Happy New Year
As 2019 rolls around, I quite honestly don’t want to set any large unattainable goals such as have a thriving career and be incredibly successful and own a 3 bedroom house and seven dogs because thats absolutely not realistic. I started last year with many different hopes for how the year would pan out, and I’m not quite sure how many of those even happened, but anyway, here is a rather honest post about my 2018 and whats in store in 2019 (*spoiler* I have no idea).
2018 started off with more hopelessness than I’d have liked, I increasingly hated my university degree studying textiles/ fashion, feeling it was seemingly pointless; the discovery of the contributions to mass consumerism that any potential future job in the fashion industry would entail made my future look bleak and uninviting. The decision of weather or not to take on a year of work experience was looming and forced me to look at the fashion industry in a very light as a lot of the interning opportunities were not paid and it called into question my future prospects and question everything I’d worked the entirety of my life so far, for. My love for textile design, for creativity and crafting got very lost very quickly. I no longer enjoyed my once much loved degree and I was pretty much focusing on anything that didn’t involve fashion, creativity or my degree. I was doing more pole dance, and helping to do the oral histories for Queer Looks in Brighton Museum. Anything external to my degree I found myself only caring about and therefore wondering if I could quit university altogether. I was also in an awful waitressing job that was doing more damage to my mental health than the money was worth and things just plainly seemed crap.
Moving into spring, I finally had the courage to quit my job and get myself back into barista work, because as much as working in a cafe isn’t worlds and worlds apart from working in a restaurant, I knew that working in a coffee shop would be far better than an understaffed and unorganised restaurant doing unsociable hours. I also finished the second year of university and had made the decision not to extend my degree to four years, taking out the placement year of work experience. This was something that had made the start to my year quite miserable because the realisation that you have absolutely no idea what to do with your life is completely dread inducing. The idea that I was potentially in the middle of a degree that taught a very specific skill, being unsure if I could even do anything else with my degree, filled me with fear and uncertainty. I could write for hours about the reasons I chose not to take a placement year doing fashion internships, but for the most part it was financial and the doubt of weather I even want to work in the fashion industry was what made my decision final .
After this, came a summer desperately in search of a new career goal, I wanted so much to find some kind of certainty within my future. I wanted to know that there was something else to work for, that everything I had achieved by studying art and textiles, since school wasn’t a complete waste of time. This was the fuel behind the considerably random decisions that followed. I started this blog for one, and attempted to design my own phone cases and various products, something that I actually quite enjoyed. I also researched what else I could do from design and textiles and looked at other industries, besides fashion that I could venture into. I also frantically searched for ideas as to what topic I was going to base my final year at uni around. I came up with basing my final year projects around the subject of ‘Identity’. I thought this was particularly appropriate given my thought processes at that time.
A huge part of my summer was being involved in the Queer Looks exhibition, I had conducted oral histories earlier in the year with some incredible people where we explored the history of LGBTQ+ dress in Brighton, Hove and Sussex. This was to document and archive the personal narratives behind the 20 or so donated outfits to the exhibition which was to open in early summer. I met some truly wonderful people during this and to such a variety of people I saw what it means to them to identify as queer. I’d also volunteered to help with the organisation of the Brighton Museums pride float, this accumulated in one of the best days of my whole summer, Pride! It was just the most wonderfully fun and joyful experiences to be in the Pride march along with some of my fellow Queer Looks team members and friends. I’d dressed up as a brilliant bisexual butterfly, head to toe in purple, ready to spread my wings and dance the day and night away. Shortly after this came a few more queer looks events such as presenting a bitesize talk in front of the queer looks exhibition display case and helping to put on a free museum day for visitors to take part in queer look related workshops and hear pop up talks. That was a very fun day.
Going back to university at the end of September was very daunting as I’d be going back to a course with no one that I knew as I had not taken part in the placement year which everyone else had done, I’d be joining the students who had just been on their placement year. I was also gaining new housemates as my previous ones had all graduated. There were a lot of changes around the corner. During these autumnal months, I decided to view my degree as a degree, trying to let go of constant anxiety about the future, something that was very much helped when I attended a short cognitive behavioural therapy course which taught me coping mechanisms for excessive worry and anxiety, something that I really could have done way earlier in the year but nonetheless, better late than never!
Fast forward to the last few months of 2018, highlights including seeing Years and Years at the Brighton Centre, keeping my degree going, and enjoying making and creating again. Starting an etsy account (that I have put minimal work into due to also doing a full time degree plus doing part time barista work ) and just having a generally nice few months seeing friends and family.
I have no idea what 2019 is going to bring and I don’t particularly have a solid plan formed but it’ll be interesting to see what it does bring. I hope to at least be living somewhere that I’m happy with and to either be in some kind of post graduate job or post graduate education or to be working towards the next step, whatever that may be. This will be the year I finish my BA degree in Textiles and Business Studies with the next 6 months full of hard work. This year is full of uncertainty and that’s okay.