Friday, 28 November 2014

A Year of Single: What I Learned About Dating

So... I've been single now for almost a year, and my oh my, what a year it has been.

I'm always pretty honest and open about my life on the internet, I figure - why not? People will judge you regardless, and at the end of the day, you're only ever really what you choose to reveal. And if you're a good person with good intentions, honesty can't really backfire too much, I hope.

When I first became single back in December 2013 - my first instinct was PANIC. For three years I'd known routine - and even though my happiness levels had plateaued below a comfortable level, it was still a daunting feeling to have to start from scratch. Square One. I'd made the fatal error of allowing a boyfriend to become more than just a boyfriend - my social life was lacking, my business took up 50% of my life, and he was the other 50%. All of a sudden I had this gaping hole in my chest and in my life, and my mind was screaming, FILL IT. FILL IT. 

And that's what I did. I jumped head-first into the first guy who caught my eye. 

Lesson 1 - Panic dating is not a good idea. 

This guy was lovely. Great conversation, nice stable job, great with kids and seemed to really care about his future and want to settle down. No drama, nice upbringing. He was ready, I was ready - what could go wrong? A lot, apparently. Whilst I won't get into the details, I learned from this lesson that's when you're panic dating, you ignore a lot of the essentials that you had forgotten you required. His offer of stability made me totally forget that I thirst for someone who has adventure coursing through his veins, who can get up and go exploring at the drop of a hat. In fact, I've never really liked stability at all in a guy. I've always been attracted to guys who are searching for something, yearning for something, constantly trying to put their finger on what it is about life that makes their feet want to run. And after a couple of months, and the initial post-break-up mist had cleared, I realized that I had completely forgotten what I was looking for.


Lesson 2 - Recognising a Summer Romance

This year, I also had my first ever summer romance. As soon as I met him, I knew it wasn't meant to be anything more than a friendship. And yet he had a music taste that had me yelling "I LOVE THIS SONG!" every time he shuffled, and a backpack that was ready to go at all times. Hiking, adventure, camping, guitars, roadtrips. Exploration at every corner, and just a real fondness for each other. In recognising he was a summer romance, I had no desire to assert any kind of control over his life, or attempt to divert it's course. It was incredibly liberating. I've always been a hopeless romantic and a relationship-girl. As soon as I see a guy isn't for me - I carry the hell on and don't look back, and I'll usually know in a matter of weeks. This time round, though, I let myself enjoy the friendship. I let myself get close to someone, all the while knowing the expiration date would come. And we left it on great terms, with an incredible summer of memories, and a fantastic friendship that will last a long time. It was one of the only "relationships" I've ever had that have been nothing but positive. When he set off on his next adventure, I felt zero pangs of sadness, no yearning, no "what if". Just a "Have an amazing time! Catch you soon, friend."

Lesson 3 - Tinder is not good.

Tinder. Well. Tinder made me feel very good about myself - new matches all the time, endless inquiries from an ever-growing queue of hopeful suitors. I think I was one of the lucky ones never to get harassment or straight-up sexual offers, I was always very much treated with respect on Tinder. I went on a couple of dates with incredibly lovely guys, but the experience as a whole on app-dating was horribly unemotional. 
I found myself in bars mentally swiping people that I walked past, and men felt so easily disposable all of a sudden. I never knew how MANY guys were out there until Tinder. "Good looking? Check. Ambitious? Check. Well travelled? Check. But wait - he lives 53km away, and is 23 when I ideally want someone at least 25?... NEXT."
It was TERRIBLE. I enjoyed the ability to swipe for around 3 weeks, and then deleted and began properly enjoying getting to know people again. No one should have access to that many options - because as Sylvia Plath put it -
"I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet."

Well said, Sylvia. Who knew your gorgeous poetry could describe Tinder so precisely?

Lesson 4 - Single is a default, not a status

I feel sometimes that as a woman, we are conditioned to spend our whole lives waiting for Prince Charming to rock up and give us permission to finally begin enjoying our lives. From every DAMN DISNEY MOVIE EVER forced upon us as children, to every teen magazine emblazoned with ways to impress men, be attractive for men, EXIST for men - to romantic movies (or, every movie I can think of), - I found it a very uncomfortable situation to have no romance brewing at all, whatsoever. Zip. Nada. Hmm.

There became a time when I was wide awake on some random Tuesday at 3am. I was considering re-downloading Tinder, I'll be honest. And then I thought, "I love Sylvia Plath quotes, but I don't know anything about her." And I wiki-ed her. 

This 3am changed my life. For the next month, I spent every night from 1am-6am (some nights, I didn't sleep at all) LEARNING. I googled every single person I could possibly think of - Plath, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Shakespeare, The Bronte Sisters, Frieda Kahlo, Timothy Leary, Steve Jobs... I started INHALING wikipedia at an ungodly speed. I watched documentary upon documentary, I invested all my time into everything and anything that captured a moment of interest in me. I wrote poetry, I started conceptualizing for photography again, I listened to incredible music, I learned, I learned. 
I learned about Islam, I learned about the universe, the Fermi Paradox, I blew the dust from old Philosophy textbooks, I learned about revolutions and stepped back in utter wonderment at this incredible world I had been apart of for 23 years, that I had only ever skimmed the surface of. 

At first - I was captivated. Gripped by this unfamiliar thirst for knowledge, amazed at the people who have stood on this same earth and stared at the same stars as ME! And then, I was sad. I was disappointed in myself, in society, that I had allowed myself to be deprived of so much wonderment for so long. All that time I had been waiting for Prince Charming, I'd been waiting at the window for his car to arrive, only to ignore the fascinating, captivating, incredulous world that lay on my doorstep, waiting patiently at my feet to be acknowledged. 

I was saddened that society does not teach women to search for this. How had I missed out on all this LIFE? Why have I been brainwashed to need a man, when all I need is the dirt beneath my feet and the infinite galaxies that hang above my head, just to feel alive? Single is not a status. Single is my default. I am an incredible being - I can move matter with my mind. I live in a universe which mysteries remain unsolved and I have the opportunity to ponder, to question - and this ENTIRE time, I've been taught that I should be thinking about what colour to paint my nails to best impress some guy?! EH?!

But you can't dwell on the past, and I have a lot of making up to do. Big lesson, that one.

And so,

Lesson 4. Wait for the "Fuck Yeah!"

In my opinion, the "Fuck Yeah!" can only come when you know yourself, and the world, very well. I have not known myself for 23 years.  I have not known the depths of my interests and the depths of the worlds behind my eyes, until now. I am so enthralled by being alive, and learning, that right at this moment - I could happily be by myself for the rest of my days. Just give me some wi-fi and my cat, and there will be no problems here, my friend.

The "Fuck Yeah!" comes when someone shows up in your life, and you question what it is they can bring to your already fabulous, fulfilling and exciting existence. And they impress you. Not with promises of escape, romantic gestures, expensive gifts or rock hard abs. Oh no.

I have found myself impressed with a man that can teach me things I've never considered. I am turned on by an extensive vocabulary, by a man who knows even more than I do, even after months of wiki-mania. The conversation is fluent, unfaltering. The wit is perfectly timed and the laughter is belly deep and leaves my jaw-aching. To stay awake and discuss philosophy, science, dreams, art - not because it's cute to do this with a guy because I saw it on a movie or a pinterest list somewhere, but because I need to know if he knows himself, too. I have to know this guy. I have to turn him inside-out and empty his body of all his knowledge, and pour it into myself. 

Do I need a man in my life? Nope. I don't. Do I need this man in my life? Fuck Yeah.

And if he doesn't seem captivated by me? That's alright. Because I have a world at my fingertips that I can lose myself in, any time, any day. Rejection isn't scary when the alternative is time to learn, time to grow, time to build and conquer.  I mean, I am pretty awesome. I'm a total catch. Why would I spend any time on anyone who doesn't see the magic that's overflowing from my boots? Who can't hear the music? Who doesn't see the point of the excitement for life that's glittering in my eyes?
Oh no, no.


Wait for the Fuck Yeah.
Wait. For. It. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

In the meantime

Something switched in my brain this year, that has always been present, but dulled and somewhat faded the last few years of my life.
I've always considered myself a life lover, a feeling feeler and a world taker-inner. Nothing new there. It seems that my days alive right now are a continuous examination of my soul and what makes it tingle. It's as though my brain is a mass of mixed-up wires all tangled and messy, and as soon as the clock strikes 1am, I enter a mental quest to untangle myself, lay each strand down and study it, re-lay it, twist it around a bit, cut it to pieces and stick it back together or just shut it in a drawer and forget about it.

Music seems to make sense, it seems to capture feelings so very well and I love music for that. I read last night that other people can never fulfil your needs, only distract you from the intensity of said needs. That resonates. In my earlier twenties, I didn't really know what my needs were, let alone how to achieve them. So I've written myself a nice little list, in the meantime.

My needs:

1) To be kind, happy and peaceful.

Can't have any of the above without the other. I'm very pleased to have ticked this one off many years ago... at about 17yrs old I found being kind was the answer to most of life's immediate problems. Walk down the street and think positively of other people, and hey presto, meet Self Esteem. Not being negative about other people or circumstances welcomes an absence of bitterness and an overall sense of guilt-free living. So very, very important.

My needs require that I never forget the importance of being kind, and surround myself with people who are also kind. Win win win.

2) To Adventure.

Adventuring on your own is awesome, in the meantime. I highly recommend anyone who wants to, to leave their bed at 2am in the tumbling rain and simply run through empty streets and spin around a bit, in the comfort of being totally alone and totally free to do whatever you like. Feel like a kid again. Drink in the smell of the air and let yourself be brought to tears with happy memories.
This constant tugging at the corner of my mind's t-shirt from my little friend Adventure is both a huge blessing and a tiny curse. I struggle so much with this in relationships, because I'm forever unsatisfied and unfulfilled with anyone who doesn't possess the same magic beans. My needs require my mind to be forever captivated for as long as my lungs wish to exhale the air that I shall run in at 2am.

3) To be happy with an inexpensive life.

This is a relatively new addition to my list. As much as my pinterest boards burst with swanky apartments with huge windows and beds made out of wooden pallets, reality is very different. The worst times in my life are when I cannot sleep for worrying about money. My hair doesn't react well, either, and has been known to fuck off and leave me when times get rough. My needs require that I live a comfortable life in a place I feel cosy, homely and inspired, but also one which is not expensive. The ideal scenario is that England endures an unexpected, yet pleasant shift in climate change, which leads me to build a fantastic house-on-stilts atop a beautiful hill with breathtaking views and cheap floor-to-ceiling windows which can be slid open all day, everyday, with a lovely little lake to swim in each morning. Mortgage free and starry skies every evening. However. In the meantime, I shall make the most of my little lovely countryside apartment, keep it clean and cosy and put up more fairy lights!


4) To be loved in return.

I was having a big old sad think about this the other day - I think I've always been the one who loved more in my previous relationships. I've come to learn that we all express love in different ways though, so next time round I'm going to choose someone who I understand and who understands me, and who is as happy to communicate what they need from me as they are to give to me. In terms of what I need from love though... that's a whole new story that I'm still working on. But the list begins with kindness, magic and adventure. The rest is negotiable! In the meantime, though, fun and romance is always a winner. I've learned to cut my expectations right down and appreciate people for exactly what they are.

5) To learn.

So lately, I've been filling my 3ams with endless wiki-ing and reading and documentary watching, and I cannot believe I haven't done this sooner. The last week, I've thoroughly researched lives of Sylvia Plath (obsessed), Ted Hughes, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Steven Hawking, The Bronte Sisters, Steve Jobs, Shakespeare, and Anais Nin. I've watched documentaries on the universe, started reading my old Philosophy books, and generally begun my slow metamorphosis into a sponge. The more I can learn about this world while I have the time to do so, the better. So much out there. What's the point in being alive if you aren't going to learn as much as possible? My needs require that I always make time for learning, and spend time with people who can teach me new things always. Everyone knows something you don't... and in the meantime, I'm on a mission to find it all out.


In the meantime, I plan on being the nicest, coolest, happiest and best person I can be. I'm gonna leave this world with stars in my eyes and grass stains all over my clothes. Yep, yep. That'll do it.




Monday, 18 August 2014

mumblings from someone who cannot sleep

People ask me all the time, "Why did you take up photography? What made you start?"

And I tell them a fun story about MySpace and vanity, being a teenager, going with the flow, luck and chances and here I am.

But in reality there is so much more, I'm an escape artist, you see.
The last few months have reignited that spark in me in different ways. It's always when I'm single that I feel most myself. I guess I have a tendency to bury myself in other people when I love them, and that doesn't feel so bad. But when you're out in the cold at 4am on the street where you used to live, it all flows back through me and I remember why I took up photography.

Ever since I can remember, I've loved writing, stories, poetry, words, art, paintings. Music is the ruler of my soul. I'm listening to this right now, after spending the last 30 minutes in silence, studying my current state.


I don't think it's a desire to avoid unhappiness, and I don't think I necessarily want to run away from anything or anyone. I just have this underlying thudding in my chest which forces my legs to run once in a while. My heart seems to connect to moments once in a while, usually in the wind, and I just get this feeling of magic and peace which floods and overtakes my entire mind, body, everything. And I know there's more, I've felt more before. I've gone to places in my mind which I didn't know existed, I've felt 10-second euphoria of feeling like I was standing in a strobe light, all the atoms and molecules of my hands becoming the surfaces they were touching, I've switched off the left hemisphere and all I can remember is feeling like I was running, out of breath, towards an edge of some sort. Swinging from rung to rung of an old ladder, out of the skies to that next place. That Next Place. It's like a recurring dream. And I'm stood there, breathless, just trying to scoop up all my favourite memories into my arms and not let any of them fall away. I know this place exists but it's in my mind, and there is a sweet, sweet sadness in that. 

So I take photos. I leap into these worlds which are in my head, which exist in songs and poetry and art. There's something else out there, there's a freedom which you can't grasp. I hope my soul goes there when I leave this world, I hope that death is the sweetest feeling, that familiar run, trying desperately to hold tightly to those precious memories and feeling them slip quietly through my arms, into some vast empty space. Who knows. 

I can't ever explain it properly, because I'm not you and you're not me and we'll never quite see things the same way. I don't believe in God, but C.S Lewis summed it up best when he said 

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”


For now, all I can do is visit these places in the only way I know how. With my camera and my mumblings of a mind which cannot sleep.



Monday, 14 April 2014


A Cool Breeze in the Morning

I will never feel lonely again, because the wind will always run it's hands through my hair
I will never feel lost, because my feet have learned to wander
and my hands feel that everywhere is home
The cold wraps around me like a blanket now
and when the light blinds my eyes, I can see clearly again
The rain washed my skin back to soft, childlike
And the smoke cleared from my lungs as I welcomed the alcohol into my bloodstream
I like it this way
I will never feel lonely again


Monday, 7 April 2014

Learning To Be Free

What an eye-opening month it has been!

A month ago I felt very lost. In a 5* Hotel in an amazing country. 
I was sitting there, crying like I hadn't cried before. Like a teenager rejected by her crush. Like someone trapped. Like I had nothing to look forward to. I didn't feel like I had anything to look forward to.

I looked at my life and I didn't like it. But I had it all?

I have an amazing job. My Facebook posts get a ton of likes. I get to go to 5* hotels for FREE because an awesome celebrity took a liking to me and made me her friend. I had endless inquiries for work, endless people tugging at my sleeve, endless people telling me I was great. And I have never felt so empty, and never felt so ungrateful.

I'll tell you what, money ain't all that.
The high life ain't all that.

What I thought were my life-goals, dreams a few years ago have turned out to be very empty and shallow without the magic ingredient which is passion, which is happiness.

Since stopping taking on paid work, I have felt alive like never before. I fill my spare time with endless googling, endless searching for inspiration, endless planning and friends and life and enjoyment. It's raining so hard right now and I'm pretty sure that after I post this I'm gonna go for a run in it.



Instead of listening the song, I started to feel it.
I've let my imagination override my compulsion to work, 
I've let my desire to create override my desire to earn

And maaaan it feels good.


The thing that scares me in this life is making the wrong choice. I'm scared to have no money, scared to be alone, scared to be unhappy, scared to be a failure, scared to be a bad person. I've been so terrified of all these things, I haven't let myself enjoy life like I could. And that's okay, because I'll enjoy it so much deeper now. That rain is going to burn through my skin and fall straight into my eyes and I am going to really, really feel it.

I am a storm. I am a force. I don't care. I am going to get drunk, throw my head back and dance like I am an awesome dancer. I am going to love so fiercely and be so kind and sing so loudly to songs that I don't care if you don't like. I don't care, but I care about you. I care that you are happy, too. Like this. It's ace.


Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Big Change

I am making a big change. 

I've decided to take a break from client photography for a while - lately I've been having a rough time of it. Back in January I gave a TED talk on Creativity and Happiness, and while writing it I realised quite a lot about myself.
I had fallen into The Hole without even realising.
The last three years, I've been on work-overdrive. Trying to pay my way in life, trying to be someone else's vision of successful, trying to bury myself a little here and there.
Photography is so much more to me than a way to earn money, photography has been my way of expressing myself, for the last six years and trying to figure happiness out has been my quest for quite a while longer.

When I was 16, I lost about 1/3 of my hair due to a bout of alopecia brought on by stress, unhappiness and general lack of life enjoyment. 
It grew back, along with the smile on my face. 
I have lost the sides of my hair twice more over the last six years following, and this October it started happening again.


I took this back in October, it's the size of about the palm of my hand on both sides of my head.

Losing your hair is a very interesting experience. I've learned not to be bothered by it physically, it's pretty normal to me now. But it is a symptom, for me, of something a lot deeper which is growing inside of me that I need to fix in myself. There's a blackness which comes when my hair starts falling out, and it's been present with me for the last 6 months now. 

When I look at my life right now, it isn't where I want it to be.
My photography is my life, and for the last three years I have felt a lot like a slave to my clients - some of which I was gladly a slave to, I should add :) But I haven't felt like I've been able to take time to appreciate doing nothing, I have felt like I have had to put a price on myself, my time, and I can't do it anymore.

The last four months have been pretty soul searching ones for me. I've cried a LOT, had a breakdown, tried to throw myself into other things, other people, no work, too much work. I haven't been able to settle, because without the mask that is routine and comfort, I've been questioning pretty much everything about myself.

Heartbreak is a bitch, I've had some cracks open up in my heart which are finally getting some air inside them. I haven't properly experienced emotion like this in quite a while. I feel very raw, very vulnerable and very open.


Here is my hair regrowth, as of today! :D

So I'm going to be changing some things up to ensure that this newly treasured sprouts of hair don't go disappearing again for a while. 

  • I won't be taking on anymore paid work until I feel lighter again
  • I will be shooting, for me. I am so excited to get out and create something of me, put some more of my soul into my photos!
  • I'm going to be upholding all the workshop dates/current bookings, because I made promises


I'm also going to be changing my daily life - instead of it being work, work, editing, emails, work, work, sleep

It will now include things like
Going for a walk
Going to the gym
Seeing friends
Putting music on and just enjoying it for a while
Looking out of the window without feeling guilty for not being productive
Being unproductive
Being productive
Shooting personal work which I enjoy
Stroking my new hair growth
Cuddling my cat

I can't wait to feel more excited about life, I can't wait to feel happy again, I can't wait to wake up every day and look forward to what's coming. I can't wait to be able to balance my time when I eventually get back into work, but I will be doing so with a new mindset and a new attitude!


Thanks for understanding :)

Signing off,
Rosie


Monday, 17 February 2014

What I've Learned About Love

It seems so long ago that I wrote this blog post about love, life and being alone. Probably because it was years ago. I've had so many ups and so many downs since then in that arena, and so many emails of support and love from you guys online when my 3 year relationship came to an end at Christmas.

It's been about 2 months now, and I've done lots of thinking in that time, as most people do. Where did I go wrong, again? Why does every relationship fail with me? I've picked myself apart, reduced my food>mouth ratio and thought about love as a whole, my attitude towards it and what I will do differently next time.

One thing though, as I write this, stands out above the rest.

"There will come a time, you'll see. With no more tears. Where love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears."

Good old Mumford & Sons, what would I do without them? I think one of my big problems was (and probably still is) that I have a slight tendency to let love conquer all. Including logic and my better judgement. Love is a magic plaster that seals all wounds, no matter how deep. It's an excuse for bad behaviour that applies to every situation, no matter how painful and no matter how you both agreed that situation would not ever occur. Love is a glue which stops you from leaving even though you know you should.

Learning and realizing that my idea of love wasn't the best one for me really hurt. In a way, I wondered if the next love I had would really go as deep as I wanted it to, if it wasn't all-consuming, all-forgiving, all-purpose love. And then I heard those words. "Love will not break your heart."

That's what I'm aiming for. I want a love that loves. Being in love with someone shouldn't be a painful experience, and I will never let it be a painful one for me again. It can be challenging, with obstacles, but not obstacles which are the results of unkind actions.

I don't feel bitter, upset, angry or numb. I feel healed. I don't harbour any negative feelings about my situation. I feel happy that I have learned more about what I need from the next person I choose to love, and happy that I have given myself the chance to find them.

I guess I just wanted to write this down, for myself to read back at some point. I'm not sure.