You’re doing great. You got up, you got dressed and washed (even if your hair didn’t) and you smiled at some point during the day. That’s really all you need, right? Oh, and food, but you fed yourself, and you got through the day. Perfect. Sometimes this is all I achieve out of my day, and often in the moment I find myself feeling sad about that. The next day however, I know I’m worthy and I’ve done great, and I’m able to remind myself of that. You can, too.
Reflecting on the past can often be seen as a bad thing, but I’m sure you dealt with something that changed and helped you become who you are. Sometimes I take some time to reflect on what I’ve been through, take a deep breath for how proud I am that I coped, and became stronger because of it. Think about the person you were, and the person you are now. The journey you’ve taken to get this far, and how brave you were to do so with your head held high. That in itself is success, and not something that can be measured in likes, or numbers.
We live in a really strange time where we consistently see perfect breakfast bowls arranged by colour, yoga mats in the sunshine, perfectly lined lips, designer handbags and picture perfect homes every single day. I don’t have any of these things. I often have a bowl of coco pops for breakfast, I’ve a yoga mat I’ve never unrolled out the packaging, my lips are always just a tiny bit wonky – why is it easy to do one side and not the other? – and well, my house is still a mess of boxes and unfinished rooms because I can’t afford to do all the work that needs doing. Even when it’s done it probably won’t be totally ‘Pinterest worthy’, just because that’s not really mine and George’s style. If it’s yours, own it, embrace it, love it. If it’s not, don’t feel the pressure for it to be. You don’t have to live a certain way because it looks like everyone else is. They’re not, remember, Instagram is an art form, it’s photography, it’s social commentary, it’s by creators remember. Creators. It’s not necessarily real life – and your own personal journey need not be measured against that.
You have a roof over your head, an Internet connection – presumably on some sort of smartphone – some clothes to wear, no worries about where your next food is coming from and drive, ambition and a passion. Your ambition might come from your job, it might not. It might come from your hobby, or from your family. All these things are success metrics, little sparks of happiness. On my worst days I can’t remove myself from the sofa, I cannot see past this little black hole I have in my head that I’m failing, that I’m a terrible human being and that I’m not successful. I know I am, because look at all these little things that make up my every day that I’m able to achieve, and so are you. Only a few years ago I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, and that was a struggle. But I did have a roof over my head at home, and a drive, along with things I loved and people I loved. I still had success even if I didn’t always see it.
You might think I often write these blog posts just for you, because you might think my life is happy and perfect. It’s not. You shouldn’t judge others on what makes them happy or not. People might say well Zoe you have a lovely house, you do what you love and that’s great. That is great, but that doesn’t devalue any depression I may have, or favour yours over mine. Everyone’s struggles and stories are different. I write these things for me, I write them to tell myself, to reassure myself that my successes should not be measured against others. It kinda just so happens that you’ve got a hold of my diary, and are reading it too. Don’t worry, you’re welcome here. We’re all in this together.
The word success doesn’t have a particular route, a specific journey. What makes it so great is that it’s defined by the user, a custom creation, and a journey no one else can take. I often look at what looks like gold paved streets that others walk on, and think mine is the dullest concrete. Actually it’s not, it’s the sparkliest pink. My success and my journey isn’t like yours, and that’s great. That’s fine. I’m doing just fine. And you? So are you. You’re doing great.