I will never be cured…

I don’t want to make this a blog post that’s meant to get views and comments, it’s not me trying to do anything… except talk. I just need to get it out there and whatever happens, whether it gets 1 view or 100 views, then that will just be.

I’ve always been an anxious person. Ever since I was really little. When attending the kids’ parties in Primary School, I barely left my mother’s side. I’d sit with the parents rather than go to play with my classmates. My mother would push me to go and play with them because she knew it was important, but I didn’t like being away from her. When I was 10, I was officially diagnosed with anxiety. I didn’t understand what that was at first, I just called it nervous. There’s a big difference between the two, believe it or not. Having anxiety and having anxiety issues are also two different things.

For a while, maybe three years, I thought that’s all it was going to be was anxiety. Then, when I was in year 8 and had my first breakdown, I was diagnose with borderline depression which then turned into clinical depression. I was just 13 when this happened. So I’ve been dealing for quite some time. Then, when I was 16, I had another breakdown and that’s when I received a third diagnosis of cyclothymia, which is a form of bi-polar. Lesser talked about, but just as important to be recognised. The thing is, cyclothymia is one thing, but to have anxiety and depression with it, it’s almost like a more severe case.

Having cyclothymia can be difficult. It’s exhausting and people don’t understand. Unless a person knows me very well and knows my story, they generally just think I’m just an annoying person. But it’s like being on a pendulum. Swing one way to manic, and I’m hyper, I talksofastthatifyouweretotranscribeitthenitwouldbelikeakeyboardismissingaspacebaraNDTHENSOME TIMESICANGETLOUDUNINTENTIONALLYTOOanditrytobequietanduseanormaltoneBUTTHENIGETLOUDAGAIN and it really bugs the fuck out of people. They’re like “why can’t this kid calm down? Why is she so annoying?” and often I can pick up on myself being annoying and I try to stop it, but it just doesn’t happen.

Continue reading “I will never be cured…”

Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

A douchebag doxxed my best friend – and I’m pissed as hell

I’m pissed.

Like really pissed.

You expect that in a workplace, you can be safe and that you can go about your work and do what you gotta do, right? So, what happens when some ignorant, rude, nasty ass bigot decided to waltz into your work, then take a photo of you without your permission because you’re wearing a feminist shirt and then puts it on their social media of 157k followers and gives out your place of work, which basically implies encouragement to attack the person in question?

This happened on the weekend to my best friend, Lily. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know all about Lily. She’s often involved with me and my antics and she’s a great person. On Saturday she wore a shirt she got from her employers, which bares the word ‘feminist’ on it. She is an intersectional feminist and she’s proud of it, too. But this absolute joke and pathetic excuse of a human being decided to show up into her store with his wife. While his wife engaged in conversation with Lily about the products on sale from the brand, this absolute muppet decided to whip out his phone, snap a picture of Lily and then tweet it out to his following. What the fuck?

Now, I’ve never heard of this arsehole until this happened. But when I saw a post in a group of friends, I had this underlying feeling who the person in this tweet was going to be. I got Lily’s attention and it turned out I was right; it was her. I scrolled through the responses, all full of repulsive remarks. The photo wasn’t flattering; Lily was in the middle of talking and moving when the shot was snapped. Comments upon comments were left by this guy’s minions. I won’t go into detail because they were quite literally vile. But the trouble didn’t end there; that was the beginning.

Continue reading “A douchebag doxxed my best friend – and I’m pissed as hell”

Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

What do you do when every move you make is wrong? Whatever your decision, whatever your beliefs, whatever your actions… they’re just considered wrong.

For the longest time, I didn’t understand politics. I didn’t get activism. I didn’t think I needed to. I’ve been the youngest child to my dad and only child to my mother and adult responsibilities have never been something I’ve truly had to deal with. When you grow up dealing with a self battle and at war with your demons, you don’t really see too much of the outside world. You just survive. You’re constantly fighting and someone else’s troubles are not something you can deal with.

But then… when you begin to finally leave your comfort zone of familiar faces and things you are so used to, when you meet new people of different cultures, race, beliefs, abilities, disabilities, it’s like your eyes are opened. Opened to things school never prepared you for. Things that maybe were taboo subjects in a small, caucasian valley.

You learn from others and try to teach yourself and you finally start to form your own opinions that aren’t influenced from your close knit community or people who have impacted your life up until then.

You learn more about what shit is really going on in the world and yes, it does impact you, especially if you’re a woman, or disabled or fit into what bigots class as “normal”.  You find out more about these issues that do effect you and you want to do something. Talk about it, shout about if, raise awareness. HELLO? This shit is impacting me, it’s impacting people I love and care about and we need to do something. Anything. But once you start giving a shit, start doing something, speaking out, having an opinion which is valid… you get judged?

Continue reading “Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place”

Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Life update: Career change, mental health and more

life-update

Hello there,

It’s been a while since I’ve done an actual life update and a lot has changed, so I think it’s time we talk about it.

The last life update talked about my new job and how lots of positive things were happening. A few months ago I had a job change and went to writing for United By Pop, who are a fantastic lifestyle and pop culture blog for young adults. Unfortunately, my mental health has been deteriorating and has meant I’ve unfortunately had to leave the site as a lot of my self care means interrupting my time and efforts for the site. I still very much love the site and will always support it. I hope to be able to rejoin in the future when I’m feeling a lot better.

As for my deteriorating mental health, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, but my bi-polar is getting more and more intense mood swings and making it difficult to cope with day to day activities. I’ve been trying to try and take control, but it’s been a fair few months now and so a trip to the doctors is on the cards. Since writing is something I like to use to escape on a good day and talking is proven to be a great way to deal with mental health, I decided to start a blog series called ‘The Anxiety Files’. When I was younger and first diagnosed, talking about mental health was such a taboo and it felt like a cold and lonely world away from ‘the norm’. Fast forward 11 years and everyone is encouraging one another to talk and help one another, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I do love writing, it’s a passion of mine. So to completely wipe it off the cards would be silly. On good days, I can write for hours and it’s like an escape for me, but to commit to a company who needs you on the ball on a regular time set is difficult because right now I literally have to play each day by ear because there’s no telling what will be a good or bad day until the day arrives. It’s stressful, but that’s why I’m so thankful I have a blog – I’m the boss here and I can work around my health needs, which is extremely useful.

Onto good things now – I turned 21 back in September which I spent in Brighton and met my internet friend of four years. Emi is from Arizona, United States, but is currently in Brighton studying for a few months. I’ve always wanted to visit Brighton and didn’t have any birthday plans, so it just happened and it was the best birthday ever. I definitely love the town and would visit again in a heartbeat. Emi also came to Cardiff earlier this month to visit the city and meet with Sarah and I where we had a sleepover in a hotel and vlogged it – it was a lot of fun.

The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing
The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing

Last month my friend, Camryn, was in town for the first time in three years and she invited me to interview her for United By Pop as well as chill on her tour bus and just talk. She was the support act for Fifth Harmony’s 727 Tour in Europe and it was incredible seeing how she’s evolved since she first came onto the scene at the tender age of 11. It was so much fun catching up and having a chat with her band and I really hope she’s back in the UK again soon.

Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus
Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus

There’s not too much else I can think of right now that I haven’t already mentioned in great detail on the blog. I’m looking forward to the Christmas season and writing lots of blog posts while trying very hard to get back on track with things. I hope to be in a better place by Christmas.

I hope you’re all doing great and are enjoying the hype for the festive season!

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Hold On: the story and meaning behind my tattoo

tattoo-story

Today I thought I’d do a bit of a different blog post and share with you a meaningful story; the story behind my tattoo.

Not everyone is aware of my tattoo, but I had it done 27th August 2015. For most of my life, I never imagined myself getting one, mainly because of my fear of needles. And well, I’m still quite young and was sort of terrified of the thought of having something permanently inked on my body when I could very well change my mind when I get older. But last year, things changed.

Ever since 2010, I used to write the words ‘Hold On’ on my wrist everyday. It’s the title of my favourite song in the world, which is by Olly Murs (are we surprised?). In 2009, I had my first nervous breakdown and it meant I had to not complete year 8 in school. It was a difficult time. Around the time of my recovery, ‘The X Factor’ was on. I didn’t really pay much attention to anything, not even music much (which is insane to think about now) because I was in such a dark place. But nevertheless, I’d sit on the sofa week in, week out, with the family as watching big TV shows such as this one was our family night together. I don’t know what it was, but Olly caught my attention. I can’t really pinpoint what it was, maybe even though a grey cloud was metaphorically hovering over my head, something took note of his charm during his audition and how passionate he was. I’d quietly take note of Olly’s journey through TV’s biggest talent show and I think when he sang ‘The Climb’, which was by Miley Cyrus who was my favourite at the time, it sort of twigged. I knew this song off by heart and sang it all the time, but I guess after taking notice of Olly a lot, it was my distraction and the message really hit home that life is a climb, but the view is great. I was gutted when he didn’t win ‘The X Factor’ and had doubts of ever seeing him again because of how few acts had been so successful following the show, even if he was beyond talented in my opinion. But he proved me wrong, thankfully, and became a hit. I was at a place in my life where I was very self conscious about what I let people know I was into in school so I kept my love for him very quiet, but hearing ‘Hold On’ on his debut album was a song I needed and up to this very day it’s such an important song to me. I used to write it on my wrist everyday before covering it with my school jumper, only peering at the words when I needed encouragement.

As many of you will be aware, in 2014, my dad fell ill. For almost all of his time being poorly and being in and out of hospital, he was misdiagnosed and 2014-2015 proved to be hell for my family and I. Mid August 2015, we had the news that broke us all – he had cancer and it was terminal. I was angry, hurt, upset and terrified. I was so broken, but one night it just clicked- my dad had been a tattoo enthusiast his entire life and even ended up moving into the flat about his regular tattoo parlour which belongs to his best friend. I wanted to get a tattoo and it was at that moment I had never been so sure of something in my entire life. I had the design planned in my head and not too long after making the decision, the hospital gave my dad a few hours release to come with me to get the tattoo. All the doctors and nurses were excited about it and some even welled up when I told them the meaning behind it. I chose to get numbing cream, which my mother bought especially, because I do not do well with pain, but this was so important for me to get. I always knew if I ever wanted to get a tattoo, I wanted it to be with my dad. Time was running out, I didn’t have long to make the decision but it’s one I’d never been so sure of.

dad

Getting the tattoo was emotional because my dad began to well up over his little girl getting her first tattoo. Inside I was breaking because I knew this was going to be our last father-daughter thing we did together. The hospital had estimated around 4-6 months for my dad, but with them being so drastically wrong in the past, I didn’t hold out much hope. I decided to make my dad laugh by making faces at him while getting the tattoo done, which was weird because it was as though I finally felt what a parent must feel to be brave in front of their child only this was in reverse. The tattoo was done by one of my dad’s friends who worked at the parlour, which made it all the more special.

My dad passed away a few weeks later, Sunday 13th September 2015. It’s been an extremely difficult time and they say time is a healer. I’m still broken but I always have him with me. I don’t know what happens after death, even if I’ve had some theories, but I know if it’s possible, he’s around me in spirit and if not? His love was so strong that it can last an eternity, even if he isn’t here himself.

hold-on

On Monday 14th November 2016, I met Olly again for the fifth time at a CD signing. I didn’t have long to talk to him, but I briefly explained the tattoo and his face lit up when he saw the words ‘Hold On’. I did have a letter to give him but couldn’t print it out in time (and my handwriting is abysmal – I wouldn’t want to force him to try and read it!) so I hope to send him a fan email (which I did in 2013 and got a beautiful autograph signed to me, which isn’t normally how he responds to fan mail – just a standard signature) for him to read because I think it’s so important to let artists know the kinds of impact they can have on people’s lives. Music is a universal language and connects us together, so to me I feel it’s vital the artists know what good they can cause with their talent. I may even send him this blog post if it makes things easier to explain, but either way I hope he gets to know the full story someday. Whenever I meet him, I tend to verbal vomit and I don’t always have the time to be able to go into detail, so hopefully getting to read it when he has the time will be the best way to show him the importance.

Would I call this a fan tattoo? Not really. I know many people get lyrics tattooed for the artists they love, but this isn’t about my love for Olly.This tattoo is meaningful for two reasons; it’s about the light he and music brought into my life at one of my worst times. I’m still not whole but I’ve a lot more faith now and I know I can turn to music, including Olly, when I need it most. The second reason being the last father-daughter moment I shared with my dad before his passing which was so personal and sentimental to me.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. It was emotional to share, but I’m happy to finally share my story.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Women who have a positive influence on my life

women-who-have-a-positive-influence-on-my-life

I have witnessed a lot of women – especially as of late – tearing each other down, seeing each other as competitors in an unhealthy way and just not seeing a good sense of sisterhood and that honestly upsets me. I don’t like the slut shaming or bitchiness, there’s honestly so much of it going on and it genuinely breaks my heart to see. So, to make a change, I thought I would do a blog post dedicated to women who influence me in a positive way in life. From famous faces to family and friends, I am going to celebrate some amazing ladies here and I hope this post encourages you to do the same and remember we should unite together. There’s a lot against our gender and we should be part of the #GirlGang and stick together.

Famous faces

Little Mix

little-mix-x

Little Mix are currently one of the biggest girl groups of our generation. Besides their catchy music and beautiful looks, what really appeals to me is what these girls stand for. They are girls for girls and as much as they have a glitzy and glamourous life, they are very down to Earth and keep it real. The real life issues they face aren’t hidden. True, they have private lives, but they are fairly open with their lives, including struggles. This was hugely showcased in their latest book, ‘Our World’, where the girls discussed struggles growing up such as family splits, illnesses and insecurities. Though all four girls influence me, I think it’s Jesy who I can relate to the most. During her time on ‘The X Factor’ she struggled a lot with her self-image and it’s something I also have an issue with. Though I may not have the confidence she has now found in herself, she has inspired me to try and be able to look in the mirror and not be in hate with myself. I’ve got a long way to go but she is someone who shines a guiding light I can look towards.

Demi Lovato

102.7 KIIS FM'S Wango Tango, Backstage Portrait Studio, Carson, America - 14 May 2016

Demi Lovato suffered majorly with her mental health and to make things worse, it was all under the spotlight of the media. The demons faced in struggles of mental illness are beyond difficult, but Demi overcame many issues and has found a way to deal with her struggles. She has turned a negative into a positive by getting involved with charity work and organisations relating to what she has been dealing with and is living proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes, during my darker days, I can look to Demi and be reminded that this doesn’t have to be permanent and I can eventually get to a better place.

Miley Cyrus

The ONE Campaign And (RED) Mark World AIDS Day And Celebrate 10 Years Of Progress With Concert At Carnegie Hall In New York

Though quite the controversial character and someone I no longer consider myself a fan of, credit is due to Miley as when I was growing up, she was the first woman I looked up to. She was the person that made me realise it was okay to be different, to not want to walk the same path in life as my peers and to not lose sight of where I want to go. Her autobiography, ‘Miles To Go’, was something I could really personally connect to. It’s also her charitable heart that helped me maintain my passion for helping others.

Beyoncé

beyonce

Of course, many women look up to Beyoncé and it’s no wonder why. But beside her beauty and talent, I am in awe of her passion, her work drive. She is extremely hardworking and it’s something people should take note of. What she stands for is something that is also highly admirable, such as her feminist views and of course all her efforts with the ‘BeyGood’ campaigns. She also flies the flag for beauty in women not only in the stereotypical sense, but in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds, religious views and that women are worth a lot more than written off as.

Joan Jett

joan-jett

Perhaps it’s thanks to Joan where I first got my feminist views, even if I didn’t realise. I loved how she paved a path for what she wanted to do and was considered what is different from ‘norm’ for women, especially when it came to music. She’s done a lot of good for females in the industry and it’s quotes such as “Other people will call me a rebel, but I just feel like I’m living my life and doing what I want to do. Sometimes people call that rebellion, especially when you’re a women,” that empower me and give me the strive to believe I can do whatever I damn well want, regardless of my gender or who I identify as in live.

Miranda Miller, Nia Lovelis, Rena Lovelis (female members of Hey Violet)

hey-violet

Similar to Joan, I feel as though Hey Violet are bringing back women in the music industry behind instruments and in bands. They’re also very in the know of rights for young people and our generation. In particular, Miranda, Rena and Nia do face a lot of criticism from those who don’t believe in them, but their drive is strong and they work incredibly hard to get where they want to be.

Friends

Sarah

Sarah

Though a few years younger than me, Sarah has taught me a lot. For example, I’ve witnessed her go on a journey of self-discovery and she seems to be a lot happier with who she is as a person. From identifying with her sexuality right down to her beliefs and views in life. Sarah speaks her mind in the most respectful way and isn’t afraid of saying when she disagrees with someone. She’s very okay with being ‘different’ because if this world was filled with people who were all the same, it’d be pretty boring. Sarah isn’t very materialistic either and takes every small thing with the utmost gratitude and is happy with the smaller things in life. She is always willing to go without if it means it benefits another person for the best, which is something highly applaudable.

Camryn

Camryn

Of course, I could definitely consider myself as a fan of Camryn’s, but I also feel I can call her a friend. Camryn’s journey as an artist is beyond inspiring to me. She started out at a very early age and managed to prove herself to being a success, despite being so young. Camryn has worked tirelessly on her career and it has definitely paid off – by the time she was 13 she had toured with One Direction AKA the biggest boyband of this generation twice. She also became the youngest indie act to chart a song in the Billboard Top 40 since 1997. She hasn’t become an overnight sensation and I find that extremely admirable because in reality, it’s important to work hard and Camryn is a reminder that things don’t happen with the simple click of a button. What else inspires me is that she is such a genuine and kind person, always treating the people who work with her with the utmost respect and gratitude. When I witnessed this and hearing about her journey in person, it inspired me to pursue my passion as a serious career.

Emi

Emi

Emi is someone who understands her rights as well as others and has her heart in the right place. She is an understanding and compassionate person, but also won’t beat around the bush. She is honest in the most caring way possible and is always willing to lend a hand or offer advice, but will always make sure you hear what you need to hear, but without actually being abrupt or blunt. She is a very woke person who takes passion in equality and human rights. During recent political events, it was Emi who taught me a lot about people’s rights and not just the ones that would benefit myself. She has taught me a lot about different cultures and given me more of an insight of feminism and equality as a whole and not from the point of view of someone who may be privileged such as myself. Her independence and hard working ethnic is also something I look at with admiration and I have full confidence in her getting where she wants to be in life.

Lily

Lily

I only met Lily at the very beginning of this year, but she has had the greatest impact on me. It turns out that Lily and I have had a very similar walk in life and jumped the same hurdles. She has a burning passion to achieve what she wants in life and won’t let anyone get in her way. She’s always willing to make friends along the way, no matter who they may be. Regardless of who you are or your story, you can find a friend in Lily. She’s also not afraid to go out of her way to protect those she cares about and has definitely made me feel a lot more comfortable with who I am as a person, despite my battle wounds. She always has a positive but realistic attitude to everything in life and takes life by the balls and ploughs on, which is something I aspire to do myself.

Family

My Mother

mam

My mother is the biggest influence in my life. We have a very close mother-daughter relationship. I’ve seen her in some of the toughest battles but she never gives up. She ploughs on, even if it’s as though the world is on her shoulders. She always makes sure she looks after those she cares about and will always see herself go without if it means her family are better off. She is my actual rock and has helped me through the most darkest days I have ever faced. She has done countless of admirable things, but what I am taken back by is how strong she was when my dad fell ill. It was the most difficult time in our lives and not only did she look after me (who was the only blood relative), but she would do everything possible for my dad’s family, too. Though they divorced when I was a baby, my mother made sure she and  my dad maintained good friendship for my benefit and they were best friends. To have to deal with losing a best friend of 30 years as well as a grieving daughter (breaking the news to me being the hardest thing she’s ever done) and help ensure everyone got through the most difficult thing ever was so courageous and brave of her. I know many people would have broken down at many things she’s seen in life, but she strives through it with a brave face and to me is a true warrior.

Emily (cousin)

Emily

Emily and I may as well had been separated from birth. We are so alike but I really love her attitude – she does her best to see the positive, even in dark times. She works really hard to ensure that she gets what she wants out of life, even if there tends to be obstacles in the way. She makes it work, even if it seems almost impossible. She is also the one who opened my eyes to feminism and what my rights as a person and a woman are. She’s taught me so much and never fails to put a smile on my face, even when there’s times where I feel like I can never smile again.

My Gran

Gran

 

My gran has a heart of gold. She always thinks of others and always does right by everyone, even if they don’t do the same for her. She is such a lovely person that she gained the nickname ‘Joan Love’ at one of the places she used to work at. Even though generations have drastically changed since her ‘prime’ times, she will always accept differences and how things may no longer be the same. My gran always has enough love to give to anyone and everyone and genuinely cares for others. She does her best to not let her age get in her way and is the kind of woman I want to be when I grow older (even if she seems 20 years younger than she is).

Angie (my sister)

Angie

My sister was my first role model. I’ve looked up to her for as long as I remember and to be honest, I still do. She’s hard working and always stands by what she believes in. We aren’t close in age, so we didn’t have the stereotypical sister bond growing up and there weren’t really any fallouts or scraps, but to me she set an example that if you work hard and have the right attitude, you can get to where your heart takes you. Life isn’t perfect but in my eyes, she’s always dealt with everything, good and bad, in the best way possible. She’s very intelligent and always puts that knowledge to use. My dad would always both her and my brother up to me as I grew up and even if we don’t share the same dreams, she is someone who inspires me to just keep trying and pursuing what I want in life.

I hope you enjoyed my slightly different post today and if you’ve read this far, I tag you to do this post on your blog or even just a post on YouTube or social media. Let’s celebrate women because we damn well deserve it.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

The Anxiety Files: habits and safety blankets

 

the-anxiety-files

I originally planned to write this series in chronological order. ie: when I first got diagnosed, what happened with my relationships of friends, family and the like. But I don’t feel like going in order anymore. I just want to write about what I feel more ready to talk about in time. And, like my anxiety, it’s all a mess, so the order these posts come will reflect in that mess of my mental health. Anyway.

After recently talking to a friend who also has anxiety about habits and safety blankets, I felt like it was the ideal time to talk about it here, while it’s still fresh in my mind of the discussions we had. A lot of people with anxiety or any kind of mental health issue seem to have habits and safety blankets and I am 100% one of those people. I thought I’d talk through some of mine and why I feel they benefit or impact me.

My biggest safety blanket is probably my phone. Now, I know a lot of people are going to dub me a typical millennial for this, but hear me out. My phone is like a connection back to safety. I can talk to my mother as and when needed, I can reach out to other friends and family if I need to. It’s also ideal for any emergencies, whether I’m calling 999 or getting in contact with someone for the right reasons. I also get very anxious talking to people – especially the less I know them. My phone is sort of like a mask to help me cover the awkward and anxiousness. If you take that phone from out of my hands, I will start to act weird. I will pull at things because my hands need something to project how I feel – the nervousness and twitches. Once, I was in a meeting with my head of year back in school and I was so nervous, I pulled at my watch strap until it broke clean off. Everyone awkwardly stared at the watch, then at me and my heart felt like the beat of a drum at a loud pop rock concert with some hot drummer beating out the notes. I’ve broken multiple things – wrist watches, shoe straps (sitting in a chair and reaching my arm to my shoe to pull at it), pieces of plastic from clothing tags that won’t break so easily – the list is pretty long. I don’t know my own physical strength until it comes to anxiety where I could almost turn hulk. If there’s nothing in my hands, I will dig my fingers into my palms, leaving nail marks so deep that sometimes I bleed. “But Jazz, what about stress toys?” Did that, saw the movie, bought the t-shirt. The toys ended up breaking. Stress balls were ripped to shreds and these tough tangle toys that aren’t meant to break easily… well, they snapped pretty quickly. And with my phone, I can ‘casually’ glance at it – probably at nothing important… maybe a text from my phone provider, a tweet from an artist I follow or a notification from an app – making me seem less anxious.

Does it make me look ignorant? Maybe. But this is where I’m coming from. If someone is checking their phone, but still in the conversation with you, don’t instantly assume they’re being ignorant. They could have anxiety and this could be their safety blanket. If I’m still able to carry the conversation with you while looking at my phone, that means I’m still listening. It means I am engaging, but I’m more than likely trying to put my anxious feelings at bay by playing it off cool and trying to calm my inner monologue from talking as rapidly as a commentator for the horse races. Because that’s what my mind is like when I’m anxious. Thoughts rushing at 100pmh, the slight nauseous feeling, palms sweating, knees week (mom’s spaghetti… wait… sorry… this isn’t an Eminem karaoke night. Forgive me.) and my throat dryer than a fucking desert.

What I’m trying to get at, though, is some people need safety blankets. My phone is mine and if it is not charged or broken, I cannot go outside. Full stop. Not because I’m so infatuated with today’s technology (that’s another story.) but it’s something that helps me in many ways. People who don’t have a need for ‘safety blankets’ don’t tend to think about others needing one. They may see myself or someone else on their phone and think of us as obnoxious, which is kind of unfair. I’m not asking you to instantly assume that a person is not being ignorant, but what I’m asking is that if you’re reading this, you make a mental note in the back of your mind to maybe not be so judgemental about someone on their phone. I’ve heard people talk behind my back about me being on my phone and I get upset and anxious again because the last thing I want to do is come off as ignorant or rude. But I need this. I need something with me.

Another thing which kind of goes with safety blankets is habits. I have so many. In fact, if I list them all we will be here a while. So I’m just going to try and focus on some major ones.

Now, I know nobody really knows what happens in other people’s minds, but let me try and explain the inside of mine for you. Imagine a small room. And there’s about 50 boxes. Some stacked on top of others, some tipped over, open wide. Now imagine lots of holograms beaming out of these boxes. Each one playing something irrelevant to the other one. Then there’s about 3 different songs playing. Maybe one like a scratched record playing just a snippet of a song. Another just playing an annoying song from maybe your childhood or an annoying TV ad. And then there’s just one which is a little louder than the rest playing one song over and over. There’s a mess on the floor. And it’s almost like there 17 tabs on an internet browser, each one playing noise of some sort – maybe dialect from a TV or movie show, another a conversation, one is your inner voice trying to guide you through life. And the rest are incoherent babblings. You can’t quite work out what it is, but it’s like noise. Constantly. Then there’s another voice. Maybe like you in a sarcastic tone. And it judges. Every. Thing. You. Do. That’s my mind. Of course, I don’t really visualise that, but to bring it into a form of visionary for you to understand, that’s how I’d best describe it. It’s like that non stop. Even when I’m trying to relax, or sleep. While I’m talking to people, while I’m trying to concentrate. It’s been like this all my life. I used to think that was “normal” until as I got older and spoke to more people, I realised it wasn’t. Now, when I’m trying to concentrate or talk or read aloud, this intensifies. Maybe by 5 or 10 or even up to 20 times more – depending how anxious I feel. It means I stumble when I’m reading or trying to do something scripted in my head. I used to be really good at reading aloud – I was in the highest reading level in my primary school and about 5 years ahead of my age’s capability. But as anxiety has defeated me more and more overtime, that chaos in my head has intensified and that judgemental side of me is like someone trying to dictate every little thing I do and pressurising me. “Read that word, that one comes later, look up, no look at what you’re reading.”

So, I guess you could say overthinking is definitely a big habit of mine. It gets worse when I begin to over analyse things. And I do that. A LOT.

Another habit of mine is getting into ruts. When I get too anxious or my bi-polar swings to the depressive side of the moodswing pendulum, I get into major ruts. I can sleep for hours and hours. Sometimes I can only be awake for up to four hours. And then when I am awake, it’s in the middle of the night. Want to know a secret? That’s what’s happening to me right now. It’s 1:50am as I type this sentence and I’m sitting in the conservatory with my two dogs as they try to sleep and the music channel playing the role of my only real company right now. I’ve gotten into this rut originally because I’m fighting a cold and slept a lot to try and get over it. But with a physical illness sparks my mental illness intensifying. And so depressive mode is back and I’m here, alone. Again. I don’t enjoy being up and awake on my own. Well, most of the time, anyway. For an hour or two it can be nice because for once I’m in charge of the TV and can watch what I want. I can have some me time. But after that, the state of loneliness kicks in. Especially when I wake up at around 3pm, the majority of the day is done and I see people talking about what they’ve achieved in their hours out of slumber, while I spent my day unconscious and alone. Again. It’s not a habit I like. I detest it. But sometimes it’s so easy to just fall into the rut. Especially when my mind isn’t in a good place.

Anyway, I thought I’d share this in hopes that I can maybe reach out to someone who may not have someone to talk to, read this and then realise that what they are going through isn’t abnormal for the issues they’re facing. Because I know I’m not the only one who experiences this. Maybe not in the exact same way as others, but similarly there are people who said they go through something like this.

Have you picked up any anxious habits or safety blankets?

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  • Introduction to The Anxiety Files
Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Welcome to The New Dynasty

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Warning: This post is long, so grab a cup of tea or a snack and settle down to read!

Saturday nights are usually what people look forward to all week and for me, it was no different. Except instead of putting my glad rags on and heading to the clubs or flopping out on the sofa to watch ‘The X Factor’ (the latter is usually the norm for me) I was heading into Cardiff with my friend, Alysha, to be reunited with my other friend, Camryn.

“Have you got questions prepared?” Alysha asked me as we greeted each other.
“Of course. We’re testing her knowledge on the UK.”
“Cool. So, shall we go get the food now or later?”

You see, instead of meeting up with Camryn to go shopping on Queen Street or grabbing a bite to eat, we’d be interviewing her. Wait, backtrack… who interviews their friends? That’s kind of weird, Jazz. Right? Except Camryn is a singer. Scratch that. She’s a teen pop-rock star living out the dream of millions of musicians even up to double her age.

Stop the tape and rewind to a few years ago, when I was some plucky teen fangirl with a passion for the Disney Channel stars of 2008 such as Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, I used to regularly check a website called ‘Cambio’. I was flicking through the articles when I saw one about an 11-year-old musician and naturally since she wasn’t much younger than me, I decided to check her out. That’s when I came across Camryn. She was promoting one of her earlier singles, ‘Wait and See’. After giving it a listen and watching the video, I definitely found myself into her music. Click, click, click – I followed her social media. She’d pop up on my Twitter timeline regularly with various posts on things she was working on, including touring with teen pop sensations Cody Simpson and Greyson Chance. A few years later I was reading a magazine and a familiar face with blonde hair with a glistening smile – it was Camryn. It talked about how she was touring with One Direction in the states along with an interview with her. I hadn’t seen anything about her in the UK yet so I snapped a picture and tweeted it to her only for her to thank me and share it on her socials. I’d tweet her now and then and she’d normally reply which was always nice.

One day, she announced something pretty big and exciting – she was the opening act for One Direction’s UK & European leg of their world arena tour. And guess what? It included Cardiff. I was beyond excited. Of course, I loved One Direction but I’d been supporting Camryn for so long that I had to see her or just be able to say hi outside the arena. I checked Ticketmaster. SOLD OUT. Dammit. Oh well, if I can’t be there, I should at least message her to congratulate her and recommend places to check out if she had the time in between shows, right? I messaged her Facebook page where we ended up talking. I told her about how I wanted to be a pop culture journalist and it was on my bucket list to interview her for the youth website I was writing for. To my surprise, she was totally up for meeting in Cardiff for me to do just that and gave me the details of her publicist. After working with the editor of CLIConline (R.I.P) alongside her publicist, we sorted out a time and place for the interview, which I was extremely nervous for. This was my first proper interview in person. Sure, I’d done bits and pieces for the site before, but this was huge for me. Needless to say it went pretty well; I met Camryn – who was lovely as expected – and she and her manager even hooked me up with tickets to the show. It was incredible and was where I discovered my love for 5 Seconds of Summer. To Camryn, that was one of many interviews she’s done in her career, but for me it was something big. It helped me realise this was something I wanted to do as a career. It’s ultimately what helped me decide I wanted to take pop journalism seriously. And I did. If you know me, you’ll be well aware of some of the crazy experiences I’ve had and interviews I’ve done – from YouTube phenomenon Tyler Oakley and even Oscar award winners from Disney’s Big Hero 6. It’s insane and I’d like to think that little interview with Camryn in 2013 had a big impact on that.

When we first met in 2013
When we first met in 2013

A little over three years later and Camryn was back in town and this time supporting American girl band, Fifth Harmony. We had both grown over time; me being newly-turned 21 and her now 17 and back with a brand new EP and total maturity in her sound. Of course, we’ve kept in touch over the years and I even befriended some of her band and team. I asked United By Pop kindly if they could help me arrange an interview with Camryn for their site to which they happily agreed to. After some sorting out, we had arranged to meet at the venue. Alysha, who played my the role of my right hand woman and camera operator for the day (as well as great company) and I met up with Camryn and her manager, Lesley and greeted each other before heading to the tour bus which would act as our studio for the interview. We had a lot of bags with us and all for Camryn and her crew – which they loved. My lovely friend Lily had hooked us up with some amazing LUSH products for both Camryn and her crew and we bought a tin of chocolates to say thank you to them all (it was thanks to her drummer, Justin, that we had 3 free tickets on the guest list for that night’s show – so it would be crazy not to thank him and the band for meeting us as well as Camryn and her manager for setting up this opportunity) They were delighted with the gifts and we had a chat about the last time Camryn and I had met as well as the support account Alysha and I ran to help promote her. After a few minutes of nattering, we began to film. We decided to do two segments – one where I’d quiz Camryn on knowledge on the UK and another where she’d try some well known British snacks, both proving to be a lot of fun.

Reunited x
Reunited x

We must have spent almost two hours on the bus. In between working on content for United By Pop, we took some short videos and pictures for the fansite as well as some Instax photos for competitions. Camryn even threw in some signed flyers and one personalised one each for myself and Alysha as a token of gratitude for supporting her. We even got to take a picture for my scrapbook which I’m filling for my year as 21.

 

Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus
Alysha, Camryn and I on the tour bus

 

Something to remember the day by
Something to remember the day by

We soon said our “see you laters” as we agreed to bring Lily, who was the proud third guest we’d be bringing along to the show, to meet Camryn and the band to introduce her as the girl behind the amazing gifts we had previously given them. She would have come along to the interview, but unfortunately had to work.

After a few hours in Cardiff to grab a bite to eat and meet up with Lily, we returned to the venue to pick up our tickets from the guest list. There seemed to be a problem and we began to get nervous, so we messaged Justin who along with Lesley managed to sort things out and we were given the tickets for the show. We weren’t expecting seats as amazing as we were given – we would have been happy with seats at the back, since this show was Fifth Harmony’s headliner and we were just guests, but we managed to be seated in the fifth row from the front in the middle – a perfect view of the stage and to catch the eye of Camryn and the band when they performed their set.

In the crowd waiting for the show to begin
In the crowd waiting for the show to begin

Of course, my girl rocked the stage and it was overwhelming to see how many people wanted to meet her before the main act graced the arena with their performance. We hung around until the end to make sure all fans had their chance to meet Camryn so we stood with Lesley and talked for a little while. To see at least a hundred fans wanting to meet the girl I’d been supporting and friends with since day one was incredible, especially in Wales as she wasn’t as well known on her first visit. It melted my heart to hear parents talk to their daughters and asking if they wanted to dye their hair the same as Camryn’s bold blue and their skip step back to their seats with excitement in their eyes after meeting the teen rocker moments before. Cam then came over to join us and meet Lily before grabbing a picture with her and signing an autograph. Everyone thanked her for the presents and, let’s be honest, everyone LOVES Lush products. We talked for a little while before Camryn had to leave to do some college work and we arranged to meet with the band before leaving after the show.

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Rocking the stage! –  Image credit to Lily

 

It was emotional but exciting to see her perform again
It was emotional but exciting to see her perform again – Image credit to Lily

Now, I know Harmonizers will be kinda mad at me, but I’m not the biggest Fifth Harmony fan. I appreciate them and their music, but they’re just not my go-to artists to listen to. However, I will say that their performance on Saturday was pretty fricking awesome and myself, Alysha and Lily definitely enjoyed ourselves. Except the inflatable balls they kicked about where practically every single ball in the room decided to land on my head (which, by the way, I was slowly getting a headache following a long day). In my line of work, Fifth Harmony are known as a ‘priority act’ thanks to their huge popularity among fans across the world, so it was nice to finally see them live and be able to gain a new found respect for them and their music.

Fifth Harmony
Cardiff gave Fifth Harmony a warm welcome to Wales – Image credit to Lily

We left the show a little early as Alysha had to be ready to catch her train home and we wanted to say hey to the band whom we have known for a while but never got to meet in person. It was great to finally talk face to face and get some pictures as well as talk about the show and our general interest in music as a whole.

Finally meeting Justin (with Austin and Alysha photobombing :P)
Finally meeting Justin (with Austin and Alysha photobombing :P)

 

Austin (guitarist) and I
Austin (guitarist) and I

 

Ronnie (bassist) and I
Ronnie (bassist) and I

Before we knew it, it was time to go – Camryn was still doing college work and our lifts were on their way. We said our goodbyes and agreed to meet up again the next time they’re back in the UK, this time hopefully a lot sooner than three years. I have a lot of faith in Camryn, especially for gaining a European fanbase on this tour with Fifth Harmony.

It was an amazing day overall and I had so much fun seeing Camryn again as well as finding a love for Fifth Harmony’s music and of course spending time with my friends Alysha and Lily.

A massive thank you to Lesley for arranging everything and being so nice, the band for just being awesome (especially Justin for the tickets) and of course my girl, Camryn, who I am so beyond proud of. Seeing her go from a little girl from Denver, Colorado with some cute pop songs to touring with some of Pop’s biggest acts of our generation and evolving as an artist overall is just so overwhelming in the best way possible. I cannot wait to see what’s next for her. By the way, you can listen to her EP,New Dynasty,right here and follow our fan support account @CamrynWales.

Alos a huge thank you to Alysha for acting as assistant for me with the interview process and running the fan account and of course Lily for coming along and providing the lovely gifts. Lily also blogs, which you can check out here. 🙂

 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

New vlog: Birthday in Brighton

I recently shared with you a post about my birthday weekend. I’ve since uploaded the vlog so you can see everything that went on.

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.

Birthday in Brighton

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Well, it’s finally happened – I turned 21. Not sure how, though, since I still feel 12. But you know, that’s how science and stuff works.

To celebrate the milestone birthday, I went to the sunny seaside town of Brighton with my mother and gran before meeting with some friends who lived close by. One in particular, Emi, is an internet friend of mine who originally lives in Arizona, United States. She’s currently in Brighton for a few months on an international study course. We have known each other for almost four years and when she told me she was going to be there studying for a few months and recommended I came to visit, it made perfect sense to take the celebrations of my birth to the ever popular tourist town. I also have a few friends in England who write for the same website as me, so to meet up with Lizzy, Hannah and Verity and invite them along to party with us was a wise idea.

After the hell of a journey from South Wales to Brighton and a deadly walk to our hotel (we underestimated the distance. A lot.) we arrived at the Holiday Inn, our home for the next 48 hours. Earlier in the week, we called to try and get a twin room rather than a double as my mother has recently had an injury which involves the use of crutches for a short period of time and needs the space. She mentioned it was my big birthday and the upgraded us complimentary to an executive room, which was a present in itself. It meant that I was blessed with a king sized bed for the weekend and my mother and gran had a fairly decent sized place to slumber themselves.

View from the balcony
View from the balcony

Shortly after check in and dumping our stuff, Emi arrived outside the hotel and I headed downstairs to meet her. We squealed like two little school girls and ran to embrace one another, with other guests laughing and smiling as it was clear we hadn’t seen each other for a while if not at all. To finally meet someone I grew up speaking to online was such a blessing and I can confirm she’s just as an amazing person in person as she is online. Sorry Nev, no Catfish to reel in here!

Moments after we met!
Moments after we met!

Following the meet with Emi, we all headed in a taxi to Churchill Square where we met Lizzy and Hannah before venturing around some shops. Churchill Square shopping center is much more lavish in comparison to St David’s in Cardiff, though for size it’s nowhere near as big. Still, I always enjoy exploring new places when it comes to retail therapy. Shopping done and we hopped into another taxi and finally made it to the place I had been anticipating for months – Brighton Pier.

British cuisine at its finest
British cuisine at its finest

The pier is honestly so pretty and full of the fun fair lifestyle you see in the movies; from different kiosks to attractions, shops and of course, the rides. We headed to Palmers Court for the classic British delicacy of fish and chips. Being from America and only arriving here two weeks ago, Emi had yet to try this well-known meal and so I had to film her reaction for both my vlog and a video to put on Facebook. Needless to say, she very much enjoyed it, even if the fish was too big to finish. I just stuck with a tray of chips, being vegetarian and totally oblivious to the fact that there were onion rings. Had I been aware, I definitely could have demolished some since the long journey had definitely got me feeling hungry.

Being on the pier at night was such a thrilling experience
Being on the pier at night was such a thrilling experience

The sky’s gradient became darker as Emi and I wandered the pier and watched all the rides, making notes of the ones we wanted to check out the next day. There were a variety to choose from – ones that spun you around and around, turned you upside down, threw you from side to side and even did a loop-de-loop; we were fascinated by them all and were eager to get a wristband for unlimited access to them all. Before we knew it, day one was done and we said our goodbyes but not before pre-arranging plans for the next day.

The following morning I was awoken from my slumber by my mother who greeted me with a ‘Happy Birthday’ in a sing-song voice, before piling up my cards and presents on the king sized bed I had slept in for the past eight hours, which by the way was such a good night’s sleep. I opened my presents and was thrilled with everything I had; from makeup to jewellery, books and even American chocolate – I was definitely thankful for everything. My gran then woke up and greeted me on my special day before I proceeded to open the presents she had bought me. We then headed downstairs for breakfast to gain fuel for our day ahead of us.

I wasn't very photogenic at that time of day...
I wasn’t very photogenic at that time of day…

Filled up on breakfast, we flagged down another taxi and headed back to Churchill Square where we met Emi and trekked to The Lanes, where we visited the ice cream parlour, Boho Gelatos – a place where British YouTube couple, Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes had recommended to their viewers – and tried some homemade ice cream. Honestly, it was the best ice cream I had ever tasted. The flavours were so pungent and didn’t taste artificial in the slightest. I highly recommend visiting there if you’re ever in Brighton.

Boho Gellato - home to some of the best ice cream known to man (in my opinion)
Boho Gelato – home to some of the best ice cream known to man (in my opinion)

Ice cream devoured and we found ourselves at Choccywoccydoodah – the famous chocolate shop in Brighton who then ventured out to London. If you aren’t aware of this place, it’s so well known for its chocolate art that it has its own TV show. They cater for the stars, politicians – you name it, they’ve probably served them. It was here my mother had ordered my birthday cake as we are both fans of the show, so it was pretty exciting to be able to go there. Of course, we had to have a nosey around and though it’s an incredible place, it’s a very small store with many tourists waiting to visit, so it was a very tight squeeze. For someone who doesn’t like small places, it was slightly scary but the fantastic edible art distracted me from the small defined space.

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The highly popular chocolatiers
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One of the many amazing cakes
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Literal edible art

Souvenirs bought and cake picked up, it was time for yet another taxi journey, this time heading to Talk of Tea where we would be devouring sandwiches, drinking cups of tea and celebrating with cake. It was at this point that Hannah and Verity joined us for the afternoon tea and everyone became acquainted with one another, before the big (and embarrassing) moment where a candle was lit and ‘Happy Birthday’ was sung to me. It was an awkward 20 seconds for me before making a wish and blowing out the candle, but it was soon over.

This photo literally does not do the cake justice
This photo literally does not do the cake justice

After the tea, my friends and I decided to head back to the pier where we went on rides. I was intrigued to try the haunted house ride and though not great with jump scares, Emi was a trooper and accompanied on the ride. Our screams could be heard from inside of the ride – hers full of fear and mine full of amusement. It got to the point where I found it so funny that I was in silence laughing and almost incapable of breathing. The kind of laugh that makes your sides feel they’re about to split. We all decided to take a turn on the bumper cars and that’s where we found out why Emi has her license and I do not. I absolutely suck at driving dodgem cars, so I dread to think what I’d be like at the real thing!

 

 

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With Verity, Hannah and Emi

 

The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing
The scenery of Brighton was aesthetically pleasing

From time on the rides to time in the arcades, we did a bit of everything that tourists do before saying our goodbyes to Hannah and Verity who needed to get home. Emi and I walked back to the hotel to meet once again with my family before heading to the i360 – a brand new attraction known as a vertical cable car, taking you over 450 feet into the air and giving you an incredible 360 view of Brighton. After a short period of waiting, we headed into the viewing deck along with many other visitors and were hoisted up into the air and above all buildings. The views were magnificent and breathtakingly beautiful. There was a bar on board and Emi and I decided to treat ourselves to a (very expensive) glass of champagne, only to find out it was a taste to my disliking. Oh well, you’re only 21 once, right?

The i360 - it's taller than you'd think
The i360 – it’s taller than you’d think

 

Brighton from above
Brighton from above

 

Cheers!
Cheers!

Following our time on the i360, Emi and I quickly caught a bus back to her place for her to give me the present she had bought me (a fall scented candle from Bath and Body Works in America) which she had previously forgot to bring with her, then headed back to the hotel for a meal in the hotel’s restaurant – Stock Burger – which was delicious. By the time we had finished eating, the night was getting old and knowing we didn’t have much time left together, Emi and I headed back to my room where we sat out on the balcony and did what we do best – talked. Having known each other for four years, we’d definitely been through a lot together, even though our friendship being solely based on our online presence. We talked about the past, the present and things we plan to do in the future. It was so nice to be able to have some time with her and do what we normally do but face to face, rather than behind a keyboard and a million miles between us.

A heart to heart on the balcony
A heart to heart on the balcony

The day was done and we said our goodbyes, giving each other a big hug and promising to meet up again soon, with Emi agreeing to visit Wales before heading back to Arizona at the end of the year.

And just like that, my time in Brighton had come to an end. I tucked myself into the king sized bed and listened to music before falling asleep, trying my best to get as much shut-eye possible before the long and tiring journey that followed the next day.
This was without a doubt the best birthday ever and an amazing way to kick off my time as a 21-year-old. I’d like to thank everyone who spent the weekend with me and everyone who sent me well wishes – it was the best time and a weekend away I had needed for so long. Here’s to 21!

 

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Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.