An important thing I want my niece to know is there is no dishonour walking away from something that no longer makes you happy. A relationship, a friendship, a cruise ship - if it no longer fills your soul with joy then it is no longer of service to you and both parties should be set free. This is why I am writing this break-up note to my long running partner Trying Hard.
Dear Trying Hard
It all began so long ago. From rehearsing dance routines in the kitchen aged 9 to revising for hours for my 13 completely now unnecessary GCSE's you have always been by my side. I thought I needed you to survive. If I was there, Trying Hard on my team, great things would come to me and sometimes those moments correlated. I would put my all into something and something wonderful would be produced but so often I would be left tired and somewhat hollow afterwards. All that time, effort and energy focused solely on one thing, gone in a heartbeat. I thought that was just how it worked. I never considered there was another way. Even after all my years in education, trying with all my might to be top of the class so I could have lots of friends and a great life, I always seemed to end up on the outside and I never understood why because I was always Trying Hard.
That transferred into my twenties, when I was at uni I read lots of plays, worked on my vocal technique daily, learnt dance routines I wasn't cast in because if I tried hard great opportunities would come to me. Yet still I was told 'you're mixed race so you need to belt to get work', 'you can dance but your too big to fit in the line up', 'you do weird things with your face when you act, it's distracting'. So I would try and fix anything I could fix in an attempt to earn what I thought I deserved.
I wrote to 220 agents, directors and theatre companies in the run up to my final year show. I was one of 4 out of a cast of 16 to write to anyone, over half the cast, some who no longer wanted to perform after uni, got signed as a result. This was when it truly hit me, at 25 years of age that even those who have never turned to Trying Hard still got great results. But it was ok I told myself, I was going to continue Trying Hard as my time was coming, it was just around the corner as long as I put my all into everything I did.
Over the past four years I have had some incredible opportunities and had lots of fun creating with great people but any time 'big' chances comes up they never seem to come through. I get so close I can almost smell it but it never seems to be my time this time. No matter how many spreadsheets I create detailing agents, directors, casting directors, theatre companies and share with others , no matter how many hours I spend getting off book, researching the production company, director, script no matter how many skills I brush up on or learn new - it never quite seems my time.
I know some people may call me bitter, that there have been good times why can't I solely focus on them? Well because I have been trying so hard for so long that I not just tired but exhausted. My brain is now so full, I struggle to form full sentences, my days thoughts spilling into vivid dreams of failure, too tired to keep the positive energy flowing, feeling jealous of those reaching their goals sharing them with such ease online. And I began to resent Trying Hard.
Having dinner with a friend last week she said she was no longer going to say 'I am working on' but 'I am loving on' and it rang so true within my heart that I knew it was exactly what I needed to hear to make this step forward. I want to feel free again. I want to feel in love with my career again. So Trying Hard needs to be a thing of the past.
Now don't get me wrong I am not going to become a lazy oaf expecting things to fall into my lap, I am not expecting anything. I am just going to find the joy in everything again. I'm not going to think less of myself if I don't manage to get off book in time for a casting, I'm not going to compare my career record to every mixed race actress out there, I'm not going to feel like an outcast because I am taller and chubbier than those with sustained careers. I'm going to accept every opportunity with open arms and enjoy it for all it is, no expectations, just a chance to experience something new.
Trying Hard, you have been with me a very long time and I have expected so very much from you but now is the time to set ourselves both free. I'm going to spend some time finding out what I'm like without you looking over my shoulder and I think it's time for you to have some rest because you have been Trying Hard for so very very long.
To the future,
fHoly guacamole what a month.
This month has really been about letting go of ego and embracing new people (figuratively not literally). Some people may choose to but I believe you can't go through life alone. Human interaction us vital to the evolution of human existance - gosh that got deep real quick. But its true, I spoke to a world renowned futurist about it. Let me explain.
This summer was rough. Its the first time I momentarily considered walking away from acting. It was because I felt I had no place there, I didn't fit in and with a loving boyf in my life maybe its time to 'settle down'. As I said it was momentarily because the idea of not acting anymore made me feel physically sick that reaffirmed that my purpose is to be a storyteller.
So whilst I waited for the acting job I considered what other jobs could allow me to tell stories. Then one kinda fell in my lap out if my twitter feed. A director I have followed for a while because of his comedy work, posted back in June that they needed someone for a day or two to help with some research. As a grade A nerd I jumped at the chance to learn new skills and learn about new things and loved. Then they called me again and again. Just a day or two here and there then September came around and they offered me a 5 week stint researching 100s of stories for The One Show. That meant I was in an office where not only could I learn about loads of awesome stuff, but write the treatments for them and also chip in here and there on some of their other projects. I was storytelling in a way I never had before and loving it.
And there were respectful and flexible for my acting jobs which I haven't freaked out about this month. I got to a point where I would make sure I was completely off book, new the life story of every one on the creative team, arrived am hour early, cleared my diary for all potential dates and in reality I was basically piling a whole of unnecessary pressure on myself. And telling myself because I had done all that work I DESERVED it. The person who was beat for the role deserved it and me bringing in that attitude to a casting room was so unproductive and possibly cocky. It wasn't me.
So I chilled the fudge out. Allocated time to do what I could in terms of research but made sure I took care of myself first. I allowed myself to have fun in the room knowing that this job was not the be all and end all. And then the work came. Little corporate shoots that were loads of fun, some presenting gigs that upped my new skillset and chances to do comedy. I had shied away from comedy for a while because having been 'the funny fat friend' growing up I associated being funny with being fat and I did not want to be seen as fat. But then I let that ridiculous view point go and began to laugh every day.
I allowed myself to literally go with the flow because of the guidance of those who know me best and I will tell you what I am enjoying life on this rubber ring floating down the lazy river enjoying the view. My relationships have improved as have my career prospects and health. I am creating more time for friends and family rather than 'sorry I cant see you for the first time in a year because I need to spend this entire day on this self tape for a short film that may or may not catapult me into stardom' we hang out. And hanging out is vital! Talking nonsense or discussing spirituality or walking through parks or just watching a junk TV switching off from actor Lauren and being Lauren and friends is wonderfully liberating.
Who knows what's around the corner, I could be cruising for another few months yet but I know connecting with people both inside of work and outside means I am planting seeds in all aspects of my life for the future and you know what, I'm cool with it.
Its been nearly 18 months since I lost wrote and so very much has changed! (including my hair - where did it all go?!)
I'm sure I'll start to cover it all in the next few posts as something has compelled me to write again. (I say something I mean Rebecca Campbell's Light Is The New Black read it now!) But before looking back, I'm gonna start with the here and now...
I now live in Hertfordshire with my wonderful partner Alex (he's got a post dedicated just to him coming soon). We're a little bit outside of London but close enough to still get to auditions and see friends. But sometimes you don't fancy the 20 minute walk to the station followed by the full price travelcard and train ticket combo you have to get as you're no longer in an oyster card zone. But it was all good. As a Social Media fiend I could just find out what everyone was doing by looking at their tweets, posts and stories. That was good enough right?
The joy of living with your boyf in a house with Sky TV and a telly meant we spent our summer nights snuggled on the sofa engrossed (with the rest of the nation) in Love Island. I say engrossed, I had one eye on the telly and one on my phone, none on Alex but still we discussed how we were Team Alexandra and thought Wes and Josh were the best double act since Keenan and Kel and how in love the two of us were compared to the bikini clad, muscle bound new age celebs om the TV. I would refresh my feed constantly throughout the day to see any updates but what I did see was a whole load of body shaming, racism, berating of women for their sexual and cosmetic choices and general self righteous judgement and I was hooked. And sad. And angry.
I would defend my opinions of the treatment of Samira, the life choices of Megan and the representation of Alexandra as 'the big girl' like a lioness. Annoyed by anyone who slated viewers and the show, anyone who bit back at ethnic and plus women saying they couldn't see themselves repped on screen. That bubbling anger began to seep into other areas of my life.
I became angry with my fellow actors. I would be grated by anyone who spoke negatively of the industry or of others out their striving. On Facebook groups I became a consistent commenter with an opinion on everything - even to the point that I was annoying myself. I knew it wasn't my nature to be that argumentative - yeah I can be stubborn but I'm not one for being abrasive. Regular me was trying to break out though. I began writing lengthy Instagram comments about acceptance, faith and focus. I was battling myself daily and for the world to see on ALL my timelines.
But Alex spotted it. He saw how involved in my phone I was, suggested I put it down once in a while. At first I brushed it off saying it was vital for work - if I didn't have my phone in my hand every waking hour I would miss my 'big chance' - but old me was listening and she knew he was right.
Making the decision to cease my social media usage was a big one for me. I had spent my third year of uni studying its mechanisms for my dissertation, it allowed me to stay connected to my friends and family around the world and gave me a way to not only promote the great work I had done but also to source more. I took a breath, I chose to have faith, I posted a note about my decision and I signed out.
The first few days were weird. I kept going to find the apps but I had deleted them all, then searching for them on my browser but stopping myself when it said Enter Password because I knew deep down I didn't want to. Some wonderful, wonderful people sent me texts and emails wishing me well and to keep in contact which made me realise I hadn't become a hermit I had just changed the ways I communicated with people. And then I started to relax.
I started to spend my time having actual conversations with real life humans in front of me (primarily Alex), I even Skyped friends I hadn't seen in ages so they could tell me what they had been up to and how those experiences made them feel - because you don't really get that real emotion in a 280 character tweet. I began to read more, books that raised my vibrations and improved my creativity, mood and receptiveness. I basically became more alert and awake.
Now I admit, I haven't been completely SM free. I have posted a pic of Alex and I on our anniversary (seen as our love story started online it seemed apt) and a video of my latest commercial because I'm not hiding myself and still feel it is important to celebrate myself. But apart from a couple of scrolls to see pics of my nephews and niece and if anyone has linked me to a good casting on twitter, SM is barely in my life.
And it is unbelievably liberating. I still believe in its benefits and am still reaping the benefits of those benefits, benefiting me brilliantly. But I got too involved, too blinkered and too emotionally charged by it all, that I knew it was time for me to let go. And give room for more of the present, the now, room for those who deserve my time and to be actively in their lives
So you out there, love or hate your social media feed but remember life is happening just the other side of that screen. Get involved sometimes.
P.S. odd afterthought...how will anyone know I've written this if I don't post it on social media.....?
For those who've read my posts before you know I'm open and honest. Even if that makes the reader (or me) uncomfortable. In a world of filters, editors and likes sometimes we blur ourselves to be accepted. I've done it too. But this year I have felt myself getting stronger and bolder and more passionate about life. I have removed so much negativity which has allowed so many great opportunities and experiences in but there is one last dragon at the gate.
Now this is not a man-bashing session at all. I have been cheated on, punched, sexually assaulted, verbally abused my a tiny number of men but not all 3.6 Billion of them. Just a few absolute cretins slipped through the net. I am fortunate enough to have some amazing men in my life who love, support, encourage and entertain me. I fall in love in moments because I can find a good energy sexy as hell and every human is different so no matter what I have experienced with certain individuals I will never tarnish a whole people because of a few dark experiences.
However those experiences have shaped me. Well shoved me into a tiny mind box and I'm ready to break out.
In the past couple of weeks I have been on some incredible hen dos with some wonderful women. Groups of women usually make me anxioud because I don't think I'm a very good one (keep reading, it'll make sense). On the first night out a guy took a shine to me in a club, we had a little dance, a little smooch, he chatted to my pal, I went and had a drunken anxiety attack in the worlds tiniest toilet cubicle because I decided that because she's smaller than me, white and pretty that he prefered her and I was a bet put on by his mates to get with the giant brown girl with the big hair. Yep, my brain created this insane theory that meant the bride to be had to wipe away my tears, physically shake me and tell me to woman up!
The treatment I have had from men both who love me and don't, has caused me to create a distorted image of myself. After getting attacked in 2009 I became more away of how I dressed, not wating to 'attract the wrong attention' I was wearing a vest top, shorts and flip flops at the time. But at 6'2 in heels I usually attract attention. And some people like to be really verbal (or physical - why do they always touch my hair!?) about it. So I want to make myself as small and unnoticeable as possible but then I'm not being true to myself.
Every man I have had what is best described as a sustained monogamous relationship with has returned to their 5'5 white, pretty, long brunette haired girlfriend - making me feel like a phase/experiment/fashion statement. A couple have even stated that's what I've been 'I always said I'd be with a light skinned, light eyed, actress' yeah...sure..bye mate! Growing up in a sporty household I would happily join tournaments in the garden, collecting newts at the local stream, not being very lady like but seeing my brothers and their friends date very 'ladylike' girls (one's who wake up an hour earlier to do their hair and make up and don't swear like a sailor). I've been told 'you're actually quite pretty and alright for a fat girl'. More than once.
I want to be me, shorts, heels, big hair, hoop earrings, the loudest laugh you've heard. Not for attention but because that is how I like to express myself. But the world tells you a lady should be little, quiet, not make too much noise or mess, let the man be bigger and stronger than her. Sorry society but God/genetics (whatever your preference) didn't pick those traits out of the lego box when they created me.
I am being me. Expressing myself, it makes me feel like I am radiating joy. When I'm working, in class, at the theatre that is how I feel so I'm taking that into the real world!
The second hen do I didn't think about what men would think about me. I wore outfits that made me say damn at myself in the mirror. I danced, I laughed, I learnt about the 11 other strangers I was with ( I only knew the bride and 1 other hen). One hen said that when she saw me at the airport, big hair, sunnies, she thought 'She's too cool for us' when I did my flappy wave and exclaimed 'Hiya loves!' she realised looks can be decieving. Society has planted an image on me but my soul has other plans.
Having my oldest friends all marrying and starting families doesn't make me jealous, it makes me ecstatic that they are happy and it makes me realise that I am now ready. I'm not scared anymore. I'm not going to try and be a lady anymore. I am going to live and whoever wants to join in, can. I'm gonna wear heels, I'm gonna amp up my curls and I'm going to laugh so hard that you can probably hear me from where you are now. If a fella sees me and notices that I have big thighs and long legs, a decent pair and full filler-free lips, he gets a gold star for observation. If that's something he finds visually pleasing that's his business not mine. But if that's all he sees he is missing out on all the magic that lies underneath. That these women in the past two weeks have made me realise is there. And is welcome to come out.
To you women I say thank you. And to you sir who sees the shell, handles it with care then gets to hear the ocean on the inside - I look forward to meeting you.
I have put on weight. I know it's not the end of the world but in a society and industry where visuals matter I feel the pressure like so many others in my field. Weight shouldn't matter, it is purely numbers on a scale but still it niggles at me everyday that I have never hit my 'goal weight'. I weigh myself once, maybe twice a year. Only if curiosity gets the better of me when I'm in my mum or brothers bathroom as they are the only people I know with scales. But I think about my weight every day. Ok maybe not just my weight, but my body fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density, excess skin contribution, water retention levels...that kind of thinking is not healthy and I'm working on it. It's just so much harder than I thought it ever would be when I decided to lose weight.
To catch newbies up at 22 I weighed 17stone 10lbs, thats 248lbs, nearly an eighth of a ton. Eating made me feel like I was keeping up societies image of me, giving me a place - The Fat Funny Girl. At school I made you laugh so me eating a fried chicken box meal for two on my way home for dinner, eating whatever my mum cooked for dinner, then having a couple of bags of crisps as a late night snack was a-ok. But it wasn't. I tried being a vegetarian but that just meant lots of chips. At 18 I would eat takeaways almost daily but with the amount of uni partying I was doing it wouldn't stay in my stomach for long. Be that down to downing a bottle of peach schnappes for pre drinks or popping a straw down my gullet at the end of the night. My relationship with food in my teens and into my early twenties was quite brutally a love/hate one.
But I was only mildly content. I have never been slim, in fact at that point I was the smallest I had ever been since I was about 12 and in my mind by my goal weight I would be this lean, toned leggy thing but in fact I was covered in stretch marks and lots of saggy, jiggly bits. But as an overall I was happy. I wore what I wanted and ate what I wanted in reason.
Then my life took off. My career kicked in which I love and am eternally grateful for and as new opportunities came into my life, my routine went out the window. I ate what I could when I could. Not in a pigging out way in a I've just done a 12 hour shoot and all I have time for is this tray of Tesco sushi that's been in my bag since 7am. I still went to the gym, but only once maybe twice every seven to 10 days if I had the time and energy. I would rather not eat than eat something 'bad'. But as I was living my dream and my weight/image wasn't hindering me but being celebrated I ploughed on.
Then in swooped wedding season 2017. And it has hit me all over again. The feeling of having to fulfil the image of the funny fat girl. I'm off on two overseas hen dos and have weddings at home in my 'past life' which always gives me anxiety. These wonderful women are hitting Slimming World like bosses and my greatest fear is that I am going to be the fat bridesmaid. I asked one of my fellow bridesmaids how she had shifted nearly 2 stone in as many months and she simply replied 'I've got my eyes on the prize'. She is getting her pre baby body back. She knows where she is heading. I don't. A stone lighter than I am now doesn't look like the image I held in my head and even after dropping 5 dress sizes I am now viewed as the funny 'big' girl. My height and broadness I cannot change. So I have hit a wall and hit it hard.
(Side note: it doesn't help that I start dating guys who like my personality work ethic and drive but who then commit to the 5'6 white brunette girl who works in retail. I hate feeling like I am an experiment or phase.)
I look in the mirror and don't hate what I see. In the right outfit (which most are as I've finally learnt to dress myself) I quite like myself. But in my undies, in crowds, I have started to feel like I take up too much space. And that is not a feeling I have had in nearly 6 years. It is not a feeling that is welcome in my wonderful, gorgeous life now. I am trying to fix it. I make the most incredible prep meals from scratch - no packet or jar sauces - and tons of veg, I walk as much as I can and I gym 2/3 times a week. But my mind does not match what I see.
There is a wonderful body positivity movement on social media encouraging women to love the body that they have which is great but it is a lot of pressure. Because right now I don't love my, which makes me feeling like not only am I looking after my body well enough to match the body I want but I am not grateful for the body that I have. I am beyond grateful for the body that I have it allows me to live my love fuelled, adventure filled life. It just doesn't look like ANY of the bodies I see on Instagram. Not a-one!
For those who have read my posts before you'll feel that this vibe is different. Its not my usual 'here's a hurdle I have over come' or 'here's something I'm going to achieve' because I haven't overcome this feeling of visual inadequacy and I don't know how. So this is the start of a story rather than the end and I have no plan to fix it. I thought about joining weight loss groups like my pals but my sporadic routine and travel schedule leaves little room for consistency and my fear that even if I do shift a stone or two I will still feel like I don't look like society thinks I should.
I have to remind myself that it's ok not to know the answers or have a plan and that I am so fortunate to live the life I do with a healthy body and the freedom to live the life I chose. I just know I need to work on myself both physically and mentally because I have not worked this hard for this long to let numbers on a scale, dress or tape measure make me feel inadequate when I have achieved so much.
From what seemed like out of no where I had my first panic attack of 2017 this weekend. My life has been incredible this year and only a week ago I was exclaiming how happy was that I thought I was over these insercurity driven, chest pounding, tear inducing turns.
I was at my best mates pre-hen do meet up. Chilling out with awesome women I knew and getting to know ones I didn't, to prep a lively weekend in Benidorm. But as they arrived my legs started to go weak, my vision blurred and my chest started to pound. My bestie took me off as she could see it coming. In her spare room I broke down. It was the first week of the year I hadn't had an audition or job, I had discussed my exes far too much and the girls were all celebrating their slimmingworld successes when I haven't step foot into the gym for over a week. I felt like a really rubbish useless female - that this giant, single, sporadically employed, outsider shouldn't be there.
I knew it was all just noise. Just nonsense. I have had one great job after the other this year. I am surrounded by people who love me and I am beyond excited to be a wifey when he comes whenever that maybe. My diet is spot on and I've taken to walking everywhere I can to up the heart rate. I am living my dream. Yet this little demon likes to pop up whenever I go down south to 'home'.
With that in mind I need to up my defences as from early April all through May I will be down south a lot for wedding season and want to be able to enjoy it - not let the past me come and ruin such a joyful time.
So today begins the Mind/Body/Soul challenge.
Every day for the next 28 days I will ensure I do something that enriches my mind, body and soul. From reading a new book, getting my butt to a circuits class, finding a new empowering meditation, I will encourage myself to remind myself that I am doing just fine!
After 28 days it will become habit. That I will always find the time to mellow my mind and respect my body. Not keep painfully comparing myself to those who are so wildly different. I am challenging myself to create a strong, happier me because I'm already on my way I just need a little boost once in a while.
Come join me and check out my progress on Instagram @LaurenDouglin
Had some stuff playing on my mind that I wasn't sure how to express so I've written something a little different this week. A poem.
Because I'm all cool and fancy like that.
Don't ever let anyone try and dictate who you should be or dull your shine.
Burn bright baby.
Thats not the poem. The poem is down there.
I am fire.
I burn bright.
I can help lead the way in darkness.
Keep you warm in nights of ice and despair.
At times I may dwindle to embers but a simple breath of air will breathe life into me again.
Keeping my flames alive.
Giving me reason to stay burning.
Then there are those who want to possess my being.
Thinking that I should burn just for them.
That I can be kept in an ornamental case.
Trying to manipulate and control my flames.
But I am fire.
I cannot be controlled.
I have the power to bring down a forest when pushed in the wrong way.
I imprint on your skin if you try and put your hand in too deep.
Pour water on me, sure.
That form of me may be gone.
But you will always need me.
I will always rise again.
Just give me a little flicker and a little fuel.
See what I can do.
I could be your greatest asset when treated right.
Or your destruction if you handle me without due care.
I am fire.
I can guarantee that at some point in your life you're going to think ' I really should say yes more.' You know how it goes, your days seem dull, your life feels like it needs more adventure, Holly down the road says yes all the time and has just come back from an expenses paid trip to go sky diving in Sri Lanka with some guy called Sebastian.
Or maybe you need to slow down a little 'I really should say no more'. Staying an extra 10 minutes at work to help out always turns into an extra 2 hours, that girl from college you hardly speak to is in your passenger seat with her feet on the dashboard on a Sunday morning because you 'have a big car right?' so of course you help her move house, you let your boyfs little sister trim your hair for her BTEC exam when a bowl cut later you remember that little word.
Or maybe you're just a straight up flake. An I'll check my diary kinda gal who doesn't actually own a diary and will probably just spend the time she's meant to be meeting work colleagues for brunch tucked up in bed in her jimjams watching Peaky Blinders and knowing that you'd have made a top notch gangster.
The important thing is to remember which ever one you are, if you are happy, crack on. Say yes, say no, say maybe and live your days as you please.
But if you're not happy,
It's not about saying yes or no more its about saying them at the right time. You know its the right time if you feel happy with your answer. Then who gives a hoot what it is.
If someone said to me Lauren, could you hold my pet snake a second I would say yes - snakes don't bother me, I find them mystically enchanting. If the question was Lauren, could you hold my pet giant land snail a second I would politely decline as slugs and snails are the most rancid thing on the planet and make me fear that my skin would disintergrate if they touched me. I would answer the question in relevance to my happiness. Not to impress or seem like a big man but just in accordance with what I am happy with.
BUT on the flip of that you cant have growth with out challenging yourself a little, by being a little uncomfortable. Me touching a snail would not progress my life in anyway so that is a solid no but when an opportunity is presented and you think you could push you body, mind or spirit to gain the most from that opportunity then say yes.
Richard Branson says,
If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you don't knoe if you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later.
And I'm pretty sure he's the kind of guy who has said yes to the right opportunites.
Its about knowing who you are and what type of person you would like to be. Even if its Saturday night and society reckons I should be out on a mad one I am happy to say no thank you to my pals when asked out as my enjoyment comes from watching old series of Survivor whilst making milkshakes and dancing to disco classics in my jammies in the kitchen with my housemate.
My yeses and nos impact my happiness. They create my world. We are so lucky when given choices as its the universes way of letting us chose whether or not we want to better ourselves and our lives. Some do not get anywhere near as many chances as others so don't take them for granted and don't waste them. Let your instincts guide you and if you normally respond one way but then your gut says 'but why?' be willing to question yourself and switch things up a bit.
I've had some crazy experiences when I've said yes to things that scared me a little (you know that whole yes I'm quitting my full time job to be an actress thing) and I've kept myself grounded having said no to peer pressure and things that dont serve me (why would I ever go out drinking before an audition?!). From an incredible year working in Spain because I said no to uni bullies to singing with Aleah in Tesco because I said yes to caroling with my favourite one I don't think I should say more or less to either. I just know that when I say my yeses and nos I say them because I am trusting my gut and they are leading me to my happiness.
Hello 2017 you beauty! I know we’ve just met but I’ve got a feeling were gonna create some pretty awesome memories together.
That is how I am going to approach every single day of this year not just January 1st. Every time I wake up is a new opportunity to create something special. We put too much pressure on ourselves when new years come around. New Years resolutions on average last only 17 days! 5% of the whole year! So what?!
We don’t need the last digit on the date to define when we can make a change in our lives. Why limit ourselves then feel bad we only kept our promise to ourselves for 5% of the time? You have to feel ready to make a change, even if you’re scared, you have to feel ready. Some of my biggest changes have happened at random times. They’ve been boiling in my bones for a while and then a flickering of light spurs me on to switch things up – I don’t think ‘oh no its September 26th, I’ve got to be miserable for another 3 months’.
One of my favourite sayings is,
‘You start every day with £86400. If someone came along and took £10 would you worry about the £10 lost or the remaining £86390 you could spend as you wish?’
Each one of those pounds is a second in your day, don’t let a ‘cheat meal’, cross word or missed chance seem like money ill spent. It's been and gone but you still have so much more to spend on things that you love and that will help you grow. Try and spend your seconds wisely but if you don’t it’s all good, you’re human which means you can learn from your mistakes and invest more wisely next time.
Obviously things will happen that will have greater and longer reprocussions than 10 seconds and it’s ok to feel hurt, angry or sad. The trick is not to become those things. Let the feelings come, process them the best way you know how – I’m a big fan of the rant to the best mate that ends in hysterical tears and a hug, that clears the bad feels right out! Let them in, let them rest then send them on their merry way – do not let them dwell. Dwelling hinders productivity and you’ve got a whole world to explore and create out there!
Don’t be pulled into the #newyearnewme hype. Why do you have to be a new you? Everything you need to change your life you already have – air in your lungs, thoughts in your brain and a beating in your heart. Too many people see a new year as a shedding of the skin and yes leave the negative people, thoughts and experiences behind you. Throw at old clothes, delete old numbers, unfollow old pepple – oh no I mean unfollow negative people, I got into a bit of a flow there. But don’t feel you have to become a whole new person. You’re already amazing all you have to do is realise that for yourself. When ever you lay your head to rest each night relive all the good things that happened in your mind as your drift and leave all the bad stuff where it should be left – in the past.
Welcome in the new year with open arms just as you are going to welcome every new day. Have faith that each day will be filled with joy and opportunity and just see what great things come your way.
This year I have experienced the highest highs of my life and the lowest lows. A couple of times they have collided into each other and caused inexplicable moments of painful bliss. But this year has been the greatest year of my life.
I have encouraged myself to do a lot of reflection this year. My main reason for this is to remind myself that without realising I have reached my destination, I have obtained success. Not because of a thing, or person, or job - but because I feel truly free living out my purpose of engaging emotions in others so that they can see that anything is possible.
5 years ago I walked home from a New Years Eve party, alone and in tears. I thought I was lost, that I had made the wrong choices in life and would be hopeless and alone forever. Even just 2 years ago, the new year began with heartbreak and the feeling of not being worthy. But the whole time I had one thing left, even if I didnt realise it at the time. Faith.
I had faith in the fact that my life would get better. That I would be stronger. That I would be able to help more people to have faith in themselves too. When my number 1 fan, my Nan, was about to be wheeled into surgery to have her leg amputated 3 months ago, having signed a DNR, she said through tears
'It's my time, the Lord is going to take me now.' I told her,
'You're not going yet, there is so much more you need to see me do.'
When I visited a week later she told me my strength and positivity helped her through. Just like hers had done for me so very many times before. I know there is so much more laid out for me for us to celebrate together. Bless her cottons she's got a laminated news article about me and calls her leg stumpy, that woman at least deserves to see me on a terrestial channel this year!
People think I am crazy. That me saying I will only focus on acting and modelling jobs from this point on, that I will no longer distract myself with work that drags me off of my path, its too much of a risk. Then call me crazy. I am an actress so I will keep a roof over my head and food in my belly by acting. Because I have faith.
I have faith in my abilities. And in my work and determination. I have faith in the people around me, that they too will strive for their own greatness and still support each other in all this madness (2016 has been on a whole other level of cray!). I have faith that the industry will start to open its eyes and widen its arms to the unexpected, unconventional, undiscovered talent out there. I have faith in the no-thingness of the future - that anything can be created, at any moment and it will be a beautiful blessing to the world.
If this year has taught me anything, its that, at any moment, everything can change and rather than being scared and running away we should embrace it and run with it. I have experienced so much love and new life this year that has shown me happiness can out shine any heartache.
Let the painful moments come and show you how strong you can be. Let the joyful moments come and show you how wonderful life can be. Have faith in 2017, have faith in yourself and have faith that anything is possible.
In 2016 I marked off 6.5 out of 10 of my goals for the year. Write yours down for 2017, pop it in a sealed envelope and have faith. Lets all mark 10 out of 10 next year.
Check out my top ten moments of 2016 over on my instagram @LaurenDouglin