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On new beginnings & being brave


I know the way. To work. Around the theatre. From the kitchen to my room in the dark. Roughly.

But it's all still so new.

I clock a road sign and it affirms my belief I'm going in the right direction. I feel for the light, and then a bit further, and it's there.

It's odd this stage isn't it, that feeling new in a place, and knowing that soon you will feel so settled. It will feel like home.

But for now, it all feels very novel and very nice.

To get you up to speed, if it's not apparent, I've moved: from Canterbury to Kingston via Medway (it's been a busy couple of weeks). I have a new job and so also a new place to live, in South West London.

Being so close to central London has me a stupid level of excited. I've visited all my life, never living more than an hour away by train, but actually being here is kind of surreal. In a good way.

I'm not entirely sure the point of this post except wanting to mark where my thinking's at right now, and to, amidst feeling a little shattered and overwhelmed, take a little minute to reflect.

I suppose this year so far has been all about trying to be that little bit braver. It's the sort of thing I'd say each year but either not care enough (who keeps resolutions, really?) or, be limited by my health. But 2015 has been a different story.

For one thing my health really is so much better. My POTS gradually improved after starting on Ivabradine in March 2014 but now, I'm just so rarely symptomatic it's ridiculous. I'm never conscious of my own heartbeat, other than when it's appropriate, and I never hit the floor anymore. And it feels wonderful.

And through that I've actually gone and done things. Real, big, brave things (for me) including:
  • Climbing the o2
  • Joining and going to a gym (even if it did only last a few months!)
  • Writing and recording some poetry/spoken word and putting it on the internet
  • Flying to Asia by myself and travelling across Thailand, Laos and Cambodia with a group of people I'd just met
  • Starting driving lessons
  • And finally: leaving my job and town for a new job and town
This might read really braggy but it's not. Or actually, maybe it is. I'm proud of myself. 

For various reasons, this year is the first time many of these things have even been possible. I've been held back by my physical chronic illness but also before that a lack of confidence. And now I'm not, and I put the effort in to take a risk and do these things. Things that may feel normal to others but feel like achievements to me. I think sometimes British modesty prevents us from patting ourselves on the back when it's due, but we should.

As cliched as it may be it's so true that experiencing loss puts things into perspective: that our time is limited and uncertain, and you have to make the most of it. I really do want to live life to the full and I finally feel like I'm actually putting the whole Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway thing into practice.

And now London is a whole new challenge. Already I feel tired, from the moving but also the meeting of new people - all of whom are lovely but I suppose it all takes energy.

But I'm finding the challenges and I'm saying yes to things. Yesterday I went to a You Me Bum Bum Train meeting/rehearsal and will be performing a few Saturdays in September. I can't say much more about it except that I'm so hyped.

Then there's the theatre I'll get to see. I live 20 minutes from the National Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Bush Theatre etc, and my bank balance is going to hate me for it but I'm going to see SO MUCH THEATRE. And hopefully write about it too. I want to get back to writing about things I enjoy.

It's odd - a few weeks back I was thinking about how we romanticise moving. We imagine a new life, but also a new, better version of ourselves. There's an admirable sense of aspiration in that which is positive but it could hold the same sway as resolutions. "I'll be tidier, read more, go for long walks" etc.

I brushed it off and thought it was kind of silly, but now I do think it also makes sense. It is a new start so why not embrace it for that. 

As much as possessions aren't really important, I feel better for having bought a few new things for my room that are actually nice (I tend to just acquire functional things) but also for having brought with me so much less than I usually do. And my space feels good. And I'm making the most of opportunities.

And I'm probably a little naive in thinking that means everything changes. It doesn't. I'm still going to be a bit shambolic and ridiculous but that doesn't mean that the change won't inspire me, or that the novelty will go stale.

What also threw me in all of this was just how supported I felt. I know I have good friends, but people texting good luck wishes on moving day and first day of work and asking how things have gone, and even helping me find somewhere to live - it was just overwhelmingly lovely, like a massive hug and a high five all in one. I felt reassured and energised in equal measure.

And I knew these people cared for me, but I guess there's something in a goodbye or a life change that brings honesty and feelings to the surface.

And I just feel so very lucky.

So cheers to new beginnings, and tell the people you love that you love them, and sorry for the rambley blogpost xx

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